A redacted version of the Muller Report was released today. It provides some insight into Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year long investigation into whether Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia to affect the results, or obstructed justice during the investigation.
Or so I've heard, I haven’t read it. All that I knew was that Twitter was going to be especially bad today. Members of #ResistanceTwitter were going to be out in full force. They’re a small group of people who either genuinely believe that the perfect combination of 280 characters can help impeach Trump, are just trying to profit off the investigation through products related to their tweets about Trump, or (most likely) some combination of both.
Today was destined to be a spectacular disaster. So, I decided to make a fake #Resistance account and see if I could capitalize on the release of the report by gaining followers and praise. My strategy was to play into the worst tropes of Resistance Twitter—like hashtag abuse, persistent reply-guying, and rallying around conspiracy theories—which have been perfected by Ed and Brian Krassenstein.
I ended up getting 15 followers in a little over an hour, and now, I feel like I understand Resistance Brain a little bit better than I did before.
This is me! I chose Haroline Caskins because my name is Caroline Haskins. I chose the most unrevealing bio possible, and I put Cincinnati, OH as my location because it seems like a nice city, I think. I’ve never been there. My avatar was a stock image of a white woman in business-wear doing finger guns, but I cropped out the finger guns.
The first thing that I did was follow everyone on The Outline’s convenient list of the worst Resistance grifters (except Michael Avenatti, who locked his account). After that, I followed people that these people retweeted, people that interacted with their tweets, and people that interacted with my tweets.
I hit a roadblock after I sent my first tweet: Twitter locked my account for alleging that I exhibited “unusual behavior.” But after doing reCAPTCHA verification and typing a code Twitter sent to my phone, I was able to reactivate my account in less than a minute.
With that almost non-existent barrier crossed, I decided to use a couple of different strategies for crafting #Resistance tweets:
1) I’m the Reply Guy
I would reply to the Tweets of prominent #Resistance Twitter figures—like the Krassenstein brothers, Seth Abramson, and Scott Dworkin—and sing them praises, repeat the exact message of their tweet back to them in a way that was worded marginally differently, or just reply with impeachment-related hashtag soup. The ones I used most frequently were #ImpeachTrumpNow, #MuellerReport, #TrumpColluded, and #TrumpObstructed.
I also replied to Trump a handful of times. His mentions are, notoriously, a lively hub for the Resistance.
2) Some Guy is the Reply Guy
Occasionally, for some reason, people decided to reply to my tweets. These seemed to be either Trump supporters, or people who just cared intensely about confronting Resistance Twitter.
I had a very long exchange with a man who called himself Marco. He would repeatedly tell me that there was no proof that Trump colluded with Russia. In response, I would tell him that Trump did collude with Russia, using several hashtags. This went on for almost thirty minutes. Here’s a vignette of the exchange:
3) I’m the Retweeter
I retweeted podcaster Scott Dworkin’s photoshopped response to Trump’s photoshopped image of himself, looking into the mist, with the Game of Thrones font. I also retweeted CNN contributor Ana Navarro-Cárdenas.
4) I’m the Tweeter
This was fun. I got into the Resistance Brain mindset as best as I possibly could and spread the good news: Trump is gonna be impeached.
A handful of people liked and retweeted my tweets! (A couple of times, these people were my editors. But most of the time they were not.) As stated earlier, I also followed everyone that liked or replied to my tweets with praise. Unfortunately, I didn’t achieve my goal of getting one of the Krassenstein brothers to interact with one of my tweets, or better yet, follow me.
So, what did I learn from tweeting conspiratorial nonsense for a little over an hour? Primarily, that it is not hard to be good at resistance Twitter.
I can't emphasize this enough: I know almost nothing about the Mueller Report. It is incredibly time-consuming to have a very basic understanding of the investigation, and more importantly, it isn’t relevant to the tangible issues that I care about. But by using hashtags like #LiarInChief, or #TweeterInChief, and understanding the general argument of most Resistance tweets, I was able to make tweets that blended in perfectly with the rest of the landscape.
Happy #MuellerReportDay! #ImpeachTrumpNow