I’ve been waiting for a while to see reaction from some attendees of the White House Social Media Summit, which received a lot of fanfare (positive and negative) before it occurred and any commentary on any. outcomes from the event. I looked especially to two individuals, Tim Pool and Will Chamberlain, both who have spoken about the perceived bias in social media platforms, to have something definitive to say about what they thought about the day. I can sum both up I believe correctly by stating, not much came out of it.
Tim’s overall reaction, and I think this is an exact quote, was “Meh”. In other words, nothing substantive occurred that would make him excited about the government, in particular the administration, actually doing anything about the bias so many have complained about in recent years. Will was a bit more positive, but I think that overall, he too saw nothing there that would give him any comfort that something was going to happen to address issues people have pointed to over time. Both seemed to consider the meeting as a mini-Trump Rally of sorts and although Chamberlain was less critical of that (he is a conservative), Pool, was a bit less generous in that I believe he thought, as I think most people, that there would be something they could all take home and report on; Some new initiative from the administration to address the problems perceived by many users, not just on the right, but the left as well.
I looked specifically at both of these people for commentary because Tim is a liberal, and of course as I already mentioned, Will is a conservative. I thought I may hear some very different perspectives on the meeting but in reality, there was maybe a hairsbreadth difference in what each of the witnessed.
One of the problems, I think, was the enormous number of people invited to this meeting. Tim didn’t specifically mention the number, but it was clear from a few photos I saw online that there were a great number of invitees. Will, was more specific, placing the number at 250 – way to many to have any sort of actual discussion. I noticed afterward some of the guests and I wondered what the heck they were doing there? Maybe their social media presence is larger than I thought, but then, so what? Why not limit the number of invitations to those that have written or spoken about the issue the most? I would think that the White House could have, with a little research, found the top twenty or thirty – fifty at most – then be able to have roundtable discussions on solutions that some have already proposed.
I think it’s good to see the administration at least looking at the problem, but is it all just icing and no cake? Right now, no one has any way of knowing, and unless they’re willing to actually step up, soon, then the problems that people constantly talk about will only get worse.