The Unassuming Art of the Pitch-Perfect Tweet
Today, Europe’s future happened as a one-word tweet sent at the crack of dawn by the president of the European Council, former Belgian prime minister Charles Michel.
It took 5 days for the 27 EU member states to agree on a seven-year recovery package to address the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19. As it turns out, #StrongerTogether isn’t just a hashtag on this side of the pond: it now represents a digital and greener future for all.
There’s never been anything like this deal in the history of the European Union and social media across the bloc is effervescent.
Deal, here, isn’t just billions of euros:
“We negotiated about money. But, of course, it is about a lot more than money. It is about workers and families, their jobs, their health and their well-being. I believe this agreement will be seen as a pivotal moment in Europe’s journey, but it will also launch us into the future. In fact, it is the first time, the first time in European history that our budget will be clearly linked to our climate objectives. The first time, the first time that the respect for rule of law is a decisive criteria for budget spending. And the first time, the first time that you are jointly re-enforcing our economies against a crisis.” — Charles Michel
In the EU as in the US, many people have seen their livelihoods go up in smoke as already precarious situations became increasingly desperate. I’m one of them but the optimism inherent to my geographical coordinates has never faltered: Ours is a culture that strives to leave no one behind and empowers people to be and do their best instead of kicking them when they’re down.
This ethos has served us well over the last 70 years.
Watching this unfold as an American is a little odd, however. After years in the US an immigrant then a US citizen, I’m still so steeped in a culture of unforgiving ruthlessness the solidarity I grew up with as a French citizen looks radical to me now.
When did it become acceptable for leaders to use office to bully those they serve? Whatever happened to personal and professional accountability? What about duty of care?
Because of its size, economic power, and tech dominance, America sets the tone for the internet. It has gotten increasingly disturbing of late, with groupthink smothering intellectual discourse and critical thinking. There’s a strong sense of doom and gloom that’s difficult to shake off, even when you’re sitting on the other side of the Atlantic.
Many of those working on the American internet are too afraid to rock the boat to speak up. It’s safer and more lucrative to pay lip service to the zeitgeist by tapping into fear, anger, and greed. The more people get desperate, the more greed thrives as dedicated content, publications, and self-styled experts mushroom. Profiteering from human disempowerment is the hottest business opportunity, make bank while you can!
Co-opting this lowest common denominator culture that relies on entertainment celebrities for moral guidance isn’t inevitable. So what if you refuse?
It can take as little as one word and a heartfelt exclamation mark to lift up human spirits when the deal in question benefits everyone. Relief, achievement, and pride needn’t be wordy to be eloquent.
Writing tips on how to communicate better abound once you open your eyes and broaden your horizons to encompass realities different from the ones you’re familiar with. Regardless of where we are in the world, the internet allows us to explore it by erasing borders.
And yet, how many of us use it as an engine for discovery and learning rather than an opinion validator? Nothing illustrates America’s anti-intellectualist climate better than celebrities debunking conspiracy theories in some last ditch attempt to contain idiocracy, hot on the heels of none other than Rush Limbaugh. Even he is aggrieved by Trump’s constant speculation, which he likens to “pouring gasoline on a fire.”
We can all do our part to contain the internet trash fire though. Putting out thoughtful, encouraging signal really isn’t hard, as Charles Michel shows.
Why not be a blanket?
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.