With great engagement comes great responsibility.
Just over two weeks after she was sworn in, freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is slated to hold a session for her fellow representatives to teach them how to tweet this week. The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee has extended an invitation to AOC—as she’s known to her 2.42 million Twitter followers—to show her new peers how social media can be used “as an effective and authentic…tool” to connect with Americans in their districts and nationwide, as first reported on CNN.
Of course, Ocasio-Cortez took to (what else) Twitter to confirm the news and added that the seminar would be held ASAP.
Earlier this week Axios reported that Ocasio-Cortez has generated more interactions online (which it defined as retweets plus likes) than CNN, ABC, MSNBC, NBC, and the New York Times combined in the previous month. She also outstripped former President Barack Obama, who scored 4.4 million interactions compared to her 11.8 million.
So formidable is her social media prowess that Politico reported earlier this month that some Democrats have kept their criticism of her private, “fearful that she’ll sic her massive following on them by firing off a tweet.” Perhaps Democrats could stand to be more afraid of, for example, climate change than a mean tweet. But! That’s a conversation for another time.
For now it seems her fellow Democrats have come to the correct conclusion: If you can’t beat ’em, RT ’em.
Ever since she defeated a 10-term incumbent over the summer to win the Democratic nomination in her district, Ocasio-Cortez has used Twitter to respond to controversies and criticisms, like an op-ed from former Senator Joe Lieberman in which he said he hoped she was not the future of the Democrats. (That is the same Joe Lieberman who spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention, so.) In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez fired back.
And when a video of Ocasio-Cortez dancing while she was still an undergraduate went viral (and was met with criticism from conservatives who claimed it showed her to be unserious), she responded with a fresh clip of her…dancing in front of her new office. “I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous,” she tweeted. “Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance too!” The 11-second video was rewarded with over 20.5 million views.
Ocasio-Cortez has also amassed close to 2 million Instagram followers and now uses the platform to discuss policies over livestreamed Instant Pot mac-and-cheese prep and to take users inside the congressional process, explaining how offices are chosen, bills are passed, and where all the tunnels under the congressional floor lead.
But hours before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s lesson (which representatives from Twitter will attend), some anecdotal evidence seemed to suggest that even her counterparts in the Senate had started to learn from her example, no formal curriculum required. After rapper and political pundit Cardi B took to Instagram to denounce the government shutdown with excellent context and her own particular spin, Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) gave followers a peek inside their debate over whether or not to share Cardi’s comments.
Users noted AOC’s evident influence, but weren’t quite sure how to process its impact.
Class dissed and dismissed.