The Anatomy of a Twitter Response: “Yes X is partially correct, but Y is more correct.”

January 30th, 2017

Without any coordination, countless Twitter replies have spontaneously adopted a very similar format. First, the reply notes that a person’s tweet is correct, or at least partially correct. This foray gives the responder some credibility, and sensibility–he is after all attempting to find some common ground. That sentiment is immediately followed by a conjunction, such as “but” or “however.” Following the conjunction, the responder states what is really correct.

To state it differently: “Yes X is partially correct, but Y is more correct.”

Consider a few easy examples:

  • Yes President Obama took broad executive executives, but President Trump’s actions far more egregious.
  • Sure Justice Scalia said some inappropriate things, however Justice Ginsburg’s statements about Trump cross a line.
  • It is true that the ACA is not working perfectly, but don’t forget that Republicans have spent the last 7 years sabotaging it.

Once you see it, you can never unsee it. I’ve endeavored not to use this frame in any of my Twitter replies. Pardon me if I slip.