tweetzkrieg

Tweetzkrieg is an alternative name for what is more commonly called a Twitterstorm, a flurry of activity about a trending topic on the social media platform Twitter. But unlike a Twitterstorm, which can be an unorganized response to a tweet or news item, a Tweetzkrieg is often deliberately generated by a single person or group. Tweetzkrieg is, quite obviously, modeled on blitzkrieg, the German WWII-era strategy of a combined arms assault using infantry, armor, artillery, and airpower. The word isn’t terribly common, but it has been around for over ten years.

Tweetzkrieg dates to at least 16 April 2009 when Kemi Adesina Wosu tweeted this:

@basseyworld OMG ur little tweetzkrieg (patent pending on that word snitches!) has me LOLing over here!

On 1 March 2011 the website Cycleboredom.com defines the term:

Actually, I think most of the damage was due to lost feeds and the Tweetzkrieg. If you’ve never watched a cycling race with the obligatory Twitter chaser, then you’re a sad individual lost in the purgatorial land of GeoCities. The Tweetzkrieg is the running commentary on Twitter as a race is unfolding.

The term had moved into the realm of international politics a year later on 29 May 2012 in this tweet by David Rothkopf about a Russian government Twitter assault on the U.S. ambassador to that country, Michael McFaul, in response to a speech he had given:

Russian tweetzkrieg on McFaul uses new media to show how unready they are for new media/political reality

And, of course, Tweetzkrieg is often associated with Donald Trump, as in this 10 January 2016 comment on the website Talking Points Memo about an article that stated Senator Ted Cruz was ahead of Trump in an Iowa poll:

Cue the Trump Tweetz-krieg [tm].

Or in this 17 January 2017 post on the blog Blckdgrd in the days leading up to his inauguration:

One week from now, holy the fuck — hell, they could Reichstag the Inauguration and declare Martial Law by sunset. The Executive Orders he farts the first 48 hours (with full Tweetzkrieg). I’ll still find these the most fascinating, compelling political times of my life.

And the use that brought the term to my attention was in the pages of The Atlantic on 29 June 2019 in an article by Andrés Martinez:

The June 7 deal may seem to amount to a big victory for Trump, the result of a Tweetzkrieg threatening to impose tariffs on Mexican imports unless Mexico agreed to accomplish within 45 days what the U.S. has failed to do for years: “to sufficiently achieve results in addressing the flow of immigrants from Central America to the southern border.”

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