The Bar Exam of Digital Success — Seth Abramson
Seth Abramson is to investigative journalism what a Geiger counter is to finding radiation.
If you've ever looked at Twitter for politics, even choosing to stay far from the mainstream, it's likely you crossed paths with Seth Abramson. His dutiful coverage of former president Donald Trumps' political career drew Abramson into the tail gunner's seat, firing every letter into his allotted characters with spaces. And then some. Reworking his updates so they read in sequence, he made Trump's daily foibles an entertaining, informative, and quotable diatribe of sins and misdemeanors. He's had up to 50 postings in a session. From March 2017 through election day in November of 2020, Seth's tweets were retweeted over 100 million times.
It was his Twitter-voice that made him an intellectual household name. Through the 2016 presidential race, its outcome, and Trump's alleged connections to stripper, Stormy Daniels, the Steele Dossier, Abramson had a consistent and coherent voice. Consisting of more facts than opinion, he managed to squeeze more coverage of the days' news in a few sequential Tweets than a broadsheet of newspaper.
When he makes a mistake, he corrects it immediately and loudly — he never wants anyone to be misled. It's worth noting that in November 2017 Twitter’s boardroom chose to double the available character space from 140 to 280 characters. Now the gunner could double down, as poets do, and infuse more information with more insights per shot.
He never left Twitter alone. A Playboy magazine interviewer said, "Abramson helped pioneer the literary form of the Twitter 'thread'". His style of sequential bullet points format of expanding how far someone could throw a space-limited thought was adapted by other political posters like The Hoarse Whisperer and Scott Adams. Abramson was sifting through information and Tweeting long before his popular following joined him as he defined America (2016-2020) to a wider rank and file of popular newsreaders. He was putting up notes on Trump's 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe before the visit became pivotal and famous.
He never left Twitter alone. A Playboy magazine interviewer said, "Abramson helped pioneer the literary form of the Twitter 'thread’"
Playboy continued mining him, “In person, it is Abramson’s extraordinary kindness, his sly brain and his no-frills charm that gets you. The fact that few major media outlets have ever had his back..." and that is the mastery of Abramson’s self-sustaining brand. He's not pleading alliance to a view or a corporation. He follows the truth, wherever on the map that leaves him.
SLATE said to Democrats: Please, Please Stop Sharing Seth Abramson’s Very Bad Tweets regarding the coverage that Paul Ryan was recorded accepting Russian cash at the Republican National Convention. Abramson has ruffled feathers, DeadSpin declared Abramson “the reigning king of diarrhea tweeting”.
Having caught on to Trump's substance as an actor in real-time, before announcing his candidacy for president, Abramson was maxing out his Twitter spaces on Trump's recurring themes and newsworthy life. Over the course of the 2016 election, Abramson garnered 200,000 followers in just six months.
This opened the biggest legacy media doors, and he became a contributor to CBS, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC, ABC, ABC, NPR, PBS, CBC, HBO and BBC throughout Trump's presidency.
From his humble beginnings as a print and radio journalist at 17, at The Daily Dartmouth, he's been a journalistic hero, supporter, and defender of the facts since 1994. As a young Abramson had a radio program - sports coverage of football and basketball — which clearly prepared him for covering the best of blood sports, American politics. He seems to enjoy communicating fast-moving action. And he's heavily into gaming so I'm pretty sure his "computer area" is cutting-edge stuff.
Seth Abramson was born on October 31st, 1976, to a family in Concord, Massachusetts. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1998, and three years after, he was in law school at Harvard University. In 2009, Seth graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He also obtained a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. The Workshop remains the most prestigious creative writing program in the country and one of the most selective graduate programs of any kind” on their site.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Abramson was a trial attorney before becoming an assistant professor of communication arts and sciences at the University of New Hampshire in 2015 where he currently teaches. One of his professors, Alan Dershowitz, has become a supporter of Trump, much to Seth's chagrin.
His specialties consist of teaching media journalism, legal advocacy, digital writing, professional writing, contemporary literature, and digital-age cultural theory. He has written for some of the most substantial news sources including The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian.
He has authored popular, political, and academic articles. Abramson's political commentary was novel and unique being called, "experimental journalism," by The Atlantic. "Colorado Review called him "A major American voice, crystalline beauty, and complexity," Politico called his work "verses from the abstract," and a "curatorial journalism." Der Spiegel calls Abramson "a quintessential American figure: an underdog who became an involuntary hero," while he labelled himself as a "metamodernist creative writer."
He published many books of his own poetry and won awards. But he had his mind warped from the circumstances President Trump had gotten himself embroiled in, and Abramson co-founded and is the current editor for a series called Best American Experimental Writing.
Here, is an excerpt from his awarding-winning poem, "What I Have", to see how his style develops, it gives you a hint of his short-margin poetry that prepared him for the 140-characters on Twitter:
Twelve dollars sixty cents,
& the fact that there is no blood no storm
can’t wash into dirt, that the time for these words
is already ended,
that for all the rain that has been here before
so have I.
& there is less water in the world
than a famous woman once said, & I know that,
& that the stars in the river
also are real I also know, for they disappear also
& refuse also to be touched. & I have touched
bare things, & it works—
it can be the sole unbraided moment in a life—
To see the rest from Poetryfoundation.org, follow this: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/52273/what-i-have
In 2018 Abramson published Proof of Collusion, addressing the political fiasco alleging Russia helped coerce the population in Trumps' favour through bots, trolls, and cyber-warfare on social media. In 2019 Proof of Conspiracy followed and was also a New York Times bestseller. The final book in the Proof trilogy, Proof of Corruption was released in 2020.
Following his books on the Russia-collusion phenomena, Abramson started posting his daily thoughts on Substack. Proof uses, by his own definition, a genre of journalism known as “curatorial journalism” to unpack the most urgent issues of the day. Proof is currently ranked the #14 politics Substack in the United States. His coverage of Donald Trump remains unparalleled in Twitter's succinct tone and available texture. He is one of the most effective journalists to ever grace digital media.
Being electronically tethered to Seth Abramson is like being plugged into the U.S. Political System mainframe. His ambition and extremely educated insights are quick, and virtually painless in the Tweet world. You can sound like you have a mouth full of certainty when you're citing Abramson.
And I just noticed it: given his ‘ab’ start of his last name; he’s listed 1st on their website of IWWW alumni. Regardless of what comes after him, say Twitter to an alleged 10,000 characters, he's begun and prospered in a limited gap and he'll certainly be a hard act to follow. To wrap up, let me surmise, Abramson is radiation to the political Geiger counter, and how fair is that? Perfectly.
OF RUSSIA: A Year Inside
Brent (Brant is the Russian version) Antonson has seen a Russia few foreigners have. Indeed, few Russians. This young Canadian ventured to Voronezh, eleven hours south of Moscow by train, to spend a year inside a country torn by strife, fresh into a new century, and struggling with the clash between history and future. Tasked with teaching English to students at one university, and then a second, his story is riddled with romance and deception, and punctuated with near disaster and disappointment. Antonson's candour and insights set Russia on the edge of failure and achievement – much like the students he educated, filled with a dash of hope and a lump of fear. His wit did as much to get him in trouble as it did to keep him out of it.