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在Snapchat时代,大选丑闻转瞬即逝

更新时间:2016-4-26 9:46:09 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Snapchat, Helping Candidates Avoid Haunting Scandals
在Snapchat时代,大选丑闻转瞬即逝

Every modern presidential election is at least in part defined by the cool new media breakthrough of its moment. In 2000, there was email, and by golly was that a big change from the fax. The campaigns could get their messages in front of print and cable news reporters — who could still dominate the campaign narrative — at will, reducing what had been a 24-hour news cycle to an hourly one.

现代的每一次美国总统选举,至少从部分上讲,都是由当时最酷的新媒体发展所定义的。2000年有电子邮件,那跟传真可是天壤之别。竞选团队可以随时把他们的讯息发送到报刊和有线电视新闻记者的面前——这些人当时仍能把持竞选活动的话语权——将24小时一个新闻周期的节奏加快到每小时一个。

The 2004 campaign was the year of the “Web log,” or blog, when mainstream reporters and campaigns officially began losing any control they may have had over political news. Anyone with a computer could weigh in with commentary, news and, often, searing criticism of mainstream reporters and politicians — “Media Gatekeepers be damned!”

2004年,是“网络日志”,也就是博客风行的一年,主流记者和竞选团队正式开始失去他们可能有过的对政治新闻的任何控制力。任何人,只要有一台电脑,就可以发布评论和新闻,还常常对主流记者和政治家发起尖锐批评——“媒体看门人见鬼去吧!”

Then 2008: Facebook made it that much easier for campaigns to reach millions of people directly, further reducing the influence of newspaper, magazine and television journalists. In 2012, Twitter shrank the political news cycle to minutes if not seconds, exponentially adding to the churn of campaign news.

2008年,有了Facebook,竞选团队可以更轻易地直接覆盖数以百万计的人,也导致报纸、杂志和电视记者的影响力进一步遭到削弱。2012年,Twitter把政治新闻周期缩减到以分钟甚至秒为单位,竞选新闻炮制产量呈指数增加。

The question this year has been whether 2016 will be the “Snapchat election,” a reference to the popular and new(ish) photo- and video-sharing service that already has some 100 million daily users and has a campaign news team of seasoned pros.

今年的问题是,2016年是否是“Snapchat竞选”年。Snapchat是一个人气很旺的新型照片和视频共享服务,日均用户在1亿以上,而且拥有一个竞选新闻团队,由经验丰富的专业人士组成。

There is some debate about Snapchat’s role this year. Its presence in the media ecosystem is undeniable: Snapchat says nearly twice as many 18-to-24-year-olds watched the first Republican debate on its app than saw it on television. But it’s probably still too early in the campaign year to say how defining it will be.

Snapchat今年扮演的角色存在一些争论。它在媒体生态系统中的地位是不可否认的:Snapchat说,在18至24岁的年轻人中,通过其应用观看共和党第一次辩论的人,是用电视观看它的人的两倍。但是,要说它在何种程度上定义了这个竞选年,目前可能还为时过早。

It’s not too early, however, to say that Snapchat is a fitting symbol for 2016, and a powerful one. Its very existence represents a shift in the way news and information course through our overserved body politic. And that could have an effect on the outcome of the campaign, if it isn’t having one already.

但是,现在已经可以说Snapchat是2016年一个恰如其分的象征,一个有力的象征。它的存在代表着一种转变——我们这个国家信息泛滥,而新闻和信息流经它的方式正在发生转变。这可能将对竞选结果产生某种影响,如果现在还没有产生的话。

For so long, media advancements affected the speed of news. But speed has more or less topped out with Twitter. What’s faster than seconds? (Please don’t say we need to get it to nanoseconds.) Snapchat represents a change to something else: the longevity of news, how durably it keeps in our brain cells and our servers.

长久以来,媒体的进步一直影响着新闻制作和传播的速度。但这种速度在Twitter出现之后就或多或少达到了顶峰。还有比几秒钟的时间更快的吗?(请不要说我们需要把速度提到纳秒级别)Snapchat代表着另一种改变:新闻的持久性,也就是它可以在我们的脑细胞和大脑神经中留存多久。

Most of the stuff that is shared through the Snapchat app — whether it’s a bird’s-eye video of a mischievous cat, a boisterous Trump rally or a terrorist attack — goes away after 24 hours or much less, just disappears.

通过Snapchat应用分享的内容——不管是俯拍的淘气小猫视频,喧闹的特朗普集会活动,还是一场恐怖袭击——大多都在24小时或更短的时间内消失,就那么消失不见。

That is the opposite of the approach taken by The New York Times and other traditional news organizations that are reporting history for the record. Snapchat is recording the here and the now, playing for today. Tomorrow will bring something new that renders today obsolete. It’s a digital Tibetan sand painting made in the image of the millennial mind.

这与《纽约时报》和其他传统新闻机构采用的方式是相反的,也就是以记录历史为目的的报道。Snapchat记录此时此地,活在当下。明天会带来新的事物,会让今天的东西显得过时。这相当于在千禧一代头脑中绘制的数字版西藏沙画。

Snapchat executives say they set up the app this way because this is what their tens of millions of younger users want; it’s how they live. That makes sense, given the way their generation exists online, interfacing with a constant stream of bits and bytes. They can’t possibly have enough bandwidth to process all the incoming information and still dwell on what already was, can they? (O.K., probably, but stick with me as I play this through; it leads somewhere).

Snapchat的高管表示,他们之所以如此设计该应用,是因为这是数以千万计的年轻用户所希望的;因为这就是他们的生活方式。听起来很有道理,考虑到这一代人的生活和网络密不可分,他们在持续地与比特和字节打交道。他们的大脑不可能有足够的“带宽”在处理所有扑面而来的信息的同时,还能不停琢磨已经存在的那些信息,能吗?(好吧,或许能,但请跟着我的思路走;下面会提出论点)

The older generations are getting there, too, as daily adult media consumption has expanded beyond television, radio and newspapers to include all the innovations I mentioned above: email, websites, Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, Instagram, Periscope and now Snapchat.

年纪更大的一代人也在趋向这种方式,因为成人日常信息消费的范围已经超越电视、收音机和报纸,囊括了我上面提到的所有革新方式:电子邮件、网站、Facebook、Twitter、短信、Instagram、Periscope,以及现在的Snapchat。

It was into this media hurricane that the presidential campaign caravan drove this year, and many of its cars were blown off the road.

今年的总统大选车队驶入的正是这样一场媒体大飓风,很多车辆都被它甩下了原有的路线。

Experienced strategists and their candidates, who could always work through their election plans methodically — promoting their candidacies one foot in front of the other, adjusting here and there for the unexpected — suddenly found that they couldn’t operate the way they always did.

以往,经验丰富的策略师及其候选人总会有条不紊地制定竞选计划,即一步步地为自己的候选人做宣传,时不时为一些预料之外的情况做调整。如今,他们突然发现自己无法按照过去的方式进行了。

Marco Rubio’s campaign marched into the election season ready to fight the usual news-cycle-by-news-cycle skirmishes. It was surprised to learn that, lo and behold, “There was no news cycle — everything was one big fire hose,” Alex Conant, a senior Rubio strategist, told me. “News was constantly breaking and at the end of the day hardly anything mattered. Things would happen; 24 hours later, everyone was talking about something else.”

马尔科·卢比奥(Marco Rubio)的团队进入今年的竞选季时,做好了准备像以往一样应对一个新闻周期接一个新闻周期的小型战斗。但他们却意外地发现,嘿,“这儿没有新闻周期,只有一场大火,要不停地灭火,”卢比奥的高级策略师亚历克斯·科南特(Alex Conant)告诉我。“新闻不断冒出来,最终几乎什么都无关紧要。各种事情都会发生;但24小时过后,所有人就都在谈论别的东西了。”

Then there was Jeb Bush, expecting to press ahead by presenting what he saw as leading-edge policy proposals that would set off a prolonged back-and-forth. When Mr. Bush rolled out a fairly sweeping plan to upend the college loan system, the poor guy thought this was going to become a big thing. “Jeb would say to me in the car, ‘This is radical stuff,’” Tim Miller, a senior aide in the Bush campaign, told me. It drew only modest coverage and was quickly buried by the latest bit from Donald Trump.

还有杰布·布什(Jeb Bush),他原本期待着通过提出自己认为的前沿政策在选战中一路前进,他以为这些政策会引发持久的拉锯战。当他提出影响面非常广的高校贷款制度改革计划时,这个可怜的家伙认为这会成为一个大事件。“杰布会在车里对我说,‘这是非常激进的议题’,”布什竞选团队的高级幕僚蒂姆·米勒(Tim Miller)对我说。结果这个这项议题只吸引了非常有限的媒体报道,而且很快被有关唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)的最新事件掩盖。

Which brings me to the good news for presidential candidates. In this “hit refresh” political culture, damaging news does not have to stick around for long, either. The next development, good or bad, replaces it almost immediately. This is arguably the best time in modern history to have a scandal. (Note to ethically compromised pols: If you have an embarrassing piece of video that is bound to get out, give it exclusively to Snapchat, then destroy it.) At the very least, it is the best time to be Mr. Trump.

这让我看到,对于总统候选人们来说也有好消息。在这种“点击刷新”的政治文化里,破坏性的新闻也不会停留很久。下一步的进展,不论好坏,都会马上取代之前的新闻。如果想搞搞丑闻,这可以算是现代历史上最好的时机了(提醒那些在道德上有问题的政客们:如果你有一段尴尬的视频注定即将流出,就把它独家交给Snapchat,然后毁掉它)。至少,对于特朗普来说这是最好的时机。

Ask Mr. Miller. He is now working for one of the most aggressive Republican anti-Trump groups, Our Principles PAC. Mr. Miller knows his way around a pair of brass knuckles, campaign-style. But, once again, the old combinations — dump damaging “opposition research,” watch ’em drown in it — are proving far less potent than they were.

去问问米勒先生吧。他如今在为共和党内最积极的反特朗普团体“Our Principles PAC”工作。米勒知道怎么按照选战的方式重拳出击。但是又一次,旧的组合拳套路——抛出大量损害性的“对手研究”成果,看着对手被淹没其中——被证明效果大大不如从前。

Mr. Miller pointed to a recent episode in which Mr. Trump said a protester at a rally had “ties to ISIS,” after that protester charged the stage. No such ties existed. “He says ‘ISIS is attacking me’; this was debunked in eight minutes by Twitter,” Mr. Miller said. “Cable talked about it for three hours and it went away.”

米勒提起最近的一段插曲,一个集会上的抗议者冲上讲台,特朗普说他“与伊斯兰国有关”。事实上这个抗议者与伊斯兰国并无关系。“他说‘伊斯兰国正在攻击我’;这句话8分钟内就在Twitter上被揭穿了,”米勒说。“有线电视上,这件事被谈论了三个小时,之后就消失了。”

“Hillary Clinton said that she was under sniper fire in Bosnia” — she wasn’t — “and that has stuck with her for 20 years,” Mr. Miller said.

“希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)曾经说过,她顶着狙击手的火力访问波斯尼亚,”——事实上并没有这回事——“结果她因为这句话被攻击了20年,”米勒说。

Mr. Trump has mastered this era of short attention spans in politics by realizing that if you’re the one regularly feeding the stream, you can forever move past your latest trouble, and hasten the mass amnesia.

特朗普意识到,如果你经常发布流媒体文件,你就永远都能摆脱最新的麻烦,加速大众的健忘症,藉此,他掌握了这个政治界普遍注意力短暂的时代。

It was with this in mind that The Washington Post ran an editorial late last week reminding its readers of some of Mr. Trump’s more outlandish statements and policy positions on the eve of what a senior aide described as a coming personality change by Mr. Trump, to one more befitting a president.

因此,《华盛顿邮报》(The Washington Post)上周晚些时候发表了一篇社论:一位资深助手形容,特朗普正在改变个性,使自己成为一个更适合做总统的人,而这篇社论提醒读者,在这个变化带来之前,特朗普曾经发表过若干怪异的宣言和政策立场。

The Post urged its readers to “remember” more than two dozen items from Mr. Trump’s record, including that he promised “to round up 11 million undocumented immigrants and deport them,” and “lied about President Obama’s birth certificate.”

《邮报》请读者们“记住”两打以上特朗普说过的话,比如他曾经承诺,“搜捕1100万非法移民,把他们遣送出境”,还曾经“就奥巴马总统的出生证问题说过谎”。

Fred Hiatt, The Post’s editorial page editor, told me in an email that given “the constantly churning news cycle,” Mr. Trump’s trail of incendiary statements and proposals “may seem like news from another era.” He added, “It’s important that they not be forgotten.”

《邮报》社论版编辑弗莱德·希亚特(Fred Hiatt)在给我的电子邮件中写道,鉴于“经常被搅乱的新闻周期”,特朗普那些煽动性的宣言与提议“或许已经显得像是来自另一个时代的新闻了”。他补充说,“它们不能被遗忘,这很重要。”

When I ran all of this by the good people at Snapchat they bristled at my choice of symbolism, understandably. Peter Hamby, Snapchat’s head of news, said Snapchat should not be “an emblem for a lack of attention span in our politics.”

当我向Snapchat的好人们提出这些问题时,他们对我为他们赋予的象征意义表示生气,这是可以理解的。Snapchat的首席新闻官彼得·汉比(Peter Hamby)说,Snapchat不应当被视为“我们的政治领域日益缺乏注意力的象征”。

With a unique line to younger voters, Snapchat presents substantive stories on issues like the election and the Flint water crisis in ways they can relate to, Mr. Hamby said. Snapchat’s reports are ephemeral, he said, because “it’s about being in the moment” with this young audience, being in the flow of their lives.

Snapchat是与更年轻一代选民之间的一种独特的联系,汉比先生说,它以能与自身形式相适应的方式,呈现出大量新闻,比如选举,比如弗林特市水危机。他说,Snapchat的报道是昙花一现的,因为它是为了让这些年轻的观众们“置身当前的一刻”,置身于他们生命的流动之中。

Of course, that’s where that audience lives, in the moment. Still, as the media habits of the young drive everybody else’s, I’m reminded of that old saw about those who forget history. Now, what was I saying?

当然,在那一刻,那些观众们的确是生活在流动之中。不过,尽管年轻人对社交媒体的使用习惯驱动着大众的社交媒体使用习惯,我还是想起一些古老的谚语,是关于那些忘记历史的人。哦,我刚才说什么来着?

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