Social media have become increasingly powerful weapons for winning hearts and minds. US President Donald Trump was incredibly effective in using Twitter to shape the election narrative and has given no indication that he intends giving his thumbs a rest during his stay at the White House. Domestically, too, many of society’s most hotly contested debates are playing themselves out (often in spiteful tones) on social media. But complex matters can surely not really be resolved by 140-character bursts. Isn’t it now time to ditch the theatre and the distraction and get real again.