Donald Trump’s frequent use of twitter has been one of the defining characteristics of his campaign. While most politicians respond to events through a press statement or speech that is proofread by advisors, scanned for questionable content, and tinkered with to the point where it’s ready for mass consumption, Trump’s go-to platform of response is twitter. A social media website that limits you to 140 characters or less per tweet may seem like the worst possible platform for the President of the United States, but Trump’s tweeting techniques have proven extremely influential in his rise, for better or worse.
- SWIFT MASS EXPOSURE: Twitter is becoming one of the most widely used sources when it comes to Americans getting their news. It is likely that a person will find out about a celebrity death, a tragic accident, or any other noteworthy incident through twitter before seeing it being reported on the news, or in the newspaper. Twitter is immediate and far-reaching, which is exactly why it’s perfect for politicians. Those who have racked up millions of followers are not only immediately reaching every one of them when they send out a tweet, but they are also reaching an audience beyond that thanks to every one of their followers who retweets the tweet. This exposure proves that if used correctly, twitter can help you spread your message quicker than rallies and speeches ever could.
- PERSONAL CONNECTION: While most politicians high in stature have a team running their social media, drafting tweets and having them approved before sending them out to the world, Trump’s tweets go directly from his thumbs to the world. This has allowed twitter users to get a feel for the president’s personality, as well witness his gut reactions to ongoing events. While liberal party candidate Hillary Clinton was criticized as being robotic, dishonest, and created by a team of advisors, Donald Trump’s persona was the polar opposite. He was loud, brutish, politically incorrect, and had no filter. Many politicians and reporters predicted that this would end up killing his chances at winning the race, but instead, they helped him clinch it. In a day and age where people are given social media platforms to speak their mind and comment on everything immediately, the robotic nature of politicians can seem out of step with the rest of the world. To have a candidate embrace 140 character blasts of emotional response and not be afraid to be his true self (as ugly as that self was at times) was refreshing to many voters who were sick of establishment-run politicians.
- IMMEDIACY: A common criticism of the current generation is that our attention spans are shorter. We have been brought up in a world that offers us immediate satisfaction, and therefore, we have become a less patient age of people. We look for leaks of music before it is officially released so we don’t have to wait, we sparknote books instead of taking the time to read them, and we react to headlines rather than reading a full news article. Due to twitter’s enforced brevity, with tweets only being allowed up to 140 characters, Trump’s embrace of this platform has been huge in reaching the younger crowd. The millennials who are stereotyped as not being able to sit through presidential debates due to them being “too long” and “boring” are likely basing their political opinions solely on what they see on twitter, comparing and contrasting Trump and Clinton’s online presences, and letting the short, easy to read messages contain all the information that they need to know. It takes almost no effort to read a tweet, given their length, so condensing your messages into one ensures that they will be read by more and more people.
Trump’s twitter tirades (which can all be seen at https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump) are as dangerous as they are helpful for his campaign. It’s easy to look through his twitter and see him as a boisterous, rude loudmouth who favors hyperbole over facts. I certainly see him as more of a showman than a president, and I know I’m not alone in that belief. But in order to ensure that more qualified, well spoken, and presidential politicians have a better chance in becoming our nation’s leader in the future, we have to accept that social media platforms like Twitter are the most influential sharers of information and communication in the world currently. If other politicians embrace the platform in the same way Trump has, their message reaches a larger audience, their readers have a better sense of who they are as people, and their dialect threatens to lose less people who find it difficult to listen to political discussions. Whether Twitter being a driving force in politics is a good thing or a bad thing is up for debate, but it’s important for all political viewpoints to be shared through twitter, and not just Trump’s, so we can show the world that his twitter rants are the viewpoint of just one man, rather than the entire country. On Twitter, nobody speaks for us, even if it is the leader of our nation. We can only speak for ourselves.
Account, Donald J. TrumpVerified. “Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump).” Twitter. Twitter, 20 Feb. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
“Trump hasn’t deleted embarrassing tweets and Twitter keeps him accountable.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.