President of the United States Donald Trump’s Twitter tirades have been a point of focus on social media since he joined in 2009. Now, as the President of the United States, Trump continues to tweet from his original @realDonaldTrump account. With a whopping 23.2 million followers on Twitter and a rapidly increasing 34.4k tweets, compared to @POTUS44 Barack Obama’s 14.9 million followers and 352 tweets, the world is watching Trump become less presidential by the tweet. In just 140 characters, he bashes on media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post, berates Democrats, and to top it off, uses poor vocabulary. In our increasingly digital culture, Trump’s rash tweets are gaining popularity as unintelligent, inappropriate, and yet highly entertaining.
As the man leading the US with claims that he will #MAGA, or “Make America Great Again,” many oppose Trump’s liberal Twitter use in reclaiming the American dream. While his transparency is appreciated, Trump’s rapid Twitter fingers need to slow down. Trump’s misuse of social media in his position of power as POTUS in the digital age is worrisome for his presidency and how he is viewed by the general public: Trump needs to be a more responsible tweeter.
In an NBC/WSJ survey of 1,000 adults from January 12 to 15, 2017, both Democrats and Republicans weighed in on Trump’s Twitter fingers and as it turns out, much of both parties agree that Trump’s use of Twitter is wrong. An immense 89% of Democrats and a fair 47% of Republicans agree that Trump’s tweets are a “bad idea.” Many Democrats and Republicans have been at extreme odds in their support of Trump’s election, yet much of both parties can agree that he’s using Twitter poorly.
Trump’s Twitter fingers have attracted supporters and critics alike, though the vast majority of Americans disapprove of how Trump uses Twitter. The NBC/WSJ survey found that a mere 17% of Americans find Trump’s Twitter strategy acceptable, while only 9% strongly support it. This leaves the vast majority of America in disapproval of how Trump uses his political power on Twitter. With his millions of Twitter followers and a majority of Americans already shaking their heads at his Twitter fingers, Trump may want to consider reforming his Twitter strategy to assume a more professional, diplomatic tone.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Trump said that tweeting is as easy as going “bing, bing, bing,” presumably referring to how he can instantly type and send a tweet on his phone. Trump often takes advantage of the instantaneous nature of social media to project his thoughts online, however, especially as the POTUS, his inability to think before he tweets is problematic. 69% of respondents in NBC/WSJ’s survey said that Trump’s tweets aren’t acceptable, agreeing that “in an instant, [social media] messages can have unintended major implications without careful review.” This implies that Trump’s tweets are worrisome. Further, Americans agree his tweets may have severe consequences if he continues with his instantaneous “binging.”
Just across the Northern border, another current leader, Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau exhibits a much less abrasive and arrogant style of tweeting. Trudeau’s tweets are polite, accurate, and ultimately professional; he maintains etiquette as a current leader on social media without eliciting the controversy that Trump does. Trudeau’s Twitter has a sense of consciousness about the impact that a tweet can have without careful review. In comparison, the fact that there was a survey about Trump’s Twitter strategy at all speaks volumes about the cringe-worthy nature of his social media etiquette as a world leader in the digital age.
While Trump’s tweets are not always in line with presidential-quality social media etiquette, especially in comparison with Justin Trudeau’s or his predecessor’s tweets, Trump’s candidness on Twitter does not have to be a bad thing. NBC/WSJ’s survey revealed that 26% of Americans believe that Trump’s tweets make him transparent. Though this is not the majority belief according to the survey, Trump may be able to leverage that transparency to do good globally with smarter social media usage. At the end of January, popular 7-year-old Syrian Bana al-Abed tweeted directly to President Trump to “do something for the children of Syria.” Though he did not respond to Bana, his candidness on Twitter and the fact that he controls much of his own content on Twitter has not gone unnoticed globally. If Trump were to use his transparency on social media to connect with people, listen to problems, and devise solutions, perhaps he could make a difference.
The digital age provides a modern landscape for political engagement and reform, where social media is the norm and even world leaders must learn how to manage their presence online. Most of America agrees that Trump’s Twitter fingers are quick to rant and berate, and thus his presence online is unacceptable, however, his candidness and transparency have also been noticed in his Twitter strategy. With a dash of genuineness, a pinch of fact-checking, a cup of maturity, and a vat of diplomacy, a revision of Trump’s Twitter strategy may be a way for him to claim support and respect from the American people and the world alike. As POTUS in 2017, Trump’s tweets are a direct reflection on his leadership of the American people. So far, the mirror’s image is far from the fairest of them all.