Trump The Snapchatter: Should Mr. President shut up on social media?

Former President Barack Obama has been lauded for running a very successful election campaign by using Integrated Marketing Communication strategies and effectively tapping the potentials of social media. He was the first president to have a real presence on Twitter, and Michelle Obama was the first FLOTUS joining Snapchat in July 2016.

But their social-media activity looks trivial compared with President Trump, who is tweeting on an almost hourly-basis. But his tweets are usually fallacious and factually challenged. And according to New York Times, Trump has insulted 305 people since declaring to run for president in 2015.

 

Source: CNN

Social media users have been reeling from the Trump’s 140-character “rants” announcements, and according to a recent NBC/WSJ poll, nearly 70% Americans agree that “in an instant, messages can have unintended major implications without careful review.”

Some suggest his tweets should be treated less as policy declarations but more like Snapchat. Brooks (2017) says every time Trump tweets or retweets something, experts jump into action to interpret his meaning and indications of future American policy. But this might be the wrong way to read Trump. He is more “postmodern.” He does not “operate by an if-then logic.” His mode is not “decision, implementation, consequence.”

“The one consistent thing about the Trump brand has been inconsistency,” as Dumenco (2017) summarized.

And the Snapchatter President just officially joined Snapchat three days ago. This could cause more panic and worries regarding the new president social media activities. So should Trump shut up, as so many people expect?

Source: Damon Winter / The New York Times

Dumenco (2017) analyzed Trump’s whole life as “working all the angles, every angle, to make sure everyone is paying attention to him.” With all his business and flamboyance, he has been built a “meta-brand” – a brand about branding. Howard (2017) agrees that he’s frequent activity on Twitter is an effort to bypass the traditional press and “to perpetuate his persona as a more accessible and unfiltered POTUS.” It’s all about grabbing attention and being worshiped. Brooks (2017) believe while Trump is bashing Obama on Russia or the Mideast, it’s not because of his potential policy implementation, but rather about “bashing enemies.” In a word, he might not be that harmful as he appears to be.

However, a country leader is not an ordinary person, and he has so many stakes on hand that he just can’t play around on social media. In the pan-entertainment era, the logic, seriousness and formality missing in Trump’s administration is very disturbing and precarious. But social media affords us “a historically unique ability to speak truth to power – directly” (Strange 2017), and it’s our best and most transparent method of knowing this logically and ethically challenged president.

Trump is here to stay, both in White House and our everyday social media feeds. The crucial question is: in the absence of a capable president, who and how will be the substance of actual governance?

 

Reference

Brooks, D. (January 3, 2017). The Snapchat presidency of Donald Trump. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/03/opinion/the-snapchat-presidency-of-donald-trump.html

Dann, C. (January 18, 2017). NBC/WSJ Poll: Nearly 70 percent of Americans give a thumbs down to Trump’s Twitter habit. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/nbc-wsj-poll-nearly-70-percent-americans-give-thumbs-down-n708116

Dumenco, S. (January 9, 2017). How to understand the Trump Brand in 2017. AdvertisingAge

Howard, A. (January 28, 2017). Trump on Snapchat? President’s expanded social media presence offer pitfalls. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/trump-snapchat-president-s-expanded-social-media-presence-offers-pitfalls-n712946

Lee, J. & Quealy, K. (January 20, 2017). The 305 people, places and things Donald Trump has insulted on Twitter: A complete list. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/28/upshot/donald-trump-twitter-insults.html?_r=0

Strange, A. (January 31, 2017). Banning Trump from Twitter would be a colossal mistake. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2017/01/31/why-twitter-should-not-ban-trump/?utm_cid=hp-hh-pri#1IcXGPRSsOqA

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4 Responses to Trump The Snapchatter: Should Mr. President shut up on social media?

  1. delacall says:

    The usage of social media, especially twitter, has proven to be a perfect platform for Trump and his followers. Trump brought the fight “US versus Them” to social media. In a world where the media is usually dominated by educated, rich, and urban journalists and audiences, Donald Trump managed to deliver its message via a platform not controlled by the rest. Now, as president, Trump will continue to use his twitter account in order to legitimize his claims, attack his opponents, and rally his supporters.

  2. labbasi says:

    Social media is a heavy part of our daily lives if we like it or not. We are now told as students to watch what we post because employers will check and judge you on what you have on there. I feel if we must watch our standards and actions on social media as potential job searchers; the President should be extra careful on what he posts. If we were to rant like Trump on our social media, we would lose a job interview.

    People look at social media as a news source now and is not often double-checked for accuracy especially if coming from a person’s official account. It might be inconsistent or just a thought, but with a position of power inconsistency and random (private) brainstorming does not create a respectable educated person. As we need to take responsibility for our social media actions and censor things, of all people, the President should be censoring private thoughts.

  3. pfistere says:

    Trump’s usage of social media throughout his campaign was unprecedented. It may be a sign of our digital age and ever-changing technology. While social media is omnipresent in our daily lives, it’s still important, especially in a position of power, to curate the messages created. While Trump was able to effectively leverage social media to his advantage during his campaign to gain traction, the same principles do not necessarily apply as President. Though his personality has always been bombastic, it’s important, now more than ever, to think about content produced on social media. His reckless posting succeeded in gaining attention (no press is bad press) on the campaign trail, but, as President, recklessness does not equate to success. It will be interesting to see how his social media strategy evolves during the next four years. The whole world is watching.

  4. jieqionh says:

    I have to admit that it is absolutely an interesting but sophisticated topic, to which I have no clear answer. It is always easy to say ‘no’, but how about the alternative plan, or the practical solution, to any possible consequence?

    On the one hand, who has the right to make Mr. President shut up? Although he is the President of America, Trump is essentially a human being, a citizen of America. In the US, ‘the freedom of speech’ is worshiped as the fundamental human right, and sometimes, it has been used to criticize other countries to show its superiority, especially when referring to China. Besides, in the digital age, using social media is not only a right to join the public discussion but also a professional skill to compete in certain industry and career, such as the media and communication. It is an effective tool in delivering messages and generating public discussion in an intimate way. In this regard, it is unfair to make Trump shut up on social media.

    On the other hand, his identity as the President indicates that every word comes out of his mouth has consequences, and they are not merely on a national scale, it can be global sometimes. With the whole world watching and even analyzing, Trump should not express his feelings randomly as ordinary people. Take one step back, if we agree that Trump should have the agency to post his thoughts, I would address that he should really mind the platforms and the expression. But the real inevitable question is how do you regulate it? It is impossible to predict and cover all scenarios in a series of set rules.

    Last but not least, it is actually a dilemma not only limited to a significant public figure as the President, but also to anybody who is struggling between relieving their feelings freely and considering possible consequences rationally. Just like Labbasi commented under this post that ‘we may lose the job if we post something negative’. At this point, social media is causing problems while expanding our communications. Honestly, that is the common concern for introducing a new technology.