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.
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?
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?
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