Find out how Donald Trump changed social media

US President weaponised Twitter, using it not just to reach the masses but to control news through bullying and distraction.

The tweets of Donald Trump follow a certain pattern.

According to a story published in The Independent, ever since he has entered the White House, there has been 83 tweets on how crooked Hillary Clinton in, 183 tweets on fake news and 104 tweets on how to Make America Great Again.

According to the news article published, most of the tweets are brash, petulant, and aggressive. They contain claims that are often untrue. They’re petty, mean-spirited. They are like nothing we’ve previously seen from an elected politician.

However, as the story points out, Trump’s tweets are also extremely effective.

He joined Twitter in March 2009 and immediately became a shrill presence, whom people could ignore if they chose to. But since he declared his intention to run for the White House, and then won the Republican nomination and the presidency, it is difficult, and perhaps even irresponsible, to do so.

Interestingly, his Twitter feed, which has 46.7m followers, is a window not only into his thoughts and psyche, but into the kind of messages he wants to communicate to his supporters.

Trump has often said that it is the most effective way to connect with the country

He often says it is the most effective way to connect with the country, without the filter of a traditional media he claims not to trust. The White House was obliged to clarify that his tweets also represent presidential statements.

Social Media is a battleground: For Trump, social media is a battleground and he has weaponised Twitter in a number of ways.

Experts say the 71-year-old has made use of Twitter in a way that has no equal among other political leaders.

George Lakoff, Professor Emeritus of University of California, Berkeley and the author of Don’t Think of an Elephant, is an expert on cognitive science and linguistics. He has analysed Trump’s tweets and concluded that the president uses social media as a weapon to control the news cycle.

Richard Perloff, professor of communication and political science at Cleveland State University, said Trump’s use of Twitter marked the culmination of two decades of change in the way politicians communicated with the public. That style has become more personal, more instantaneous and frequently less verifiable.

Bullying presence: Even Trump’s most ardent supporters often say they wish he would tweet a little less often and a little less impetuously. While people who voted for him like the fact that he ‘speaks his mind’, they are also often concerned that his hurriedly written words could worsen situations.

Why is he not banned? A question frequently asked by students of the President’s tweets is why he is not suspended. If Twitter can ban the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos for inciting harassment, George Zimmerman for posting revenge porn and investor Martin Shkreli for the sexual harassment of a journalist, why doesn’t it suspend Donald Trump?

Minnesota Congressman and Democratic National Committee Deputy Chair Keith Ellison has said the President is a “social media bully” and that his account should be deleted – something Hillary Clinton’s campaign memorably tweeted during the campaign. It appears one of the reason Mr Trump remains is because of the “newsworthiness” of his tweets.

According to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who spoke to Wired, “We’re not taking something down that people should be able to report on and actually show that this is what the source said. It’s really important to make sure that we provide that source for the right reporting, and to minimise bias in articles.”

Volume key to spreading his message: As the President marks his first year in office, he has posted around 36,800 tweets, has liked 24 tweets, has had six Twitter moments and is following 45 people, mostly members of his family, his senior staff, his hotels and Fox News presenters. Since entering the White House, he had posted – as of January 17, 2018 – 2,601 tweets.

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