A mere three days after his official installment to the Oval Office, President Trump took the unconventional route of communicating with the people of the United States. Instead of hosting a press conference to answer the questions about his future presidency, President Trump took to Twitter.
Although his method of using Twitter is untraditional, it made his presidential campaign successful. One reason that experts think President Trump uses Twitter consistently in his presidency is because it worked so well for him during his campaign. According to an article by NPR, in the early days of his presidency he used to Twitter to speak on his meetings with advisers and other world leaders.
By using Twitter instead of a press conference, President Trump has complete control over his messages and how they are presented to the public. According to Gallup News, even though only about one – in – five adult users of Twitter follow President Trump directly, over three-quarters of Americans say they hear about President Trump’s tweets in some shape and form.
Abbey Morales, a graduate student at the University of Wyoming, has crafted her thesis about President Trump’s Twitter use. More specifically, she is focusing on how major news outlets like Fox take that tweet and craft a story around it.
“For years now, he has loved to using twitter,” Morales says. “It has been like that since the beginning, so its something that he’s just carried with him into the Oval Office.” Morales is correct in her analysis; since 2009, President Trump has tweeted over 44,000 times.
In a Gallup news article, Frank Newport breaks down President Trump’s twitter. He stated that only 8% of the overall United States population follows President Trump’s official Twitter account.
So how does the rest of the nation hear about President Trump’s tweets? From a secondary source.
Morales continues to explain that the idea for her thesis came about when she noticed that President Trump would tweet something in the early mornings. Then it would be a story in the news shortly after. Although Twitter is a fantastic way to get official word out to the public fast, there is concern about how professional it will come across to not only the nation but the rest of the world.
“In past presidencies, when we hear from the president, it’s from an official press release or directly from a state of the union address,” Morales explains. But she continues to ask the question, does President Trump’s twitter use grant an official presidential statement?
Many would argue yes, taking on the role as president; President Trump doesn’t get to tweet as Donald Trump on one account and president on the official POTUS account. He is representing the United States in every way people see and hear him. So how does this affect his public relations team?
President Trump is miraculously balancing being in constant communication with people of the United States and remaining semi-professional on Twitter. Many people appreciate the continuous updates of work in the oval office, while others wish he would take the advice from his public relations team. When one is under constant scrutiny, everything that is said or tweeted about should be combed through with a fine-tooth comb.
In the worst-case scenario, without the advice of a public relations team, saying or implying the wrong thing in such a position of power could potentially start a war. As previously stated, the reason President Trump utilizes twitter so much is the fact that he has complete control of what is announced. As a nation, we have seen time and time again press conferences that quickly get off-topic due to questions that are asked by the press. In this scenario, President Trump can say precisely what he wants with no interruption.
With the up and coming campaign in mind, we can only expect to see more activity on twitter. “During the 2016 campaign, the people that were running that didn’t have Twitter or weren’t very active on it, started being more active on it,” Morales says. “He set an example; I think it [Twitter] will continue.” With this in mind, we can only hope that anyone running for a high profile role like the president will use a public relations team to create a professional brand on Twitter.
Overall, President Trump has been a trailblazer when it comes to communicating with the public. Having the ability to control precisely what is said to the public in a way that allows him to communicate instantaneously is very appreciated. President Trump has set a bar and continues to push it higher with every tweet he publishes.