By Lisa Hester
That was President Donald Trump’s March 1 tweet following his mostly highly praised address to a joint session of Congress last week.
And apparently Trump’s tweeting is an effective means toward reaching his audiences where they are.
Trump’s speech set a Twitter record: some 3 million tweets were sent about the address, making it the most-tweeted speech of its kind, according to Twitter. The company’s @gov account reported that the speech generated more tweets than any other State of the Union or joint Congressional session address in history. The previous record was 2.6 million tweets.
But that wasn’t Trump’s first tweet…nor his last. He was using Twitter long before, including on the campaign trail, as well as now, and the media has devoted a considerable amount of time analyzing that.
During the presidential campaign, the Washington Post called Trump’s Twitter account prolific, populist, and self-obsessed, noting its particular utility as a “real-time message tester” for the then-candidate, who then turned his most-liked Twitter barbs into talking points on the trail. (Trump first tweeted his eventual campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” in 2012.)
At the same time, The New York Times marveled at Trump’s command of “an online SWAT team of devoted (some say rabid) supporters who spring into action with stunning speed.” One political operative called it “a continuous Trump rally that happens on Twitter at all hours.”
Now, with Trump in office, his much talked-about use of Twitter continues as he builds on his current 15.9 million followers. Personally written and sent by him. Often tough, transparent language that some say tell it like it is, while others describe it as harsh and brash.
But presidential tweets didn’t start with Trump. Former President Barack Obama, with some 15.4 million followers to his POTUS account, tweeted with some regularity while in office. Many of his tweets were about the goals and accomplishments of his Administration, some were more personal and family-related such as the Valentine’s Day message to his wife, Michelle.
Even on Inauguration Day 2017, Obama tweeted four farewell-type messages to the American people, including: “It’s been the honor of my life to serve you. You made me a better leader and a better man.”
The American people have seemed to accept overall the use of Twitter as a communication tool for sitting presidents. But how would they feel about receiving personal texts from the president?
We’ll look into that topic in an upcoming blog post.