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The Trump Trade-Media: Don’t Expect Trump to Stop Tweeting as Potus

Social media will continue to be Trump's chosen form of communication. Many Americans are hoping that the President, as a role model, will stop tweeting. I do not think this is going to happen.

Donald Trump took the helm of the United States as the 45th President and he won this seat by using social media, a bare bones campaign team and post-policy politics. Trump and his #MAGA hashtag dominated social media groups of every variety. Even if you were a millennial gamer in a liberal state, you most likely tweeted about Trump in some form. Before the Inauguration, Trump used social media to boost the day’s audience and urge supporters to attend.

Social media will continue to be Trump and his administration’s chosen form of communication. Many Americans and pundits are hoping that the President, as a potential role model, will stop tweeting and bullying union bosses, etc. I do not think this is going to happen. I actually find the suggestion a little laughable. Trump, his team and his fervent supporters believe that the raw and unprocessed messages from Trump make him real. The team believes that Trump’s Twitter account is a conversation and megaphone to 45 million people that exists outside of the processed media filter. Trump reaches the people directly rather than through the press. The 45 million number mentioned above is an estimated number that combines all social media outlets – Twitter represents 18 million of that. In contrast, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC hold 4.66 million people. It just doesn’t make sense to stop what he is doing. The press will no longer act as an authority but rather will be similar to normal citizens and looked to for analysis and insight rather than typical news. Trump will buck against transparency in the press by offering us his unaltered thinking. Many have said that Trump’s ‘shoot from the hip’ style is contrived, but if that is the case his team is not letting on.

“His use of social media in particular … is going to be something that’s never been seen before,” Sean Spicer, Trump’s pick for White House press secretary, told Rhode Island news channel WPRI. “He has this direct pipeline to the American people, where he can talk back and forth (…) I think that allows him to add an element of a conversation that’s never occurred,” Spicer said. “He can put his thoughts out and hear what they’re thinking in a way that no one’s ever been able to do before.”

What this means is that we as citizens must now determine what is real and true on social media. Trump understands something important about the media’s historical tendency: everything a president says is news. It’s the case even if it true, false or pure bombast. Another thing Trump understands about the press: they can be little superfluous and predictable. Being anti-media as a president is not starting today – Bush and Nixon did it, but just left out insulting famous figures like McCain, the Pope and, heaven forbid, Meryl Streep.

The bottom line is this: Trump will continue to use social media because he has gotten results. He can take over the news cycle whenever he pleases and divert damage (not that he seems concerned often). Twitter and social media are now as much a part of his administration as they were in his campaign.