Anyone who has followed both his business and political career will know that the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for the next US election doesn’t do things by half measures.
That characteristic has followed Donald Trump on to social media since he started his bid for the White House, and as he stands in a promising position to be the next American president, having seemingly beaten off his Republican rivals, it looks as though Trump’s plans to engage online have worked.
On Twitter in particular, he has no shortage of followers – a grand 9.83 million at the time of writing – but to the naked eye his activity on the channel seems to be walking a thin tight rope.
Trump, or his social media director who runs the account, is a habitual retweeter, and retweeting from less than wholesome individuals has put the former entertainment tycoon in a bit of hot water. One recent instance of this was Trump’s ‘borrowing’ of a tweet that appeared to have originated from an account that supported white supremacy. The original image, which formed the basis of the later Trump tweet, depicted his potential Democratic presidential rival Hilary Clinton with what looked like a Star of David, alongside a pile of cash.
The tweet was hastily withdrawn by his social media director, who insisted that “I would never offend anyone and therefore chose to remove the image”. But both political and digital media commentators have speculated that there is more to it, and that Trump is attempting, and succeeding, to win over the far right, and those further to the centre than one might imagine by retweeting content that borders on the extreme. Although the tweet has been removed now, you can read about the scandal that developed in the Guardian here.
That’s one of the most famous examples of Trump’s risqué Twitter attitude, but the bombast is brought to the table on a daily basis. As a man who intends to lead the main opposition to the government should be, he is determined to hold President Barack Obama to account on the fractious issues of the day, and the recent killing of US police officers at Baton Rouge provides the current line of attack.
Our country is totally divided and our enemies are watching. We are not looking good, we are not looking smart, we are not looking tough!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2016
Here we see Trump getting stuck into Obama in typical fashion on Twitter. He isn’t afraid to call it as he sees it, and naturally, the ‘retweet’ and ‘like’ count for aggressive tweets like this are high, especially when quite often on Twitter, he who ‘tweets loudest’ hoovers up the approval.
Obama was the first US president to use Twitter frequently from a personal account, but it is Donald Trump who appears to have been the quickest of the major players in US politics to seize upon an undeniable truth of social media – sometimes you need to make a lot of noise in order to get noticed. Trump appears to be happy to put himself in the firing line when the potential rewards of winning the social media battle are so great in a digitalised America.