by Kevin Keegan
Social media has become a consistent platform that can make or break political campaigns. This trend was most apparent in the both the 2008 election and 2012 re-election of President Barrack Obama. But no candidate or politician has used social media with such frequency or reach as 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Let’s look at his reach. Trump’s twitter following has increased exponentially. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, in 2011, Trump had just 300,000 followers; at the time of this post he has just over 5.8 Million, according to SocialBakers.com statistics.
People are flocking to the candidate’s feed whether they support him or just want to see what he’ll say next. He’s the Howard Stern of politics in the United States. Like Howard Stern’s rise to shock-jock fame, Trumps message on social media is more often than not, controversial, riding the line between telling people ‘how it is,’ versus coming off as belligerent and offensive.
So here’s what I am curious about; a topic that is brought up in the Sydney Morning Herald article that I’ve linked to. How calculated are Trump’s tweets. I believe that he is writing them himself, bad grammar and the like, but are his motivations behind the tweets his own or at the behest of his social media strategist, Justin McConney. I personally think it’s a little bit of both. Prior to his announcement that he will run for President in 2016, I imagine most of his tweets were wholly his own. Their impact notable and often newsworthy. But upon seeing this trend of success, his campaign strategy has latched onto the lingering effects of his abrasive tweets in order to dominate the 24 hour news cycle repeatedly. Fact or fiction, righteous or not, his reach in the social-media-sphere is palpable.