We recently heard from Sean Spicer, who was White House Press Secretary and White House Communications Director under President Donald Trump in 2017. When asked about President Trump’s use of Twitter as his way of doing informal press releases, Spicer commented that it was much quicker. When Spicer would suggest he do a press briefing, President Trump would note that he could simply tweet about it, reaching a mass audience much quicker. While some find this use of social media to be unorthodox or inappropriate, it is the future of our world. The social media realm is growing with no sign of stopping, and technology is constantly improving so that people can connect quicker and easier than ever. Social media and technology are the future, and the president is no exception, so the Ameican people must adapt.
President Trump’s use of social media has been both criticized for its lack of filter, but complimented for its authenticity and ability to connect directly with his constituents. However, let’s focus on social media as a whole rather than Twitter specifically – as social media grows and become more common in older generations, future presidents may not focus so intently on Twitter as their main source of communication. Social media is constantly changing, including Instagram and Facebook live features as well as story capabilities, and Snapchat is constantly updating with new features. The future of social media does not lie in Twitter alone, thus the scope should be broad.
Social media has been steadily growing since 2012, and especially so in young adults. This, of course, makes sense, as social media is easier to use and navigate for those who grew up around advanced technology. As this generation ages, social media will be more prevalent within the workforce as those acclimated to its use will be dominating the working market. This is why social media will be commonplace within the workforce – including the presidency.
Trump’s use of Twitter – as much as it may be criticized for its brash nature – is very effective. Trump’s personal Twitter has 57.4 million followers, allowing him to communicate as he wishes with his followers and supporters. Trump has said it is the most effective way to connect with the country, as there is no filtering done by the media which Trump has pointedly discounted. If the media covers a Tweet by Trump, it is a direct quote that cannot be taken out of context as easily, thus avoiding what Trump refers to as ‘fake news.’ Trump has even claimed his social media to be “modern-day presidential,” a fact which can not be easily discounted considering the continued growth of social media outlets.
Trump’s use of Twitter is somewhat new in the presidency – Twitter was only existent for the use of Obama, who utilized the official POTUS account rather than opting to use a personal one in the same way Trump has. Trump’s use of Twitter is strategic, however, even if it appears that he is simply ranting, and the media has allowed Trump to dominate the news cycle. Trump can use social media to divert media attention.
President trump’s use of Twitter is a culmination of a change in the way politicians communicate with the public – a style that is more personal and authentic. Trump often struggles with spelling in his Tweets and even has a unique way in which he capitalizes specific words.
Looking towards 2020 and future presidencies, I do not expect Trump’s use of social media to be an oddity, but rather to become the new norm. Social media allows us to connect fast, something that can help constituencies stay more connected to their elected representatives. And generations that are and will soon be entering the workforce have a better bearing on social media and its full capabilities. Social media will likely become more integrated into the White House, and I also suspect the authentic nature of a personal account will too. People admire Trump’s personal account use because it is a more authentic version of the president – and this could possibly be a theme for more leaders to come. The uncombed nature is favored by many who do not seek big government robots or other such negative connotations. Twitter is not #leaving the White House. On the contrary, social media is just getting started.