Donald Trump has given Twitter a boost, but sustaining its recent revival rests on deals with mainstream (FAKE) media

The social media company would love it if more leaders did what Trump does with its service, but running a country is too big a job to be spending all hours tweeting, something that appears to have affected the President’s Twitter habits

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The Independent Online

Is President Donald Trump the man who has saved Twitter?

His assumption of the presidency has coincided with something of a revival at the business he used to fuel his candidacy.

It’s therefore hardly surprising that Twitter’s chief operating officer Anthony Noto told Bloomberg TV that “we’d love it if every world leader used Twitter as their primary mechanism to talk to their constituencies”.

I’m just not sure the world would feel the same way. Just imagine: 

“North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!” (That was an actual Trump Tweet). 

“Warm congratulations to scientists and technicians of the DPRK. They will rain nuclear fire on @realDonaldTrump and US warmongers.”

“You need to get missiles off the launchpad first @realKimJongUn. SAD! We will show you the great American military. #MAGA.”

The second two were (obviously) made up. But you can see the problem. 

Interestingly, however, analytics conducted on Mr Trump’s Twitter feed to mark his first 100 days show that the Donald has started to struggle to keep up with his tweeting. While he has enjoyed a 40 per cent increase in followers, to 28.6m at the latest count, he’s tweeting less and his account has experienced a marked decline in engagement with it. 

Digital metrics firm Huge shows him getting fewer likes per tweet (down 72 per cent) which might be a function of his unpopularity since taking office. But it also reveals a steep decline in replies and retweets. Overall engagement (including all three) with his feed has fallen by 66 per cent in just three months.  

That might be because (mercifully) the incendiary tone he adopted during his campaign is (according to the same study) now broadly confined to the weekends when he’s at Mar-a-Lago.

During the week the tone is softer, more of his tweets look “prepared” and are rated by the study as “calm”. Huge speculates that he’s had to hand-off tweeting responsibilities to his staff, only to take up the reins himself again when the working week is done. Weekends coincide with an increase in “agitated” tweets from his account.

It’s agitated tweets that drive engagement. Twitter is the home of the angry meme, the furious riposte, the outraged 140 character rant.

One of those weekend snarls reads: “Mainstream (FAKE) media refuses to state our long list of achievements, including 28 legislative signings, strong borders & great optimism!”

The President’s media strategy has proved to be very effective. He launches aggressive broadsides at the mainstream media at every opportunity, with the aim of damaging what trust there is amongst the American people. 

It’s so much easier to get away with lying, and manipulating people, if you erode confidence in the organisations whose job it is to call you out when you do, and have people engaging with you (via Twitter) without the aid of a critical lens through which to view what you are saying.

Take Mr Trump’s suggestion that he might break up the banks, only a matter of weeks after he was promising to tear up the Dodd-Frank regulations that were drafted to curb their more risky activities in the wake of the financial crisis. 

Bashing bankers plays well with Mr Trump’s constituency but Wall Street only briefly wobbled in response, swiftly picking up on the fact that he said US tax reform (which could take forever) was his priority. In other words, Wall Street quickly realised that it ain't going to happen. What matters, however, is his supporters' feeling that he's cracking down on, and getting tough with, their hate figures.

For America’s sake, not to mention the world’s sake, let’s just hope he’s a one off and that Mr Noto’s hopes are dashed. It seems that the latter’s boss, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, is alive to the danger that he is, and of the fact that he needs more than a President with declining engagement stats to sustain his company’s Wall Street revival. 

He has been casting around for more stable, and sustainable, fuels. 

That has seen him signing a deal with, for example, Bloomberg TV, which will see the financial news giant providing streaming video content to Twitter. There is the promise of more of this sort of thing to come from the company too.

Bloomberg, whose founder Michael Bloomberg is no fan of Mr Trump, is, of course, part of the mainstream (FAKE) media. But it’s the mainstream (FAKE) media that holds the key to sustaining Twitter’s renewed vim.

FAKE NEWS! FAKE NEWS! SAD! 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

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