Don’t expect Donald Trump to stop tweeting once he is sworn in as president of the United States. His spokesman says Trump’s use of social media “is going to be something that’s never been seen before.”
Sean Spicer, Trump’s choice for White House communications director and press secretary, told a Rhode Island TV station Monday that the president-elect’s use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram “allows him to add an element of a conversation that has never occurred.”
Since his Election Day victory, Trump has tweeted every day except two (November 14 and 25), ranging from announcing Cabinet nominees to complaining about how he has been parodied on television. One tweet raised concerns about a new nuclear arms race. Another congratulated the Army football team for beating Navy.
With more than 34,000 tweets, Trump has attracted nearly 18 million Twitter followers. Add his 17.3 million-plus followers on Facebook and 4.4 million on Instagram, and Trump has created a huge social media footprint.
And by all indications, he plans to continue to use it.
Last week, Spicer told Fox News Channel if Trump “wants to use Twitter or any other social platform to speak to the American people directly, that’s what he should do.”
Trump got his start on Twitter in 2009 to promote his book “Think Like a Champion.” At the time, Peter Constanzo was working for the book’s publisher and had a seven-minute meeting in which to convince Trump that social media was a way he could promote the book directly. Constanzo told Slate magazine that he suggested using the Twitter handle @realDonaldTrump because there were people impersonating him on Facebook and Twitter already.
Trump’s tweets have also moved the financial markets. Last week, when he complained about the cost of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet and suggested that Boeing price out a comparable F-18, the markets knocked down Lockheed Martin’s stock price and pumped up Boeing’s.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump's senior adviser, told the business news channel CNBC that Trump sees Twitter as a way to "communicate right to people by cutting through the noise or the silence, whatever the case may be."
Spicer says Trump’s tweeting won’t eliminate the custom of daily White House briefings, but he did tell Fox News that there may be different elements to them. He said Trump uses Twitter to “correct the record" when he thinks news media get stories wrong, and he described Trump’s use of social media “absolutely fascinating … because you know you are having that conversation with the American people, and they can have it back with him” without the filter of the mainstream media.
Next month, Trump will control yet another Twitter account, @POTUS (acronym for president of the United States). Barack Obama launched that Twitter handle in 2015. His tweets as president will be archived under @POTUS44 once he leaves office. The 12.8 million followers of @POTUS will transfer to Donald Trump’s control on January 20, 2017.