Afraid to Look

President Trump’s Twitter habits have even his supporters on edge. With a little guidance, social media could instead be a strong ally in accomplishing his goals.


47.6 million followers. 36,900 tweets. Verified. @realDonaldTrump. America’s 45th President, Mr. Donald Trump, drives forward controversy and discussion via the Twitterverse.

President Trump’s Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, marked a new era in American politics. Just as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt utilized the breakthrough of radio broadcasting to speak to the American people directly with his Fireside Chats from 1933 to 1944, President Trump discovered the power and wide reach of social media platform Twitter and quickly adopted it as his communication medium of choice.

Just as FDR utilized radio to speak directly to Americans, President Trump leads the charge in a new modern way of leadership and communication. However, President Trump’s approach takes FDR’s to a whole new level with unfiltered tweeting multiple times per day through social media with 24/7 access to the entire globe.

With a simple click of a button, the President can send out a message to his Twitter followers and the world. President Trump uses this lightning-fast form of communication for a variety of purposes: to announce his agenda, share new policy or, sometimes, send a signal to (and often instigate drama with) his rivals, other world leaders or what he calls the “Fake News” media.

In moderation and with taste, President Trump’s Twitter account could be a powerful tool and champion American ideas, because Twitter gives the general population direct access to and an ability to interact with the nation’s highest office. However, with a Twitter account comes great responsibility, and President Trump could benefit from taking a moment to reflect or consult with others before sending out his 280 characters. The American people want a president who is above bickering and name calling. The election is over. It’s time to respect the office and act, well, presidential, particularly on a world-wide platform such as Twitter.

Though first created in March of 2006, during President George W. Bush’s presidency, Twitter did not become an integral part of the common man’s news source until more recently. President Barack Obama used Twitter but in a more reserved way with carefully crafted messages on policy or well wishes on holidays.

President Trump is the first real active “Presidential tweeter.” He tweets his seemingly unedited thoughts and opinions just like most other users, the difference being he is the leader of the free world. Many wonder if he truly understands the way his tweets come across.

Since his candidacy, @realDonaldTrump Twitter activity has been a matter of great controversy. Many Americans, especially left-leaning individuals, find President Trump’s tweets to be offensive and extreme. His sometimes-childish tweets can taint the positive aspects of his administration, and many Democrats assume all Republicans who voted for President Trump support his behavior. His rash and aggressive tendencies on Twitter work to muddy people’s opinions on his presidency.

Now that he is in office, many on both sides of the aisle believe it tarnishes the nation’s reputation and sparks unnecessary controversy here and around the world. They are ready for President Trump to leave Twitter altogether, and for good reason.

Oftentimes, the President does not use Twitter as a way to encourage democracy and elaborate on policy, but instead for bullying and aggressive attacks.

Trump tweeted, “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” While some applaud his bravado, the threat of nuclear war with a country whose leader appears unstable doesn’t seem in the nation’s best interest.

Other times, simply the way he states things is offensive to many, distracting from the actual issue at hand.

For instance, he tweeted, “Thank you to the great Republican Senators who showed up to our mtg on immigration reform. We must BUILD THE WALL, stop illegal immigration, end chain migration & cancel the visa lottery. The current system is unsafe & unfair to the great people of our country – time for change!”

While the tweet gained 138,000 likes, it also amassed a mixed bag of nearly 24,000 comments. Everything from “Build the wall to the tune of 33 billion+ dollars? At tax payer expense? Who was paying for that? Oh, Mexico…I suppose we’re taking an IOU. Or raincheck! You’re a joke of a president” to “God be with you and bless all your efforts Mr. President.” He personally becomes a lightning rod diverting attention from the importance of the policies he champions.

President Trump’s tweets, though unpredictable, are usually a direct and transparent conveyance of his policy and platform. His desire to communicate directly with the American people is refreshing, and if President Trump would learn to restrain his aggressive and impulsive tendencies, more Americans would champion and appreciate his Twitter account as an avenue of free speech and democracy.

Throughout the course of his campaign and the first year of his presidency, President Trump shed light on the biased nature of many media outlets and even government agencies.

He tweeted, “I use Social Media not because I like to, but because it is the only way to fight a VERY dishonest and unfair ‘press,’ now often referred to as Fake News Media. Phony and non-existent ‘sources’ are being used more often than ever. Many stories & reports are pure fiction!”

By maintaining his own Twitter account, President Trump is able to communicate directly with his followers, avoiding potentially biased politicians and media.

He tweeted, “The Stock Market is setting record after record and unemployment is at a 17 year low. So many things accomplished by the Trump Administration, perhaps more than any other President in first year. Sadly, will never be reported correctly by the Fake News Media!”

Younger generations look to Twitter for news and opinions, and President Trump’s daily tweeting may influence them to get interested in politics. According to research, 37 percent of Twitter users are age 18-29. With nearly 54 million Americans in that age bracket, he recognizes the importance of reaching them.

By opening up a dialogue between the White House and the people, President Trump’s Twitter account acts as a way of instantaneously reaching citizens of both America and the world. He is dedicated to transparency, and this is a great way for him to say exactly what he means without media interpretation.

If he would utilize the White House Director of Social Media and be certain the position is held by a knowledgeable, level-headed, detail-oriented person who would appropriately filter his tweets, President Trump’s messages would carry more weight and credibility. He could still tell it like it is in his blunt manner while at the same time eliminating the name calling and reckless jabs. Tempering his tweets could actually turn Twitter into a powerful ally in achieving his agenda.

President Trump deserves credit for many things in his first year. While some may get a laugh out of his abrasive tweets, they do tarnish his office and are part of what keeps him from receiving the recognition he deserves.

Mr. President, as much as you must love the thrill of a salty tweet, why not stick to the facts alone. You won. You’re the President. It’s time to take the high road and tweet like one.