If there’s one thing you can count on when you check your smartphone in the morning, or flip the TV channel to the morning news, it’s that Donald Trump has tweeted something that everybody wants to discuss. But have you ever wondered why Trump chose Twitter? Why didn’t he choose another major social network, like Facebook?
Read on to learn some of the reasons why Trump loves Twitter (and could do without Facebook).
10. Donald Trump likes to use Twitter to control the ‘dishonest media’
He likes controlling his message. | Alex Wong/Getty Images
Fortune reports that after Donald Trump won the election, many people thought he would stop tweeting. Or at least that he would start sounding a little more presidential on Twitter. (So did Trump, according to Politico.) But the new president quickly switched courses. He said that he wouldn’t change the tone of his Twitter account because “it’s working.”
Trump said that he can’t rely on newspapers and other mainstream outlets to accurately report what he says. But “they can’t do much when you tweet it and I’m careful about, it’s very precise, actually it’s very, very precise.” He explains, “I can go bing bing bing and I just keep going and they put it on and as soon as I tweet it out — this morning on television, Fox — ‘Donald Trump, we have breaking news.’”
Next: Donald Trump needed Twitter when things changed after Inauguration Day.
9. He really needed Twitter to connect with his supporters after he became president
He hasn’t made many appearances. | Saul Loeb/Getty Images
Politico points out that after Inauguration Day, Donald Trump’s options for connecting with his supporters narrowed quite dramatically. “Throughout the campaign, Twitter was just one of many outlets for Trump’s bluster,” the publication notes. He had loud rallies, numerous TV and radio interviews, ads, and debates.
But as appearances became fewer and more formal, “Trump continued tweeting as president because he had no choice,” Politico reports. There was no way that this president — who “derives narcotic pleasure from attention,” according to Politico — would shut his Twitter down.
Next: You could think of Twitter as Donald Trump’s vice.
8. Twitter — instead of alcohol — is Donald Trump’s vice
He can’t quit it. | Pool/Getty Images
Donald Trump doesn’t drink. But he has other vices. As The New York Times puts it, “He famously avoids alcohol; Twitter is his vice.” The Times characterizes the president as “hooked on recognition.” On Twitter, Trump has found a medium “where recognition arrives every fraction of a second,” the publication theorizes.
Trump follows a few people on the social network. But his real focus remains on who follows him. He retweets praise from fans, tweets about the credit he deserves, and brags about all the likes and retweets he gets. “He gets high on his own supply,” the Times quips. Politico adds, “It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that the nation and its institutions have become a sort of drug-delivery system engineered to feed the compulsions of a single, unusual man.”
Next: Donald Trump didn’t need Facebook to do this.
7. Trump didn’t exactly need Facebook’s help to manipulate the media
He already had the popularity. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
By now, it’s clear that Donald Trump has manipulated the media to achieve the fame that would put him in the Oval Office. And he didn’t need Facebook to do that — another potential reason why he sticks with Twitter. An opinion piece in The New York Times explains: “Where did so many people originally get the idea that Trump was the right guy to fix our manifestly broken government? Not from Russian bots or targeted social media ad buys, but from a prime-time show that sold itself as real, and sold him as a business genius,” referring to The Apprentice.
“Forget unhappy blue collar heartlanders; forget white nationalists and birthers: The core Trump demographic might just have been Republicans who watched ‘The Apprentice,’ who bought the fake news that his television program and its network sponsors gladly sold them.”
Next: His tweets matter for this reason.
6. His tweets matter mostly because they’re on TV
People keep quoting the tweets. | Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images
The opinion piece in the Times notes that among older white Americans — the core demographic that decided first the primaries and then the general election — television still prevails as the most important source of news. And “for all the talk about Breitbart’s influence and Russian meddling and dark web advertising, Trump only improved on Mitt Romney’s showing among Americans who don’t use the internet.”
Plus, Trump lost support among internet-using voters. The upshot? “In a sense, you could argue, all those tweets mattered mainly because they kept being quoted on TV.” Some think that the television channels that chose to cover Trump’s tweets — and his campaign — day in and day out likely did more to get him elected than Facebook did. So it’s only natural that as president, he seems to be sticking with Twitter instead of devoting more time to Facebook — even though Facebook certainly did its part in enabling Trump’s victory.
Next: Donald Trump knows this about journalists’ relationship with Twitter.
5. The media is ‘intoxicated’ by Twitter, and Donald Trump knows it
The media can’t quit Twitter either. | Alex Wong/Getty Images
The New York Times posits that in spending his time on Twitter, Donald Trump wants to “make himself available to anonymous fans instead of the scrutiny of the press.” But, as the publication adds, “All of this works because one group is as intoxicated by Twitter as Mr. Trump is: journalists.”
Journalists feel obligated to pay attention to Twitter, despite the fact that it doesn’t drive as much traffic to their articles as Facebook or Google. And, of course, they feel obligated to pay attention to Trump — and all of tweets — because he’s president.
Next: Many political conservatives think this about Facebook.
4. Many conservatives think Facebook is censoring them
They don’t trust Facebook. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Many people who use Facebook have real concerns about how the social network decides what news to show users, and what stories to suppress. (And how the social network utilizes its users’ data.) But one reason that Donald Trump may stick with Twitter instead of spending more time on Facebook could have to do with accusations that Facebook censors pro-Trump or conservative posts. In fact, the president has said — on Twitter — that Facebook “was always anti-Trump”
Republicans have long fought the social network over its alleged anti-conservative bias. Some have even spread false accusations that Facebook removes the “Share” button from pro-Trump posts. And others called on the social media giant to investigate allegations of political bias in its trending topics section. So it comes as no surprise that Trump seems to favor his Twitter profile over his (somewhat suspect) Facebook page.
Next: This factor might keep Donald Trump on Twitter, too.
3. Twitter is addictive, even for the president
Breaking social media habits is difficult. | Win McNamee/Getty Images
Another reason that Donald Trump likely prefers Twitter to other alternatives, including Facebook? The social network proves pretty addictive. As Politico explains, “breaking a tweeting habit is hard. Like other social networks, Twitter promotes compulsive, even addictive patterns of use.”
Twitter users like the president can’t resist the temptation to check whether a tweet has earned likes or retweets. And “once such ego-massaging tokens have been collected, it’s even harder to forgo pursuing them again with yet more tweets.” Plus, because tweets offer unpredictable rewards — some go viral while others fall flat — you never know which of your posts will get the most attention. That keeps Twitter users glued to the app.
Next: Donald Trump uses Twitter to achieve this.
2. With Twitter, Donald Trump can stay in the headlines
People pay attention when he tweets. | Win McNamee/Getty Images
Politico, examining exactly why Donald Trump loves Twitter so much, characterizes the social network as “a technology perfectly suited to his need for attention.” The publication adds that Twitter “enables him to manhandle the public’s attention, constantly yanking the media spotlight back on himself whenever it starts to wander.” Trump uses Twitter so much because he wants attention and he wants to feel powerful, both things that the social network can deliver.
Both as a candidate and as president, according to Politico, Trump has learned that certain kinds of tweets, sent at specific times of the day, “tend to produce the biggest, longest-landing media buzz.” (Abrasive tweets sent at dawn seem to have the best ability to set the news agenda for the day.) Trump uses that knowledge to stay in the headlines.
Next: The president can also do this on Twitter.
1. Donald Trump can speak however he wants on Twitter
He doesn’t have a filter on social media. | Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images
Many Americans have some expectations about how the president of the United States will communicate with the nation — and with the rest of the world. Donald Trump repeatedly flouts the conventions and expectations established by previous commanders in chief. He also doesn’t try to sound well-informed or insightful, even when he talks about incredibly complicated issues.
And nowhere is it easier for him to get away with that than on Twitter. As Politico reports of Trump’s usage of the social network, “By blurring private and public discourse, Twitter allows Trump to turn locker-room talk, his favored idiom, into presidential speech.” He calls world leaders names and reduces political opponents to caricatures, shaping the news cycle to his benefit.
Read more: Secret Service Agents Reveal Confidential Information About U.S. Presidents, Including Barack Obama
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