Donald Trump is better at social media than any other 2016 candidate

There are no fundraising drives or giveaways at @realDonaldTrump

Trump FTW.
(Image credit: Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

A friend challenged me the other day to write something nice about Donald Trump. Easy to do, actually.

Donald Trump understands social media better than any other presidential candidate. He uses it more effectively than any other presidential candidate.

Why? His id matches the id of the fora he chooses. There are two of them, actually: He uses Twitter and online videos. He ignores everything else, because he has no organic reason to be there. He is authentic. He tweets as he thinks, which is precisely the way that Twitter is supposed to work.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Unlike other candidates, he has no need to use Twitter to troll for money, or to induce people to sign up for a dinner with Hillary Clinton, or to sign a petition for Mike Pence that will go nowhere and accomplish nothing.

Trump does not use Twitter instrumentally. He enjoys it. And he is, instinctively, an online troll.

One social media guru asked me whether by effective use I meant the ability to move minds. No, I don't. But Twitter is not a medium for moving minds. It would not make sense to expect Trump or anyone else to use Twitter to gain traction in a presidential race, in the same way that it wouldn't make sense for TV shows to use Twitter to persuade people that their show isn't crappy. That's not what Twitter does. It enhances engagement.

Ah, engagement. The leading cross-over marketing term of our time. The other presidential candidates think they're engaging in engagement when they use Twitter (substitute another technology like Facebook here too) to jump onto cause hashtags, or to multiply the sound and reach of a communication. They use it for rapid response, particularly to the political elites who spend their day on Twitter.

Trump — he just uses it because it's how he communicates.

On my Twitter account, I posed a question for 2016 presidential candidate communications staff: Has your candidate ever tweeted or posted something without first running it by a consultant?

Ever? I doubt it.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us