Revolutionary Measures

Has Donald Trump saved Twitter?

The past couple of years have not gone well for Twitter. User numbers have stalled, attempts to monetise the platform have come to naught and no potential suitors for the company have emerged, despite plenty of rumours.

Donald Trump

Yet, Twitter is probably now the most important (social) media company in the world. It was central to Donald Trump building his fanbase and allowed him to communicate directly with voters during the election, ignoring the media and their pesky fact checking. Essentially it delivered what the internet first promised – a way of interacting with the public without going through middle men, and was, in a large part, directly responsible for Trump’s election as President.

It is a scary thought that while previous politicians looking to grab and hold onto power (think Silvio Berlusconi, Lenin and the Chinese Communist Party) have made it a priority to buy or nationalise communication channels such as newspapers and TV/radio stations, Trump has done it without spending a penny on Twitter. No wonder that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says his feelings about the President-elect’s use of the service are “complicated.”

And Trump’s use of Twitter has, if anything, intensified since the election. He’s used it to challenge the intelligence services’ claims that the Russians hacked Democratic Party emails, and to take potshots at businesses that he claims are moving jobs and production outside the US. The result? Companies such as Ford and Carrier have backed down on overseas investments and the share prices of Lockheed-Martin, Toyota and GM amongst others fell after Trump tweets criticising them. PR and analyst relations professionals for blue chip companies must be spending their time glued to Trump’s Twitter feed, hoping and praying that he doesn’t single them out for punishment, like hapless flunkeys at the court of a particularly unpleasant medieval monarch.

If you needed proof of the power of Twitter, Trump provides it. And ironically, given the left-leaning sensibilities of Silicon Valley, he could well have saved the social network, or at least bought it some breathing space. The number of tweets sent in the US between August and November 2016 was over 1 billion (not all from Trump), with 75 million on election day and its aftermath. While it hasn’t helped the long-term share price, it undoubtedly aids efforts to find a buyer for the service. The question is whether this will be another tech company (Google is a logical fit) or whether another would-be politico will see the opportunity to build their profile à la Trump and invest. Whatever the outcome, expect more incendiary tweets in the future, with policy being set and communicated in 140 characters………….

Advertisements

January 11, 2017 - Posted by | PR, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. […] as the end of the era of fast-talking, slightly dubious, deal-making dinosaurs take a look at the new resident of the White House. Perhaps if Ecclestone was on Twitter, he’d still be leading […]

    Pingback by 4 communications lessons from Bernie Ecclestone « Revolutionary Measures | January 25, 2017 | Reply

  2. […] politician. At a time when populists are gaining ground across the world, from Spain and France to the White House, the danger is that traditional parties are seen as out of touch and unreflective of popular […]

    Pingback by Turning an Easter egg into a marketing crisis « Revolutionary Measures | April 5, 2017 | Reply

  3. […] and the Brexit vote in the UK. Social media played a huge part in both of these decisions, with Donald Trump building and communicating with his voter base using Twitter, and Facebook (and other channels) being used to spread real and fake election/referendum […]

    Pingback by Why this won’t be the social media election « Revolutionary Measures | April 26, 2017 | Reply

  4. […] stories written with the intent to mislead for political or financial gain, it has now been hijacked by the likes of Donald Trump, one of its key beneficiaries, to describe any story that he disagrees […]

    Pingback by Fake news – are we on the road to 1984? « Revolutionary Measures | June 7, 2017 | Reply

  5. […] 3. We’re becoming more tribal I’ve mentioned this before, but populations are polarising into self-contained segments. If you live in a community that is made up of people like you, interact online with the same group and don’t talk to those with different views it is easy to build up a biased world view. Throughout history leaders have focused their tribes or countries by uniting them against an Other, whether that is a rival monarch, country or religion. A similar thing is happening now online, but generally without clear leaders, Donald Trump being an obvious exception. […]

    Pingback by Why PR needs to turn around its reputation « Revolutionary Measures | June 21, 2017 | Reply

  6. […] Impartiality I’m not comparing the Queen to Donald Trump, but in the same way that he has a multimillion dollar fortune to fall back on, so has she. That […]

    Pingback by Why Royal PR should be a model for us all « Revolutionary Measures | July 5, 2017 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: