The Trump Choice: To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

We all know Donald Trump is an avid Twitterer, using the platform to give his opinion on almost everything, ranging from terrorist attacks to a scuffle over the appearance of candidate's spouse.

It is unusual for such a high-profile political figure, particularly one of his age, to be so attached to sending personal statements limited to 140 characters. As a comparison, Barack Obama, 15 years Trump’s junior, only joined Twitter with a personal account in 2013.

Trump opened his personal Twitter account in 2009.

Granted, both men took very different routes to prominence. President Obama arrived on the national stage as a professor and U.S. Senator speaking at the 2004 Democratic Convention. Trump made his name in reality TV -- a good reason to be more engaged on Twitter.

Will Trump’s Twitter obsession continue to be viable during a general election campaign?

He may need to take it down a notch and focus on big-data tactics to effectively target likely voters in November. Farhad Majoo of The New York Times doubts that “Mr. Trump’s mastery over social media will help him in November,” adding that “winning a presidential campaign involves more than simply whipping up unfocused outrage.”



The problem may lie with Trump himself.

He dismissed the importance of data and targeting techniques used by the Obama campaigns in 2008 and 2012 when speaking with the Associated Press: “I always felt it was overrated. Obama got the votes much more so than his data-processing machine. And I think the same is true with me.”

While it may be true that Trump support comes largely from an affection for his brash (Twitter-like) style, more so than from his actual policy positions, his aversion to change and marked lack of interest in altering his tactics could haunt him in November.

Chris Wilson, who worked for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign on data operations, also told AP that “it’s a big risk” to ignore actively investing in data-driven operations. "Flying blind is nuts.”

Trump’s commercial value will continue to be well-served by Twitter; the 140-character limit fits well with his tone and does wonders for focusing the news cycle around himself.

The HBO show "Veep" took a comedic swing at the Twitter problem faced by public figures. Fictional President Selina Meyer accidentally tweets out a direct message and, after a rush of press office panic, the team blames the tweet on a Chinese hack.

Foreshadowing? Probably not, but an interesting commentary on how Twitter has entered politics and may play a larger role going forward.

Separately, the incredible commercial value of Trump appears to extend even to nail polish. Bootie Babe Nail Lacquer is releasing a “limited-edition shade specifically color matched to the actual skin tone of Donald Trump.” It sports the name “Donald Rump.”

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