President-elect Donald Trump has promised to be “very restrained” in his use of Twitter going forward — a pledge that was made public just hours before he launched a Sunday morning tweet-tirade against The New York Times.
“It’s a modern form of communication. Between Facebook and Twitter and, I guess, Instagram, I have 28 million people,” Trump said in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired last night. “I’m not saying I love it, but it does get the word out. I’m going to be very restrained, if I use it at all.”
As it has so many times before, new technology and a new means of communication have already reshaped campaigning and could be on the verge of reshaping the presidency.
Both politicos and social media experts say the unconventional candidate who was elected as the 45th president of the United States will have a hard time parting with a platform that was so central to his ability to win over voters.
But GOP operative Ford O’Connell, who advised John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, is unconvinced and sees President Trump turning to social media whenever he feels like he’s losing ground or getting covered negatively in the press.
“I think that what he was able to with social media in general was find a way to bypass the mainstream media and provide hope and keep his supporters fired up at time that there were rough patches in the campaign,” O’Connell said.
Democratic operative Scott Ferson, former press secretary to the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, said Trump is obviously “very savvy about” social media but believes he is “completely undisciplined.”
“I think he realized the power he now holds can cause real damage in addition to causing, I suppose, good,” Ferson said.
The Herald spoke to three Twitter experts — Emerson College professor David Gerzof Richard, Cortex president Brennan White and Twitchy.com editor Lori Ziganto — for their views on how Trump used Twitter to get elected, and how he may use it going forward as president, to bypass the press, to campaign for pet projects, and to not-so-gently mobilize his massive army of Twitter followers when someone gets in his way.
All three social media experts said they also have a hard time believing Trump will be able to stick to his Twitter pledge.
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