Donald Trump’s popularity on Twitter is not a new thing, but 2015 marked a watershed moment in the Republican front-runner’s exploits on social media.
Politico carried out a detailed analysis of all the tweets Donald Trump sent out since announcing his candidacy for the presidency on June 16 up until the middle of last month — a whopping 3,249 tweets and retweets, to be exact — and some of the things emerging from Trump’s twitter feed are downright astonishing, for lack of a better word.
First things first, though. Donald Trump is one of the most followed celebrities — let alone politicians — on Twitter. Boasting more than 5.5 million followers, Trump is way ahead in numbers of his rival candidates, Republican Ted Cruz or Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, so much so that no matter what happens next in the presidential race, Trump has already earned himself multitudes of loyal followers who are unlikely to “unfollow” him. To put his numbers into context, Trump’s Twitter followers are greater than the entire following of soccer club Barcelona, Skype, or Meek Mill. And so many others.
The age-old adage rings true for Trump then, albeit with a slight modification: When Donald Trump tweets, people listen.
But what does Donald Trump tweet about? That is where the analysis gets a lot more interesting.
Trump’s tweets are a mixture of admonitions, (ir)rational sentiments, humor-filled quirks, complaints, ravings, politically volatile statements, and what-have-you. There is hardly anything, at least in the political sphere, that has gone untouched by Donald Trump’s Twitter handle. But as you might be able to guess, Trump is most obsessed with polls, most of which have shown him leading by a large margin. In fact, 330 out of his total 3,249 tweets being poll-related messages.
While most of those messages attacked “dishonest” media organizations for their perceived prejudice against Trump, some tweets celebrated his widely-touted position as the undisputed front-runner in the Republican race for presidential nomination. On December 15 alone, Donald Trump sent out seven tweets related to the various surveys carried out by news organizations across the country.
And although Donald Trump’s Twitter obsession with national and various early-state polls may not be altogether unwarranted, can you guess what — or rather who — stands out amidst his plethora of internet one-liners?
Not one, not two, not three, but these four people: Jeb Bush, Megyn Kelly, Hillary Clinton, and Marco Rubio, in that order.
Jeb Bush, a fellow Republican candidate, has been the target of some of Donald Trump’s most vitriolic Twitter outbursts. Having tweeted about him a remarkable 97 times during the six-month period from June to December, which translates to just under one tweet everyday, Jeb Bush quite simply redefines Trump’s Twitter obsession.
And some of those tweets are actually quite funny. This following image, which was sent out by Donald Trump just a few days ago, needed no caption.
But while he might have officially tweeted about Jeb Bush the most number of times, it seems Trump never really got over his feud with Fox News host Megyn Kelly. Ever since their banter started in early August, when Trump infamously made the “blood coming out of wherever” remark, the Republican front-runner never lost an opportunity to berate Kelly on Twitterverse or elsewhere. Trump tweeted about Kelly 66 times — once in every two days.
But to be fair to Trump, all his tweets to do with Megyn Kelly were not necessarily meant to mock or ridicule her. The following tweet sent out in early October, for instance, saw Donald Trump thank Kelly.
Jeb Bush and Megyn Kelly aside, Donald Trump also had his eyes set on Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton. People who might have been following their war of words over the last few days might well be aware of the rival candidates’ increasing hostility towards each on Twitter and in televised interviews. Trump tweeted about Clinton 65 times, one less than Megyn Kelly.
And then, of course, there was this tweet which Donald Trump swiftly deleted.
But as vehement as Trump’s twitter tirade against Bush, Kelly, or Clinton might have been, there is little doubting that Trump had reserved most of his hostility for junior Florida senator Marco Rubio, whom Trump described as a total “lightweight”. Donald Trump’s Twitter tirade against Rubio, which saw him talk about him a total of 49 times over the last six months, was sometimes nasty and at other times downright humiliating.
Marco Rubio retaliated every now and then, but could not even bring himself to talk back in the same terms. Notice the following tweet, for instance, where Rubio expresses his disagreement with Trump in an almost affable manner.
After Trump’s obsession with polls, Bush, Kelly, Clinton, and Rubio, there was only other person left for him to tweet about — Donald Trump himself. According to the analysis report, Trump took to Twitter to boast about him leading the polls at least 45 times. And while that may be seen as a symptom of Trump’s alleged love affair with himself, his followers will argue it just goes to show that Donald Trump has led national and several early-state polls elections all too often since his nomination.
That is not all, however. The report also shows that although Donald Trump has usually taken to Twitter to either express a political opinion, berate his opponents, or boast about his lead, almost a third of all his tweets are innocuous remarks — or largely reasonable sentiments that anyone without an ulterior motive might want to express on a medium such as Twitter.
Or are they?
So while Donald Trump’s Twitter love affair may point towards his preoccupations, his targets, and his priorities over the last few months, what it does most is not provide an insight about Trump’s take on political and economic matters as much as it makes us appreciate his understanding of marketing, of an extensive PR, of social media, and consequently of the internet. If there is one thing we can gauge from Donald Trump’s 3,249 tweets, it is this: Donald Trump knows how to manage the world’s biggest stage, the internet.
“I understand social media maybe better than anybody, ever,” Trump once said. “Somebody said I’m the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters.”
And while that might be up for debate, there is no doubt that Donald Trump’s Twitter love affair shows no sign of abating as we head into the New Year.
[Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images]