· We have gone from fireside chats to 280 character tweets from our Presidents.
· Let’s embrace the change and embolden the use of social media to spread truths.
· Twitter is great for discourse, if people are willing to engage in it properly.
Have you ever heard of shower thoughts? You know, those miniature epiphanies you have when you’re relaxed but occupied in the shower when suddenly you realize that you've come up with a totally unique way of thinking? If not, please entertain my most recent shower thought:
What if you were to gain access to President Trump’s Twitter account for one tweet? What would you say? Please humor me and consider some of my favorite shower thoughts in 280 characters or less:
1. Today welcome today North Korea as the 51st state of the United States of America.
2. Just toured Area 51. Met the alien they’ve been housing there. What a LOSER! #USA
3. Trump / Kanye 2024 #YEEZY
4. Covfefe #2.0
Ok, ok – you get the picture. I’m confident our Wave Blog readers could run laps around my proposed tweets, but one thing is exorbitantly clear – that tweet would have an incredible impact. In 280 characters from President Trump’s Twitter account any number of things could happen from stocks rising or falling, news coverage interrupts regularly schedule broadcasts, foreign relations are undermined or emboldened, people lose or gain jobs, you name it. How did we get here?
One hundred years ago, President Warren G. Harding was the first president to be heard on a radio broadcast in his address of a memorial site for Francis Scott Key, author of the Star-Spangled Banner. At the time, the radio was cutting edge technology and the White House was only first adapting its use. By the 1930’s, the radio was an integral component of the way that 60 million Americans received news from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Although 60 million Americans in 1941 seems like a lot, it was actually less than 50% of the country who were able to tune in and get the news straight from the President. A recent Gallup poll found that more than 75% of Americans read or hear of President Trump’s tweets. Within 100 years, our country has gone from hour long radio segments to 280 characters or less as a means of receiving information directly from our president. Uncomfortable? Me, too.
On the other hand, perhaps Twitter has become a tool for the American public to connect with our elected officials. While a healthy base of Americans may disagree with President Trump’s politics and use of social media to convey his thoughts, let’s consider some of the positives from President Trump’s 11,000 tweets within his presidency:
1. The use of Twitter creates an impression on constituents that can foster the idea of closeness
to the elected official
2. The use of Twitter is assumed to be an authentic direct statement “from the horse’s mouth” as
the expression goes, which is of value in the era of carefully curated meaningless statements
from public relation firms and spokespeople
3. Tweets are akin to press statements, they give concise and timely news that is to the point
and important for the public to know
4. Tweets are written in a direct and personal manner, insinuating that the person tweeting is speaking directly to the reader
5. Twitter can be used as a quick and easy promotional tool, not to mention cheap (unless the
tweets are sponsored or tied to advertisements, of course)
While it is fair to note there are issues with the President Trump’s use of Twitter ranging from juvenile name calling of political rivals to undermining foreign relations with unstable countries like Iran and North Korea, the potential upside of elected officials and companies to start using Twitter as an instant information platform are enormous. For example, elected officials could use Twitter to get out information regarding natural disasters, important filing dates to remember, and town halls. Twitter can be an amazing platform to spread awareness through trending hashtags such as #MeToo for women who have been sexually harassed or #IceBucketChallenge for those impacted by ALS. If Twitter is used thoughtfully, genuinely, and sparingly, it can serve as a game-changing asset for grassroots candidates / start-up companies to the President of the United States and Amazon.
It only takes 280 characters to change history, will you be a part of the change?
Interested in how you can harness the power of an influential Twitter account for yourself or your business? Contact Ryan, our Twitter expert, and learn how to #RideTheWave today!