Nauset Horizons

To Tweet or Not To Tweet

M. Gabi Tessier, Editor/Writer

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To Tweet or not to Tweet, seems to be a controversial question in this growing digital age.

Founded in 2006, Twitter immediately became a global hit with roughly 60,000 daily messages.  It wasn’t long before politics found a place on this social media outpost.

But, what place does Twitter have in politics? Nauset junior, Anna Terrenzi, believes that “it’s inappropriate for someone in a professional position” to use Twitter.  Senior Jake Clark agrees that Twitter is no place for politicians. Clark states, “Politicians are representatives of our government.  Social media, i.e. Twitter, is an informal way to communicate.  Therefore, if our official government communicates via Twitter, it creates chaos.”  

Contrary to belief, President Donald Trump was not the first politician to use Twitter.  Barack Obama was the first politician to use Twitter as a tool in campaigning for office in 2007.  Currently, Mr. Obama holds the position as the most followed politician on Twitter, with President Trump in second place.  Hillary Clinton also is active on Twitter and used it as a tool in her campaign for presidency.

Around the world politicians use Twitter to relay policy and gain support from the public.  Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is the third most followed politician on Twitter with 32.3 million followers.  In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May also stays active on Twitter.  It seems that every politician has an active Twitter account, even in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has 224K followers on Twitter.  If politicians all around the world use Twitter, then why does Donald Trump seem come to mind most often when asking people about politics on Twitter?

One answer to this question might be that President Trump posts a high volume of tweets per day, while other politicians only post every few days.  On September 30, 2017, Mr. Trump posted 17 times.   The frequent posting and presence of Mr. Trump may be one of the reasons that he is the first person to come to mind when one hears “politician on Twitter.”

President Trump’s tweets cause a lot of controversy and often appear on the news.  Some of his more controversial Tweets include: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” (May 18, 2017), “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” (Sep 25, 2017), and “Wow, more than 90% of Fake News Media coverage of me is negative, with numerous forced retractions of untrue stories. Hence my use of Social Media, the only way to get the truth out. Much of Mainstream Meadia has become a joke! @foxandfriends” (Dec. 13, 2017, 8:02 a.m.).  

While some of President Trump’s Tweets do cause controversy, others are positive and respectful.  For instance, Donald Trump’s post in condolence of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017: “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” (October 2, 2017).

Nauset senior, Parker Mumford, believes in the positive aspects of Tweeter; it is “good for politicians for communicating with their constituents. I think it’s important that politicians get the word out about what they think about thing. And I think it’s good for the constituents to be able to connect with the politicians at such an easy level.”

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker tweeted after Hurricane Marie hit Puerto Rico: “We stand ready to extend heartfelt welcomes to disaster survivors & will provide any personnel & equipment requested during the recovery” (September 29, 2017).

Tweeting is a helpful tool for politicians to be more accessible to the public; however it is when politicians do not censor their Tweets, or use Twitter as a forum for misconduct and childish banter, then it becomes a problem.

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To Tweet or Not To Tweet