I am not a fan of Twitter. Let’s get that straight. It is usually a cesspit of vile abuse with little or no content. However our two US presidential candidates are furious tweeters. When analysing the impact they have on their audience I found some interesting themes. In summary, Clinton tends to do well when Sanders or Obama adorn her page otherwise flounders. Trump on the other hand consistently does well and when he talks about defence, the police or ‘crooked Hillary’ his scores (Likes & Re-tweets) tend to do very well. In short Trump has 5.4x the impact of Clinton on re-tweets (RT) and 4.3x on Likes.
On reaching out to voters
In the following picture, Trump took it upon himself to shake the Michigan Police contingent securing his aircraft. 8300 RT & 33,000 Likes. Clinton talks about her mum, sorry ‘mom‘, and gets 1,500RT and 4,400 Likes.
On the celebration of the US Air Force’s birthday
It isn’t a great surprise to have the military in favour of Trump after massive cutbacks over the Obama Administration but over the simple question of wishing a Happy 69th Birthday, Trump gets 12,000 RT to Clinton’s 1,500 and for Likes gets 33,000 vs 4,700.
On the NY Bombings
While the Democrats tried to lambast Trump for calling a bomb a bomb before it was officially deemed a bomb got this response vs Clinton. 16k RT vs 1.7k and Likes at 52k plays 6.3k. These terrorist acts on home soil play to Trump’s much harder stance.
On attacking your opponent
When it comes to firing off shots, Trump’s more honest approach is also telling. Trump ridicules Clinton about her health and gets 24,000 RT and 56,000 Likes while Clinton jabs at the often used ‘hatred and violence’ tag and gets 889 RT and 2,000 Likes.
On using others to get your message across
We’ve probably all worked for someone that often had to use the ‘authority’ of others to validate them in order to mask their own weakness. As can be seen here, Obama and Sanders garner her more social media status on her site than anything she does herself. Even pictures of her as a young mother don’t ring any bells. Asking for campaign funding doesn’t help either. It is telling. I wrote in another piece that Obama’s narcissism may have a negative effect. Telling voters who voted him in they’ll insult ‘his’ legacy is an insult to them.
For all of the mainstream media’s efforts to conduct polls and report on the issues that matter to them (not their audience), Twitter is a 24-7 polling device in and of itself. Of course you could argue that most of the 8.89 mn Hillary ‘followers’ are Democrats and most 11.64mn Trump ‘followers are ‘Republicans, the interaction with those audiences weigh heavily toward the latter.
I’ve written many times in the past that if Twitter was the only benchmark in elections then Katy Perry would be President. However studies on Twitter followers and election victories has revealed tight correlations.
I’ve said repeatedly that this election is Hillary Clinton’s to lose. However the recent crash in the polls and the validation Twitter shows at her inability to ‘connect’ will make it much harder to claw back lost ground. More and more people consume media online than ever before. News in soundbites and short videos. No matter how many times that The Donald gaffes, he rebounds. When Hillary gaffes, she goes into hiding. Perhaps Bob Lefsetz made the most sense of it:
“Celebrities lie and the media repeat these falsehoods ad infinitum without examination.
Donald Trump is a celebrity.
Madonna sells out every show!
Springsteen can play forever in New Jersey!
Maybe in terms of time, but the truth is Groupon filled a bunch of those seats.
Never mind the pronouncements about sales figures… It’s all boasting, all image, all the time. And you wonder why Donald Trump can get away with the same thing?
Politicians gave way to celebrities long ago, when elected officials sold their souls to lobbyists and corporations, there was no there there. Celebrities know their identity is everything. And a few pitfalls can be explained away by drugs and hardship… Celebrities know success is about an arc, going from somewhere to everywhere, beating the odds in the process. Politicians wait their turn in order to be nominated by the machine. Last I checked, it was the singers on Sony who were known by everybody, not Doug Morris.
Everybody knows Donald Trump. And he’s employing the number one axiom of celebrity…MAKE NOISE, STAY IN THE PICTURE, ALL PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY, PUBLICITY IS EVERYTHING!
Leave the public eye and you’re forgotten these days. Which is why celebrities are all over social media, why their publicists plant stories repeated all over the web. It’s to keep them top of mind in the audience’s brain.
Hillary is losing the news war. She’s playing not to lose. If you don’t go for it, you usually don’t succeed. Utilizing old saws like the ground game as if it wasn’t 2016 and the entire nation is driven by what’s online. The oldsters are already registered, want to reach the youngsters, play online. Just ask Buzzfeed and the linkbait legends, that which goes viral, that which generates clicks, wins today. Substance is secondary to train-wreck quality. Everything’s run by algorithm. Respect the game.
But everyone inside the Beltway believes it’s the same as it ever was. Like the record companies and Napster. They believe the public will do the right thing, that they can shame people into behaving. But it didn’t quell file-trading and Hillary’s poll numbers are sinking because… To write again and again what a nitwit Trump is in the press is missing the point. People believe in celebrities blindly, they get caught up in the mania, just try tweeting something negative about Taylor Swift or Beyonce, you’ll be subjected to enough hatred to delete your account.
That’s the game Donald Trump is playing.
It doesn’t matter that he lies because everybody does. And the news cycle is short. And the key is to promote a new idea every day. Kinda like Drake releasing mixtapes. The old fart baby boomer acts take years to polish their turd albums whereas the young acts are constantly releasing new material, putting up covers on YouTube, they realize we live in an attention economy and attention is everything.
And if you don’t like it…
You’ve got to give people good jobs so their only alternative is not reality TV. They may not ever be able to be rich, but they can be famous for a week or two on the tube.
You’ve got to admit you’re flawed, but still stay on message.
The celebrities own this paradigm. When caught acting badly they cry, apologize, go to rehab and emerge refreshed. Whereas politicians believe they’ve got to stay the course, they can’t show weakness, they must be wary of gotcha moments. But in a world where your complete life is online your only choice is to own the gotchas.
So if you want to be famous, and seemingly everybody in America wants to, that’s the national game, you play on all platforms all the time and try to gain traction. And once you get a leg up, you don’t rest on your laurels, you keep taking chances, the well is never dry.
Of course Trump lies. Of course he’s uninformed on how to run the country. But if you want to beat him, you must play his game, not yours. After all, he beat all challengers in the primaries. Because the Donald is tapped into the American zeitgeist, where it’s every man for himself and we laud those at the top of the totem pole, irrelevant of how they got there.
Taylor Swift had a rich dad.
So what. Only the haters care. Her fans couldn’t care less.
So you can sit on the sidelines pointing to Trump’s faux pas or you can learn from his efforts. You don’t have to lie, but you don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes. Trump criticizes Gold Star parents and doubles down, Hillary labels Trump followers “deplorables” and then goes silent, allowing the enemy to spin her statement. Today you’ve got to own who you are, you’ve got to show strength, while, ironically, letting weakness emerge. As for hiding anything, like pneumonia, everything ultimately outs. You create your own narrative. Trump got out in front of the tax issue, said he was never gonna release his returns, said he was being audited even though his son recently denied this. It’s about being aggressive.
Sure, it would be great if we could appeal to voters by promising our best efforts to lift them up.
But if that was a TV show it’d get canceled.
No, you’ve got to have drama. You’ve got to have story. You have to constantly release new episodes.
Nobody believes anything anymore. The press has been complicit in spreading falsehoods and too many outlets have agendas. You create your own image. And it must appear authentic to enough people for you to reach your goal. When Hillary Clinton’s credibility is questioned by her own followers, you know she’s in trouble.”