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Who does Trump’s brand of social media work for?

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Photo Illustration by Israel Gonzalez

President Donald Trump tweeted a freshly edited video clip July 2 depicting him body slamming a person with a CNN logo over their face along with the text “#FraudNewsCNN #FNN.” The post has since been retweeted over 400 thousand times and is by far one of Trump’s most popular tweets.

The tweet’s popularity is partly because of the many replies deeming the post immature, unprofessional and violent. However, Trump’s most loyal supporters seem to justify this tweet and his unorthodox social media presence.

Trump utilizes Twitter in a way consistent with his campaign. What may come across as ridiculous to some, is clear and concise to an unspoken many across the internet.

Barack Obama was the first president of the United States to make a Twitter account and, in a different way, it was consistent with his brand. He was the young, cool president. He curated his social media presence to inform younger audiences on issues while also occasionally participating in the latest trends. Even though it was not always Obama tweeting, it was clear he trusted his social media team to capture his voice.

There’s an obvious contrast between tweets directly from Trump and those written by an aide. The latter are often relegated to damage control and hardly reflect the first 6 months of Trump’s presidency. When the president takes to Twitter, the format becomes more consistent.

Trump uses the dog whistle strategy in his tweets, therefore, reaching a certain audience somewhere between anonymous alt-right profiles and obscure meme pages. It’s an audience not normally prominent in mainstream media such as Twitter. It’s like the Middle America of the internet somehow found its way off Facebook after watching one too many late-night talk show recap videos.

https://twitter.com/JamieMyers9/status/881786249169833984

It’s obvious Trump’s followers are not concerned with the racist implications of a southern border wall or an immigration ban on Muslim nations. However, they also don’t seem too concerned with the president’s lack of professionalism or the nuances of social media engagement.

Despite Trump’s aggressive tweet suggesting a threat to constitutional free speech, a large portion of his followers has a different perspective on the situation. The way they see it is President Trump is standing up to the tyranny of left-wing media and protecting the sanctity of their beloved country. It doesn’t matter if Trump posts the same lazy meme content you might expect from a parody account circa 2015 because his message is getting across to those eager to listen.

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