Last week our country made a decision that divided its citizens more than anything in recent history. Donald Trump was elected president, despite having no civil or military service and promoting a campaign of hate. I am still unsure of how to react to the decision. I did not blog last week because of it. This week I’m ready to begin to examine one aspect of this bizarre election: a president-elect with a fully-developed social media presence.
Job seekers are often told that potential employers are lurking on social media to scope out candidates to make sure they are the right fit for the company. A Career Builder survey showed as many as “60 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates.” Job applicants are encouraged to keep profiles private and free of any questionable posts.
This was not the case with the highest-profile
job opening in the country.
Many Americans flocked to Trump’s following not despite his posts, but because of them. More than half (54 percent) of the general public believes that it matters because “senior leaders who are transparent on social media are more trustworthy.” The majority of Americans want to see business leaders have a presence on social media, and 15 percent would like to see personal stories and anecdotes in posts.
The Trump campaign delivered, and also gave followers what they wanted “to feel that they matter” and that they could express that feeling, explains Thomas White, Co-founder and CEO of C-Suite Network. Trump didn’t just use social media as a tool in his campaign; he turned the campaign into a social media saga, fit for reality TV. Best-selling author Van Jones wrote, “Trump is not breaking the rules. He is playing by a new set of rules.”
The New @POTUS
Unlike a traditional hiring process, there’s no three-month probation period during which the American people can change our minds about hiring Donald Trump because of posts we discover on his Twitter feed.
The tweets were already there and we hired him anyway.
In preparation for the new hire to take office in January, the current administration, staff, and even White House furnishings are being transitioned out. Since Obama was the first president to use social media, it is also the first time official White House handles need to change as well.
As part of a digital transition strategy, Trump (and team) will receive access to the @POTUS handle with no tweets on the timeline. All the old posts will be removed and archived by the National Archives and Records Administration. Currently, @POTUS has 11.9 million followers on Twitter and @realDonaldTrump has 15.2 million followers. During an interview with 60 Minutes, Trump both acknowledged the power of a large social media following and declared that he might not use social media once he’s in office.
As Trumps’ new bosses, what should our expectations be of his social media postings? How should he handle his personal account during his time as president?
Author’s note: I believe in the political process and that most people are inherently good. As a communicator, I know that words (spoken and written) have great power, and those who are in positions of leadership have a responsibility to know their audiences and use their power wisely and for the greater good.