Ah, the golden age of Trump’s Twitter account, we were all so much more innocent then. The former pro wrestler would tweet something crazy and we’d all go crazy retweeting it with a comment about Hitler. But those days are gone and according to a new analysis, Trump’s lackluster tweeting has resulted in a 66 percent drop in average engagement per tweet.
Because this administration is so unbelievably unprofessional, pundits have seen Trump’s decline in Twitter activity as a sign of his maturing as president. I won’t pretend to know what goes on in his head but we can probably rest assured that the 70-year-old man is not becoming any more mature. He returned to his old schtick at a rally last night that included a reported visit from skinheads and the reliable standby chant of “lock her up!” But, his tweets have, indeed, been less interesting lately.
Digital marketing agency Huge has analyzed the replies, retweets, and likes on every tweet from Donald Trump since his inauguration on January 20th. The data shows that average engagement with his tweets has mirrored his shrinking poll numbers. In his first week, Trump was pulling in an average of 206,000 engagements per tweet. By week 15, his average engagements have shrunk down to a little under 71,000 per tweet.
Receiving a like on a tweet doesn’t necessarily mean that someone actually has positive feelings about the tweet but according to Huge, it’s a better indicator of support than retweets or replies. The number of likes per tweet has fallen from 77 percent of engagements to 64 percent. And the total number of likes has experienced a 72 percent drop.
While Huge says that Trump’s Twitter activity has “quieted somewhat,” he’s also gained an additional 20 million followers since January. Does this mean that he just isn’t as interesting to people on Twitter these days? Uh, have you been on Twitter lately? He’s all anyone talks about. Huge hypothesizes that the reduction in engagement has more to do with a shift in voice and tone.
The agency labeled each tweet calm, agitated, prepared or a retweet. “Agitated” tweets have dropped from 44 to 20 percent and “prepared” tweets have jumped from 15 to 27 percent. There’s not a huge difference between calm and prepared tweets but the latter category is defined by a guess that it was written by a staffer. Using hashtags, emojis and “@” mentions are some of the indicators; congrats or thank you tweets are also considered prepared.
Huge speculates that this change is a deliberate move by Trump’s handlers to dilute the volatile nature of his account. Since his communications staff can’t convince him to stop tweeting, it’s possible that they are attempting to push his audience to disengage. As the marketers at Huge put it, “In social media, nothing alienates a core audience faster than an inauthentic voice.” These boring tweets that no self-respecting reality star would send are most frequent during business hours. The crazy cranks back up on the weekend.
Trump doesn’t care about much but he’s obsessed with ratings. What will happen when he finds out how sorely he’s losing on his beloved Twitter? Will he command his staff to slide in a few more Nazi memes with the Thanksgiving well wishes? Will he call Angela Merkel a “fat slob” because she informed him that the EU handles trade negotiations? Let’s hope not. This more chilled out social media presence is a good thing. The man’s tweets are going to get us all killed.