Mr. President Trump comes at you now from two Twitter handles – his stalwart @realDonaldTrump identity, which thus appears to have gained security clearance, and the unimpeachably irreproachable POTUS id, or President of the United States, for acronym watchers worldwide.
And that very plurality – and the President knows something about pluralities, excepting perhaps the one by which he lost the popular vote – begs an obvious question for Trumpologists everywhere: namely, when does the incumbent decide to tweet from this account or that one?
It sounds downright sociological if you ask me, and even if you don’t. The presidency is what those sociologists call a master status, with its relentless gravitas seeming to bear down upon its owner just about all the time, whether he wants it to or not; and as such, can the chief executive be said, or be allowed, to check his status at the door along with his shoes when he bowls a few frames down at Trump Lanes (I’m remaining mum about those gutter balls), or spills his popcorn again even as he thrills yet one more time to that Chuck Norris epic?
I don’t know those answers, but we can go some ways toward resolving my Twitter-authorial question at least, courtesy of the go-to twdocs site, which granted me nine bucks worth of recent presidential downloads (these as of February 25), both from the POTUS account and the last 3050 epistolary gleanings (excluding retweets) from the @realDonaldtrump alter ego. (I’m perpetrating the legal fiction that you’ve downloaded these data as well, as I’m not sure what liberties I can take with my paid-for copies.)
What’s most noteworthy about the POTUS download is the confining of its output to tweets post-dating the president’s January 20 inauguration, even though I was prepared to pay for the twdoc max of 3200. It’s clear the messages of the erstwhile president have been retweeted to some vast clandestine archive, or the Smithsonian, or both. (In fact the download reports that the current POTUS account was initiated during the evening on January 19, while Barack Obama was technically still in charge.) As a result the now-fledgling POTUS account divulges a mere 7 tweets bearing the inimitable authorship of the POTUS himself; that count is tipped by the president’s signature DJT capping each self-written tweet, and which I captured and counted in Excel formulaic terms thusly (after I named the text-bearing field in column B Text, if you really are downloading along with me):
(We’ve seen this formula before.)
Yet as of February 25 Mr. Trump has fired off 210 tweets from his @realDonaldTrump id since his instatement, or about six a day; it is clear, then, that master statuses notwithstanding, that the username signifies the….real Donald Trump.
So what is the president wanting to tell us these days? After having coined the range name incumbent for those 211 tweet-rows, I put this formula to the data:
Thus putting in a search order for one of Mr. Trump’s current adjectives of choice. 22 of the tweets, or 10.48% of all his presidential messages, return the term, and that result appears to be unassailably real, along with Mr. Trump’s fetching penchant for emblazoning the label FAKE NEWS (appearing 19 times in the range, and 28 times among all 3050 tweets) in all-caps. Indeed, Mr. Trump’s peculiar alacrity of expression is affirmed by his recurring fondness for the exclamation mark; an extraordinary 125, or 59.8% of all his post -January 20 tweets, sport the punctuation. But in view of the larger fact that 61.5% of all his 3050 tweets are so embellished, we can’t be too surprised by his enthusiasms, though I am not sure what his tweet of February 4, reprinted here in full: MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Means to exclaim. I think we’ve heard it before.
For some other search-term frequency counts:
One could allow oneself to be struck by the paucity of references to “Islamic” or “Putin”, and the relatively prominent and decorous “thank you” and “Congratulations”. No one said Mr. Trump isn’t a nice guy. He does a have thing about “media”, though.
I was additionally interested in how Mr. Trump’s tweets spread themselves across time. That is a question we had explored in an earlier post, but there with a qualification: because twdocs’ Created At field details tweet times per French standard time, and because Trump could have been here or there in mid-campaign calibrating his time of transmission, as opposed to the time recorded by twdocs’ French server, stood as something of challenge. Trump the office seeker could have, after all, been in New York or Los Angeles, or somewhere in between. But now that he has entered the office we may be safe in assuming that the great preponderance – if not all – of his presidential tweets to date have been east coast-timed. And if so, then a constant six-hour decrement – the time difference between France and Washington – could be applied to each of the Created At times reported in column A. And again, that workaround can be realized by opening a new column to the immediate right of A, titling it EastCoast or something kindred and entering, in what is now B7 (the first row of data):
The decimal of course represents one-quarter of an elapsed day, or six hours. Thus the date/time in A7 – 2/25/2017 23:02 – retracts to 2/25/2017 17:02 in B7, once the -.25 is applied. Copy down the B column and then try out this pivot table:
Rows: EastCoast (Grouped by Hours only)
Values: EastCoast (Count)
EastCoast (again, by % of Column total)
We see that the President is an early-morning tweeter, squeezing 40% of his output into the 6 to 9AM stretch (note that the 8AM grouping registers tweets through 8:59), and not a chirp to be heard between 1 and 5AM.
But doesn’t that measure of silence, at least, qualify as good news?