11 months, 1 president, 2,417 tweets
Abraham Lincoln’s words were chiseled into granite. John F. Kennedy’s words are embedded in the national consciousness.
A year into President Trump’s term, his most memorable lines come not from grand speeches or prime-time presidential addresses. They come from his tweets.
Sad? Perhaps, but Trump’s direct Twitter channel to America has proved its potency in his first year in office.
Twitter is where Trump deems anything negative as “fake news.” It’s where people and policies are a “disaster,” where “the Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax,” despite a steady drumbeat of fresh disclosures.
The commander in chief loves ALL CAPS, exclamation points, and is unimpeded by grammatical or spelling conventions.
Then there’s the name-calling from the White House. The leader of North Korea is “Rocket Man,” the Democratic senator from Massachusetts is “Pocahontas.” The senator from Tennessee, a fellow Republican no less, is “incompetent,” “doesn’t have a clue,” and “couldn’t get elected dog catcher.”
Since being sworn in on Jan. 20, there have been 2,417 posts from his account, including the deleted ones. In the second half of 2017, he posted 70% more tweets than the previous six months.
If he spent only 1 minute on each post, that would be nearly 40 hours — a solid workweek for most Americans — spent just on tweets. On average, it amounts to seven posts a day.
Many of Trump’s most inflammatory comments come when he is alone in the White House residence, early in the morning, before the West Wing starts humming: A third of his activity on Twitter took place between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. He called it "MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL."
My use of social media is not Presidential - it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2017
The Globe staff did a sentiment analysis of his tweets based on AFINN, a list of English words rated for valence (a measure of "goodness" or "badness") with an integer between minus five (negative) and plus five (positive). A tweet with a score higher than zero means he used more positive words in that tweet, lower than zero means he used more negative words, and zero is neutral. Click here to read more about the methodology.
He tagged the account of Fox and Friends nearly 100 times, far more than any other. Most of the other accounts he tagged were related to the White House, although he cited The New York Times more than 30 times, almost always by derisively calling it the “failing @nytimes.”
The phrase “fake news” appeared in at least 159 tweets, more than almost any other. The sentiment analysis shows a strong tendency of using negative words when he mentioned fake news.
The phrase “tax cut(s)” appeared in at least 97 tweets, most of which used more positive words.
He mentioned jobs in at least 92 tweets with a tendency of using positive words. But he was less likely to mention immigration.
Since becoming president, he’s had at least 48 tweets about Hillary Clinton — half of them referring to “Crooked Hillary” — and he’s had at least 126 tweets about President Obama and Obamacare.
He mentioned Democrats and Dems more times than he did Republican or Republicans. However, the tweets about Republicans used more positive words than about Democrats.
Among countries, Trump mentioned Russia the most — about 100 tweets – often because he was tweeting about the investigation into whether his campaign colluded with the Russians. “It is now commonly agreed after many months of COSTLY looking that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump,” he wrote in October. “Was collusion with HC!”
It is in foreign policy where his tweets can pose the biggest risks, say specialists. In September, he began referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” disparaging an international leader (with access to nuclear weapons) in the same way as his domestic political opponents.
Trump mentions North Korea in at least 59 tweets, and China in 46 tweets.
A quick look at the popularity of his tweets show that most of his tweets got 20,000 to 200,000 likes and 4,000 to 50,000 retweets. The most favorited tweet got nearly 620,000 likes. Here is the tweet.
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2017
In one sign of the limits of his account: When Twitter released its 10 most shared tweets of 2017, Trump did not make the list. But his predecessor, former President Obama, had three tweets on the list.
Still, for all of America's obsessing about Oval Office tweets, what was the top tweet of the year?
A 16-year-old from Reno, Nev., who launched a campaign to win a year’s supply of free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s.
Most shared tweets of 2017
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
NOTE: This dataset collected all tweets posted by President Trump from Jan. 20 to Dec. 24, including deleted ones.
The count of the keywords in this graphic is slightly adjusted: fake news (fake news/fakenews), tax cuts (tax cut/tax cuts), democrat(democrats/dems), republican (republic/republicans), Russia (russia/Putin), China (China/President Xi), North Korea (North Korea/Kim Jong Un/rocket man), make America great again (make America great again/maga). Other abbreviations of each keyword are not included.
Tweets that contain more than one keyword in the same page are only grouped once, but are counted independently.
The result of the sentiment analysis is NOT adjusted and can NOT represent the sentiment of each tweet, but it can show a tendency of using more positive or negative words. For example, "cuts" is treated as a negative token, so the tweet "RT @IvankaTrump: We're working to make tax cuts & the expanded Child Tax Credit a reality for American families. The time is now!" scores -1 because all other words score zero.