Donald Trump is no more the master of Twitter than Twitter is the master of him. And while Twitter elevated an upstart, attention-seeking candidate, it may not prove as friendly an environment for a president who may actually want to get stuff done.
Twitter may let people do an end run around the media’s traditional gatekeepers, but it does so at a price. Social media platforms make money by tracking the flow of posts and reposts. They are selling the currents of influence and the data that can be gathered about each user. More tweets and retweets mean more data and more money, so the whole platform is optimized to trigger impulsive sharing and resharing. It rewards those who can generate an immediate response. If a tweet doesn’t generate that instantaneous call to action in the two seconds it took to read, it won’t get retweeted and will scroll out of sight, forever.
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