Obama has the right idea. His Twitter account is totally him, but then it’s not him.
It’s Barack approved, but it’s run by a team of people who all know what they’re doing and what he should be thinking.
They give you glimpses, they flash a bit of ankle, they allow you to peer momentarily around the curtains, but for the most part their tweets and messages are reflections of political leanings.
They are not Obama’s innermost thoughts, he isn’t barking at his enemies or retweeting Gifs.
"It is our mission to fulfill his vision of a nation devoted to rejecting bigotry in all its forms." —President Obama #MLKDay
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 18, 2016
Obama times his chat show appearances well too, he’s caught crying during Aretha Franklin songs and when he’s talking about gun ownership in America.
Obama is moved at the right times, he’s witty at the right times, he knows which direction the liberal American wind is blowing at the right times, he defies presidential convention and goes on internet chat shows like Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, hosted by Jerry Seinfeld – once the most powerful funnyman in the world.
Now flip the coin and look at Donald Trump, a man more famous for his alarming hairstyle than his almighty fortune. His style of running for office channels an outrageously rich person shouting at waiters. He’s morphed into a punch line to a joke that no one gets yet.
He uses Twitter to pile into his opponents, to undermine them, or to stoke right wing fires aimed at getting a roar of approval from the bible belt. His disturbing, magnified version of US hokum makes Sarah Palin look like Michael.
If this were a Western, Trump would be the sadistic sheriff shooting the ground in front of a cowboy barking at him to “dance!”. He’s nuts.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 19, 2016
And that’s kind of the point with politicians, they are nuts. Obama’s nuts, Cameron’s nuts, Merkel’s nuts. Anyone who willingly grabs the steering wheel confident of driving an entire country is categorically insane.
The job of social media, any media for that matter, is to hide that. It’s damage limitation from the get-go – think of a leading political figure from any point in time, and attempt to appropriate them as a normal human.
You can’t, they have extra-terrestrial egos and strange backstories – even at their most vanilla, like John Major, you’ll find out they were sired by circus clowns and rolling in the hay with Edwina Curry.
Some allegedly simulate oral sex on pigs. But the key is that you find these things out once it’s too late to go back. The biggest single job on the planet is to take these people and convince the world that they won’t be the one to blow it up.
Far more killed than anticipated in radical Islamic terror attack yesterday. Get tough and smart U.S., or we won't have a country anymore!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2016
In that sense, Trump is failing abysmally. Someone needs to step in and rebrand the idiot. Show some chinks in the armour, soften his tone, exercise some humility, use his Twitter feed not to lambast the country he lives in, but to yearn for the world he wants to live in.
Picture him not looking like a man slowly transforming into a gargoyle, but soft faced and smiling. Instruct him to compliment the opposition, but set himself slightly apart. Somehow detooth the barking hound, and expose Trump’s spluttering human heart.
Unfortunately, it seems like they won’t need to, the maniac with orangutan hair is on a roll.
Three rules for not coming across as a maniac on social media1
- Don’t go wild with exclamations, nor exclamation marks. Keep it calm, collected and low key. Compare Trump’s shouty ending, with Obama’s quiet assertion. Who would you rather be in charge of your country?
The #SOTU speech is really boring, slow, lethargic – very hard to watch!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2016
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 13, 2016
2. Don’t brag. Part of becoming the Leader of the Free World is that you will be expected to put the country ahead of your personal glory. You won’t find Obama blowing his own trumpet, rather he will talk in collective terms about his hopes for the country, sharing the glory. Unlike Trump…
Remember, get TIME magazine! I am on the cover. Take it out in 4 years and read it again! Just watch…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2016
"That’s when America works best—when everyone has opportunity; when everyone has some security." —President Obama https://t.co/Yy9JeoCN2I
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 16, 2016
3. Don’t obsess on your opponents’ perceived weaknesses, focus instead on your strengths.
A bit of gentle horseplay works wonders, but an endless stream of playground bullying suggests that you might be in danger of electing Biff Tannen to run your country.
After spending $89 million, @JebBush is at the bottom of the barrel in polls. He is ashamed to use the name "Bush" in ads. Low energy guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2016
Highly respected Constitutional law professor Mary Brigid McManamon has just stated, "Ted Cruz is not eligible to be President." Big problem
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2016
Take a leaf out of Obama’s book, and keep it witty:
Josh Burt is writer at We Are Social