The @realDonaldTrump handle is the most notorious account in Twitter’s brief history, and it appears as though its owner and author isn’t yet ready to let it go. NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell reports word directly from the transition team of US president-elect Donald Trump that he will continue to use his personal Twitter account. The widespread presumption, with any other president, might have been that he (or she) would pick up the @POTUS handle to conduct all his public-facing tweeting. Mr. Trump, however, has expressed a desire to keep growing his following, which at this point surpasses 20 million people on Twitter alone — and that’s just direct followers, many follow him indirectly through endless waves of reverberating reactions to his latest proclamations. In his own words, from an interview with The Times of the UK:
“I’d rather just let that build up and just keep it @realDonaldTrump, it’s working — and the tweeting, I thought I’d do less of it, but I’m covered so dishonestly by the press — so dishonestly — that I can put out Twitter — and it’s not 140, it’s now 280 — I can go bing bing bing . . . and they put it on and as soon as I tweet it out — this morning on television, Fox — ‘Donald Trump, we have breaking news’.”
The @POTUS Twitter account belongs to whoever is the sitting US president, so it will be available for the Trump administration to use during Donald Trump’s term in office. That is presumably what Mr. Trump is referring to when he says he now has a 280-character limit. But the tweets emanating from that account will most likely be written by administration staff, with the real Donald Trump sticking with, appropriately enough, @realDonaldTrump for the expression of his own thoughts and feelings. And all the world’s press and business leaders will, as he points out, be watching it like hawks for the latest newsmaking statement.
One of the many unique aspects of the incoming presidency is the level of transparency that Donald Trump has afforded the world. No president before him has been as candid and forthright in articulating his mood and motivations as Mr. Trump has so far. If his social activity continues in the same vein once president, we all stand to gain a much more intimate understanding of the US president’s decision making than in any prior era. Whether we like it or not.