Donald Trump’s Twitter Dilemma: Will He Go for ‘POTUS’ or Keep It ‘Real’?

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By Andrew Stiles | 7:20 am, November 21, 2016

Among the many important decisions Donald Trump will have to make upon being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States is what to do about his Twitter account.

Trump is a prolific user of social media, which he has used over the years as a platform to express his views on a variety of topics, from politics to celebrity relationships. The numerous off-the-cuff and late-night tweetstorms he fired off during the course of his campaign were widely condemned as “unpresidential” by political pundits and members of the mainstream media.

But these same pundits also expected Trump to lose to Hillary Clinton, whose Twitter account was managed by a team of campaign staffers, and often required hours of internal discussion to produce a single tweet, according to emails published by WikiLeaks. By the end of the campaign, Hillary Clinton had amassed some 11.2 million followers.


Trump, meanwhile, currently boasts a follower count of 15.6 million.


That’s about 3.5 million more followers than the President Obama has on his official @POTUS account, which as you can see from the meager tweet count was rarely used.


Except the @POTUS account will not belong to Obama much longer. According to a recent statement from the White House digital team, the account will be formally transferred to the next president (Trump) on January 20, 2017. The account will maintain all of its followers, but will start with an empty timeline.

President Obama’s tweets will be transferred to a new account — @POTUS44 — that will be maintained by the National Archives. A similar process will occur with respect to other White House accounts, including @WhiteHouse. Melania Trump will take over Michelle Obama’s @FLOTUS account, Mike Pence will commandeer the @VP account, and the person Trump selects as White House press secretary will take the reins of the @PressSec account.

Trump’s social media activity since winning the election suggests that he intends to continue his prolific tweeting as president. What remains to be seen is whether he will keep using his personal Twitter account as his primary outlet, or if he will switch to the more presidential @POTUS handle. It’s also possible Trump could use both accounts in tandem, or maintain a kind of “business vs. personal” firewall between the two.

Trump could, for example, deploy the @POTUS account for official business such as announcing treaties and releasing official White House statements on political issues while using his personal account to opine on other matters, such as yachts and celebrity breakups.

We’ll have to wait a few more months to find how Trump will handle this Twitter dilemma. In the meantime, the president-elect will continue to tweet from his personal account. Most of his tweets since winning the election have dealt with official matters such as cabinet appointments, Congressional relations, and his work schedule.

However, in recent days Trump has also sounded off on less official matters, including Saturday Night Live and his recently settled Trump University lawsuit.