Since the progressive era, public opinion has been an essential part of the president’s work. It was around the turn of the 20th century when new technologies mingled with American politics. As more Americans began to consume media, those in positions of power learned to respond and adapt to the rise of consumer culture.
Now, in 2021, we are able to step back and take a critical look at former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s approach to public image. Arguably the past four years have cemented themselves into a new era, serving as the intersection between social media and major social, political and cultural changes.
We have also seen that it is essential to create an effective image for a presidential candidate; Especially when it comes to winning elections, winning popular support and shaping their reputation in history. The right image can ensure presidential success.
Most people, regardless of their political position, will collectively agree that Trump’s social media presence was unprecedented. No previous president has ever embraced Twitter the way Trump did. And no doubt, for his specific audience, his approach has been successful.
By bypassing mainstream media in favor of social media, he was able to ignore traditional filters or forms of censorship. It soon became known that major news organizations were fully reporting on his social media interactions, which both amplified his posts and sparked his growing fan base. Additionally, his use of passionate and provocative language targeted people’s fears and desires for America. This presentation as a whole made him more lovable in a way never seen before.
“Trump is using social media and terms like ‘fake news’ and ‘witch hunt’ and his power there to create the illusion of popularity for ideas that actually have no basis in reality,” he said. declared Sam Woolley, Director of Propaganda Research at the University of Texas at the Austin Center for Media Engagement. “Often this creates a ripple effect to support false or misleading things, or more generally to attack institutions.”
Many of those same supporters call Trump’s franchise refreshing. One supporter even praised his inconsistent style of speech, exclaiming: “It’s never the same, it’s not written, it’s not on any teleprompter.” Most of Trump’s social media statements came entirely from him, without any review by any editorial staff. Presidents mirror the whole country, and Trump’s spontaneity has often come across as unprofessional, inconsistent, and just plain overwhelming.
For example, Trump publicly celebrated Columbus Day in a proclamation and Tweeter, while categorically neglecting to recognize the impact on indigenous peoples. To make matters worse, he took this holiday tweet as a time to lament “radical activists” for rightly criticizing Columbus and his treatment of Indigenous peoples.
Comparatively, in recent years Biden has recognized Indigenous Peoples Day and his messages have recognized this country’s history. Additionally, Biden celebrated many other important marginalized social groups and holidays, including juinteenth, International Women’s Day and Pride.
Despite Trump’s initial campaign promises, he did not support Pride for the first two years of his presidency. It wasn’t until May 2019 that he finally released a Tweeter, who came despite all his efforts to reduce LGBTQ rights: from ban transgender people from the military To appoint judges from anti-gay hate groups.
Ultimately, to make sense of these promises, presidents must reflect the action and intention in which they stand in this position of power. These actions showed that these messages meant nothing.
While opponents of Biden may argue that Biden’s carefully crafted campaign and social media presence is insincere, I would say his approach exemplifies poise, stability, and seriousness.–something that is desperately needed after the past four years. Americans shouldn’t have to worry about their representative offending other world leaders or incitement to violence.
When Biden took the helm, it was essential that he re-establish and maintain a professional media presence; communicate truthful information and connect with the public.
Social media is a tool for connecting with an audience. If users, such as influential presidents, learn to leverage their data and respond to it, they can make valuable connections. A successful president is one who is aware of these factors and who, after careful research, thought and examination, uses them for the greater good of the people.