This is not about a specific crisis. It’s more about a potential crisis.
So understand this: President-elect Donald Trump is not going to stop using Twitter as his preferred method of policy outreach. Not only does it fit his much-analyzed psychological profile, it works for him. He won with it. He’s not switching gears now.
David Brooks of The New York Times yesterday outlined the case against parsing American foreign and domestic policy into 140-word bites. But unless something drastic happens to break Trump from Twitter love, the world better get ready for it.
Brooks argues for tradition, logic and a system steeped in consultation, discussion and thought. As Trump showed his Republican challengers and Hillary Rodham Clinton, he doesn’t operate that way.
And, we should all realize, the old ways Brooks described are either gone or closeted for at least the next four years. Say what you want about Trump, but he grasped the power of social media and he’s not letting go. This may be scary, stupid, upsetting, dangerous and many other things. But it’s now the currency of the realm.
As Brooks writes:
Normal leaders come up with policy proposals in a certain conventional way. They gather their advisers around them and they debate alternatives — with briefing papers, intelligence briefings and implementation strategies.
People best accept that Trump is not “conventional” and he’s not “normal.”
Those methods and days are gone, at least in the Trump White House. And people like Brooks, for all their validity, are bashing their heads against a wall. Social media carried Trump to his constituency, and the voters rejected exactly what Brooks wrote, even if they all don’t realize it.
We’re at a tipping point, folks. The way it’s always been done, from Washington through Obama, ends Jan. 20. Call out any parallel you want. Land lines to smart phones. Newsprint to the web. Horse and buggy to the automobile. Bows and arrows to gun powder. Heck, formal presidential news conferences to Tweets. That’s where we are.
And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer can scold Trump and his methods, saying as he did yesterday that “America cannot afford a Twitter presidency.” But the president-elect is not listening and he’s not shamed. He’s defiant, zealous and convinced of his own vision of success.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Senior Vice President/Managing Director of Public Affairs and Crisis and Reputation Management at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with eight offices in the East. Learn more about EMA at mowerpr.com/crisisready. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.