“I love Twitter,” Donald Trump once tweeted. That love is manifest in more than 34,000 tweets since he took up the mantle @realDonaldTrump and over 350 in the weeks since he became the U.S. president. Trump has more than 27 million followers on Twitter, and countless more are likely to see his messages, either amplified online or parroted in the endless news reports about whatever Trump just tweeted.
Only a select few of these millions, by comparison, ever tweet back at Trump—and many of those are robots programmed to interact with @realDonaldTrump. What drives anyone else to tweet at a president?
Trump’s 10 most-engaged Twitter followers over the past 30 days include five confirmed robots and three accounts that appear to be bots, according to audience data collected by Social Rank. Trump’s most prolific respondent, @Trump2016_Fan, has posted more than 18,000 times in the past year, mostly all-caps messages of support for the 45th president. The account appears to be automated and did not respond to a request for an interview.
But there are plenty of humans in the 20,000 or so replies generated by a typical Trump tweet. These are piled like building blocks beneath each tweet, a tower of typos, insults, and encouragement that stretches on and on. Scrolling through the replies to a single Trump message is enough to test the fortitude of any reader; getting to the last reply is the sort of task it’s hard to imagine any human doing voluntarily. Yet the replies bundled nearest to @realDonaldTrump—in a sorting determined by Twitter’s mysterious algorithm—are likely to be seen by hundreds of thousands of users. If Trump is the most powerful and visible user of Twitter, the replies appearing closest to his messages must occupy some of the most influential real estate on the internet.
We set out to profile the lovers, haters, and robots that can be found in the replies to @realDonaldTrump to understand their motivations. Most, but not all, of the individuals interviewed are men. According to beta content-analysis software used by Social Rank, 19 percent of Trump’s followers are women. Among Trump’s 20 most-engaged followers, only two had traditionally female names—and both of those accounts appear to be automated.
Read more at Bloomberg.com