President Trump’s Twitter feed on a computer screen on April 3. (J. David Ake/AP)

After this past week’s endless 100-day reviews of Donald Trump’s presidency, you might well be tired of them. But no Trump assessment could be complete without an evaluation of how he has used Twitter from the White House. To that end, we catalogued every tweet issued by the president since he took office — from Jan. 21 to April 29 — and compared it with how he used Twitter between the time he secured the Republican nomination and his inauguration — from May 24, 2016, to Jan. 20, 2017.

So how has Trump’s tweeting changed since he became the nation’s chief executive? What, how and when does Trump tweet now?

Trump tweets about different things as president than he did as candidate

We coded Trump’s tweets into four categories: (1) information sharing, (2) giving thanks, (3) going negative or (4) explanation or encouragement.

In the graph below, we show that Trump has more than doubled his use of Twitter to share information. Consider:

In that sense, his feed has become more mundane as president, because information-sharing is the most common way that officeholders and candidates use social media.

Every other category fell eight to 11 points as president. Trump has “gone negative” — attacking other people or institutions — less often as president than he did as a candidate. (Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush probably aren’t surprised.) But he also has spent less time thanking his supporters or giving encouragement to people or groups.

Candidate Trump’s tweets occurred between May 24, 2016, and Jan. 20, 2017 (n=1229).
President Trump’s tweets occurred between Jan. 21 and April 29, 2017 (n=476).

How Trump tweets

We also wanted to know how Trump tweets as president — does he make a statement, ask a question or issue an exclamation? Has he tempered the tone of his feed?

Not at all. In the graph below, we show that Trump’s Twitter style as president is identical to the way he tweeted as a candidate. For instance, he used ALL CAPS (see what we did there?) in 21 percent of his tweets in both time periods.

Consider this one, tweeted in the wake of a federal court ruling that refused to reinstate his controversial immigration order banning refugees and restricting travel into the United States from seven majority-Muslim nations:

Or consider this emphatic tweet:

And he is also as fond of exclaiming — as evidenced by his frequent use of exclamation points — as ever.


Candidate Trump’s tweets occurred between May 24, 2016, and Jan. 20, 2017 (n=1229).
President Trump’s tweets occurred between Jan. 21 and April 29, 2017 (n=476).
Each tweet was coded separately for ALL CAPS.

When Trump tweets

Finally, we also tracked the timing of his tweets. Contrary to popular belief, we found that Trump does not tweet with reckless abandon in terms of timing. In fact, the frequency was incredibly constant between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. across his campaign and his presidency.

Between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. was another story. Trump tweeted much more frequently late at night as president than as a candidate. In fact, half of all the president’s tweets occurred between 1 and 9 a.m.

Candidate Trump’s tweets occurred between May 24, 2016, and Jan. 20, 2017 (n=1229).
President Trump’s tweets occurred between Jan. 21 and April 29, 2017 (n=476).

Based on Trump’s first 100 days, we can assume that Twitter will remain central to his communication approach. After all, it’s not hyperbole to say that the medium played a huge part in getting him to the White House in the first place.

Luke Perry is a professor of government at Utica College and director of Utica College Center of Public Affairs and Election Research. 

Paul Joyce is a Utica College government student and 2017 MPA candidate at the University of Albany.