Trump’s tweets varied systematically before, during, and after the 2016 presidential campaign, depending on the communicative goals of the President and his team.
“This study presents the first detailed linguistic analysis of the style used on the Donald Trump Twitter account,” said study researcher Jack Grieve from the University of Birmingham.
“We find that the account shows clear patterns of stylistic variation over time and argue that these results provide a window into the communication strategy of Trump and his team during the campaign,” he added.
For the study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers downloaded the corpus of tweets sent from the ‘@realDonaldTrump’ Twitter account from 2009 and 2018 preserved in the Trump Twitter Archive.
By analysing patterns of grammatical co-occurence, the researchers were able to identify four general style variations of Trump’s tweets: 1) conversational; 2) campaigning; 3) advisory; 4) engaged, and to observe how these stylistic patterns shifted over time.
The data suggest different communication strategies underlying Trump’s use of Twitter, particularly during the 2016 campaign depending on his communication goals, such as appealing to different audiences, defending criticism against Trump and his campaign, deflecting controversies and attacking opponents.
Tweets sent from the his account may not all have been composed by a single author, as different members of the campaign likely had access to the account, nor is it possible to ascertain the amount of thought and care given to the composition of an individual tweet, the authors noted.