President-elect Joe Biden was fored to strart from scratch with his official presidential Twitter account - beginning with zero followers when @PresElectBiden debuted on Twitter. The account officially becomes @POTUS on January 20 after Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States.
In its first six hours online it gained nearly 400,000 followers. Biden's personal account has 24 million followers. Lame-duck President Donald Trump inherited the @POTUS account with 12 million-plus followers when he took office following the two-term presidency of Barack Obama. While Biden is not being provided the same cushion of built-in @POTUS followers, Trump himself found little personal use for the @POTUS account - choosing instead to barrage the American people with more than 30 tweets a day on average from his now-banished @RealDonaldTrump account.
People.com image -
How Biden chooses to use Twitter as president - in part because of the habits Trump established - is likely to be a closely watched feature of his presidency.
Imagine if the President began almost every day speaking directly to the American people - in his own unfiltered words - and through a platform that allows virtually anyone to deliver a response right back to him in a matter of seconds. And now imagine if those words were intended to inspire, to motivate, to reassure, to comfort, and most certainly to celebrate the best of America and all Americans.
But if Donald Trump on Twitter - the tantrums, the personal attacks, the outrageous words, the dog-whistle incitements and the pre-dawn message bombs - represent to many people the worst of his presidential profile, it is also true that he connected with people in a way no other president ever has.
Americans have a right to demand such real and regular communications - direct and unfiltered - from future presidents. @realDonaldTrump tweeted more than 34,000 times between his declaration as a presidential candidate in 2015 through the suspension of his account by Twitter on January 8, 2021. By the end he had amassed close to 90 million followers. By the final day he was active on Twitter, President Trump was averaging more than 34 tweets per day. That is no less than a running dialogue with the American people almost all day - every day - in the bonafide real and unmistakable words of Trump himself. On June 5, 2020 he Tweeted 200 times.
How President-elect Joe Biden uses Twitter once he occupies the Oval Office remains to be seen. It seems at least likely, if not certain, that @JoeBiden's Twitter personality and relationship to Americans will remain on its current, stable, unremarkable and predictable path. Some would argue the nation could use a return to normalcy in the Tweeting from its president. Remove the negativity and the outrageous statements, and a president using his captive Twitter audience and speaking directly to Americans could be incredibly effective - and productive - as a communicator.
Either way, the Biden transition team and digital media advisers are not happy with the change in how Twitter is treating the tweeting of incoming presidents.
“They are advantaging President Trump’s first days of the administration over ours,” said Rob Flaherty, the transition’s digital director who will be director of digital strategy in the Biden White House, according to Bloomberg News. “If we don’t end the day with the 12 million followers that Donald Trump inherited from Barack Obama, then they have given us less than they gave Donald Trump, and that is a failure.”