Natalie Gochnour: Give up your Twitter account, Mr. President

Richard Drew, AP

A Twitter app on an iPhone screen.

I follow Twitter feeds nearly every day. It’s a great way to learn what opinion leaders have on their minds, keep abreast of politics, follow sports commentary and keep tabs on hundreds of other people and issues of interest. Twitter is the best way I know to get instantaneous and succinct information from a wide variety of people on a wide variety of topics.

While tweeting definitely has its place in our digital lives, I find President Donald Trump’s Twitter behavior completely unacceptable. It’s not his use of Twitter that is problematic. It’s the content of his tweets.

George Lakoff, a retired professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, has organized Trump’s tweets into a taxonomy that has been shared broadly over social media and in the media. (See “Trump’s Twitter Distraction” on Lakoff’s blog at georgelakoff.com.) I find Lakoff’s analysis revealing.

Lakoff places Trump’s tweets into four broad categories. The first is what he calls the “Preemptive Framing.” Here’s an example.

@realDonaldTrump, Jan. 7, 2017

Only reason the hacking of the poorly defended DNC is discussed is that the loss by the Dems was so big that they are totally embarrassed!

In this example, Trump frames the topic his way even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College by a relatively narrow margin. Trump, who has 35 million followers, preemptively frames the public message with his own spin.

Lakoff calls the next category of tweets the “Diversion.” In these tweets, Trump diverts attention from real issues.

@realDonaldTrump, Jan. 9, 2017

Meryl Streep, one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes She is a…..

Here, Donald Trump sidetracks attention away from conflict of interest and Russian hacking stories toward Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globe awards.

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