Tweeter-in-Chief

Updated: 8-11-2017

President Donald Trump has a complicated relationship with Twitter. Throughout the 2016 Presidential Campaign, he repeatedly used the micro-blogging platform to feud publicly with people and organizations who got under his skin. Most notably, Trump took to Twitter to lash out at Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a U.S. Army Captain who was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004, and Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe from 1996 who claimed Trump frequently shamed her because of her struggles with her weight.

Mr. Trump has such a penchant for hurling insults on Twitter that The New York Times compiled a list of all the people, places, and things Donald Trump has insulted on Twitter since declaring his candidacy for President back in June 2015. As of May 11, 2017, that tally stands at 331.

In case there was any doubt, a recent Morning Consult/POLITICO Poll found that most voters (56%) think Donald Trump tweets too much. There is now even a browser plug in available for Chrome – created by the Washington Post – that will instantly fact-check select tweets from the President.

If you’re curious or concerned about what Mr. Trump has been tweeting, then you can view some of his most recent tweets below. Arguably, it’s important to pay attention to such things because, well, who knows? Someday, one of Mr. Trump’s “Twitter Wars” could eventually lead to an actual war.

Also included below are the results of an extensive text analysis I conducted of Trump’s tweets from over the past year, showing, among other things, the time of day during which Trump generally prefers to tweet and the most frequent words Trump typically uses when he tweets.

 

What’s Trump Been Tweeting?

 

When During the Day Does Trump Like to Tweet?

Since being sworn in as President on January 20, 2017, Donald Trump has tweeted 1,198 times. Most frequently, he has tweeted between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, eastern time.

 

What Words Appear Most Frequently in Trump’s Tweets?

The graphic below shows a cloud of the most frequent words Trump uses when he tweets. The size of each word in the cloud represents the number of times it appears throughout the entire collection of tweets.

Since May 4, 2016, the date he became the GOP nominee for President, Donald Trump has tweeted 3,757 times. Across all these tweets, he has used 5,057 unique words.

Listed below are the 20 words most frequently tweeted by Trump since becoming the GOP nominee for President in 2016 (number of occurrences shown in parentheses):

  1. will (732)
  2. great (536)
  3. thank (424)
  4. hillary (410)
  5. people (247)
  6. crooked (230)
  7. just (226)
  8. america (217)
  9. today (189)
  10. president (182)
  11. make (178)
  12. media (170)
  13. new (169)
  14. join (165)
  15. now (164)
  16. get (159)
  17. jobs (157)
  18. big (150)
  19. news (137)
  20. time (135)

 

How Negative – or Positive – are the Words in Trump’s Tweets?

In addition to a simple text analysis, I also carried out a sentiment analysis to determine whether Trump generally uses more positive words or more negative words when he tweets. Examples of positive words are things like “love,” “respect,” and “admire,” whereas examples of negative words are things like “hate,” “terror,” and “disgrace.”

“Sentiment” is defined here as the number of positive words per tweet minus the number of negative words per tweet, and words are defined as either positive or negative based on Bing Liu’s Opinion Lexicon. Tweets with more positive words than negative words are assumed to express positive emotion, whereas tweets with more negative words than positive words are assumed to express negative emotion.

Since May 4, 2016, the most frequent positive words in Trump’s tweets have been “great,” thank,” and “win,” whereas the most frequent negative words have been “crooked,” “bad, and “fake.”

Interestingly, despite President Trump’s reputation for hurling insults on Twitter, the majority of his tweets are actually fairly positive, as shown in the graphic below.

Out of all of Trump’s 3,757 tweets, 2,934 (78%) include either positive or negative words. Among this set of “emotionally charged” tweets, 54% are predominantly positive, meaning they include more positive words than negative words. In contrast, 36% are predominantly negative, with more negative words than positive words, and only 10% are neutral, with an equal number of positive and negative words.

Moreover, as shown below, the modal (most frequent) Trump tweet contains 1 positive word more than negative words.

 


Author

Brian Kurilla is a psychological scientist with a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology. You can follow Brian on Twitter @briankurilla