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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

As President Donald Trump gained popularity, the informational canal politicians use to reach the American people changed. Instead of news briefings, professional interviews and dignified speeches, politicians have turned to Twitter as their main form of communication with their constituents.

At first glance, using social media to communicate with the country seems like a genius idea. Almost everyone is on it, and reading 140 characters is easier than watching a 30-minute newscast or reading a 500-word article. The problem, however, is that politicians are losing their professionalism when they rely on Twitter to relay information.

On July 4, Nikki Haley, the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted out something less than patriotic. The tweet stated, “Spending my 4th in meetings all day. #ThanksNorthKorea.” The sarcastic and disrespectful complaint left us in disbelief. On a day meant to celebrate our nation, Haley had the audacity to complain about her job serving the American people. She showed little respect for our nation within 54 characters.

Never have we seen politicians be so blatantly honest about the discontent they feel for their job. Then again, never have politicians been encouraged to use social media to connect with the public.

In the past, politicians have used social media purely for promotional reasons, their accounts controlled by someone in a communications or public relations department. This ensured a level of professionalism for their social media posts that most people would not have. As a result, it was easy to tell the difference between a tweet from the president about foreign diplomacy and a tweet from your best friend Becky about a fight she had with her boyfriend.

Nowadays, the tweets might as well be identical.

Trump regularly uses Twitter to comment on issues that someone of his position should be paying little attention to. He calls out celebrities and pokes fun at other politicians. He publishes statements without confirming their validity. He attacks those who don’t support him. He shares every thought that runs through his mind.

Tweeting these types of things is fine, of course, for someone who is not the president.

Even college students are able to understand the importance of their presence on social media. Many of us have separate professional and personal accounts. Occasionally we post things we wouldn’t want a boss to see. The difference? We have the common sense to control who views our content and the decency to filter what we post.

Haley’s recent blunder is just one example of Trump-era politicians following suit with the immaturity our president has shown on social media. It’s important to note this issue is not one of liberals versus conservatives. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of representing themselves poorly on social media.

We realize these politicians probably think they are doing America a favor. Unfortunately their thought process is vastly flawed. While they want to appear more relatable to their constituents, we simply need distance from politicians. We don’t elect them to be our friends, we elect them to represent our nation in an honorable way. When they act out on social media, they fail us. Politicians need to uphold a higher level of professionalism, and they need to express a level of respect for all of their constituents, not just their supporters.

 

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