The President of the United States was tweeted about some 901.8 million times this year — nearly 10 times the number of mentions for his predecessor, Barack Obama, during his final year in office.
The wild-haired occupant of the White House so dominates the national discourse that there were only 17 days when Trump was not the leading topic of conversation on the social media platform. He commands roughly one-third of all Twitter mentions, and he’s doing so at a time when political Twitter conversation is up sixfold since 2015 — from 450 million tweets then to 2.8 billion today.
The political research firm Echelon Insights analyzed more than 2.8 billion U.S. tweets across 250 topics and issues to identify the biggest news stories of the year. The results reveal how much the national conversation revolved around Washington, D.C., rivaled only by major natural disasters and the sexual harassment scandals roiling Hollywood and Capitol Hill.
Aside from our musings about the tweet-happy Trump, Americans were obsessed by the ongoing investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, ousted FBI Director James Comey, climate change and Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
Echelon also looked at conversation among three key audiences: conservative activists, liberal activists and Beltway elites. It’s important to know not just what stories are being talked about but also who is talking.
The volume of conversation, as a barometer of partisan enthusiasm, has shifted since Trump’s election. Conservatives and liberals were evenly matched in their share of the Twitter conversation in the run up to the 2016 primaries, but now liberals are about twice as likely to be active on the social media platform as conservatives.
Liberals have been dominant for well over a year, the one time conservatives did overtake them is notable — in the weeks leading up to Trump’s surprise victory, Echelon wrote.
The center-right firm, which advises GOP candidates, notes that a highly engaged Democratic base on social media that is turning out at higher rates in special elections and poised to make gains in the midterm elections.