The Tweeting Styles of Trump and Clinton

I’m teaching a graduate course called Stylistics and Editing this semester, and I used Trump and Clinton’s twitter accounts as analysis fodder in the first two classes.

Trump’s tweets typically have a fixed style. Long sentence, short sentence, exclamation point. “Sad!” Most seem to be by his own hand, given their reactionary content, occasional use of ALL CAPS, and distinctive vocabulary. He uses graphics and video sparingly.

Clinton’s tweets are shorter, usually just one sentence, but they are always accompanied by a link to a graphic or video. Half are moderating utterances or secondhand quotations designed to make her look reasonable, and half are direct assaults on Trump. The chances of the bulk of the tweets being written by her, the class felt, were very small; they felt safe and vetted.

The larger point I was trying to make with these analyses is that style is, for the most part, highly detectable. At a glance, you can see who is who. Clinton’s team will almost never write a one-word sentence with an exclamation point, and Trump will rarely ever write anything simply stating his position, save for the very recent “Mexico will pay for the wall!”