Presidential Tweets Assignment

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As noted in the syllabus, students will submit an example of President Trump’s tweets for class discussion as well as written evaluations of their selections.

From our readings on this topic, Wells et al. (2016) suggest that candidate Donald Trump’s twitter use often set the agenda for press coverage of his campaign. And Ott (2017) argues that Twitter as a social media platform demands simplicity, promotes impulsivity, and fosters incivility – all hallmarks, he argues, of President Trump’s public discourse on Twitter.

For this assignment, find a tweet from President Trump since April either supporting or refuting Ott’s argument that the president’s twitter use is simple, impulsive, and uncivil. Note the text of the tweet and the date it was sent. Then briefly describe how you think the tweet exemplifies or refutes the characteristics of simplicity, impulsivity, and incivility.

Next, do an online search to find news coverage of that tweet. Note which news source(s) you found that covered the tweet and when. Then consider whether you think the tweet set the news coverage agenda – if yes, how; if not, why not?

Finally, consider the impact you think the tweet may have had on intersubjectivity among Americans who follow the president’s tweets and those who don’t as well as among those exposed to news coverage about the tweet.

Keep your written evaluation to no more than 3 pages. Be prepared to share and discuss your assessment of the tweet in class on Nov. 5, and to discuss whether you agree with Ott that: 1) Twitter trains us to devalue others, cultivating mean and malicious discourse; 2) Twitter demands simplicity, promotes impulsivity, and fosters incivility; and 3) those characteristics are hallmarks of President Trump’s public discourse on Twitter.

Submit: A written copy of the tweet and your evaluation, either as a printed copy in class on Tuesday, Nov. 5, or as an electronic version uploaded to canvas prior to the start of class that day.

Grading Rubric: This assignment is worth 15 points.Points will be assigned as follows:

Include example of the tweet and date1 point

Simplicity 2 points

Impulsivity 2 points

Incivility 2 points

Note source(s) and when tweet was covered 1 point

Did tweet set news coverage agenda 3 points

Intersubjectivity 3 points

In-class discussion on Nov. 5 1 point

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