Although he had been expected to live-tweet throughout the Comey testimony, the president remained quiet throughout, constituting the longest sabbatical he has taken from Twitter since becoming the president. It felt… eerie. People who spend a lot of time online (so, all of us) have become used to the regular stimulus of the president saying something—perhaps insane, perhaps utterly benign—on Twitter. It’s a spike, a swell in the ocean, a focal point we’ve all grown reliant on.
As Buzzfeed reports, it turns out there’s a surprising cottage industry springing up around that familiar stimulus: While there is always an enormous volume of responses to the president’s tweets, people have begun gaming Twitter’s algorithms in order to show up higher in the mix. This is more than just an attempt to let the president hear that you, um, think he looks like a small-handed Cheeto or has successfully triggered the SJW media or whatever; it can be objectively good business practice. The far-right pundit (and grade-A piece of shit) Mike Cernovich has used the tactic of “aggressively getting in the president’s mentions” as a way to build his user-base and legitimize his message, and the Buzzfeed article details how now even media companies are finding success cutting it up in the wake of Trump’s every Twitter utterance. People pre-plan tweet storms and set alarms for themselves based on the president’s tweeting habits. Even if he doesn’t personally see your response, the engagements will be through the roof—which, in the era of the personal brand, can very easily be monetized.
While Twitter doesn’t release its algorithms, the key to being a top reply to the president is basically: 1) get there first, 2) be verified, 3) thread your tweets together into a (gulp) tweet storm, and 4) use images and videos. So there you have it: A fool-proof strategy for growing your social following, provided you are willing to engage in an astonishingly vituperative dog-fight with an unending gauntlet of screaming, racist anime characters, terrible political satirists, chin-stroking sophists, and D-list celebs. Check out the whole article for many more such insights.