What Does President Trump See On Twitter? Now, You Can Take A Peek.

Trump's Twitter account is an important part of where he gets his information.

It's no secret that President Donald Trump credits his Twitter account for at least part of his unexpected success during the 2016 election. 

Trump's Twitter feed is a mash-up of buttoned-up schedule updates often attributed to his aides and more rapid-fire attacks against whomever he deems the opposition. His supporters relished in the president's full-throttled social media use throughout the election, and not much changed once his inauguration.

But Twitter is a two-way street, and many Americans accustomed to the president's 140-character missives have wondered what Trump sees when he logs onto Twitter. 

Plenty of pundits have discussed the importance of the list of people Trump follows — an eclectic group of conservatives, far-right media, Trump properties, and family members. 

Still, it's tough to imagine what Trump is seeing in real time.

Until now.

The Washington Post's Philip Bump created and released a Twitter bot on Thursday called "Trumps_Feed" that allows you to see what the president sees.

"While I don't know how much time he spends looking at his timeline as opposed to just tweeting or perusing his mentions, he clearly spends some time in his timeline, given how often he tweets things out from there," Bump said in an email to A Plus. "And that means that this is an actual source of information for him, which by itself makes it important."

If you go to the account's page on Twitter, you will see a timeline made up of retweets of anyone and everyone Trump follows. The bot simply retweets those accounts — 45 in total — anytime they send something out. The result, as of Thursday evening, looked like this:

The project is one of a few that Bump has embarked on. Another account called @Trumphop will retweet what President Trump was tweeting on the current date in years past. These accounts aren't alone, either. There's a bot that tweets "more presidential" statements than Trump's usual musings, a bot that lets you know anytime a Trump team member does something on Twitter, and a bot that turns every one of Trump's tweets into a presidential statement.  

But Bump's look into what Trump sees is also an important commentary on the echo chambers that surround us on social media. News outlets across the country have tried to deal with the political divide by letting people see what those on the other side of the aisle are seeing. The Wall Street Journal even created a "red feed, blue feed" that showed conservative and liberal Facebook feeds side-by-side. Bump also conceded that the divide in the media people are consuming is an issue.

"Trump was able to win the presidency in part because his base of voters had been primed to tune out the 'mainstream media' and its contextualization of his statements," Bump told A Plus. "It's challenging to have a democracy in which large segments of the population operate from widely diverging understandings of the world."

Projects like this, though, could be leveraged to help address the issue. If you're not a Trump supporter, seeing his Twitter feed offers an inside look at the news and information he's consuming, which might help explain his reasoning when he makes calls. Similarly, following the Twitter or Facebook accounts of people and pundits you don't agree with is a great way to try to better bridge the divisions news consumers across the country witness daily.

Bump, too, had a piece of advice for people who want to overcome their own echo chambers: "Pause before accepting as true a story that upholds and reinforces what you already believe."

Cover image via Shutterstock / Andrew Cline.


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