People love @RealDonaldTrump as much as they love the real Donald Trump. Just like the candidate himself, the Twitter account is entertaining, coarse, rude, doting, blunt, fiery, cloying, politically incorrect, and superbly meme-ready. More importantly, it’s real. You get the sense that each tweet shoots straight from Trump’s amygdala, typed furiously, rat-a-tat-tat—sad! It’s such a refreshing change from the stale fare you get everywhere else on campaign Twitter, where politicians literally sign their tweets to let their constituents know that, yep, it’s really them, not the social-media staffer, like it usually is.
That’s why I loved this text analysis of Trump’s tweets by David Robinson, a data scientist at the coding site StackOverflow. Robinson tests a well-circulated hypothesis: If a @RealDonaldTrump tweet is marked as being sent from an iPhone, it’s from a staffer. But if it’s sent from an Android phone—Trump’s Samsung Galaxy?—it might be from the candidate himself. Folks have noted that the Android tweets are a bit, uh, Trumpier:
Every non-hyperbolic tweet is from iPhone (his staff).— Todd Vaziri (@tvaziri) August 6, 2016
Every hyperbolic tweet is from Android (from him). pic.twitter.com/GWr6D8h5ed
Robinson took this theory and tested it empirically, downloading more than 1,000 of Trump’s tweets and running them through a language parser. Even with a limited sample, the results were pretty conclusive:
My analysis, shown below, concludes that the Android and iPhone tweets are clearly from different people, posting during different times of day and using hashtags, links, and retweets in distinct ways. What’s more, we can see that the Android tweets are angrier and more negative, while the iPhone tweets tend to be benign announcements and pictures.
Tweets from the Android phone tend to come earlier in the day, while the iPhone’s pace picks up in the afternoon and the early evening. The Android account is also a bit of a grandpa when it comes to retweeting people, copying their tweets into its own and surrounding them in quotes, which the savvier iPhone account doesn’t do. The iPhone account loves to tweet pictures; the Android almost never does.