What do Trump’s tweets say about his personality?

Researchers analyze tweets of Donald J. Trump and compare his personality traits with other influential business leaders 

Heidelberg | New York, 25 July 2017

© Springer© SpringerThe Twitter messages of Donald J. Trump, the entrepreneurial businessman turned US president, show that he is creative, competitive and a rule-breaker, but also has neurotic tendencies. An analysis of Trump’s tweets and what implications his personality traits have for political leadership are the focus of a study published in Springer’s journal Small Business Economics. Since joining the social media platform Twitter in 2009 to May 2017, Trump has issued more than 35 000 messages. This amounts to about twelve tweets a day. With 30 million followers, he is the second most followed politician on Twitter after his predecessor, Barack Obama, who on average tweeted about four times a day. 

The researchers, Martin Obschonka from the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, and Christian Fisch from Trier University in Germany analyzed how aspects of Trump’s personality are revealed in the language he used in 3200 tweets issued by October 2016 (before he became president). They used established software for assessment of language and text for psychological purposes. Trump’s language use and online personality were also compared with that of 105 other influential and famous business managers (including Google’s Eric Schmidt, HP’s Meg Whitman, and Apple’s Tim Cook) and entrepreneurs (including Tesla’s Elon Musk, Dell’s Michael Dell, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos) who are not on the political stage. 

Their results indicate that Trump is indeed a distinct type of person who shows strong features of a so-called Schumpeterian personality that is said to be typical of successful entrepreneurs. This personality was described by Joseph Schumpeter in the 1930s as being very creative, change-orientated, competitive and rule-breaking. The analysis further indicates that Trump has neurotic tendencies, and experiences underlying low well-being. 

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