Twitter (TWTR) can be a personal wire service, complete with thoughts directly from the sources, relevant articles filtered by approved people, and breaking news. But it’s not used as a feed by everybody.
Many people, often with large follower accounts, do not use it to read or listen, but simply as a pulpit. A key example is President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which he uses to speak to his followers, which number 18.5 million, of which 14.1 million of them are real. He follows just 42 people.
There are roughly four groups of people Trump follows: Trump family members, Trump business organizations and associates, political commentators favorable to him, and a miscellaneous category.
The first group is the current family, which makes up seven accounts he follows, or 17%. Melania and Trump’s first four children are represented, along with their spouses, except for Jared Kushner who has a Twitter account but has yet to tweet. (Trump does not follow his second wife Marla Maples, and his first, Ivana Trump, isn’t on Twitter.)
Trump follows seven corporate accounts associated with his specific golf courses and hotels, and a few more national accounts for his organization and national golf club. He follows a few people related his reality show, “The Apprentice,” including season one contestant Katrina Campins, and executive producer Mark Barrett. This comprises around 29% of the accounts.
The political people Trump follows makes up half, and features mostly media figures who are favorable to the president-elect, including Fox News anchors Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter. He has unfollowed and refollowed his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus.
There are some media personalities who are not necessarily supporters, including Piers Morgan and Geraldo Rivera. In October 2016, Rivera said, but later recanted, that he had embarrassing Trump remarks on tape. However, both have been sympathetic to Trump of late.
In addition to the media figures, which are a third of the 42 people followed by Trump, the president-elect also follows people who served in his campaign like former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, spokesperson Katrina Pierson, and social media consultant Dan Scavino, Jr.
The final category is small, featuring two sports figures: legendary retired South African golfer Gary Player and WWE Chair and CEO, Vince McMahon, who is married to Trump’s pick to head the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon.
If you want to see what the Trump’s Twitter feed looks like, you can subscribe or view this list.
People Trump has unfollowed
The list of people Trump has followed and then unfollowed is perhaps more interesting. Most recently he (mysteriously) followed and unfollowed “Emergency Kittens,” an account dedicated to “the cutest cats online.” Additionally, Trump has followed and unfollowed actress Roma Downey, who is married to “The Apprentice” executive producer Mark Burnett, a number of times, according to Death and Taxes.
Previous iterations of “followed” lists show others. Mediaite shows that Trump also used to follow Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Magic Johnson, as well as “Apprentice” alums Shawn Johnson—an Olympic gymnast—Tana Goertz, and Leeza Gibbons. Entrepreneur and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki, who advocated insider trading and later went bankrupt, is no longer followed.
Additionally, golf courses Trump Ferry Point, Trump Westchester, as well as hotels Trump Toronto, Trump Panama, Trump Soho, and Trump Tower were on the list at one time, but no more. Former Ferry Point manager Joe Roediger is also gone.
In the political and media sphere, Mediaite’s list showed that Brett Baier of Fox News, who moderated a primary presidential debate, has been cut, as has the Business Insider politics account. Tea Partier and Breitbart columnist Jenny Beth Martin is out as well.
Update February 2, 2017: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is now unfollowed.
Update February 2, 2017: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is now re-followed.
Update February 15, 2017: Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway followed, after speculation that she had been unfollowed after retweeting a white nationalist account.
Update March 13, 2017: Trump unfollows Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of Morning Joe.
Update June 2, 2017: Trump follows Jesse Watters and Tucker Carlson of Fox News.
What it means
Lately, Trump has generally stuck to retweeting his kids, social media consultant Scavino, and a tweet from Priebus, suggesting he’s not active in his own feed as a consumer. When he has retweeted in the past, it has been in the form of a quote, often with a comment at the end.
Similarly, Trump’s following and interaction with the impersonal Trump golf course, hotel, business accounts suggests the inclusion is merely perfunctory or ceremonial, like the rest of the list.
This means that not being followed by Trump is probably not a slight. No cabinet members are followed. Neither is senior advisor Stephen Bannon nor his controversial website Breitbart makes the cut either.
Given the capriciousness of the list, more could be read from the “unfollowed” list; we’d assume the president-elect went out of the way to dispatch people like Bret Baier, Magic Johnson, and Steven Tyler. These could be viewed as slights.
Here’s the full list, in the order they were followed:
Trump’s daughter, and the first person Donald Trump followed.
His eldest son.
British television personality and journalist.
Commentator, legal analyst, and former Fox News anchor. Trump incorrectly interpreted a statement by Van Susteren as advice not to release his tax returns during an audit.
Political commentator on Fox News.
Donald Trump’s second son.
A Trump golf course in LA.
A Trump golf course in Virginia.
A Trump hotel in Chicago.
A Trump hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
A Trump golf course in Charlotte, NC.
A Trump golf course in Miami.
A Trump hotel in Oahu, Hawaii.
Trump’s Director of Social Media
CEO and Chair of WWE, Inc.
South African golfer.
Executive producer of “The Apprentice.”
Conservative political commentator on Fox News.
Television personality and commentator on Fox News. The only Latinx person Trump follows.
Trump’s current wife.
Morning show on Fox News.
Trump Organization executive, attorney, and advisor.
Trump campaign spokesperson, Tea Party activist.
Season 1 of “The Apprentice” cast member.
Trump supporters and vloggers.
A far-right commentator and columnist and early Trump supporter.
Donald Trump’s controversial former campaign manager.
A Fox account for its conservative community.
Fox TV host and early Trump supporter.
Wife of Eric Trump. Associate producer for “Inside Edition.”
Wife of Donald Trump, Jr.
Conservative news aggregation website.
Conservative political commentator for TV and radio.
Trump’s daughter with second wife Marla Maples. Recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
National Trump Golf account.
Account for the Trump Organization.
Northern Irish actor, married to Mark Burnett, executive producer of “The Apprentice.”
Former RNC head, Trump administration chief of staff.
A Trump counselor.
Where he works.
Controversial Fox News television presenter.
Fox News host and founder of the Daily Caller.
Formerly followed, then unfollowed:
Political commentator on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”; served in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001.
Political commentator on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” journalist.
An account dedicated to “the cutest cats online.”
Aerosmith lead singer.
Olympic gymnast and “Apprentice” alum.
“Apprentice” alum and campaign member.
“Apprentice” alum and former co-host of “Entertainment Tonight.”
Author and entrepreneur who declared bankruptcy in 2012.
Trump golf course off the Whitestone Bridge in New York.
A Trump hotel in Toronto.
A Trump hotel in Panama City, Panama.
A Trump hotel in SoHo, Manhattan.
A golf course in Westchester County, New York.
A defunct account for the Trump brand.
Donald Trump’s Manhattan residence and business headquarters.
Manager of Trump Ferry Point.
Fox News anchor, primary debate moderator.
Business news website.
Tea Party member and Breitbart columnist.