from the such-cancel-culture dept
It’s been quite a month for the former President, Donald Trump, and his attempts to speak out. Almost a month ago, Trump launced a Twitter-like blog, with very limited interactive features, a silly terms of service (which said they could moderate whatever they wanted, like every other site). As we noted, lots of people mocked it for being just a standard old blog, but it did make the point that despite what other social media platforms might do, Trump was not being “censored.” He had lots of ways to speak up. Of course, after a couple of weeks, reports noted that the site wasn’t getting very much traffic, we highlighted that this showed what the issue really was: Trump wasn’t upset about a lack of ability to speak. He was upset about the lack of a free audience.
As more and more reports came out about the dwindling traffic on the site, Trump (in standard Trump fashion) insisted that the site was actually getting huge traffic, even more than last year during the election:
?The Washington Post also incorrectly reported about my DonaldJTrump.com website viewership. We have not yet launched our own social media ?platform,? but even the very basic site we have to post our statements has received 36.7 million views over the past month alone, and we?re getting more traffic to our website now than in 2020, an Election year! This number would be even greater if we were still on Twitter and Facebook, but since Big Tech has illegally banned me, tens of millions of our supporters have stopped using these platforms because they?ve become ?boring? and nasty.?
Of course, even if that 36.7 million number is correct — which it likely is — most of that was probably on the day or two after launch when people came to check it out. All of the data suggests that the traffic was a one time deal and wasn’t coming back:
?As a matter of metrics, audience, readers, every single way they measure blogs?it?s a failure,? with lower traffic than sites like Petfinder and Eat This, Not That, Melber said on The Beat with Ari Melber. Citing a report by the Washington Post, Melber noted that not one of Trump?s posts on the ?From the Desk of Donald J. Trump? site has gotten more than 15,000 interactions.
And now, following the bans from Twitter and Facebook, it appears that Donald Trump has banned himself from his own blog, shutting it down permanently. Trump and his spokespeople are claiming that this was part of “broader efforts” to have the former President engaged more directly with social media, and promised that details of these new efforts would be revealed soon.
Of course, the fact that they launched the blog with such hype, and talked it up so much less than a month ago, makes all of this seem (again, as per so much that is Trump) to be them just making shit up as they go along. Meanwhile, a Trump advisor admitted to the Washington Post that the reason it was shut down was that Trump was embarrassed by how little traffic it was getting and how everyone was mocking the site:
An adviser told The Washington Post?s Josh Dawsey that the former president wanted to open a new ?platform? and didn?t like that this platform was being mocked and had so few readers. The individual spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly about Trump?s plans.
Obviously, Trump has every right to kick himself off his own platform, just like every other website has every right to kick him off their platforms as well. I’m assuming we won’t be seeing stories about Trump’s “anti-conservative bias” though, huh?
In the meantime, all of this reinforces a few important things: (1) Trump has every ability to speak out if he wants to, but (2) that doesn’t guarantee him an audience, and (3) building a successful website that gets traffic is hard work, and simply assuming that you can easily replicate a successful website and its audience is rarely going to work.