How Donald Trump answers a question

Evan Puschak, aka the Nerdwriter, breaks down a single Trump answer:

Pushak demonstrates Trump’s user-friendly approach to answering interviewer questions. He talks at a 4th grade level, he uses simple sentences, he addresses listeners in the second person and uses commands. He does everything an inclusive writer should do. Rather than dumbing down, it’s hardly a stretch to say that what he does is straight out of the GDS guide. I’m half-tempted to file this entry under ‘UX’.

And the rhetoric element of his answers? He goes out of his way to end a sentence with a strong point, even if it means an awkward start. It’s powerful and memorable.

The content of his answers is another matter, of course.

The important distinction: Trump isn’t smart, he’s a salesperson. He’s unlikely to be doing this deliberately, thinking in real-time. It’s probably highly internalised behaviour, absorbed over years of experience. But it’s working.

A year on the road with Donald Trump

Katy Tur, for Marie Claire:

Trump called me naïve. He told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. He shamed me when I stumbled on a question. And when the cameras shut off, he was furious. He didn’t like my questions, which were direct, or my tone, which was conversational.

“You couldn’t do this,” he said, searching for a put-down. “You stumbled three times.”

“It doesn’t matter if I stumble,” I said. “I’m not running for president.”

That’s when he landed what he saw as the harshest insult of all.

“You’ll never be president,” he said. I laughed. What else was I supposed to do?

This is both fascinating and not at all surprising.


Donald Trump’s fake Twitter followers

Nick Bilton in Vanity Fair:

The problem, like almost everything that comes out of Trump’s mouth, is that this number is drastically exaggerated. A large number of those followers aren’t potential voters. They are not even people. They’re bots.

The percentage varies tremendously according to who you ask: anywhere between 3.4 and 41 per cent.

I enjoyed the payoff to this paragraph:

Back in the early days of fake followers, the programmers who made the bots often just plucked pictures of people from Google, created a fake name, fake biography, and—voilà—you had a fake follower. But now, to subvert being found out, bots have become incredibly clever, even sometimes becoming indistinguishable from real people. They use semantic analysis to understand what people are tweeting about, and reply with answers that are mostly coherent, which also more or less describes how Trump uses the service, too.

Related: my friend Phil on the user experience of buying fake followers.