Trump’s use of Twitter has caused a lot of discussion about the suitable use of social media from a president. He has tweeted over 2,500 times since taking office. His incorporation of tweets into the American presidency has led to un-orthodox announcements of major policy decisions, including the firing of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and a ban on transgender people serving in the military. While Trump has certainly transformed the use of Twitter as a presidential platform, there have been past presidents who also paved the way with media breakthroughs of their own.
President Obama is often referred to as the “first social-media president.” The Obama White House was the first presidency to use social media services, including Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. That being said, these services either did not exist or were not widely used before President Obama took office in 2009. When he was in office, he used the White House’s Twitter account for presidential activities (@WhiteHouse) as well as the Twitter account dedicated exclusively to the U.S. President (@POTUS). The Obama Administration also had a Facebook account that was frequently used. During the 2008 campaign, $643,000 was spent to promote his Facebook account.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy was the first US president to conduct live televised press conferences without delay or editing. This was an effective new form of media use that allowed him to speak directly to the American people. Much of the content was received positively by the public, but similarly to Trump's criticisms, some of the press thought that the media use showed insufficient respect for the dignity of the office. Additionally, some of Kennedy’s advisors worried of the risk of mistake during a live broadcast. Kennedy’s first live broadcast was viewed my an estimated 65 million people. During his presidency, he held a news conference on average of one every sixteen days.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
While FDR was not the first president to appear on the radio, he was one of the first to effectively and frequently use the platform as a medium of political advantage. He used radio to give informal monthly chats during his time as governor of New York, and he continued this practice as he took the office of the presidency. He used the power of the radio to sell the New Deal and to garner support for World War II. FDR utilized the radio hundreds of times during his 12-year presidency. He had broadcasts ranging from traditional events like the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree to talks about political campaigns to his Fireside Chats. His chats reached tens of millions of people.