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To tweet is human, to delete divine

I first got on Twitter to simultaneously distract and express myself at my day job.

It was way back in 2008, when the world was still high on hope and people freely used the term "post-racial" as if we had cured systemic injustice, thank you very much, and we could talk to one another in brief instant flurries with something resembling civility.

My 140-character journey began when my friend Diana G gave me a no-fuss elevator pitch during the mid-workday afternoon slump: "Hey, I'm on this new site where you can write and post short thoughts. I think you'd be good at it."

Since then, I've tweeted once and now multiple times a day for the past near-decade and it has led me to job opportunities, celebrity run-ins, career boosts and, less glamorously, unsolicited insults, circular arguments with strangers and the emotional maelstroms of being unfollowed or never followed in the first place.

My creative process is simple.

For example, say, I'm rushing to a meeting near Grand Central, bemoaning the fact that I'm not a morning person.

I see a pigeon who has waddled in between two business people waiting in line to buy coffee at a corner cart.

Being President requires embracing a different brand, one that sets self-interest aside. Ours isn't doing that. Who knows which world leaders have already muted him?

Before the conscious part of my brain kicks in, the Twitter app is already open and my fingers are dashing off: "A pigeon is waiting in line for coffee between two suits. I guess someone else also finally finished Lean In."

Within seconds of posting any tweet, I'm checking and rechecking the screen to see what the favourability index is on my random speech bubble.

If it's in the double digits for likes, I tell myself that the West Coast hasn't risen yet. My best tweet found favour with more than 40,000 people. The worst was deleted.

The statistics are undeniably grotesque, yet compelling in their rigid judgment.

It's like a stand-up comedy set, except the feedback is spread out over a much longer period and you get specific detail on who responded and can adjust your delusions according to your "influence".

This makes me wonder about Mr Donald J. Trump's Twitter origin story. According to his Twitter account, he has been a member since March 2009 and has tweeted more than 34,000 times.

Did he get bitten by a radioactive exclamation point? It would certainly explain his short bursts of impassioned diatribes.

Every single post sounds like a text hastily composed after 3am and sent by accident - either a hyper-confident overcompensation or a deranged meltdown, or oftentimes both.

His entire feed reads like someone just set his phone to self-destruct. Must! Post! One! Last! Thought!

Full disclosure, I sometimes find it easier to picture him not as the President, but as some kind of soothsayer's curse.

It's easier to think of him as a particularly nasty weather system, something you can shutter the windows against, despite the damage it will cause.

But regardless of his atomic structure, he currently holds power and he needs us to know this, as well as every other uncensored thought of his.

I don't follow Mr Trump myself. I still frequently stumble on his tweets when someone I follow quotes them, with the addition of some darkly hilarious commentary.

Very rarely, I've gone to his page to comb through his timeline. Then I have to remind myself, yet again, that he currently holds the highest office in the nation and yet is still tweeting in this unhinged, performance-art way.

I most often use Twitter to post arguably humorous observations.

"A handful of almonds is a sensible snack to throw in someone's face and demand where the real snacks are" was received with enthusiasm.

"Hmmmm, if I were a lot of blood, where would I be?" was not.

These days, I can't stop posting political blips and blurbs - anything from how you can help to why the latest news item is bad to what is happening as explained by someone more qualified.

It's my way of processing. Everyone's is different.

You can find out yours on BuzzFeed's "Which Hogwarts House Would Your Trump Presidency Coping Style Sort You Into?" quiz. (I'm a Gryffinpuff.)

Mr Trump has always been known for his uninhibited social media style.

After he won the election, the question became, was he going to keep this up once he became President?

It's one thing to post an unfiltered ego live feed as a hotel mogul slash reality television host known for your buffalo-wing-that-fell- under-the-couch of a personality, and another when you hold the highest office in the nation.

I do understand that Twitter is about embracing your brand - mine is melancholic amusings, his is acute histrionics.

However, the fate of a nation doesn't rest on my hot take on Beyonce's Grammy snub, but it does on his latest review of Saturday Night Live.

Being President requires embracing a different brand, one that sets self-interest aside.

Ours isn't doing that. Who knows which world leaders have already muted him?

America's blue check mark is in jeopardy.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 05, 2017, with the headline 'To tweet is human, to delete divine'. Print Edition | Subscribe