World's most famous blogger quits

AP Photo/John Raoux

It’s a shame, really. He only started a month ago.

Someone should remind him that a blog doesn’t really hit its stride until year 15.

As someone who does it for a living, it depresses me that that Trump would rather have no platform than have a blog.

Which is not to say I don’t understand.

The blog that former president Donald Trump launched last month after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook is no more.

Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, said that “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” has been permanently shut down after all posts were scrubbed from Trump’s website.

Trump rolled out the blog last month after being absent from social media since January, but his effort to regain some of the attention he received with his headline-grabbing tweets largely failed. 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.

The dagger, I think, was this WaPo piece published 10 days ago pointing out how few social media engagements some of Trump’s blog posts were receiving. In early May he was averaging 10,000 Facebook and Twitter engagements per post. By the end of the month he was down below a thousand. Traffic wasn’t blockbuster either, averaging around 60 percent of what Newsmax drew during one week in mid-May.

Trump was, is, and always will be a ratings guy. His ratings weren’t great, and unlike the election, he couldn’t claim that his poor numbers in this case were rigged. He decided, it seems, that folding his tent would be less humiliating than going on.

On top of that, some of his critics mocked him for how stale his new platform felt — a no-frills, no-photos, no-comments website where his posts would appear on a single page, sometimes with days passing before a new one would appear. The first rule of blogging is that you need to feed the content machine, always. That’s less of a problem in a format like Twitter, where a user’s timeline provides a constant supply of content and Trump could flit in and out whenever the mood to comment struck. It’s more of a problem on a blog, where he’s the only posting. A variety of content helps hold reader interest too, but Trump has spent most of his time singing the same old song about election fraud.

Bottom line: It’s not easy to build an audience! Unless … you’re the most famous person in the world, with your own nationwide cult of personality.

It should be pretty easy in that case.

Maybe he figured he doesn’t need the blog anymore now that he’s headed back out on the trail soon to address audiences in person. The media can ignore him when he’s blogging but they can’t ignore him when he’s at a mic in front of 10,000 screaming people. Besides, if he feels the urge to spout off while he’s sitting around at Mar-a-Lago, he can simply post to the “news” section on his webpage. If you go there now, you’ll find all of his old blog posts as press releases. The blog may be over in name but not in substance.

WaPo’s Philip Bump wonders if this is a sign that the GOP base is Moving On:

The second reason this stumble is important is that it undeniably raises questions about Trump’s sway. Yes, his posts were picked up in the media and, yes, his commentary is often important to consider given his role and extent power. But that he and his team couldn’t manage to create something that captured his base’s attention reflects in part on the product itself and in part on Trump. This is the former president who wants everyone to assume that his renomination as the Republican Party’s candidate in 2024 is a foregone conclusion — but his various riffs mostly earned shrugs.

Fair enough. On the other hand, every elected official in the party seems to believe that Trump’s grip on the base is so vise-like that it would be career suicide to challenge him if he runs in 2024. Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Josh Hawley have each said in various ways that they’d stand aside if he gets in, believing it pointless to try to compete. His sway isn’t in doubt to them, and they earn a living by having a sense of that sort of thing.

The reason his blog failed, I suspect, is the same reason Rolling Stones albums sell well but a compendium of Stones lyrics wouldn’t. You can’t really experience Trump without the element of performance. And again, I think the Twitter format served him better than a blog, not because of the character limits but because of the way Twitter pushes content to you rather than requiring you to go looking for it at some separate dedicated website. Part of Trump’s dynamism as president was his sheer ubiquity in media; Twitter enhanced that by giving him a way to intrude into his followers’ thoughts at any given moment. By comparison, a blog is like putting him in a room alone and letting him rant. You might wander by sometimes and catch what he’s saying but you lose all sense of him being inescapable, larger than life.

I’ll leave you with Times reporter Maggie Haberman alleging a new Trump approach to circulating his message du jour. Instead of posting on his own blog, he’s supposedly pitching conservative writers behind the scenes to take up his claims of election fraud.