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Why isn't Trump posting on his new social media site?

AP Photo/Ben Gray

It launched a month and three days ago and he’s contributed one post — or “truth,” as the platform calls it — since then. What gives?

I have a guess.

My guess is that Trump doesn’t want to participate on a site that’s not “hot” at the moment even though the only chance TRUTH Social has at becoming hot is him participating. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn there’s a chicken-and-egg argument happening between him and the site’s investors behind the scenes: “We can’t build an audience unless you’re posting!” “Sorry, I’m not posting until we’ve built an audience.”

It’s the same logic that led him to dump Mo Brooks yesterday in the Alabama Senate primary after the most recent poll showed Brooks a distant third. Trump fears being associated with losers, knowing that his enemies will call him a loser by extension. If he had stuck with Brooks to the end and Brooks ended up falling short, there would have been a media feeding frenzy about Trump supposedly having lost his mojo within the GOP.

His attitude towards TRUTH Social might be similar, as absurd as that would be. Unlike Brooks’s candidacy, the new platform is entirely his baby; if it fails, he won’t be able to run away from it. But even so, he might refrain from posting on it in the early going until he gets a better sense of whether he thinks it’s likely to succeed or not. If he concludes that it’s doomed to underperform, he might shun the site so that he can say later, “It would have been a big success if I had been posting!”

As with any failure, avoiding blame is his highest priority.

In fairness to him, I can understand why he’s reluctant to tie himself too closely to the current product. From what I gather, TRUTH Social is a straightforward knock-off of Twitter. The launch was buggy and at last check the waiting list to join stands at over a million people despite the platform having gone live more than a month ago. There’s no website interface for it as there is for Twitter and there’s no Android version of the app yet. For now, you need to be an iPhone user and be very, very patient in order to join. (Some users have reported losing their place on the wait list as the list grows longer.) A Daily Beast report from a few weeks ago alleged that the snafus hadn’t escaped Trump’s attention:

In recent weeks, sources have heard the former president on the phone swearing gratuitously and asking things like, “What the f*** is going on” with Truth Social.

He’s repeatedly groused about the negative press and the less-than-stellar optics of the rollout, these sources said. And he’s demanded to know why more people aren’t using it—why the app isn’t swiftly dominating the competition

The Daily Beast reviewed analyses of visits to Truth Social’s performed by SimilarWeb, which tracks website traffic from public and private sources. The company’s figures for the MAGA social network—while only an estimate based on incomplete data—are nonetheless anemic. Trump’s own social media platform is doing either worse or the same as other MAGA social sites like Gab—another pro-Trump competitor website that’s especially beloved by, well, Nazis—and Gettr, a platform fronted by one of Trump’s former top political aides, Jason Miller…

The company estimates that the average visitor to Trump’s site stays for just 90 seconds—a far cry from the seven minutes users tend to spend on Gettr and nine minutes spent on Gab.

Bizarrely, Trump isn’t even using TRUTH Social to post the statements he frequently issues on political subjects. If you wanted to read his thoughts yesterday about un-endorsing Mo Brooks, you had to go to his Super PAC’s account on Twitter — the platform that banned Trump more than a year ago — rather than to his personal account on TRUTH Social to see them. Also bizarrely, even though Trump could successfully lobby virtually anyone on the American right to join and post to his platform, many major Republican political and media figures still don’t have accounts. Why weren’t all Republican members of Congress as well as all hosts on Fox News and talk radio offered accounts before the launch and asked to post there exclusively for the next few months in order to drum up interest? The rest of the wider media would have had no choice but to start paying attention to TRUTH Social to track how conservative influencers were responding to daily issues.

The buggy start and the silence from Trump appear to be hurting investors. On March 4, around 10 days after the platform launched, the SPAC that owns it saw shares rise to $97. Less than three weeks later, those shares have lost more than a quarter of their value:

Imagine having sunk serious cash into TRUTH Social in the belief that it would become the exclusive home of Donald J. Trump’s hourly musings, only to find that he’s in no hurry to end his social media hiatus and the site’s administrators are struggling to activate accounts for users who signed up weeks ago. We’ll know things have truly gone sideways once Trump starts issuing nasty statements about Devin Nunes.

On his PAC’s Twitter account, I mean. Not on TRUTH Social.

Maybe Don Jr is the family’s real hope for Internet success?