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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

How one man’s Twitter habit can rivet a nation

A holiday greeting via Twitter from President-elect Donald

A holiday greeting via Twitter from President-elect Donald J. Trump. Credit: @realDonaldTrump

Take a few seconds to marvel at how Twitter, a decade old, becomes a U.S. president’s go-to mode of communication.

The advantage for Donald Trump is clear. He can say what he wants, unfiltered, at any hour, right away, to hundreds of millions of people.

The downside may be the same. He can say what he wants, unfiltered, at any hour, right away, to hundreds of millions of people.

No radio scripts. No camera crews. No blast faxes or email alerts.

No aides pleading, “Let’s discuss this first.”

Trump can even use it to share funhouse-mirror fantasies. On Nov. 27 at 3:30 p.m., he said that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Not a shred of evidence suggests this claim is even close to being true.

But at least we learned from it that the president-elect felt it looked bad to lose the popular vote.

From the palm of his hand, Trump even issued a famously vague warning on the topic of nuclear arms that’s still subject to interpretation.

Trump tweets lavish praise for his family. He calls his detractors names. He sidesteps and denounces news media coverage. He pouts about “Saturday Night Live” sketches.

Once in office, his finger-taps will hold the potential to crater stocks, worry populations, advertise his rallies and products, and cue his fans to pillory his critics.

Last Monday, his White House spokesman-to-be Sean Spicer called social media a “really exciting part” of the job.

“I think that his use of social media in particular . . . is gonna be something that’s never been seen before,” Spicer told Rhode Island news station WPRI. “He has this direct pipeline in the American people, where he can talk back and forth.”

As for back-and-forth: Trump hasn’t held a news conference since July 27, the day he called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails.

Some news stories are entirely based on his tweets — a monologue, really, that stops and starts at his choosing.

“On the tweeting thing, let me just suggest if I might, we might as well get used to it,” Trump ally Newt Gingrich said last week on Fox News. “This is who he is, it’s how he’s going to operate ― whether it’s brilliant or stupid.”

Which does Gingrich believe? “I think it’s brilliant because first of all, he’s able very quickly, over and over again, to set the agenda,” the former House speaker said.

If you like Trump, following his tweets may help you like him more.

If you dislike him, his tweets will remind you of why.

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