What do Donald Trump and a bunch of former Tumblr kids have in common? No, it’s not that they’re sad all the time (although, maybe). It’s that they both know what it feels like to lose a blog.
CNBC first reported Trump’s blog, “From The Desk of Donald J. Trump”, was shutting down for good less than a month after its launch. Reports about its poor readership apparently incensed him, which while extremely relatable for anyone who writes online, is incredibly funny. Trump’s blog was going to be his outlet, his way to connect with supporters and regain media attention. But likely virtually every single one of his business ventures (except running for president, funny enough), it failed miserably.
Was Trump’s blog bad, though? If you start with the premise that most blogs are bad, then yes. And if you add that his blog posts were basically fleshed out tweets and campaign emails, most definitely. Trump’s blog was the culmination of months of reports that he was planning to start his own social media platform. That excited both his supporters and the media covering him, because, well, Twitter just isn’t the same without the big guy (probably for the better, but still). But the pot of gold at the end of the rumor rainbow turned out to be measly posts taking credit for things he didn’t do and calling out Democrats. This wasn’t top tier Trump. These were the musings of a broken man who added an extra tab to his website. It’s as if Creed Thoughts.gov came to life, except the real version was an aggrieved and depressed former president.
Plenty took shots at Trump yesterday, adding his blog to his laundry list of failed endeavors. But ultimately those jokes were the only purpose Trump’s blog served. He still commands the Republican Party despite his social media banishment, and supporters can still subscribe to emails or whatever else he decides to do next. In Trump’s mind, of course, he was redefining media. No website before or since would ever be as successful because it didn’t have him at the center of it. No one ever did what he was doing now, and it was going to blow people away. It’s no shock that it didn’t.
But in a sense the blog only existed as a means for everyone who covered him and followed him and made fun of him on social media to continue doing so. It did become an outlet—not for Trump, but for the people who want to see what he has to say, whether it’s to exalt, condemn, or clown it. Trump is assuredly aware of the hold he still has over the American political landscape even in his absence. Despite his seething anger over the blog’s bad traffic (again, hilarious), he knows that people will pay attention to wherever he takes his online talents next, even if only briefly.
Perhaps that’s why Trump is reportedly considering launching yet another platform, although it’s unclear when or even what it would look like. “From the Desk” was apparently “just the auxiliary to broader efforts we have and are working on,” according to Trump senior aide Jason Miller. He later affirmed a tweet that shuttering the blog could be a precursor to Trump joining another social media site. That didn’t work so well with Gab or Parler or any of Trump’s comical Twitter burners, but hey, maybe third (or fourth?) time’s the charm.