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Flopped blog exposes limits of Trump's media power

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The blog from former President Trump — originally touted as his own social media 'platform' — generated engagement roughly on par with the top posts from mid-market local newspapers, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: Even with his considerable base of support, Trump was unable to defy the laws of social media physics by getting political followers to change their habits.


  • The move to shut down the page this week acknowledged the flawed assumption that if you build it, they will come.

The big picture: The numbers, a far cry from the audience Trump commanded with his Twitter and Facebook accounts, show the limits of Trump's power without access to the biggest platforms.

  • Trump's attention monopoly has steadily waned since late January, as he lost both the power of his office and of his social media megaphones.

Catch up quick: Leading up to the launch of 'From the Desk of Donald J. Trump', Trump's allies teased an upcoming "platform."

  • When it arrived on May 4, it was promoted with a dramatic video saying, "In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises." Some were surprised to see that it was a section of his website populated by tweet-like entries.
  • Trump's team hoped that social share buttons would provide an avenue for his comments to enter into the bloodstream of major platforms via his supporters, which couldn't be done through his previous communications strategy — tweet-like press releases.
  • After 29 days, the blog was shut down on Wednesday. The Washington Post reported that Trump ordered the shutdown after learning of the lousy readership.

What they're saying: Following reports about the site's lowly traffic, Trump called the blog a "very basic site," while aide Jason Miller said "it was just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on."

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When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

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Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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