“Believe Me”

Authenticity, Federal Social Media Use, and the Problematized Record in the American Digital Public Sphere


  • Kathleen Margaret Brennan Alabama Department of Archives and History




This article addresses current issues in authenticating and managing digital-born social media records, with reference to the Twitter output of the sitting President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and members of his Administration. Focusing on Trump’s considerable corpus of tweets created after his inauguration on January 20, 2017, it employs scholarship from archival studies, legal studies, and communication and media studies to explore conjunctive questions of authenticity and its components of identity and integrity in social media records, as well as those records’ roles as archivable objects, legal evidence, and expressions of American information culture within the digital public sphere. Due to the perpetually changing nature of the subject, this article highlights complexities of and raises questions about governmental creation and management of problematized social media records in the United States more than answers them, with the hope that it can act as a springboard for further research. Ultimately, it aims to lead toward a praxis of information management in the United States that eventually rebuilds public trust in governmental institutions and practices, and most importantly, strengthens the transparency and accountability of political leadership on the federal, state, and local levels.

Pre-print first published online 03/03/2019

Author Biography

Kathleen Margaret Brennan, Alabama Department of Archives and History

Records Management Archivist and recent graduate of the Liverpool University Centre for Archives Studies