Published On: Mon, Dec 11th, 2017

Is Trump a Twitter addict?

Gabe Zichermann is CEO and co-founder or Onward. His prophesy is to encourage a universe where offset relations between “real life” and record make everybody healthier, happier and some-more truly connected.

The boss of a United States can't seem to stop tweeting. Despite unrelenting recommendation from his advisors and reproof from a world, not a day goes by that POTUS doesn’t expand some tragedy in 140 280 characters. Each of us can describe to creation a amicable media post we bewail after and vowing never to do it again — yet few of us do it on such a open scale.

However, is it addiction?

The answer is surprisingly complex.

Technology-based addictions of all kinds are unequivocally new. Porn, shopping, amicable media, video diversion and shade addictions existed, yet were singular until a appearance of a smartphone. Now, tens of millions of people onslaught to put down their inclination even yet they know better, and billions of us feel a screen-time use is excessive.

Despite a outrageous numbers, a systematic investiture has been unequivocally delayed to acknowledge these supposed “behavioral addictions.” Only gambling is a famous form of obsession in a American Psychology Association’s commotion bible, a DSM… so it competence take a while before Twitter Response Dependence Disorder is described in a literature.

While there competence be no accord on tech obsession as a “thing,” there is no doubt that many technologies are addictive. Twitter for example, uses concepts from gamification to get and keep people engaged. Each time we twitter and accept a retweet, like or reply, your mind secretes a small bit of dopamine. This is a natural, evolutionary response to reinforcement, and a some-more we do it, a some-more we wish to do it. Particularly if we have a vast following (as @realdonaldtrump does), a intensity, volume and immediacy of greeting in a amicable graph can be intoxicating. In this instance, some-more unequivocally is more.


Over a final decade, companies like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have turn masters of behavioral pattern and gamification. They use worldly AI to emanate robe loops that are designed to get and keep we bending for as prolonged as possible. we know this intimately, as I’ve been a cheerleader-in-chief for gamification over a past decade, and worked with many of these companies. Today’s consumer tech giants live or die by engagement, and they can — and will — do whatever it takes to get there.

But there is wish for tech-life balance. In research for my anti-tech obsession product Onward, we found that ongoing tech overusers were totally incompetent to guess rightly how most time they spent online (no surprise!). We also found that users who reported feeling concerned were 2.5x some-more expected to act out in a subsequent 3 hours than users who felt OK.

The upshot of these humiliating statistics is that a complement designed to cruise your time online and predictive states, like Onward does, can be rarely effective during shortening compulsive overuse. Specifically, 89 percent of Onward users reduced their usage, and 51 percent stopped totally in a studies.

The enterprise to stop (or reduce) damaging overuse, yet being incompetent to do so, is one of a normal hallmarks of addiction. Sometimes this is a thoughtfulness of someone’s miss of willpower, earthy or mental energy, fear of stigmatization and/or hopelessness. Also important, however, in treating overuse is to commend that if a chairman doesn’t see it as a problem, it can't — by clarification — be an addiction.

Never mind that they are doubtful to find assistance or attain in recovery, yet a miss of faith in a problem itself creates it unfit to even strech a justification consensus. We trust that de-escalating a tenure addiction, and instead regulating “overuse,” is key. This allows any chairman to set their possess boundary and find assistance for their issues though carrying to strike “rock bottom.”

That tragedy between desire, giveaway will and self-harm is essential in addressing tech-based addictions. Every time someone binge watches Netflix instead of doing their homework, they are — definitely — creation a unwavering preference to do so. They get some pleasure from (or miss thereof) selecting Stranger Things over Statistics.

An justification can be finished that Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and a like are deceiving users and pulling disastrous behaviors notwithstanding justification of harm. Some have even finished a comparison to large tobacco. But there is no cover adult — only companies conceptualizing their products to constraint a pivotal mercantile value they find — engagement.


And therein lies a rub. While POTUS’s tweets competence be disastrous and consequential, unless he thinks he has a problem, there is no basement for reporting pathology. Like a infancy of a race who feel worried with their shade time (but keep doing it anyway), he competence infrequently be worried or sentimental later, yet a function is authentic, consciously finished and definitely reinforced (in his view). Of course, Twitter also advantages from his unchanging use of a platform, and so has small inducement to stifle entrance — no matter what a consequences.

Everything in moderation, as a famous observant goes. Each chairman has to find (and define) their possess red lines and tech-life balance. Collectively, however, there is ascent justification we are overusing a screens, and investigate suggests it’s creation people unhappy. we trust we can be happier though carrying to give adult a energy of new, amicable technologies — yet we have to wish things to be different.

Of course, if @realdonaldtrump — or anyone — unequivocally decides they wish to change their amicable media habit, we’ll be there.

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