Have You Been Sucked into the Twitterverse with No Way Out?
20 ways to know if you have a Twitter addiction
by Joanne Troppello
Are you one of the 330 million monthly active users on Twitter? If you answered yes to that question, read on to find out if you’re addicted to this social media platform.
No, I am not a clinical psychologist or medical professional. I cannot diagnose your Twitter obsession for real. However, I have been obsessed and I know the symptoms!
The natural reward-based process
In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Judson Brewer shared reasons why people get addicted to Twitter. Check out his reasoning why “Twitter has hacked our brains” and why we enjoy the natural reward-based process of this social media platform.
Trigger – The trigger is when we think of something witty to share
Behavior – The behavior is when we tweet that witty or interesting thought
Reward – The reward is when we receive likes or retweets
According to Dr. Brewer, this learned behavior is reinforced the longer we spend time on this—and other social media platforms. As we get ‘rewarded’ for our ‘behavior’, this “causes a dopamine rush”.
This organic endorphin causes happiness, even though it is short-lived. That’s why through this learned behavior, we want to continue to follow the triggers and behaviors on Twitter and hope to receive a reward.
It can quickly become an addictive cycle. I can attest to that fact!
Additionally, Dr. Brewer warns that there is a “dark side to Twitter” that can have negative side effects to this natural reward-based process. Anytime someone on Twitter reacts negatively to our tweets or we get trolled by another user—we want to lash out.
Believe me, I have experienced this dark side. It’s not fun and can mess with your sanity. Of course, I don’t want to participate in the online drama, but it’s so easy to get sucked into the negativity.
The cycle is similar with negative interactions. However, we receive the reward in “self-righteous vindication” and “approval” from other users who agree that we definitely got back at the offender.
20 signs you are addicted to Twitter
1. You have started to check your Twitter notifications before even checking emails.
2. You catch yourself at work wondering what your Twitter friends are doing.
3. Then you take another ‘break’ to go online to see what those friends are doing.
4. You bring your phone with you to the bathroom so you can read the Twitter feed.
5. If you tweet something witty, you check every five minutes to see if you got any retweets or likes.
6. You can’t watch your favorite series finale without ‘live tweeting’ with fans and cast members.
7. You don’t mind watching said finale live—even though you’ll have to watch commercials, just so you can ‘live tweet’ about it.
8. You spend more time on Twitter than any other social media platform and think that Facebook is not so exciting anymore.
9. You are part of a ‘political team’ and have participated in train rides on Twitter.
10. Your Twitter friends play roles in your dreams instead of your real-life friends.
11. You start to think of Twitter as real life and feel like you’re missing out if you are not constantly scrolling through the news feed.
12. Instead of trying to think of something witty to say in a real life conversation with friends, you are obsessed with thinking up your next great tweet.
13. Rather than contacting a company via phone or email to place a complaint, you call them out on their Twitter account.
14. You and your significant other talk about Twitter and what’s happening there.
15. When you’re on vacation, you can’t wait to tweet photos because you think your ‘followers’ are just dying to see what you’re doing—even if they’re really not.
16. You have to tweet your photos of your latest creations when trying new recipes.
17. You’re out to dinner with your significant other and you’re too busy tweeting and not focused on spending time together.
18. You cannot believe it when you talk to people in real life who have no idea what Twitter is.
19. You tried to take a Twitter break or stop using this platform completely and you had withdrawal symptoms after just twelve hours.
20. If it wasn’t shared on Twitter, then you don’t believe that it really happened.
Admitting your Twitter addiction
Of course, right now due to COVID-19 and quarantine life, vacations and going out to dinner are not happening, but you get the idea. When anything IRL needs to be shared online—you should question whether you have a Twitter addiction.
So, after reading through this list of 20 signs that you may be addicted to Twitter, do any relate to you? Are you addicted to Twitter and is there any way you’re going to quit this platform?
It’s sad, but I am still fighting my addiction to this platform. I started using Twitter to promote my books and online magazine. Then I got sucked into the vortex that is the Twitterverse.
Thankfully, in recent months, I have been able to pry myself away from the Twitter app on my phone and tablet and website on my laptop—and focus on writing more articles. I’ve been using the scheduling feature available on Twitter to schedule my tweets about one week in advance, so I only need to go on the app a few times a day to check notifications. That strategy has definitely helped me become more productive each day.
Not surprisingly, I have felt better and am enjoying the feeling of accomplishment by creating more content and not wasting so much time on Twitter. Be a creator and not a waster of time.
Previously published in Medium.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.