Today In Twitterverse: Arguments From British Psychologists

A reporter for The Sunday Times of London asked a handful of psychologists to analyze why people use Twitter.
The scientists came back with some pretty damning reasons. Like this one, from clinical psychologist Oliver James.

“Twittering stems from a lack of identity. It’s a constant update of who you are, what you are, where you are. Nobody would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity.”

Somehow, I don’t think James is a big Twitter user. It’s more than “a constant update of who you are, what you are, where you are.”
Dr. David Lewis, a cognitive neuropsychologist and director of research based at the University of Sussex, says:

“Tweets are really just a series of symbols. The person writing it just wants to be in the forefront of your mind, nothing more.”

These two assessments are actually pretty funny. I do see how these fine gentlemen could come up with these conclusions, and they may even be correct in some cases, but their views are shockingly narrow.
There’s nothing wrong with the desire to share or the act of sharing itself and that’s what Twitter is fundamentally about. Some may share self-promotional blather all day, but others share links to news, news itself, links to photos, short bursts of poetry and/or comedy, etc.
How one uses Twitter is a revelation about one’s identity. If one is self-centered it’ll show. If one is generous it will show.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.