Trump has said that Twitter is his way of communicating his thoughts directly with the world, bypassing the more traditional means of using the news media, which he tends to distrust. The president’s daily use of social media begs the questions: Can people be addicted to social media? If so, is President Trump an addict?
“Yes and yes,” answered James Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.
Roberts is a nationally known expert on consumer behavior, social media and smartphone addiction, and the effects of smartphone use on relationships. He recently published a new edition of his book, “Too Much of a Good Thing: Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?” which includes a bonus chapter focused squarely on the Commander in Chief’s Twitter habits.
“Addiction is a strong word,” Roberts said. “It’s best understood and defined as ‘continuing a behavior despite its negative consequences for you and others around you.’ Yes, we can be addicted to social media use just like we can be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addiction can result from any behavior that produces pleasure in the brain.”
In his look at President Trump, Roberts focused on the six core components applied by many health professionals when analyzing substance use disorders – salience, euphoria, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflicts and relapse.
“Our inability to separate from technology is devastating to our well-being,” Roberts said. “Even if it’s not an addiction, it’s a deeply ingrained habit.”
James Roberts, Ph.D. Director, Centre for Nonprofit Leadership and Service, Professor - Marketing
Expert on consumer behavior, human-computer interaction, compulsive buying, and effects of consumerism & technology on individual happiness.