Twitter Addicts Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms When They Can’t Tweet [STUDY]

Are you a Twitter addict?

Try quitting Twitter cold turkey for a few days and see what happnes. No reading tweets, no tweeting, no clever hashtagging allowed.

Why would you consider such a thing? Because if you’re a Twitter addict (and we bet you are), you’ll likely feel withdrawal symptoms – and it’s better to be aware of your addiction now and do something about it than suffer needlessly later (if you’re ever separated from the microblogging platform against your will).

And it’s just kind of fun to freak you out.

The Telegraph shares a study by researchers at the University of Winchester where “ten prolific tweeters were asked to stop using their accounts for four weeks.” Guess what happened to them? “Many quickly became isolated from friends and family and reported feeling ‘cut off from the world.'”

Was the sample group just overly dramatic?

Not likely. And also not such a horrible addiction to have, regardless:

Dr David Giles, a [l]eader in media psychology who led the study, said that heavy use of social networks is not necessarily dangerous. “Some people would argue this addiction to social media is eating away at people’s lives, but what most of these so-called addicts are doing online is profoundly social,” he said.

The study, commissioned by first direct, also showed that those who had avoided social media in the past could find it useful and enjoyable. Researchers took ten people with inactive Twitter and Facebook accounts, and ten who had never used social media at all, and asked them to regularly tweet and update their Facebook status for four weeks.

One participant said: “I thought I would find using Facebook every day dull and pointless, but I’m finding that I’m quite enjoying it. I’m actually seeing my friends more now.”

Isn’t that great? A study on addiction went out and recruited new addicts! Bravo.

But he’s only trying to help, really – so you’re not labeled a digital vagrant in our brave new world:

Dr Giles believes that more people will eventually be forced to accept using social media as a fact of life. Life is getting more difficult for people who lack an email address or Facebook profile, and companies increasingly treat them as the “vagrants of the digital age”, he said.

Oh and one final note: Twitter users beat Facebook users when it came to coping with withdrawal: “The research showed that Twitter users coped better than their Facebook counterparts with being cut off from their accounts.” Researchers chalked it up to Twitter’s “less social” nature, but we think it clearly points to the overall awesomeness of Twitter users when compared to those frequenting Facebook.

How do you think YOU would handle saying sayonara to Twitter for an extended period of time?

(Girl image from Shutterstock)

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.
Publish date: April 11, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT