What are the real, closeted reasons behind the action of “tweeting”? Why would someone spend hours tweeting to complete strangers he/she has never met before and will probably never meet in person? What needs does tweeting fulfill? Do we really think of the psychology behind our tweeting habits?
Researchers and scientists always have some kind of explanation or another about any given subject or trend! Take Freud for example, he was able to relate every possible human action, dream and thought to some sexual problem or fetish!
In one of the articles I have recently came across, “I Tweet Therefore I Am”, the clinical psychologist Oliver James stated that “Twittering stems from a lack of identity”. He further goes on to say that “no one would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity“. What would you say to such accusations?
Sadly, at least to a certain extent, I would have to agree.
How I see it…
Amongst the many scientific theories I truly respect and even believe in, Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shines through! Whenever I think of Twitter and the possible reasons why anyone would tweet, apart from the obvious sales or marketing efforts, I think of this simple yet highly valid hierarchy!
Here is why…
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Twitter…
According to Maslow, everything we do is derived from and revolves around a certain need we are seeking to satisfy. In his pyramid of needs, Maslow demonstrates how “the lowest level of needs is associated with physiological needs, while the uppermost level is associated with self-actualization needs, particularly those related to identity and purpose. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met, seeking to satisfy growth needs drives personal growth. The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met”.
How does Twitter fit into this equation?
So now that we have established our basic physiological needs such as guaranteeing food, shelter, water and so on and we were also able to cover our safety needs in terms of property, employment and family. We are still not satisfied! What can we do next?
Well, we need to move on in the pyramid and fulfill other needs such as the need for love, belonging, esteem and finally self-actualization.
Twitter can help, on some level, establish those needs to many of its users. Through Twitter, you can easily do the following:
- Meet new people from different backgrounds and various locations around the world.
- Establish connections with others, grow friendships, build relationships and maybe even find love (or at least talk about it to many others who might be feeling the same!).
- Build on self-confidence through interacting with tweeps who continuously praise your tweets, personality, knowledge and/or looks.
- Earn respect from your Twitter peers by providing them with valuable content, tips and links.
- Develop and spread your creativity in an open and receptive Twitter atmosphere.
- Learn new skills related to problem-solving, enhancing interpersonal competencies and improving overall communication habits.
- Win products, through sweepstakes and promotions, that have the ability to make you feel “important” and “unique” such as the Macbook Pro.
- Feel with others on a deeper level through spreading the news about humanitarian causes, environmental problems, economical issues or political debates, and eventually making a difference.
- Achieve fame through proposing ideas that will become trending topics or uncovering site hacks and problems.
So, why do you tweet?
Now that I have listed the psychological needs behind using Twitter, which need would you say Twitter satisfies for you? And do you think there are other needs that Twitter fulfills?