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The Online Disinhibition Effect By Dr. John Suler

Donald Trump’s use of twitter and the psychology behind it is analyzed through social media phenomena. The article “The Online Disinhibition Effect” by Dr. John Suler and the article “Did social media run election 2016) will be discussed through the point of views of Donald Trump’s use of twitter during the election” by Sam Sanders examines how the use of social media affect behaviors. Dr. Suler’s position is that the internet has a disinhibition effect, which for example, aggravates the use of twitter by Trump.

He also argues online disinhibition is effected by six factors that interact with each other, which include: dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic in-trojection, dissociative imagination, and minimization of authority. The disinhibition phenomenon surfaced due to that people tend to act and express themselves in different ways than they would in real life. Such as, how people seem less restrained, and tend to verbalize more openly when they are online or masked. Suler divides the concept into benign disinhibition and toxic disinhibition.

He further explains that benign disinhibition is a positive effort by the individual to better their physiological and emotional issues, whereby they feel they can work through their issues because of the disinhibition the online world gives them. On the other hand, toxic disinhibition is using the online disinhibition for rude language, harsh criticism, anger, hatred, and threats. For example the approach Donald Trump’s approach to twitter. Clearly, Trump enjoys some level of dissociative anonymity, whereby he separates his online presence to his real life presence.

Trump does not take responsibility for his tweets because the online inhibition is not him in the real world, as well as his behaviors are a result of the sense of invisibility twitter gives. Such as, he does not have to worry how he looks, sounds, other people’s responses, and his nonverbal communications are unseen. Therefore, one can see that Trump uses his communication through twitter is an opportunity to advent the attention to what he specifically wants to communicate.

Another example of Trump’s toxic tweets are seen through asynchronicity, whereas he can respond whenever he decides to. His responses can be instantaneous, happen after a short time, or happen much later on, through this Trump gets a sense that he is able to protect himself more so than how real daily life is. Another aspect is how Trump enjoys solipsistic introjection, which occurs when individuals assign consciously or unconsciously a variety of attributes that are affected by each individual’s world.

Therefore, Trump is able to create a lot of noise, since people will have a different personal introjection into the nonverbal communications directed to them. Suler contends that disinhibition is affected by dissociative imagination, therefore, Trump can feel consciously or unconsciously that the imaginary character created online exists in a different space and the real world is separate and apart from the demands and responsibilities of the real world.

Trump’s online presence does not have the same demands and responsibilities, he has in the real world, he uses twitter as a platform to bully others and not feel responsible for his actions, when he turns off his computer he believes he can leave behind the game of identity, and not have any responsibilities for the cyber world since it has nothing to do with reality. Trump’s language and tweeting signifies another variable in disinhibition, due to his online presence, it minimizes authority.

He felt free to use Twitter as a platform in a toxic way to bully other candidates or officials, senators, and judges since in the cyber world these officials have no authority. The argument is that people are reluctant to say what they actually feel say face to face to an authority figure. Trump would have not put down senator McCain for not being a real hero looking into his eyes. Suler explains that online disinhibition effect has differences amongst individuals, therefore the intensity, feelings, needs, and drive effect the intensity of the disinhibition.

Individual styles vary with the intensity of the this inhibition, therefore two personality types are primarily shown. One type is Histrionic, such as how Trump tends to be emotional and compulsive, and there are others unlike him that are more restrained in what they say. Ultimately, all the factors considered by Suler indicate that’s Trump’s usage of twitter was affected by all six variables, and in fact, because of this histrionic style, the disinhibition within him is more intense than others.

Additionally, there is a shift amongst intro-psychic approaches, whereas individuals express that they feel more of their true selves online than in the real world. Therefore, a release of hostility online indicates the true self rather than real life behaviors. For example, a shy woman is able to express her affection more easily online and may claim to be that this is her true self than in the real world. We must remember that the expression that it is your true self is determined by personal and cultural values that determine the true aspects of one’s personality.

Suler explains that the idea of disinhibition may lead us to a wrong conclusion that disinhibited behavior is a true variable of one’s identity. However, we can get a more complete picture about how a person characterizes by understanding their own perceptions of their true selves. Therefore, we can learn from Trump’s behavior on twitter that his true self is historic in nature, and his real identity in real life is more guarded, he plays down what he says.

His toxic and histrionic personality gives us a more complete picture of his character and personality. The question studied is, how did Trump usage of twitter effect the 2016 election? Whether his presidency is going to be continued and influenced by the use of social media. In Sam Sanders article, he explains how social media negatively affected the election of 2016. He claims that since Twitter messaging allows 140 characters, it makes twitter an unsophisticated political conversation.

In Sanders article, it is stated that “Both the technology itself, and the way we choose to use the technology, makes it so that what ought to be a conversation is just a set of Post-it notes that are scattered. ” (Kerric Harvey, author, the Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics) Harvey states that twitter is not a conversation, but a loud less, obviously it was noticed during the election that, it went from one drama to the other dealing with nonpolitical issues, but rather sexual allegations, and different kinds of noise.

This did not deal with the needed political conversations with the 2016 whereas the candidates would have been able to bring their agenda and differences from one another. This election of 2016 focused on the varied meaningless aspects such as likelihood of a candidate winning, rather than the political agenda they have exhibited. Each candidate, inducing Hilary Clinton tried to delegitimize each other, such as when Trump said Hilary is crooked, and should go to jail, and when Hilary claimed that Trump is unfit to be the president, and will be a mistake to be chosen.

The exchanges amongst the candidates on twitter were short bursts of delegitimization of the other candidates, without a lengthy, thoughtful discourses of important issues our country faces. We can now understand the mean attitudes of Trump exhibited online was adopted by the other candidates, they mastered social media adopted specifically by Trump’s toxic disinhibitions. Additionally, Douglas Guilbeault, one of the researchers from Oxford University stated that, “They reinforce the sense of polarization in the atmosphere,” he said. Because bots don’t tend to be mild-mannered, judicial critics.

They are programmed to align themselves with an agenda that is unambiguously representative of a particular party. … It’s all ‘Crooked Hillary’ and ‘Trump is a puppet. ‘ “ The researcher Guilbeault pointed out that this loud mess does not represent reality, and all these tweets have to be considered which of them is honest and real. Sanders explains that data tracking in cyberspace during the campaign shows that America was less concerned with policy, and more with the drama.

Talkwalker, a social media analytics company found that during the past year on social media, there were three main topics: Trump’s masangeny, Clinton’s email scandal, and Trump’s refusal to release financial tax returns. The CEO of talk walker said “”Social media may have played a role in creating a kind of scandal-driven, as opposed to issue-driven, campaign,” and, “where topics such as Trump’s attitude towards women, Trump’s tax returns, and Clinton’s emails have tended to dominate discussion as opposed to actual policy issues.

A competing company, Brandwatch found that from the time Trump and Clinton started their campaign, in addition to, the three debates, only two policy conversations were in the top ten most tweeted days. The two political conversations were Trump is calling for a ban of Muslims doing in the United States, and Trump’s visit to Mexico, and his decision to build a wall speech a day later. In conclusion, Trump’s toxic inhibition and the various factors that affect online disinhibition were present in Trump’s twitter, the dissociative anonymity, the invisibility of nonverbal communications, and the insynocnicity of the responses.

The introjection of the individual attributing a series of characteristics to Trump that allowed him not to focus on real policy issues but rather on noise and unimportant matters. The dissociative imagination that the online persona creates is not the same as a real life persona and the ability of the minimization of authority created an individual that uses twitter in toxic and destructive ways. Such as how is has affected the ability of the news media and the world of information, of science to focus on real important issues, and it eliminates the ability of thoughtful and constructive intellectual dialogue.

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