In a lengthy interview with Newsweek, former President Donald Trump’s senior advisor Jason Miller said that Trump has been feeling much happier since he got kicked off social media. “The president has said he feels happier now than he’s been in some time,” Miller said. “He’s said that not being on social media, and not being subject to the hateful echo chamber that social media too frequently becomes, has actually been good.”
Look. We’re all adults here, so we know to take this sort of stuff with a grain of salt. People have said a lot of things about Trump over the last four years, and it’s tough for the American public to know what’s true, what’s not and what’s sort of in the middle. So, we at RELEVANT cannot confirm the words of one senior advisor about the current emotional state of former Home Alone 2 actor Donald Trump. And we should also note that he is in the midst of his second impeachment trial, so his mood may have soured considerably since this conversation. But, that said, why wouldn’t Trump be happier off Twitter? Come to think of it, why wouldn’t any of us?
Twitter is mostly bad for us. Some studies show that it has a negative effect on your life satisfaction and subjective wellbeing, and has even been linked to depressive symptoms. Now, that’s not always the case. Other studies have offered some counter-evidence, suggesting a weaker relationship between social media use and personal mood than is widely assumed. Most researchers agree that it’s not necessarily if or when we use social media that effects our mental emotional health, but how. Professor Derrick Wirtz of UBC Okanaga found that social media users who tend to use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to mindlessly scroll often reported feeling more negative — possibly because the doomscrolling leads to unfavorable comparisons to others who appear to be living happier, healthier, more aesthetically fulfilling lives. But Wirtz also found that people who use social media as a way to communicate with others, engage in friendly conversations and interact online reported feeling happier after they used social media.
“If we all remember to [use social media to engage with others], the negative impact of social media use could be reduced – and social networks sites could even have the potential to improve our well-being and happiness.” Wirtz told Journal of Happiness Studies. “In other words, we need to remember how we use social media has the potential to shape the effects on our day-to-day happiness.”
Social media is just a tool. It’s not good or bad by itself. But how we use it can make a huge difference in our mood. Based on lived experience, it sure looks like Trump was using Twitter to vent about how unfair everyone was being to him, which isn’t exactly part of the Wirtz’s recommended uses. All things considered, it’s entirely plausible that Trump has been happier since Twitter banned him from the site. Maybe we should all be so lucky.