Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Why Trump Is a Twitter Genius

Donald Trump's savvy Twitter campaign is helping him win the presidential nomination.

Donald Trump has 6.51 million Twitter followers, up from 4.6 million in October. More people follow him than follow New Yorker magazine, BBC News, and the Washington Post, and he is rapidly approaching more followers than the official account of the President of the United States (@potus). His strategy for using the platform to push his political agenda, attack his opponents, and shape the conversation around his campaign is working and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon.


In an October 2015 article on Trump’s use of the medium, the New York Times recounts an interview with the would-be Republican nominee for president in which he “compared his Twitter feed to a newspaper with a single, glorious voice: his own.” In describing his presence on Twitter, Trump argues that it’s given him a voice to confront his rivals. “I have more power than they do. I can let people know that they were a fraud,” he told the Times. “I can let people know that they have no talent, that they didn’t know what they’re doing. You have a voice.”

Trump started his account in 2009 and up to this point has tweeted over 31,000 times. The New York Times reports that the most frequently used words in his tweets are: “great” (more than 700 times), “winner” or “winners” (43), and “loser” or “losers” (34). According to an examination of over 6,000 tweets from Trump’s account by the Washington Post, the 69-year-old billionaire:

  • Tweets, at minimum, 10 times a day. Some days he tweets more than 50 times.
  • Insults people. 11 percent of his tweets have been insults of or attacks on his opponents, the media, the Republican establishment and/or high-profile women.
  • Retweets praise, self-promotion, or a threat or an apology request to someone who wronged him.
  • “We’ve never seen this before in politics,” Mr. Berland, of marketing firm Edelman Berland said. “This is not just a rally that happens once in a while. This is a continuous Trump rally that happens on Twitter at all hours. He fills the Twitter stadium every day.”

    And who is he filling his Twitter stadium with? People like 53-year-old project manager Eric Popkin. “It’s like a sports team. If you are from New York, and you like the Jets or Giants and somebody is bad-mouthing your team, there is kind of knee-jerk reaction to defend them,” Mr. Popkin told the New York Times. “We have an emotional connection to him. It’s good old human nature.” Trump’s followers love his online twitter campaign. His tweets have been retweeted twice as much as Hillary Clinton’s.

    Like much of Trump’s political campaign, his social media strategy is proving effective, more so than his opponents. It’s hard to argue with six and half million followers, as so many of Trump’s political and social rivals have experienced. And to his credit, Trump has hit the mark with his messaging. His online campaign is resonating with a vast segment of the American population, one that likes vitriol, name-calling, and bullying. As one of his followers described him, Trump is “the Ernest Hemingway of a hundred and forty characters.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but the self-styled defender of the common man certainly would like to think he is.

    Live today! Unfiltered lessons of a female entrepreneur

    Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think, live at 1pm EDT today.

    Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

    Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

    Surprising Science

    Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.

    Keep reading Show less

    Two-thirds of parents say technology makes parenting harder

    Parental anxieties stem from the complex relationship between technology, child development, and the internet's trove of unseemly content.

    Sex & Relationships
    • Today's parents believe parenting is harder now than 20 years ago.
    • A Pew Research Center survey found this belief stems from the new challenges and worries brought by technology.
    • With some schools going remote next year, many parents will need to adjust expectations and re-learn that measured screen usage won't harm their children.

    Parents and guardians have always endured a tough road. They are the providers of an entire human being's subsistence. They keep that person feed, clothed, and bathe; They help them learn and invest in their enrichment and experiences; They also help them navigate social life in their early years, and they do all this with limited time and resources, while simultaneously balancing their own lives and careers.

    Add to that a barrage of advice and reminders that they can always spend more money, dedicate more time, or flat-out do better, and it's no wonder that psychologists worry about parental burnout.

    But is parenting harder today than it was, say, 20 years ago? The Pew Research Center asked more than 3,600 parents this question, and a majority (66 percent) believe the answer is yes. While some classic complaints made the list—a lack of discipline, a disrespectful generation, and the changing moral landscape—the most common reason cited was the impact of digital technology and social media.

    A mixed response to technology

    children using desktop computer

    Parents worry that their children spend too much time in front of screens while also recognizing technologies educational benefits.

    (Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

    This parental concern stems not only from the ubiquity of screens in children's lives, but the well-publicized relationship between screen time and child development. Headlines abound citing the pernicious effects screen time has on cognitive and language development. Professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, issue warnings that too much screen time can lead to sleep problems, lower grades, weight problems, mood problems, poor self-image, and the fear of missing out—to name a few!

    According to Pew's research, parents—which Pew defines as an adult or guardian with at least one child under their care, though they may also have adult children—have taken these warnings to heart. While 84 percent of those surveyed are confident they know how much screen time is appropriate, 71 percent worry their child spends too much time in front of screens.

    To counter this worry, most parents take the measured approach of setting limits on the length of time children can access screens. Others limit which technologies children have access to. A majority of parents (71 percent) view smartphones as potentially harmful to children. They believe the devices impair learning effective social skills, developing healthy friendships, or being creative. As a result, about the same percentage of parents believe children should be at least 12 years old before owning a smartphone or using social media.

    But a deeper concern than screen time seems to be what content those screens can access. An overwhelming 98 percent of those surveyed say parents and guardians shouldered the responsibility of protecting children from inappropriate online content. Far less put the responsibility on tech companies (78 percent) or the government (65 percent).

    Parents of young children say they check the websites and apps their children use and set parental controls to restrict access. A minority of parents admit to looking at call and text records, tracking their child's location with GPS, or following their child on social media.

    Yet, parents also recognize the value of digital technology or, at least, have acquiesced to its omnipresence. The poster child for this dichotomy is YouTube, with its one billion hours played daily, many before children's eyes. Seventy-three percent of parents with young children are concerned that their child will encounter inappropriate content on the platform, and 46 percent say they already have. Yet, 80 percent still let their children watch videos, many letting them do so daily. Some reasons cited are that they can learn new things or be exposed to different cultures. The number one cited reason, however, is to keep children entertained.

    For the Pew Research Center's complete report, check out "Parenting Children in the Age of Screens."

    Screens, parents, and pandemics

    Perhaps most troubling, Pew's survey was conducted in early March. That's before novel coronavirus spread wildly across the United States. Before shelter-in-place laws. Before schools shuttered their doors. Before desperate parents, who suddenly found themselves their child's only social and educational outlet, needed a digital lifeline to help them cope.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has led many parents to rely on e-learning platforms and YouTube to supplement their children's education—or just let the kids enjoy their umpteenth viewing of "Moana" so they can eke out a bit more work. With that increase in screen time comes a corresponding increase in guilt, anxiety, and frustration.

    But are these concerns overblown?

    As Jenny Radesky, M.D., a pediatrician and expert on children and the media at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, told the New York Times, parents don't always need to view screen time as a negative. "Even the phrase 'screen time' itself is problematic. It reduces the debate to a black and white issue, when the reality is much more nuanced," Radesky said.

    Radesky helped the American Academy of Pediatrics craft its statement about screen time use during the pandemic. While the AAP urges parents to preserve offline experiences and maintain limits, the organization acknowledges that children's media use will, by necessity, increase. To make it a supportive experience, the statement recommends parents make a plan with their children, be selective of the quality of media, and use social media to maintain connections together. It also encourages parents to adjust their expectations and notice their own technology use.

    "We are trying to prevent parents from feeling like they are not meeting some sort of standard," Radesky said. "There is no science behind this right now. If you are looking for specific time limits, then I would say: Don't be on it all day."

    This is good advice for parents, now and after the pandemic. While studies show that excessive screen time is deleterious, others show no harm from measured, metered use. For every fear that screens make our kids stupid, there's a study showing the kids are all right. If we maintain realistic standards and learn to weigh quality and quantity within those standards, maybe parenting in the digital age won't seem so darn difficult.

    How meditation can change your life and mind

    Reaching beyond the stereotypes of meditation and embracing the science of mindfulness.

    Videos
    • There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to what mindfulness is and what meditation can do for those who practice it. In this video, professors, neuroscientists, psychologists, composers, authors, and a former Buddhist monk share their experiences, explain the science behind meditation, and discuss the benefits of learning to be in the moment.
    • "Mindfulness allows us to shift our relationship to our experience," explains psychologist Daniel Goleman. The science shows that long-term meditators have higher levels of gamma waves in their brains even when they are not meditating. The effect of this altered response is yet unknown, though it shows that there are lasting cognitive effects.
    • "I think we're looking at meditation as the next big public health revolution," says ABC News anchor Dan Harris. "Meditation is going to join the pantheon of no-brainers like exercise, brushing your teeth and taking the meds that your doctor prescribes to you." Closing out the video is a guided meditation experience led by author Damien Echols that can be practiced anywhere and repeated as many times as you'd like.
    Keep reading Show less
    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast