Tweeting Out Reactance

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Reactance at its Finest

When the government of Turkey banned the use of Twitter in the country, the citizens circumvented. After the prime minister announced the ban, the number of people using Twitter increased immediately. The only people who were not on Twitter were supporters of the government who did not want to circumvent and those who lacked the necessary skill to circumvent. The Turks got more determined and practiced to circumvent. The government saw Twitter to be politically involved and hoped the ban will end this. Unfortunately, it turned to be a disaster to the Turkish government but also showed the Turks creative and resilient response.

According to Aronson, Wilson and Akert (2013), administration of strong prohibitions is harmful. A strong prohibition always tends to fail and makes people to be more interested in the activity that is prohibited. Aronson, Wilson and Akert, (2013) explain this using the reactance theory where he suggest that people never want to feel their freedom of doing or thinking about something is threatened. In cases where the freedom is threatened, a state of reactance that is unpleasant is aroused, and the only way to reduce this reactance is through doing the behavior that is threatened.

Thus, in the case of Turkey, people’s freedom to use Twitter was threatened. The social media connected many people where they would socially interact, and hindering them from this activity denied them their freedom. To restore the people’s sense of personal freedom and choice, they practiced how to circumvent and the usage of Twitter increased dramatically. Hence, the government mission failed since they opted to impose a message that was too strong making people to tweet more.





Aronson, E., Wilson, T.D & Akert, R.M. (2013). Social Psychology. Pearson: Pearson Education, Inc.




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