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- Republican Sen. Ben Sasse quit Twitter over Christmas last year, after having built himself a reputation as one of Congress’ most prolific tweeters.
- Sasse said he will return to social media at some point in the future, but in a limited capacity.
WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Ben Sasse is known as one of the more prolific Twitter users in Congress, often writing his own tweets himself to chime in on policy issues, crack jokes, and in some cases, rebuke President Donald Trump. But over Christmas weekend last year, Sasse stopped tweeting and has not picked up the phone since.
“We don’t have smartphones in our house much on Sundays,” Sasse told Business Insider. “Christmas weekend I decided to take a longer-than-just-Sunday social media Sabbath. And after it had gone on four days it felt pretty great.”
Sasse disabled notifications on his phone and no longer writes his own tweets on his personal account, @BenSasse. He said that occasionally a friend or colleague will send him a link to a tweet via text or email or that sometimes he will read embedded tweets in news articles, but otherwise stopped looking at Twitter altogether.
The first-term Nebraska senator looked at his sabbatical from Twitter as a healthy decision too, because “there’s just a ton of data about the way social media is designed to create dopamine hits for teenage kids.
“We tend to have sort of this nature-nurture theory that most of us have about development that it turns out in teenagers there’s not a hard line between nature and nurture,” he said. “Because nurture ends up affecting ongoing frontal lobe brain development.”
In Sasse’s 2017 book, “The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis,” he wrote about how the United States is “living in an America of perpetual adolescence.” His wife is from a similar background, having worked as a school administrator and guidance counselor.
Sasse said because he and his wife were thinking about his own children’s’ social media consumption, two of whom are teenagers, some changes were necessary.
But Sasse is not off Twitter for good. He said he will return to social media sometime down the line – albeit in a limited capacity.
“I think when I return to social media, I’m gonna create a bunch of rules for myself that flow from stuff my wife and I have been thinking about for our kids,” Sasse said. “So I’ll be back, but I just haven’t decided a timeline.”