Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I’ve been taking a vacation from Twitter for the last month. Just after October first, I noticed that my timeline was almost entirely bad (and/or fake) news: Trump, Weinstein, white supremacy, etc.; it had ceased to be a way to keep up to date with the fun things my friends were doing.
Further, it had become a “time sponge”: whenever I had an unoccupied moment (which I have a lot of, given my continuing funemployment), I’d whip out my phone and catch up on Twitter.
So I decided to take a break, and uninstalled the Twitter app from my devices; here’s what I learned:
I only got four direct messages during October; Twitter kindly sent me email notifying me about them, and I used the web site to reply. It also notified me of a few people favoriting my tweets, which was nice.
Right after my break started, the Hollywood Theatre started a Kickstarter campaign to save the Movie Madness video store; I used the web to retweet and/or favorite a few related tweets to support the campaign. (If it’s before November 10th, you can still donate!)
Other than that, I succeeded in my goal of eliminating the constant reminders of how antisocial this social network has become. Instead, if I found myself bored, I’d read the New York Times (and not much of the Trump news!), catch up on blog posts and stuff I’d saved in Pocket, or (and this is the best part), I’d just look around.
Once upon a time (in the era Before Cell Phones), I developed a habit of always waiting for the “walk” sign when crossing streets. I quickly found out two things: first, it was amusingly super-annoying to those I was walking with (since they either had to wait with me, or cross against the light and wait for me on the other side). Also, though, the little enforced timeout gave me time to look around, and I noticed fun things happening around me, novel architecture, etc.
This habit has largely worn off, but my Twitter timeout allowed me to re-engage with my surroundings, which has been great. I do, however, miss sharing things going on in my own life, and I have enough ego to feel like that makes Twitter worse for my friends.
So, for at least the rest of November, I’m going partway back: I’m going to reinstall the apps, and resume sharing stuff, but I’m going to work hard to avoid the habitual catching up. Wish me luck (on Twitter :-)).