I quit Twitter for a month and it completely changed my thinking about mostly everything.
But the problem that occurs is that it can be a huge mental lease we’re signing when we invite a few hundred people into our Twitter life. To some degree, it is choosing to subject ourselves to thousands of ads throughout the day, but ones that come from trusted sources we care about, so they’re actually impactful.
Even if the people we know aren’t explicitly selling things (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or Promoting their Personal Brand™ (there is everything wrong with that), we’re still choosing to accept their stream of one-second ads with *some* kind of message all day.
We’ve surrendered a massive amount of mental and emotional energy without making the explicit choice to do so—it’s simply imposed on us by subscribing to the channel and checking it.
The Year (or Month?) of the Penpal
Like many of you nerds, I spent an unusual amount of 2012 worrying about Twitter. API changes and App.net and client restrictions and character limits and cards and ads created this weird sort of anxiety about where my online life was going. I’ve long sense quit Facebook, and Twitter has been where it’s at for me online. And while I really value the friendships I’ve made there, I’m starting to worry about what it means to lock my friendships in that platform. Worse, I’m starting to worry what it says about my psyche that I’m reaching for the phone to post or to read on Twitter as a proxy for connecting with other human beings.
Seeing about separating the wheat from the chaff, I want to try a little experiment. Here’s the plan: e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wanna chat about technology, academia, the personal growth stuff we tend to talk about on Dear Blank or really anything else. If we’re friends already? Awesome. If we’re not yet, I’m looking forward to becoming one.
I’m gonna try to keep up with those e-mails throughout January. One of e-mail’s many advantages: the messages can be a sentence long, or they can be five paragraphs. In the meantime, I’m gonna take a break from Twitter, pull the apps off the computer and the phone and see what happens. I’ll still be blogging here, and try to keep up with you crazy kids from time to time.
If January goes well, then we’ll see about February. Either way, I’m excited to try to engage more meaningfully in the stuff we all care about.