A bit of a social break

I’ve recently pushed passed 38,000 tweets and I’m not really sure how I feel about it.

To continue to get the most value from Twitter over the years I’ve tried to change the way I use it as often as I felt as though I needed to. I’ve followed hundreds and thousands of accounts at a time, or — like currently — nearly none at all. I’ve created many carefully curated lists with thousands of accounts to help me get exactly what I want from Twitter when I want it. And I’ve deleted all of them and started over a few times. It helped me to always feel as though I was getting as much out of Twitter as I was putting into it.

Sadly, though, during my use of Twitter I have found myself distracted, detached and aloof from the people I’m in the presence of, addicted to checking “what’s going on” (even checking Twitter while driving), and generally wasting a lot of time. Bleh.

Every activity in life has pros and cons, though. Right? Sometimes you don’t know which side will win with any given activity on any given day. Walk into a coffee shop to get a coffee in the morning and if the place isn’t busy you’re in and out without wasting much time at all. But, show up when things are crowded and you’ll find you’re just standing in line. Does this mean you stop getting coffee in the morning? Unlikely. And, sometimes when you’re waiting in line is when the most amazing things happen. Twitter is like this. Open Tweetbot one day and find tons of great stuff, meet a new person, land a paying project, be referred to someone you otherwise wouldn’t have met, etc., open it another day and find nothing but people complaining about last night’s TV-award show. It has always been a roll of the dice.

A few months ago I took a two week Twitter break. It was really nice. Very relaxing. It went by quickly and I think in that two-week span I may have sent one or two work-related tweets in total.

As of today I’m 12 days into a 30 day break from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I have sent a total of four tweets during the last 12 days — I sent a few while at NEPA BlogCon since Coalwork was sponsoring the event and I’ve sent one or two because it was simply the only way I knew how to get in touch with a particular person or company. I’ve sent one Facebook message because that was the only way to get in contact with that person and I haven’t looked at Instagram at all.

While I don’t check Facebook or Instagram nearly as often as Twitter, I do find myself with the Instagram app open on my phone a few times a day. Which is too much.

If you were to add up the cumulative time I’ve spent on these social services and told me the total I’d be very likely to vomit. Again, not because I haven’t benefitted in some ways from using them, but I’m fairly certain my life is no more better off than those I know without accounts on any of these services.

Where would I be without Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram? Would I think my life was more or less enriched if I had never discovered them at all? I don’t know.

I think that is enough to tell me that taking a break after 8 years is probably worth it. I wanted to get to 30 days but as of today I can see it going much longer than that. I’ll report back and see how it goes.

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