Twitter wasn’t making me me happy but I was checking it all the time. Picking up my iPhone for an unrelated task, somehow my muscle memory would tap on the blue icon and I’d be flipping through my Twitter feed, caring strongly about things I didn’t know anything about two seconds previously. I don’t like when it find myself doing things unconsciously. Sometimes, not all the time, I like to say ”fuck you” to Behaviorism and deny myself my habits just to see if I can. I wanted to see what it felt like to not use Twitter.
I ”announced” my break in my Slack channel for fellow hobbyist productivity mechanics, knowing that my friend Seth had done something similar. I set up a ”No Twitter” goal in the Streaks app, deleted the Twitter from my devices, cleared my browser cookies, and was on my way.
The first few days were hard. I wondered what I was missing: What if something happens that I don’t know about? What if someone makes jokes about ABBA and I can’t help? How will I possibly retire on my internet fame someday? Checking in with my nerds, Seth said that he experienced the same thing—that these feelings would last a few days, then I’d be over the hump and not miss Twitter at all. He was right.
After about a month away, I logged in to Twitter. It felt gross. It felt like eating KFC or Popeye’s chicken after not having it for a long time. It was greasy and I couldn’t finish a two-piece meal when in the past I’d eat a whole bucket. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some flavors there I like, but just not enough to overcome the overall gross feeling in my gut. I love quipping with my friends, but there’s no way to get that on Twitter without also having to hear everyone’s hot take on whatever news story people will have forgotten about by tomorrow.
I’ll still link to my writing and promote in-real-life things I’m a part of, but I won’t be hanging out on Twitter much. I turned on email notifications, so if you mention or DM me, I’ll see it and will probably log in to respond to you. I’m not trying to be a hermit, I just want to use this tool in a different way.
Your mileage may vary. If you use Twitter, I hope it brings you joy. For me? I’m gonna go grill some chicken at home.
- See Exhibit 1: that empty bag of Trader Joe’s branded Doritos. ↩