I feel as if I start every post about Twitter with the same words. I both love it and hate it, blah blah blah. Well, this time a billionaire baby annoyed me, so I quit for a bit and then decided to set myself a new monthly challenge. I’m 10 days into “No Twitter November” and I have a few observations.
I’ve known for a long while I’ve had a deep-rooted muscle memory Twitter itch. Despite all of my attempts, I can’t stop my unconscious brain from grabbing a device and opening Twitter whenever I am bored. I do it without thinking, and often only catch myself after minutes of doom scrolling.
Thankfully, this has dried up fairly quickly, but I’m not going to lie, the first few days were frustratingly bad. I had to make sure I had signed out everywhere and had no apps installed. The sight of the sign in screen was good enough to jar me back into the real world and stop me from going any further. In the last couple of days it has only happened twice when compared to the first few days occurring a couple of times an hour.
Using Mastodon a bit more has helped / replaced this, so I feel like I am cheating a bit. However, that place doesn’t give me the same hate filled rage and leave me feeling deflated, so it’s a net win.
The Logged-Out Experience Sucks
There are a few newsletters I subscribe to that include some funny tweets, or useful threads to check out. Mostly these show fine, but others require a tap, and if they do, I am usually immediately hit with pop-ups to sign in and “join the conversation”. It sucks that I can’t consume the information logged out, but I expect nothing less.
I debated log and hard if even reading these tweets constituted cheating, but concluded it didn’t. This was further confirmed given the terrible experience if I’m logged out anyway. Every so often you can see what you need to and the screen is taken over if you scroll down, sometimes you’re blocked entirely. It sucks.
75% Of Media Relies On Twitter
After a few days of no Twitter, I began to see it everywhere. At first, I put this down to some kind of withdrawal, but it soon became obvious how much of the news sites, personal blogs and YouTube were covering things that happened on or about Twitter.
Granted, this was exaggerated by the baby billionaire doing his best to burn it down. There aren’t many “did you see what happened on Twitter” water cooler moments, but a gigantic percentage of news is about what so-and-so tweeted or other things linked to the service. I now entirely understand why journalists feel like they are chained to checking Twitter. Which leads me to my last point.
I Miss People
There are a few people who have joined me on my jump from Twitter, but many have not. I miss the interaction I got (no matter how small) from people that I’ve met over the years. Reading their life updates and learning new things they are up to.
Some of this has moved to a group chat, but it doesn’t feel the same. I do miss Twitter when it’s good, and I wish there was some way to make it work, but the longer I spend off the service, the more I realise it is the right thing to do. Perhaps in time I will realise that this space in my brain is better used elsewhere, but presently I miss it. There are a few people that I only interact with on Twitter, so I’ve had to stalk people’s Instagram or find another way to contact them.
Ultimately, I do see myself dipping my toe back in, but perhaps in a much reduced basis. It may take more time to work out the way I am going to gain the little community I had, but I think it can also be built elsewhere too. There’s another 20 days to go, so things might change by then, I’ll let you know.