What It’s Like to Give Up Twitter

I wasn't allowed to tell this little bird what I wanted to say
I wasn’t allowed to tell this little bird what I wanted to say

Somehow, it came to be that for Lent I would be giving up tweeting. Not that this was a walk in the park for me, but it was something I had been contemplating doing for a while previously, but only for a week or two.

To be honest, I felt like I was abusing the social network in some way or another, excessive tweeting (although not to the degree of some Twitter users), using it just to slam other social networks and absolute nonsensical rubbish that was the first thing that came into my mind. Quite why anyone wanted to know how intoxicated I was at the Journalism Awards party is beyond my sober self.

As the date of the task drew closer, it occurred to me the enormity of the task ahead. I’m a self confessed information addict – I love learning new things first, and things that nobody else know. I was allowed on Twitter to read what everyone else was saying, I just wasn’t allowed my own voice there.

At least I didn’t get to see this page as frequently…

Immediately after Lent began, I just tried to not associate with Twitter as much as possible, even reading it. The reasoning was the less I saw something I wanted to interact with, the better. It worked.

Until six days in, when I caved about something petty in the grand scale of things. After that I drew a line and started again.

It was much less difficult from then on. In the long run it was actually pretty easy to “not tweet”, as it were. Once I told myself (and others kept reminding me) that I wasn’t allowed to, it was more a case of not breaking habit, something that motivates me in itself.

Of course, there were downsides. The reason it was even suggested was because I use Twitter more than most, and I love finding out things first, and learning new things (even if it is what you happened to eat for breakfast). I missed out on being able to tweet about news such as the Pope being elected, The Budget – which is important, alright – and stuff that interests me like new album releases and other tidbits of information from people I follow.

I got quite a few people coming up to me asking why I wasn’t on Twitter as much, or that they enjoyed my tweets, or when I was allowed to start again. It was really nice to hear, but so disheartening at the same time. I almost felt like I’d let that handful of people down, but I wasn’t going to throw it all away when I was so close.

Even with the last two weeks of Lent falling when I was relatively not busy (with being off for Easter but not home) I wasn’t worried about it at all.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering why you stumbled across the diaries of a drug addict’s rehabilitation. Laugh if you like, but I imagine this was similar to what that must be like (although clearly, much easier for me). Social media is an addictive game for some people. Seeing the likes, retweets, and reblogs roll in make a lot of people feel good about themselves, and I can see why now.

All in all it was a fantastic idea to do this, and it’s really helped me out in the long run. I’m not going to be tweeting some of the asonine rubbish that I did before – although never say never, I like putting a bit of myself into my tweets and I hope that carries on. I did miss some important stuff, but it also made me realise that I shouldn’t just be tweeting whatever comes into my head.

If anyone else is thinking of jacking it in for a week – and that ‘it’ could literally be anything – I highly recommend it. On the other hand, you could just tweet this post out to everyone that follows you…

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