Detox from Twitter.
Without a doubt, I spend too much time on Twitter. I don’t have any formal statistics to prove this claim, but trust me, the numbers aren’t needed.
It’s currently 4:38am and I thought it would be interesting to document what it feels like to log off Twitter, and delete the app. I’m an hour into this experiment and I’m really hoping that being away from Twitter allows me to gain the ability to levitate (or at the very least – read minds).
They say it takes 21 days to build a habit, so here we are starting at day 0. I logged off Twitter on my browser, and deleted the auto-fill password to my account. The Twitter app on my phone briefly wiggled, before I tapped the “X” on the corner of the app icon, making the app disappear into a void.
An hour in, so far so good. I’m using coach.me to track the number of days I can stay away from the social network. It’s just an easy way to keep track of days.
I did unlock my phone a couple of times, and after realizing my G-Mail app had slid into the slot where Twitter use to be, my brain briefly had to reboot. [Insert references to Pavlov’s dog study here etc etc].
My morning routine feels off. Twitter has basically become the morning paper, and I get my daily dose of the news through it. I’m not really sure what’s going on in the world right now.
Also, I had some ideas for tweets I should send, but looks like the world will never be blessed with these brilliant thoughts.
I’m also realizing that it isn’t enough just to be away from Twitter; maybe I need to get rid of all the social networks in my life right now. So that’s what I’ve done. Both Snap and Instagram have also been logged off / deleted form my phone and laptop, after all, what’s the point if all the time spent scrolling through Twitter is just spent scrolling through some other brain rotting application.
So while reading some programmers’ blog, I stumbled across a person I would really like to follow on Twitter. I can either note his username down and follow him in a month when my hiatus is over, or I can just forget about it and move on. I choose the latter. Don’t worry, he won’t even notice my absence.
Was busy with an assignment, didn’t really get to look at my phone.
OK so on the news I stumbled across this article about a well known Twitter troll who fabricated a whole fake news story and I’m disappointed I can’t log in to see what spicy content people are producing regarding this situation. I’m not going to lie, I feel some FOMO.
My phone is essentially a $600 alarm clock. It feels strange not having some sort of a feed to flick through whenever I have downtime. Even if I unlock my phone, it’s not like there is anything to do on it.
I am also not keeping up with politics or the news anymore, but that’s OK. It’s probably good to give yourself a pause from the insanity that is the current affairs.
I’ve also realized it’s pretty much impossible to fully remove oneself from the grips of Facebook. For instance, as much as I would like to delete the Facebook Messenger app, I can’t do so because my group mates for a class project all use Messenger to communicate.
Halloween just passed a couple days ago, and I have no idea what any of my friends went as. To be honest, I don’t miss 99% of people on social media, but I do wonder what some of my close friends (who live far away) are up to. It probably isn’t healthy that so much of the human social experience has been outsourced to timelines and newsfeeds.
There isn’t a whole lot to do on the internet when you completely log off. I know that sounds contradictory to the fact that the internet is probably infinite in it’s vastness, but that’s just how this feels.
They say it takes 21 days to create a habit, well they may be wrong. Today is day 10 and I officially have zero desire to crack open any social media. I also no longer accidentally open up Twitter.com on the browser, only to be foolishly greeted by their “hey log in – come back to us” homepage.
When major events happen, like yesterday’s midterm election or today’s Jeff Session’s resignation, I do wonder what people are saying in the twit-o-sphere, but my curiosity is never enough to think about re-logging in.
The next 10 days were relaeveily uneventful.
I don’t mean that significant geopolitical events didn’t happen, or that I wasn’t busy – I just mean, taken holistically from a birds-eye-view, it all seems relatively uneventful.
There was a Thanks Giving related meme worth mentioning: a viral meme where one is suppose to text your mother asking her how long you should microwave a turkey in the microwave for. I had to learn about this meme through a friend who showed me screenshots of her texting her mother about microwaving a turkey in the microwave. I found it really amusing.
Some final thoughts:
- It took about 10 days for my muscle memory to stop opening various social media websites in new tabs / checking the phone unnecessarily
- I’m not as up to date on politics anymore, though Twitter really brings on a whole (unhealthy) sense of urgency to everything
- I’m not sure what the new memes are
- I’m not really sure when new music comes out
In conclusion, what initially started as a detox from Twitter, turned into a detox from all social media. If you’re fine with being slightly behind on internet culture / politics, and you want to try and get back some of your sanity, logging off social media is a prescription I would highly recommend.
PS. Even though I only wanted to write about my experience of the first 20 days of being away from social media, I don’t really have any urge or need to log back in. So I’ll be remaining logged off.
images from Intercom’s blog.