Sometime around April of 2007 I joined Twitter. The exact date I cannot be sure of because since that time I’ve deleted my account simply to start over more times that I can count.
In the beginning I joined not knowing what to expect. I kept a private account to keep my complaints about my at the time employer to myself and was very reserved in what I shared and how I interacted. At the time Twitter was more or less a reflection of my introverted physical self but in the digital space.
Over time my use of Twitter changed. I realized that a private account wasn’t allowing me to branch out and use Twitter to its fullest extent. I soon started realizing that not everyone whom I connected with on this (or any other online social media) network was entirely creepy, although many of them were and still are. I started to create some digital connections that eventually lead to many meaningful physical ones in turn providing me with a great pool of people I now know many of whom I call friends.
During this time, when I was changing how I used Twitter, it changed me as a person. I started to become less introverted. I started to engage with people more, overcame many of my fears and anxieties and became part of a larger community that I felt was trying to improve the very place I called home. Twitter provided me an outlet to learn more about who I was as a person, an outlet that until that point I’d never been able to find. Perhaps the most important piece about the influence Twitter had over me as a person was how well it facilitated the building of physical connections that simply began as digital ones.
Just over a year ago I found myself taking a break from Twitter for about a months time. While I had taken breaks from Twitter and other social networks in the past, for days at a time, I never felt the need to completely remove myself for a longer period to reflect. Over the month I came to a number of realizations about myself as a person but in the end I couldn’t reach a concrete understanding of what value Twitter provided my life anymore. I wrote about my experience if you care to read it. It provides slightly more context and explanation. You can read what I wrote here.
In parallel to what I had been trying to discover with my sabbatical from Twitter in October of last year I had been struggling with similar thoughts surrounding Facebook for a much longer time. Almost a year ago I made the decision to leave Facebook for good. Over the past year I haven’t really noticed or been bother by not being on the world’s largest social network and if anything I’ve been bothered less. I have rejoined since but not in a social capacity; I rejoined simply to fulfill some support for organizations and business I occasionally complete volunteer work for. Rather than restating what I spent time already writing about I’ll simply lead you to what I wrote on the topic and my ultimate decision to leave Facebook.
So my decision to leave Twitter as of yesterday should really come to no surprise to those who know me best. Between the sabbaticals I’ve taken, the deleting and reactivating of my profile and the deleting of my Facebook account this decision was simply a matter of time as far as I’m concerned.
Over the years my use of Twitter has gone from a place to complain to a place to build connections but more recently I’ve been concerned of the way my use of it has been heading. Over the past six months or so my use of Twitter as a beneficial element for improving my quality of life has been in decline. I’ve deleted my account once during this time to try and solve any issues I was having, I eventually rejoined and realized that quitting and coming back wasn’t any type of real solution.
Recently I’ve followed fewer and fewer people as an attempt to keep out much of the worthless content, I’ve started to mute more and more of the hashtags I simply don’t want to pay attention to and I’ve grown tired of being caught in the middle of and being drawn into far many cyclical arguments. I’ve grown tired of following individuals only to be inundated with promotion of the business or organization that they work for and while I appreciate this is part of their life I simply am not interested. In addition, and most importantly, I’ve found myself using the service in ways that have become detrimental to who I am as a person and my mental state and this is something I simply don’t need. Twitter has ‘past its prime’ as far as my use of it is concerned and it is time to move on.
As for the sudden deleting of my Twitter account, it’s just like taking off a band-aid. Although it may be painful and abrupt the best thing you can do it just do it. This decision wasn’t made based on any one incident or because of the action of any person but rather a culmination of many things over time that simply got to the point where I had to end it. No regrets.
Recently Adam Brault has been receiving a great deal of attention for his decision to quit Twitter for a month. Perhaps he deserves the spotlight but the reality of his choice is that it’s not novel by any means. As I shared earlier I made the same decision over a year prior to him doing so and since then others, like Patrick Rhone, have made similar choices which he so eloquently summed up in a post earlier this year titled Twalden. I mention these other individuals and their writings not to ‘ride on their coattails’ but rather to simply acknowledge the fact that I’m not doing anything all that drastic or special and that I’m not alone.
So with that all said, for the time being I won’t be found on Twitter (or Facebook) and those wanting to connect with me will need to find other means. Email, SMS, the telephone, Skype or in person are all other acceptable ways to connect with another human being as far as I’m concerned and I’m open to any of them.