Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Twitter Detoxification, A Social Media Addiction Story





Sometime on Friday I sidled out of the big exit door from Twitter quietly, I promised myself that for the next month or so I would only go on Twitter to reply to mentions or to tweet about my new blog posts, that way if people want to chat to me then I'll be there but I won't purposefully go and get lost in the endless scroll of watching what other people are up to and getting involved, it's a pretty intense detoxification process and reminds me of when I gave up sugar for 3 months (yep, I need to do that again too but one step at a time).

So let me give you some background, currently, on Twitter, I have approximately 7800 followers, I follow just over 4000 and I have a couple of lists set up with around 100 people I speak to on a regular basis.  In September last year I was doing as I've mostly always done, dipping in and out, having a bit of a scroll and I got talking to a few people and it kind of just escalated from then really, in October I started talking to M and then because of him I kind of ended up being a member of his Twitter community, 3 months later and I found myself spending all of my time on Twitter, spare moments in between work, days where I have nothing else to do, evenings when I am on my own, Twitter, Twitter, more Twitter.

Twitter is the biggest time suck that there is and I've found myself talking about anything and everything to people I almost know nothing about, it's the place for free speech don't forget but I wonder if I'd just met someone at a pub or a concert would I be so quick to reveal myself? (steady on, you know what I mean) The point is that I feel like I became an oversharer and also I lied to myself that I was a part of a wonderful community but I think it's hard to be in a community with people you don't actually know, it's fake and no matter how much I care deeply about people I don't think it necessarily means they feel the same about me.

What I did do before I wandered off into the bright lights of reality was to move the people I really did care about to FB or Whatsapp because they feel much more real, you can only be yourself on FB and Whatsapp is just like a conversation, it's certainly the way I keep up with my real life friends during the week when we are all going about our business.

There were one or two people I spoke to more than anyone else and it's kind of weird not having that constant connection that Twitter provides but I like to think of this in a real life way, in real life do we know from moment to moment what our friends, family members and the people we care about are doing?  Twitter is a great place for stalkers, I know that and I don't think there's ever a time when anyone would consider stalking to be healthy!

So it's when we separate back to basics that we have more to get on with in our own worlds and more to tell those important people what we've been up to when we do talk, it's a proper conversation, a bit like the one I have with Harriet every day, I don't see Harriet every day but we always catch up with each other, I still don't know what she does with every second of her time though, that'd be weird, right?

I'm not a stalker, I'm not a voyeur, I don't really have an addictive personality but I am someone who doesn't tend to do things by halves so I either give my whole self or I don't give anything at all and that's where my attachment to Twitter isn't healthy,  it's made me put my trust in people who really aren't giving the same back and at the end of the day the only person who's getting hurt in this scenario is me so right now, I have to weather the storm, I have to cope with the deafening silence, I'm not conceited enough to think that anyone will even blink an eyelid or wonder where I've disappeared to, no one is going to be sending out a search party and that's fine, Twitter is so big now that people come and go all of the time.

Me, right now?  I should probably get dressed right, take my dog for a walk in the sunshine, listen to Elaine Paige on Radio 2, make Sunday lunch for Abigail getting here, it's all real life stuff and it's all good...
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