It was the UK election in December that finally did it for me.
Although I wasn’t deliberately seeking out political comment and tried muting certain words, collectively, the accounts of the individually lovely people that I follow seemed to create a fairly relentless stream of rage and hate. This negativity and vitriol made me feel unkind towards my fellow humans. Yes, I read and watch the news but let me select it, manage it, ration it and generally avoid ranting or name calling.
But the election was just the last straw. The way I was using and experiencing Twitter wasn’t helping me to be the person I want to be, or hope I am. It was sucking away time. This description, from Jeff Bercovici, maybe an exaggeration of my regular habit but it was close on a couple of occasions. “Skimming a few tweets” easily becomes “scrolling and refreshing mindlessly until I realize the sun has gone down and I’m sitting in the dark with a full bladder.”
I used to feel that it was giving me access to wonderful new ideas, resources and people but increasingly it had become a source of gossip or a dopamine hit when someone liked one of my, increasingly rare, tweets. I’d become a passive user, so busy reading everybody else’s stuff that I had nothing to share.
The other thing that wasn’t making me feel good was RAMO. Resentment At Missing Out. It’s a step up (or down) from FOMO. I also noticed myself become increasingly cynical about, what seemed to be, gushing mutual appreciation and thinly disguised self-promotion.
It’s been a little over 2 months since starting my break. I’m reading more books and articles. It feels like I’m sleeping better and have a greater sense of being present in what I’m doing. Twitter is, can be, a caring, entertaining and enlightening place and I own that my experience has much to do with who I am. Missing people, I’m thinking about how I can return in a way which works better for me. So it’s tot ziens and not adieu, Twitter.