Friday, July 15, 2011

Experiment over

A year-and-a-half ago, I joined Twitter.

This week, I left Twitter.

It was several months in the making. I just didn't get much out of it. My tweets became fewer and more pointless, and I'd disappear for longer periods.

If I was using Twitter for my job, I would definitely still be on it. There are abundant benefits to Twitter when you work in the communication field.

But I was on Twitter for the fun of it. And you know what? I don't think it's that much fun.

In fact, over the last few months, Twitter made me more and more aggravated. Although it's great for getting information out, it can also be very irritating. I just didn't like what I was reading a lot of the time, and I'll leave it at that.

Basically, Twitter is filled with things I don't care about. The most mundane daily activities possible sometimes. This is one of the reasons I don't have a Facebook account. So why did I have a Twitter account?

Then you add the fact that I didn't think I was really contributing anything there. My tweets were flat-out stupid.

In short, Twitter became a chore. Something else to do.

A few days ago I read a story (in an actual newspaper) about how involved people are in social media, and how people are on the verge of overload. The story mentioned Dunbar's number, which is the outcome of a theory saying that there is a maximum number of people with whom anyone can keep a social relationship. This number is hard-wired into our brain.

That number is 150.

I had 140 Twitter followers. It's not like I had a relationship with all of them. I didn't even know who a lot of them were. But you combine that with the 260 followers on the blog, and, I started to think about what the point was to all of it. I started to think "what am I really trying to achieve here?"

I know what I'm trying to achieve on the blog.

I had no idea what I was trying to achieve on Twitter. And it's been that way since the first day.

I just find the blogs to be a happier and more substantial place. They just fit me better. I like to think I can't be confined into 140 characters. Or maybe I'm just way too chatty.

So, I entered this Twitter experiment with apprehension -- uncertain of what I could do in a new arena. And I leave it just as uncertain. In another way, Twitter could serve me well. But right now, as the third bird, it's just extra work.

Perhaps I'll miss out on a group break here or a contest there. But I'll also miss out on a bunch of stuff I have never cared about.

I don't mean to offend anyone who uses Twitter frequently. You've found a communication forum that you like and that fits you. I totally get that. I defended Twitter for over a year to people who questioned its necessity.

Some of you may be saying to yourself, "you're overthinking this."

Maybe. But I can't help how I feel.

So, yes, Jeff Twitty, I'm done with Twitter.

Hell hasn't frozen over after all.


  1. I enjoy Twitter, but I get how it's not for everyone.

    If you're not getting anything out of then there is no need for you to be there. I use it a lot to catch up news and find information that I am missing out on, especially when it comes to work. That's my number-one priority when I use it.

  2. I guess I'll just have to stick to harassing you here on the ol' blog!

  3. I couldn't have said it better myself! I barely use Twitter or Facebook myself.

  4. I only recently started using my account. At times it does seem pointless. I don't have a smart phone so I can't access the web away from a computer. By the time I get a chance to tweet something it seems like old news. I still use it occasionally to spread the word about something going on at my blog, but that's just about it. I figure people really don't care what I'm doing every second of every day.

  5. I have a Twitter account, and I have my blog posts automatically feed right to it so people on twitter are directed there. Other than that I don't tweet too much, but I do tend to read others' tweets.

  6. I've never had facebook, or twitter. And I haven't missed anything on the news or anything relevant.
    It's great for the kids who absolutely need to know what their friends are doing every second, and vice versa, but it ain't for me.

  7. I haven't twitted a single twoot since 2009 and I STILL get at least 2-3 followers per week. I think I'm going to wait until I hit a thousand and then mock them all.

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  9. Eh, this is why you have to be selective about who you follow on Twitter. If people start tweeting about random crap they are doing in their personal lives, I stop following them. But for certain things Twitter is surprisingly informative. For example, I can follow the debates of my local state legislature through the Twitter feeds of various state capitol reporters. Other people do post consistently interesting/funny/informative tweets that you wouldn't necessarily find duplicated in their blogs. Plus, I use a twitter client (Nambu for Mac) which stays on the end of my screen and eliminates the need for using a browser to actively visit/refresh the Twitter website.

  10. I follow exactly one person on Twitter, my daughter. She makes 20-30 posts a day, mostly stream of conscientiousness type stuff about whatever is going on at home or at work. I find her to be very witty (she is my daughter). She knows I'm following her of course but it doesn't seem to inhibit her at all. This seems to be what twitter is about. Pointless little conversions with your friends. I only post when I have a web site I want to share with her.

  11. A couple of other blogs seem to have a heavy presence on Twitter, so I considered joining. Doesn't sound like I'm missing that much.
    I've always felt that Twitter is probably blogging for people with short attention spans anyway.