013 - Twitter is still an addiction

I've been spectacularly unsuccessful at weaning myself off of Twitter. This is exploring what it is that keeps bringing me back and some thoughts on how I might break the cycle.

Twitter is a drug and I seem to have an addictive tendency towards using it. It's designed to make you spend time on the site/app and keep coming back for more. But it doesn't have our interests at mind. A few user-hostile patterns do seem to stand-out for me:

Essentially, Twitter is bad for you and me. Even Twitter thinks so. Obviously, Twitter is still providing the service because they, or rather their investors, really want to make a profit at some point in the future. Not using Twitter would rather dash those hopes.

I tend to (ab)use Twitter at specific times or settings during the day:

So where to next? What can I do? What do I want to do?

I don't think it's entirely reasonable to completely leave Twitter as I did with Facebook in 2017. After all I see need somewhere to post links to the blog posts I write as otherwise nobody would ever read them. (Actually, I'm not sure anybody does read them, as I don't keep stats on visitors, and so have no idea if anybody drops by when I post a link to a post. But still I write, sporadically ...)

However, I can stop reading Twitter, and that means breaking the habit of doomscrolling, which is context sensitive. I stopped smoking 25 years ago by giving up just as I was getting on a flight. It was still legal to smoke in the airport (yeah, I know), but not on Air Canada at that time. It was an 8 hour flight and I'd given up a few times before. And I just decided. Enough was enough; no more cigarettes. And it stuck. I was on holiday, I didn't smoke for 4 weeks (long holiday) and never went back. I had a context change which was enough to break the habit.

I guess part of the problem is the idea, implanted perhaps, that Twitter is necessary. I've got over 1,000 followers, which isn't a lot, but by heck, it's a lot to me. They (you maybe) apparently see my incessant retweets of doom-laden messaging about the current scandal that Johnson-the-bastard is involved with, or how Brexit is the catastrophe that we all mostly said it would be. I'm sure it doesn't do their/your/my mental health any good at all. Is Twitter necessary? Or would we be better off without it. I really do long for the days in 2007 (when I joined Twitter) until about 2011/12 when Twitter was mostly just geeks chatting to each other about programming, mech-keyboards, and other such low-issue topics. It was fun, for heavens sake.

But back to the context switch, the magical moment when doing this becomes doing that, and somehow ensuring that that doesn't include doomscrolling Twitter.

So the first strategy I'm going to employ is: do something else when you think you want to doomscroll on Twitter. Like write a blog post; see what happened.

I'm publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com

My 100 days to offload aren't necessarily 100 days in the same year. Just as a clarification, in case it wasn't obvious.