Twitter Social Distancing

I’m stepping back from Twitter for a month or so. Here’s why.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

On Saturday night, I deleted Twitter from my phone. This morning, I removed it from my iPad. For the rest of August, if I want to interact with Twitter, I’ll either have to open it on the web, or use my MacBook. August is going to be my month of Twitter social distancing.

A decade ago (I’m approaching my 15th anniversary as a Twitter user) I loved Twitter. It was a great place to maintain low level regular contact with interesting people I knew. Even now, I have some great conversations on there from time to time. But something has changed. My Twitter timeline is more performative, more hostile, more aggressive. The journalism part of it is particularly bad. And I need a break from it.

I’ll dig into some of my thoughts behind the reasons why in a later post — it’s partially drafted, but keeps growing, so I’ll use some of the time saved by not doom-scrolling through my feed to finish writing that. But the key point here is that Twitter has been having a notable deleterious effect on my mood and — occasionally — my self-confidence and even mental health. It’s not as bad as it was a year ago at the height of the pandemic, but it’s still there and still a problem.

For the first time in two years, my family and I are heading off on a couple of weeks’ holiday this month. It’s just camping in the UK, but I’d really like the freedom to enjoy that experience without Twitter nagging me with notifications. I really don’t want to find myself mindlessly scrolling the feed in a quiet moment, just because it’s pretty much muscle memory now.

I’ll still periodically check my DMs, and I’ll promote new posts there via Buffer. Some of my posts from my notebook are automatically pushed to Twitter, so I’ll still have a posting presence there. It just won’t be reading much, if at all.

Come September, I’ll decide when or how to return to the platform. But for now, Twitter will be an adders-lite zone.

Our lovely new tent, in which I'll be spending a chunk of this month. 
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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.