No Twitter January

For a few years now I’ve done a “no alcohol” January. I started that after a particularly long New Years Even when I just felt the need to “detox” a bit. I actually enjoyed doing it and felt quite good afterwards. I also found that after totally giving up alcohol for a while, I reduced my overall consumption moving forward. And I lost a few pounds!

This year I added a “no Twitter” policy. I was inspired by Dave Girouard who went further giving up Facebook (which I haven’t been on in years), Twitter, alcohol and dessert. I couldn’t go with him on the last one… I tend to look at Twitter quite regularly, so I wasn’t sure how this little experiment would go. However, after a month I really enjoy the peace that comes with not having Twitter.

The first week or so was the hardest part. I would find myself worrying that I was missing something or was uninformed. Of course, that’s just silly. I get the New York Times Morning Briefing newsletter, which gives me just enough news. And I have my Feedly subscriptions, which pick up the details in tech and fintech. The idea that you’re missing something important is really just in your head.

However, having no Twitter on the phone changed my relationship with the phone. Sometimes I would check email, or read through my Feedly headlines and realize there was nothing left to do on my phone. Previously, I would open Twitter and scroll through for a while. It essentially turned my phone into an endless experience that could just suck up any idle time. Now, I tend to finish my task with the phone and realize there’s nothing there left to look at — and it feels amazingly freeing. It feels like I have retaken control over my relationship with my phone, and that’s a great feeling.

So, I’m back on Twitter now, but I expect to use it much less. I’ve turned on email notifications for replies and DMs so I don’t miss anything. I expect to check in every now and then, but I expect it will be much less a part of my daily life.