Why I Quit Twitter

Last night, I deleted my Twitter account.

The genesis for the idea spawned from a discussion with a friend about Twitter and its current influence over our lives.  We both had signed up to Twitter for mainly the same reason: self-promotion.  He’s a writer on a few literary websites; I’m a stand-up comic who occasionally writes drivel like this—and we wanted another place for us to promote our respective creative wares.

Over the course of time, however, we realized that instead of using Twitter constructively to promote our endeavors, we had fallen into the trap of using Twitter more as a distraction FROM our creativity.  I know this all too well because I have a habit of getting addicted to technology, much to the detriment of my general productivity.  And lately, I’ve been beginning to resent those things (and myself) for letting them suck me in the way that they have.  I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I’ve spent on all these social networking sites that could have instead been spent working on my craft.

The unfortunate thing about the way the world works now, though, is that I still need to keep my feet in the digital ocean if I want to get anywhere with my craft.  I can’t rely on simply word-of-mouth, but I don’t want to be so focused on promotion that I neglect my creative process.  Yet I still HAVE to have some sort of presence in the electronic world in order to gain any traction.  However, I can still take my life back from the machines to a certain extent, to paraphrase my friend, and I realized that I don’t need a Twitter account anymore.

It’s amazing how something so pointless can simultaneously be so dangerous.  I knew I was addicted to Twitter once I started using it from my phone, which was dangerous.  Because at that point, everything I experienced had to be filtered into thoughts of up to 140 characters.  Instead of just taking things in for what they are, I would constantly ask myself, “Is this tweetable?  Is this tweetworthy?” No, I’m just being an obsessive-compulsive narcissistic twit.  It’s ridiculous.

Twitter gave me OCD.  I never really had it that bad until I started using Twitter.  Here’s an easy way to determine if you have Twitter-induced OCD: if you ever have that moment where you suddenly realize, “Holy shit: I haven’t tweeted in FOUR HOURS!  I must parlay some new piece of digital brilliance into the vast ether, lest I become irrelevant!” then you’ve got it.  If the timeframe gets shorter (“TWO HOURS”) then you’ve got it REALLY bad.

In addition to OCD, it also feeds into your narcissism.  If you’ve never been a self-centered person, Twitter will make you one.  Even the terminology feeds into narcissism: on Twitter, you don’t have friends like you do on Facebook.  You have “followers,” like you’re some fuckin’ cult leader all of a sudden.  Yeah, let me guess—the Brotherhood of What-I’m-Having-For-Dinner.  All it does is give you a major ego trip.  Nobody gives a fuck what you have to say.  Nobody’s ever going to be like, “Oh my God, Riley hasn’t tweeted all day—call the cops!  He’s been KIDNAPPED!  We need a search party out on this guy!”

So, I’ve given up on Twitter.  I still have a Facebook page, and won’t be getting rid of it anytime soon.  I don’t have much of a choice with that, and I don’t mind it most of the time.  I do have some annoyances with Facebook, but I’m saving those for another entry.  I still have a MySpace, for reasons unbeknownst to even God himself.  Have you been around THERE lately?  Jesus Christ.  What a sad, pathetic wasteland that place has become.  I came up with an interesting analogy for the three major social networking sites recently:

– Twitter is like the young, hot 20-year-old who’s good for a short fling
– Facebook is like the more mature 30-year-old who knows what the fuck’s going on, and is in it for the long-term
– And MySpace is like the 40-and-older cougar crowd for when you wanna make some horrible life decisions

To be fair, I do still use MySpace on rare occasion.  I literally only use it to post bulletins about upcoming important shows, and it has worked in the last couple of months to bring out a few people to those shows whom I otherwise wouldn’t have reached.  That’s nice, and Twitter was good for that occasionally, but then I realized that 95% of the people who follow me there (and who aren’t random-ass spam accounts) were already my friends on Facebook, so why even bother with it?

Thus, I’ve pared my social networking activity down to solely Facebook, with the occasional MySpace binge when promoting shows, and this blog (which really isn’t a social networking site, and it can be used constructively).  I think that that’s about the most minimal I can get without completely eschewing technology altogether, which is pretty much impossible nowadays.  To paraphrase my friend again, it kind of makes me feel like Sarah Connor from the Terminator films, which is a pretty cool way to look at it.

Too bad I can’t re-tweet it.

Until next time,

–Riley

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3 responses to “Why I Quit Twitter

  1. I figured since I took the time to read this then I could take the time to post a comment. You make a really good point with what you say. I have a twitter account but I very rarely get on it, not to mention I don’t have internet on my phone so yeah. Basically all I want to say is I agree with you.

  2. I’ve been anonymously quoted!

    Now if only I stil had my Twitter account I could Tweet about how great that is…

    I was online today and after going through my new slimline internet activities I felt a sense of emptiness and boredom. I’ve watched pretty much a whole season of Futurama instead…

  3. I completely agree with you!!!
    I have never even been to twitter to check it out. I asked some people what the big deal was with it and they said you dont do anything but post your status and it seemed pointless to me. Perhaps its my age but I just cant seem to grasp the obsession with telling the world every little thing you are doing while you are doing it. Hang on I have to pee…… lol Most of the time I have trouble finding something interesting enough to say in one status update a day on fb. Sad, maybe, but true.
    I closed my myspace acct roughly a yr ago as I had never much cared for it from the beginning. Sadly what I liked most about it was the being able to being able to make my page pretty. (I still do miss that) However, I am still on facebook, which I had closed a few yrs ago but went back to mainly because it seems to be much easier to connect with people you actually know there… and of course the black hole of time sucking apps. :P
    I enjoyed your article and am headed now to add you on fb :) woo hoo!!!

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