Have you ever sneakily checked your Twitter feed while having a conversation with someone or felt compelled to check it, bleary eyed in the middle of the night? Have you ever lied about the amount of time you spend on Twitter or checked your feed for mentions while sitting on the toilet? I have.
Much as I love the buzz of Twitter and the network of people, ideas and information it has introduced me to, I often worry that it has taken over my life. I have become too dependent on the frequent squirts of endorphin associated with Twitter mentions, re-tweets and positive feedback. Large amounts of time spent on-line have also resulted in losing a perspective which would provide a cushion for me when things don’t go quite so well online (negative feedback, minor arguments or simply being ignored).
I miss the relative boredom of standing in line for lunch, waiting for a kettle to boil or even watching TV without feeling compelled to see what my social network is sharing. I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to read fiction, blogs that are any longer than a few hundred words and concentrate on any job in hand that doesn’t involve some sort of instant feedback (how am I doing so far?).
Over the few months I’ve been doing my best to limit my exposure to the online world to set times of the day. I have deleted all Twitter clients from my phone (permanently), taken self imposed social media breaks every few weeks, bought a non-internet ‘pay as you go’ phone for vacations and limited the number of people I follow.
The good news is that compulsion to check, recheck and share seems to be abating. I’m reading some fiction again (ok, short stories) and getting more writing done. Maybe I’m cured of my addiction. Maybe I’ve just grown bored. Or maybe, my relationship with the object of my affection has evolved from the feverishness of a new love affair to the more sustainable pace of a long term and healthy relationship.
I’ll let you know how I get on.