Continuing with my series of becoming less distracted, this post will be about Twitter. To learn how I defeated Facebook and Instagram see these posts:
Twitter was and continues to be a bit more challenging than Facebook and Instagram. With Facebook, I had grown to dislike the experience more and more every year. Walking away was a relief. Instagram was pure joy and addiction, but once I took it off my phone, it lost all its power. Instagram on a browser is no more addicting than scanning the headlines at CNBC.
For Twitter, I manage 4 accounts.
@CriticalMAS – My personal account. Mostly, I follow people in nutrition, tech, and finance with a handful of Spanish accounts. If people still blogged like the olden days, I probably would walk away completely.
@INeedCoffee – For my main coffee site. I use it to announce new content and see if any readers are trying to reach me.
@NeilRogersRadio – I manage the radio archive project for the late Neil Rogers. This project has twice been featured in the Miami Herald. I use the account as a way to reach fans and hopefully recover additional audio. I actually have the most fun with this account.
@EcoFriendCoffee – My second coffee site. I might log in once a month just to make sure everything is still working.
After leaving Facebook and Instagram, I noticed my time on Twitter went up a bit. I was probably spending an hour a day cumulative on all my accounts. Now I am down to 10-15 minutes a day. Here is how I did it.
#1 Never Use the Mobile App
Any discussion of social media addiction must start with mobile apps. I uninstalled the mobile app years ago. Way too addicting. Plus with the mobile app, I can’t block ads or run keyword filters such as the Larry Filter.
#2 Log in and Out With Every Use
Don’t leave Twitter open. Get in and get out. Log in and out with each use. This little bit of friction will reduce the number of times you blindly pull up the website.
#3 Install StayFocusd (or similar)
I set up the StayFocusd Chrome extension to only allow me a maximum of 15 minutes a day on Twitter. After that, it locks me out. This extension is a godsend. I move with a sense of purpose. I don’t have time to read every silly drama. Look for signal, avoid the noise, and get out.
#4 Stop Posting (or greatly cut back)
Most of the posts on my 4 Twitter accounts are automated. When a new article is released, it triggers a tweet. Just like with other social media, most of the lure of returning is seeing how others have responded to your actions. When you stop feeding social media, its power over you is greatly diminished.
#5 Recognize that most of us are ghosts on Twitter
What makes Twitter so alluring is this illusion that we are in some conversation with all the people we love and hate. They post, we like, retweet, or respond, so we feel like we are part of the conversation. But most of us, most the time are invisible to the blue check verified royalty on Twitter. We hear them, but they rarely hear us. We are ghosts.
Every now and then a tweet by a ghost goes viral and provides the illusion that the Twitter platform is equal to all. But it’s not. I can see stats on my tweets. I know they aren’t even showing most of the tweets to most of my followers. It’s the same thing Facebook did with my INeedCoffee page (#2). I also notice that they are shadow banning people I want to follow. I have to go directly to their feed to see their tweets.
It’s all so middle school. The cool kids and the rest of us.
A while back I tried to get my INeedCoffee account verified. I provided a number of references for verification proof. I was denied without reason. A 20-year old website that has educated millions of coffee fans can’t get verified. But any third-string Buzz Feed writer putting out clickbait can get verified. And why do need to be someone in their eyes to be verified? Why can’t the person working the Taco Bell drive-thru be just as verified as Cher?
Sorry, but I don’t want to invest time and effort into their game. I have this blog and my other sites when I want to share something.
There other reasons for cutting back or leaving Twitter. One is the pure hostility people have with each other is so toxic. I try to only follow people engaged in healthy conversation and use the Larry Filter to filter out the latest outrage, but it never works completely.
The algorithms push the outrage. I have better things to do.