I’ve been using Twitter for about 11 years, since September 2007. Through all this time I have been quite neat in my approach to maintain my timeline clean of both bullshit, human garbage and hathred; my timeline is useful, inspiring and valuable to me. Thanks to that curation Twitter has been, by far, my best source of news and a very useful way to stay connected to many matters, as technology and security, and to many social movements.
It was the beginning of last November when I realised that I had developed a mechanic habit of browsing Twitter blindlessly, mindlessly and meaninglessly, almost as an act of reflex. I was scrolling through my timelne while literally daydreaming. After that moment of realisation, I decided to stay away from it for a month.
I uninstalled the app from all my devices, deleted any bookmark to it from all my browsers in all my computers, I logged out everywhere and I deleted all the cookies to kill any remaining rogue sessions. I also deleted it from my search and browser histories to make any suggestion disappear from the address bars. I wanted to make the access very difficult.
At this point I have to say that it was difficult to not click any tweet link in my Whatsapp and Telegram groups, but in a couple of days many of my friends supported my mission and refrained to share (so many) tweets.
At the beginning it was very hard, as I was craving Twitter automatically, all the time. I was pulling the phone from the pocket or table all the time. But soon, it begun to go away. The first day I counted more than 40 attempts of opening Twitter by zombily picking up the phone. Next day, was about 13, third day was less than 5. Still, the impulse was there. As soon as I begun to find other things to do with those little whiles, as checking the news in other apps, visiting my favourite subreddits or just getting a coffee with my teammates, I begun to effectively uninstall that habit from my mind.
The last week of the month was specially difficult as I was so keen to get back to Twitter. But it was the right way: I was feeling that I could beat the purpose of that detox, and the last week was not necessary. Still, I stood against that and I made the whole month.
After all that, I got back and I’m proud to say that my return is going quite well: my Twitter time is much more intentional and I often only open twitter when I have something to tweet, not just to scroll down while daydreaming.
If you feel that any social media gets too much attention from you, considering an unplugged month. It works.