I’ve been out of the Twitterverse for more than 24 hours now, and decided to plop down some thoughts on the experience as my first tweet back on the grid.
I should probably start off with why I started this crazy endeavor. Honestly, it was because I was mad. I was mad at myself for putting too much of my social weight on Twitter. I was mad that I had become addicted to its constant input. I was mad because I was neglecting my non Twitter friends and life. So, I decided to go cold turkey and see what would happen.
For the first couple of hours I went through serious withdrawals. Friends started IMing me asking if I was pissed off about something. Coworkers asked me how I was going to find and share cool stuff with them. My Dad posted this on my Facebook wall “I hope being twitless isn’t too hard on the digestive system – oh well only a few hours to go.” When I got home, I would look over Sean’s (@seanbonner) shoulder as he reviewed Tweetdeck, but being the good supportive husband that he is, he would swiftly shove me away.
I laughed at everyone, telling them it was no big deal, that I could do it, because I was a strong and didn’t have an addictive personality. The good thing is, my friends still found me. There’s this really cool thing called instant messenger (IM) and this old school technology called e-mail. Also, Facebook is a pretty good place to find old friends and is in fact where most of my friends are, Twitter is in fact, a subset of those friends.
Things got a little more logistically difficult when it was time to organize my weekly online Heroes webcam chat. Usually I would tweet the service and password to get in. I had to come up with another way to do it. I felt that it would be cheating to ask Sean to tweet it, so I texted and IM’d friends and managed to get the whole thing arranged. It was definitely more inconvenient because I couldn’t just broadcast once and get it over with, I had to text one person to get their GTalk address, then I had to IM with each of them to get them to install ooVoo. Twitter definitely was an efficient way to do the one to many, and many to many information broadcast in less than 140 characters. I also wasn’t accepting DMs/SMS messages from Twitter, so it got tricky when I didn’t have a phone number, email address or IM username.
As the night wore on, Sean and I started playing Left 4 Dead over XBOX Live with Jason DeFillippo (@jpdefillippo). It was a ton of fun and Sean promptly tweeted about it. Of course I wanted to tweet about it too, but couldn’t. The I wrote a blog post, and I couldn’t tweet about that. I started logging into Facebook and posting links there because the idea of keeping ideas and thoughts to myself was horrific and I just couldn’t groc it. What was really tough was that I had a bunch of questions I needed answers to, and I didn’t know how to get answers without using Twitter. How did I used to? It reminded me of a question I sometimes ask myself, “did I seriously use the Yellow Pages to find businesses? Would I actually bring a paper map with me to navigate my way to a new location?”
When I got into work this morning, I usually like to read what my friends are up to, find out what’s going on in the news and I couldn’t do that, so I felt disconnected. What I think I missed the most though, was being able to tweet my (mostly) daily “Get Up Off Your Bootay” song that me and Dan Dofter (@dan) collaborate on. I really like finding some fun music and debating with him which is a tweetworthy song.
So what do I do now? Do I stay away? Do I limit my time on Twitter? My conclusion is that I find Twitter to be an invaluable tool. I really don’t like e-mail so it saves a lot of that headache. Its a quick way to read up on a bunch of news. I can see what some of my friends are up to. I can reach people that I normally couldn’t – like some of the Heroes actors and MCHammer! I get excellent feedback from people when I have a question – any sort of question really. What I need to do is limit my time on Twitter, and not hold it in high regard when it comes to determining who is and isn’t my friend. Your friends will find a way to get in touch with you if your tweets go unanswered. No one is every truly “off the grid” anymore. Happy tweeting, and stay safe out there. Namaste.