Going 40 days without Twitter was an interesting experience as I’m terrible at moderation — it’s either feast or famine with me. This is one of the reasons why quitting smoking has always been so hard for me: I WANTED just one cigarette and then I would smoke 12, which meant I would have to buy a pack or bum from someone and the whole smoking process would start all over again. The only way I kicked it this time was not hang out with smokers, which is easy to do since I don’t know any smokers on the east side of the state.
However with Twitter, the problem was that just as I was weaning myself off of Twitter, everyone and their second cousin was joining Twitter. Since this was definitely not a geographic issue (like attempting to quit smoking)1 but rather a interest issue, what was a girl to do? I decided to to go off of Twitter for 40 days not because I am religious and needed something to give up for Lent2 but rather I was spending an inordinate amount of time on Twitter and not allocating that time for other, often necessary, projects. Twitter is not just about reading my public_timeline and tweeting but rather for me it is also about looking at what others are tweeting, following links, researching interests, people and things.
If someone posted a blog entry, I’d end up spending several hours on that blog and then some. I want to to know who I am interacting with, so thus, Twitter became this full-time job of me searching out and expanding my network. I’m a curious cat who needs to know how things are done! I wanted to use the time off from Twitter to do a variety of things though, things that I swore I was NOT doing because all of my time was being sucked in by Twitter.
Things such as: updating lib schooled. more often, personal research, knitting, exercise (WiiFit), homework, writing, cleaning my apartment. I suck at time management and Twitter was fast becoming another obsession that was sucking down my time and like smoking, I couldn’t find myself an easy way to quit. More succinctly, I couldn’t find myself moderating my Twitter activity to do something else.
Feast or famine.
In the Twitterverse (or really, any active online social life), 40 days is almost an entire cycle or IS an entire cycle of birth to death. Fads can come and go in 40 days or less, and with Twitter it went from bubbling under the surface of explosion to totally exploding all over the media. Every single form of media outlet was becoming Twitterized and add insult to injury, bands, authors, celebs, friends, and everyone else in between were suddenly joining the Twitter bandwagon! And I couldn’t add them or read them!
The one and only time I logged into Twitter during this period was when a co-worker asked me a question that required me to do so. But I didn’t look at my public_timeline, I swear. But other than that single instance, I refrained from reading my public_timeline, I did not log into Twitter, I did not follow Twitter links, I did not log into Twhirl or any other application, did not respond to DMs: not a damn thing. The only thing I did was check how many minions were following me because the number kept growing and it was insane! In the 40 days I was gone, the number of my followers almost doubled! Thanks to auto-tweeting on this blog, I tweeted maybe half a dozen times in the last 40 days but not the continual dozen times a day (or more!) that I was doing before.
According to TwitterCounter, the projection that I was to hit 500 minions before Easter was completely feasible — something that Chris and I had a gentlemen’s agreement on (that I would indeed hit 500 before Easter, while he did not believe it to be so). The final tally was 520. And this became the puzzlement for me: I was not tweeting with any regular basis and I was gaining new minions. Why? I came up with the following reasons:
- People I knew who created Twitter accounts after my hiatus.
- People who were recommended to follow me (via #followfriday or another method).
- Key word/geographic search: I gained a lot of new minions because of “librarian” and “punk rock” (@pnkrcklibrarian) in my name. I also gained new minions because of where I live, as it’s listed in my bio.
- Hashtag (#) via my own self-created hasltags or via key wording my bio.
- Spam bots, auto/serial adders.
- MLM market peeps.
Was there a lesson learned in any of this?
Probably in the end I was able to do a bit better this semester than projected because I was able to keep away from the time sucking whore that Twitter had become in my life. But other than that? I came back fast and furious to the Twitter world, as the SomeECard that Chris created for me.
P.S. As of November 2009, I’ve hit nearly 1200 minions. Yeah, I don’t get it either.
1. Yes, I’ve been smoke-free for 10 weeks now. I’ve got the 10-15lbs to prove it too!
2. While I was raised Catholic, I’ve given up all preludes of Catholicism years ago (despite the fact that I went to a Catholic college). Interestingly enough, my mother who is Christian and only practices some tenements of Catholicism (when it suites her) continually gives up men for Lent every year. You can see where my sense of humor comes from, then.