Recently, I’ve been feeling buried by my tech life. I’m used to making my living online, and having done that for a few years, I’ve picked up my fair share of digital barnacles on the open seas of the world wide web. “In Recovery” is an ongoing series about that feeling of being burdened and what I’m doing to slough it off. This is the first in the series, and addresses the bastion of brevity, Twitter.
I own every major Twitter client for the iPhone, and many for the iPad. Some were free, but most were bought and paid for. They each have their merits and I’ve used them all variously at one time or another, though some more than others. But no more.
Twitter seemed like a good idea when I joined the social network more than two years ago, and while 140 characters isn’t a lot of space to work with, it’s brief and, in theory, decidedly easy to take in with just a quick look once in a while. Never did I imagine that my pretty, essential stream would become the bloated, polluted river of “information” that greets me today when I boot up an app or navigate to Twitter on the web. I don’t need to know, for instance, what your dermatologist thinks that rash is.
It’s no longer a communicative tool, frankly. I used to praise its value as a search and research venue, and that’s all it’s become, with all the personality of a schizophrenic Google. And don’t get me wrong, despite the negative connotations of schizophrenic as a descriptor, I do appreciate it when I’m trying to find up-to-the-second information. But at all other times, whether it’s looking to make meaningful professional connections or just catching up with friends, I’ve lost any reason to sneak a peek.
At best, Twitter is a terrible, attention-fracturing distraction. At worst, it’s a fruitless conduit for otherwise powerful creative energy that trains you to think and act in brief, dissociated pointless installments. So I’m sorry Twitter, but you’re the first to go as part of my recovery plan. Maybe I’ll see you the next time I absolutely need to know the score of the Blue Jay’s game as it’s happening.
What’s your experience with Twitter? How have you found your experience to change over time using the service? Do you find it helps or hurts your productivity?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Social Media in the Enterprise