Nearly two weeks ago I chose to unplug from Twitter. Since then, aside from cross-posts, and content I see from my Feedbin, I've spent virtually no time directly on Twitter sites.
Unplugging from Twitter for a while. Need to refocus on catching up on my learning, I’ve been falling behind on lots of fundamental material.— Max Antonucci (@Maxwell_Dev) November 5, 2019
I'm not the first person to get away from Twitter, and not the first to see the many perks and effects leaving has on my mental health. While there are many, I'm going to stick with the top 31 (for now).
More Positive Activities #
1) Reading more, especially during meals and before bed. I even made a few trips to the library for some graphic novels!
2) Catching up on coding books. The Pragmatic Programmer and Clean Code are two classics I'm been hoping to read more of for a while. I finally recorded some notes on chapters I'd read before and added a few new ones.
3) Throwing myself into laser cutting. A lot of that extra energy had to go to a creative outlet. So I found some new tools, got some more pieces of art ready, and gave it a go. The results so far have been a lot of fun. Soon I shall tackle making my holiday gifts.
4) Practicing more piano. The piano takes time and effort to learn, and I've at least more time now. Whether or not I can play anything from my four-chord songbook soon is another story.
5) Checking Tweetdeck and walking away. It somehow opens up on my laptop, but I close it and walk away.
6) Playing some video games. I'm not a pure, productivity machine after all. I finally beat World of Light in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and will likely give in and buy Pokemon Shield sometime soon.
7) Checking Tweetdeck again, and longer, before walking away. I close it again, idle around, and manage to walk away again.
Deeper Thinking #
8) Thinking about my future. What larger career goals do I want to move towards? Do I want to stay focused on web accessibility or something close to it, like progressive web apps? Where would I like to be in five or ten years?
9) Focusing on future blog posts. I've been neglecting my personal and professional writing lately, and want to pick it back up. Writing is my best way to organize and clarify my research goals. It's more work than a tweet but has a much bigger payoff.
10) Wondering how some writing could translate to tweets. Lots of ponderings about work or the future are pithy enough. Some would be well-received on Twitter, right?
11) Planning out potential projects. Making a progressive web app with Ember and a serverless database is my top choice right now. What the app will focus on and how big the scale will be is another matter. One possibility is expanding on my Ember quiz app.
12) Wondering how other thoughts would be good tweets. Little plans about building on these apps would be good. Ember experts could weigh in. People could just be impressed by my long-term goals. That's worth going back to Twitter for a bit, right?
13) Ignore these tweet thoughts. No, don't let some social network win. Focus on the present and the real work and progress you're making.
14) Learning more from work. My job still overlaps a lot with learning goals about coding best practices and accessibility. I can pull enough focus together to record some lessons and even work them into future blog posts.
15) Watching the company buyout. That's right, SeeClickFix was recently bought by CivicPlus. This is actual tech news, and I'm experiencing the effects of it all at work. It's a lot to digest and it's important, I need to stay focused on that!
16) Remembering how I'm not tweeting about any of this. News like this is big and would be noticed online. Being part of the company itself would get even more attention. I'm missing a chance!
17) Starting to obsess over how I missed the chance to tweet about it. The window for timely, relevant tweets has closed on so many things. So many chances to show off my quick wit are down the drain. What have I done?
Changing Sleep Patterns #
18) Getting more sleep. Less distraction means more rest. I may even get to that elusive "eight hours of sleep a night" goal most people have.
19) Getting about the same amount of sleep. Even with the extra time, more of it's spent restless in bed. Lots of running thoughts.
20) Getting less sleep. More time reading beforehand and tossing around isn't helping. I can't get rid of the tension in my head. Lots of thoughts itching to leave and be acknowledged.
21) Starting to get back to the same amount of sleep. Somehow. Don't know how long it'll last. What do I do?
New Anxieties #
22) Thinking about the unsalvageable state of the world in climate change. I've distracted myself from environmental anxieties for so long. But one of my books was about climate change shoved me back to the unsustainability of our modern, industrialized society that I'm addicted to. Either our culture somehow impossibly changes to remove so many things I've grown used to, or I witness the Earth's last truly liveable decades. How am I supposed to respond to this?
23) Thinking how leaving twitter is an expression of my privilege. Many people are routinely stalked, harassed, and attacked online in ways that follow them for months or years. Seeing how easily I can turn it off reminds me of my privilege online. Also how stepping away is removing a chance to pay my privilege forward to others and help stop the crap happening online.
24) Panicking over the fundamental coding knowledge I've fallen behind on. I'm torn between catching up on important books or looking up more current, practical knowledge. How do I balance two areas when I feel an urgent need to improve on both?
25) Seeing the blog posts I've fallen behind on. Even with the extra time, it's somehow hard to gather the energy and focus to write them. Especially since they lack the quickness and feedback Twitter gives me.
26) Questioning my self-worth since I sought too much validation seeing my thoughts written and shared online. Not much more I need to add here.
27) Trying to reshape my love of writing I can't lose it by cutting off one part of it. I couldn't have staked that much of my identity on one social network. Or have I? How do I take back control of it in a way that doesn't cause an existential crisis?
28) Avoiding an existential crisis. No well-adjusted person would have their thoughts shaken this much by leaving one platform. Right?
New Struggles to Take Control #
29) Trying to not give a social network so much control. It's wrong to let a platform with so many people, who feel anything from indifference to spite, have this much influence over my mental health. It gives up so many elements I could otherwise control and use to improve myself and my real-world relationships with others. Any positive feedback or response I get from Twitter is brief and subject to change for who knows why, so it's not reliable for serious validation. That should only come from myself and people I truly trust.
30) Still trying to not give it such control. Even knowing all this, it's not easy to break such habits.
31) Still trying. Still trying, still trying, still trying, still trying, still trying...