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A Twitter Vacation

No Tweetin'There comes a time when what's brewing under the surface breaks through. For me the breakthrough is the need for a little Twitter Vacation.

I love Twitter, the friends I have on Twitter and how connected I am through it, with people in Milwaukee and around the world.

Now, I'm not going to leave Twitter forever. Rather, this will be a 3 week experiment off of the service to see how being Twitter-free effects me.

Why the Vacation?
I've sensed lately that I need to take a step back. I've caught myself constantly checking my Twitter mentions, working very hard to tweet something of value and scanning my live feed in Tweetie for something, anything interesting to read.

While that's typical Twitter user behavior, I've felt this incessant attraction to scanning random tweets and re8-2010plies at all times to be distracting my focus from more important things in my life right now.

As you may know, we've added a baby girl to the family, which is wonderful and understandably, quite time consuming.

Couple our 3 month old baby girl with a stack of personal projects and plans to be made for SXSW Interactive in March -- it all adds up to a pile of important things I must focus on.

So, as an experiment, as of February 1, 2010, I'll be leaving my Twitter feeds sit idle while I catch up on everything else in my life.

I'll come back in 3 weeks, on February 22nd and report my findings here.

Week 1 Update (Feb 8, 2010) — My first week of Twitter vacation has been an interesting experience. On more than one occasion I've wanted to share an idea or a photo, with Tweetie on the iPhone, only to stop myself.

I've missed reading tweets from friends I follow. After reading Michael Lopp's excellent post, A Story Culture, I'm understanding how much I enjoy weaving stories together from 140 character snippets of information. In some ways it's like stitching stories together while listening to the radio.

I have also noticed an increase in productivity. I'd expected this might happen however. Those little distractions add up over time, so whatever plan I set for myself after the 21st will include limits on usage.

Reader Comments (4)

This is an excellent experiment, and it raises an important issue for all of us immersed in online communication--when to pare it back in order to live one's non-virtual life more fully?

What I do is hold the morning and afternoon on Sunday as a computer and Internet-free time--I log in only after sunset on Sunday. I find this re-orients me to non-screen life--it is out there.
February 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
Thanks John. I feel good so far having taking the break from Twitter. It's taken a few days but I feel more clear headed and I think as you suggest, my ultimate solution is to set times for enjoying Twitter rather than always being present on the service.
February 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
I can really relate to the feelings and experiences that have led you to embark on this journey. My wife and I just had our first child (a beautiful baby boy!) this last Sunday, and already I know that I will have much less time to focus on things like Twitter, blogging for fun, and killing time keeping up with Facebook statuses. None of that is a bad fact, I think I might get *more* out of those services by using them less frequently, but with more intentionality. My thought right now is to set concrete time limits on online activities. I'm looking forward to seeing how your experiment turns out!
February 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNathan R. Hale
Nathan, glad my experiment is an encouragement to you. I think it's important to review things you take for granted every now and again. I've had some interesting insights about my social media use that will help me better control my time in the long run.
February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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