Whenever I’m done browsing Twitter, I always end up more angry and frustrated than when I opened it. I usually check Twitter first thing in the morning and sometimes only at the end of the work day to catch up on the news and am horrified at what has transpired in the past 8 hours. This doesn’t include the various notifications and alerts you get. Regardless of whatever good is happening in your life, you end up despondent. I want to break out of this cycle.

The drastic step is to delete your Twitter account. However, we do rely on Twitter for news. I first heard about Osama Bin Laden’s death on Twitter [1]. So what’s the tradeoff here? Is ignorance really bliss? I have always been the person who’s interested in keeping up-to-date on current affairs. I pride myself on knowing what’s going on at all levels of the world I exist in. But we often hear about news that often don’t pan out and we just end up freaking out early and often.

@sqrlta recommended not reading Twitter first thing in the morning and instead reading Washington Post. I agree. That would make a profound difference and it has. If we read news, we rather read it in depth instead of bite-sized takes by random people. But I decided to try something more. I tried the following steps:

  • Disable all types of notifications including mentions from all Twitter accounts on all devices. Yes, they can wait. Respond only if I’ve the app open at the time I get a mention.
  • Disable notifications from news apps. No news is breaking unless it’s happening in my immediate vicinity [2]. I can read about it later when the rumors have died down.
  • Delete NYT apps and evangelize unsubscribing it among those who will listen. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know why.
  • Mute prolific political accounts for a week and see if I miss anything[3].
  • (Eventually) create or subscribe to lists for political accounts and unfollow them from main timeline. Dip into those lists during major events that you hear about from elsewhere like the Alabama special election.
  • Engage more on my professional Twitter account especially given my new role and responsibilities at work.
  • Stay busy at work and home or read more long-form articles and books.
  • And yes, blog here more often. About anything. Even if no one reads it. Especially so.

I’ve done this for 3 days and my life already feels better. Anything you would add?

I have been already living without the Facebook app for the past couple of months. I haven’t missed much and don’t think people have missed me either. I’ve posted maybe couple of times in this time and mostly let A post and tag me. I access it once a day at the most using the web view. Listen to this Hidden Brain episode and you’ll see how even the oh-so-sacchirine Facebook can be toxic.

Footnotes:
  1. Turns out I wouldn’t have missed it if I wasn’t on Twitter []
  2. We get text alerts from UT in that case. It’s not like I am going to stop a terrorist attack as it’s happening. I’m no Jack Bauer []
  3. I already follow fewer than 70 people on my main Twitter account yet feel overwhelmed. Not sure how those who follow hundreds cope []