Friday Five: Thoughts on My Twitterless September
So way back at the start of the month, I decided to try an experiment–to go all September without using Twitter. And, look, here we are at the end of that same month.
I have to say, it was a lot easier than I expected. I’m not sure if that should make me proud of slightly embarrassed at how much time I spent with Twitter before September
Anyway, other than a few reflexive glances down to my task bar for the Tweetdeck icon and a few times when I thought about not tweeting my blog posts or comments, honestly, I didn’t miss it. For now, I’m not going back. No long-term promises, and I’m not getting rid of my account, but if you’re looking for me, you can find me at Facebook.
For my Friday Five, I’m going to do just a little analysis of what this might mean…about me. The thing to remember about Social Networking, I think, is that we can (and should) only do what works for us, not what appeals to others or what they tell us we “need” to be doing. So these comments are in no way judgements about people who like Twitter, who are happy & comfortable there. They’re just some thoughts I had this month.
1.The biggest thing I noticed about going Twitterless was that, overall, I felt less…twitchy. Yes, I’m sure the yoga has something to do with this, as well as my overall commitment to slowing down and taking time to relax. Still, in my online time, it was one less place to click over to, one less place to check in. And that felt…more like slowing down and taking time to relax.
2. I may very well be missing a marketing opportunity by not being on Twitter–a marketing opportunity for me, for The Writing & Critique Survival Guide, for future books.
3. Assuming #2 is true, I’m going to accept missing that opportunity. One feeling that has been hovering around the periphery of my brain lately and that this experiment seemed to bring to the forefront is that I can only do so much marketing. I didn’t like the feeling I had when I thought things like, “Maybe I should just tweet this blog post” or “Oh, the people on Twitter may not know about this review of my book.” Again, this one is definitely just me–I totally get and support the fact that we ARE in charge of marketing for our works, and that–if done respectfully and professionally–it’s a good thing to be doing. It just felt a little too me-focused for my personal comfort zone.
4. I don’t know if I got more writing time by staying off Twitter. But, again, it felt like there was just one less thing pulling me away from that writing. When I started tweeting, I had more time available for that writing, for working on my current WIPS, than I do now. (Life changes…fast!) My list of to-dos seems pretty chopped-up, most days. Taking one thing off it feels good.
5. I’m also going to let go of my newsletter. I blogged about the possibility back here, and people were really nice about telling me I should keep going. So I gave it another try, but it’s another thing that just isn’t getting done and another thing that doesn’t feel like my thing. I am going to keep track of the mailing list–keeping future doors open, but as soon as I get organized enough to get over to the newsletter website, I’m going to close the account. Again…you can find me here and on Facebook!
Am I glad I tried this? I really am–much more than I thought I would be. I encourage you to keep doing what you find fun and useful and, occasionally, check in with yourself and see what’s making you happy and what’s maybe not. And then–if you want–set up your own experiment. Just to see what happens!
Facebook is no linger an option for me. I haven’t been comfortable with their cavalier attitude about privacy for some time now, and when it recently came out that they track the websites you visit EVEN AFTER YOU’VE LOGGED OUT OF YOUR ACCOUNT, I deactivated mine. It’s twitter and Google+ for me, for now.
I agree that you need to find what works best for you, and if avoiding twitter works, do it. I’m still a haphazard tweeter, but when I get in the middle of the firs draft or the heavy editing, it serves as surfacing time; a place where I can catch my breath every couple of hours or so.
Best of luck with your writing,
The privacy options don’t bother me–I just reset it to what I want whenever they play with changes. But, yes, everybody’s different & the trick is to find what works for us. 🙂
Good for you for finding what works for you. That’s a great lesson. To not follow these sites blindly but to spend some time examining the results. Well done!
Thanks! I did get on Twitter a bit blindly and had some fun with it, but it was time to back off.
Fascinating to hear your thoughts on this, Becky! Good for you for doing what works for you, and no more.
I often tell myself that there’s a time and a season for everything. This year I’ve been quite quiet on all fronts, but it’s been the right thing to do for my writing. And yes — it’s a relief not to follow so many threads all the time!
There IS time for everything. I’m not surprised, with your huge move, that you needed to be quiet on lots of other things to even have time for your writing! I think I dove in when I was really gung-ho about the marketing, and it was right for then. Times change, we change. 🙂
When I quit Facebook I thought it would be hard. But I haven’t missed it. I’m not on Twitter very much so at this point I don’t think I need to dump it. Like you said, we each have to find what works for us. Best of luck with the writing, and multiple other things that fill your time instead 🙂
This is exactly how I felt at the start of September. I was SURE I’d really miss Twitter & that the month would be a struggle. Not. 🙂
Yes, yes, yes. As you say, even if it’s not the actual time tweeting or other social networking takes away from writing, it just feels like one more thing pulling at you, and dropping it — even temporarily — frees up something in your mind. I’ve been struggling with all this for months: blogging less, Facebooking MUCH less, but tweeting more to try it out. It’s scary thinking about letting something go permanently, but what did we do in the old days? Maybe we wrote more? Walked, read, did yoga? Thanks for a thoughtful post that reminds us to do what works for us.
Toby, yeah, it’s that pulling. In my “old days” I just didn’t do much–I backed away from a lot without even trying it. And, no, I didn’t write more. (I DID read more!) There’s something about the energy that does come back from the things I am doing, that helps me commit to the writing time—but if I hit overload, then I shut down.
Twitter happens to be a site I enjoy and don’t feel too distracted by, but I’ve never been on Facebook and never wanted to be. Which reaffirms your point that we each find our own social media mix!
I’ve also been looking at which kinds of networking sites increase my serenity and productiveness, and which ones just sap my strength and make me anxious. Mostly I’m finding there are certain topics I need to avoid, no matter where I see them, like “publishing apocalypse!”-type posts. Also there are certain blogs where I consistently find reinforcement for being centered and sane, and I’m making sure to visit those.
Serenity and productiveness–yes! Anxiety–Oh, I’ve got way more than I need already. 🙂 I hadn’t thought about the types of posts, but I think you’re right there, too–I think I “should’ be reading more about e-publishing and self-publishing, but I can feel that anxiety spike hit when I go there, so yeah…I’m sticking more with writing craft and support these days. 🙂