A year without Twitter

bird singing on tree
Here’s the thing: About a year ago, I quit Twitter. Cold turkey, too. No goodbye tweets or long speeches about how the site had been ruined and it was no longer for me. I just tweeted one day, and the next I thought I’d just stop tweeting. And that was that.
Now, I realise that quitting Twitter right before it went to shit doesn’t make me special or a visionary (even though I saw it coming as soon as the ownership changed), so I don’t consider my case particularly interesting or remarkable, but this is my site, so you would expect me to be writing about my own experience, wouldn’t you?
I had somehow built quite a big “audience” on Twitter over the years, and for the most part, I enjoyed interacting with a lot of the people tweeting back at me. The conversations, at least the sane ones, were the most positive aspect of the whole Twitter experience and the main reason why I stayed on it for so long despite several times asking myself what the whole point of it was. The negative interactions – and I had quite a lot of them – were obviously the worst part, but that’s not the reason why I quit.
See, several years ago I had an epiphany.
I was driving on the highway when I overtook one of those trucks that carry livestock (pigs), most likely to be slaughtered. It was a very hot summer day, and as I overtook the truck and saw the poor pigs all crammed inside the trailer at a temperature I didn’t want to imagine, I felt bad for them, like most of us usually do when we see that. I felt guilty too, because even though I may not end up eating those same pigs, I was contributing to a system that led to the kind of suffering the poor animals were experiencing that day.
Back then, however, I shrugged it off with a thought along the lines of “Ah well, what can you do?”
Fast forward a few years and I had decided to stop eating animal products. (I realise this is starting to sound like another “Ugh, here’s another vegan telling me he’s a vegan”, but bear with me).
My epiphany, however, was not a direct result of the experience above. Some time after I stopped eating animal foods, I was again driving on the highway and again overtook another truck full of animals being driven to their death. I still felt bad for them, but this time there was no guilt, as I had removed myself from the system that led to their suffering. It was a relief and a lesson that I have applied to several other aspects of my life since.
Leaving Twitter was one of the times.
Now, stopping using products and services we no longer fully enjoy should, in theory, be an easy decision to make. That’s in theory, though. In reality, we tend to spend years complaining about how those products and services get worse, more expensive, or completely different from what we signed up for while we accept there’s nothing we can do about it.
What I discovered with my so-called epiphany is that, as frustrating as those changes can be, no longer contributing to places like Twitter goes a long way towards creating a much healthier mindset for yourself.
I know that quitting Twitter or Google or Spotify – just like not eating meat or reading the news or many other things – won’t change anything for them, but that makes all the difference to me because I no longer contribute, even in the most insignificant way, to the wealth and the agenda of the people in charge. I’ve found that to be liberating.
Thanks for reading,

Do you often think “I sure wish I got even more emails from strangers?” Subscribe then.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *