Why I’m Having A Twitterfast

I love Twitter. Too much.

Late last night, I was driving home from having a beer with a couple of old school mates and realized I was checking Twitter on my iPhone WHILE I WAS DRIVING every few minutes.

I don’t like feeling that I’m addicted to things. I gave up drinking alcohol for 12 years (from age 18 to 30) because I felt like I had a problem with it. And with Twitter, I’ve been feeling lately like I NEED to check Twitter. Like I’m missing out on something if I don’t check it or tweet something every ten minutes. It’s an urge. A need. It’s physical. I’d love to see an fMRI scan of the hypothalamus when people are using Twitter. I’m sure some people have a greater addiction to activities that generate increased dopamine (one of the neurochemicals associated with pleasure and motivation) than others, and I know I’m one of them. I get easily addicted to short-term activities that give me a burst of quick pleasure and I want to train myself to develop better impulse control. And I’m starting with Twitter.

Over the last ten years I have fasted a number of times (ingested nothing but water) for a week to ten days when I’ve felt like my diet was out of control. Every time I’ve done it I have found that it re-calibrates my thinking about food for pleasure versus food for nutrition. I’m hoping a Twitterfast will accomplish the same thing. By the way, when I used the term ‘twitterfast’ last night I thought I was coining it but apparently it’s been around for quite a while. šŸ™‚

IN the meantime… if you haven’t watched Bill Gates’ talk from the recent TED conference, watch it now. I was stunned to learn that more investment goes into finding a cure for baldness than a cure for malaria.


11 thoughts on “Why I’m Having A Twitterfast

  1. I had a couple of twitter-fasts (all of December 2007) … found it refreshing.

    Addiction is a tough thing to break; and turning twitter off is something the only way I get long-projects (that will take more than 1 hour) done.

    It’s worse than email.

    Thinking of you. Even tho’ you won’t be on twitter šŸ™‚

  2. I’m also guilty of using Tweetie on my iPhone while driving. I think there needs to be a national “Don’t tweet and drive” campaign pointing out the dangers of too much twitter consumption whilst driving.

    Perhaps what you need is to start “inline tweeting” – a new term I’ve coined for tweeting from your browser.

    My post on inline tweeting: http://bit.ly/rU9L

    Inline tweeting (using delicious + twitterfeed) will mean you don’t have to visit twitter.com or open your desktop twitter application to post links to your twitter profile – meaning you won’t be distracted from whats going on in the twitterverse, but still contributing to it with some useful links.

    Give it a try! Would appreciate any feedback if it works for you.

  3. Hehe yeah thats some intense twitter addiction cam ! šŸ™‚ and wow i’ve never seen the TED conference talks before …. some pretty interesting stuff there ! .. but back to the twitter cold turkey is never good man just makes you want and crave it more when you get back into it ! Just need to throw in some things to minimize contact time… šŸ˜›

    take care Emps

  4. Jeremy, yeah I already have my blogs, Facebook, Delicious, etc, set-up (via Friendfeed) to auto-post to Twitter. You’ll probably see stuff going up over the this week. I’m not stopping blogging, etc. Just not opening up Twitter itself, either in the browser or on my iPhone. It’s been 36 hours and it’s been hard! Mostly just holding back from updating certain things, asking questions, checking what certain people are up to, etc.

  5. Maybe the bigger issue here is that the iPhone makes Tweeting while driving too easy? šŸ˜›

    But seriously, I tend to see this as part of a bigger issue. So many people are just inseparable from their phones. Even when driving. (Especially when driving?)
    I very rarely have my phone on the front seat when driving, so even if it rings or buzzes, I can’t get to it. It’s ok to miss a call people!!

    It’s funny how sometimes we have to *install* barriers to tech.

    (sorry cam)

  6. Ahhh… no, no iPhone pour moi. Regular ol CD stacker and player in the car. Though I have driven around once with the lappie open on the front seat, playing a podcast šŸ˜› It was belted in n everything!

    Hmmm… wonder if I could get pulled over for that.

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