A Day Without Twitter

birds Yesterday, I took the day off from Twitter. I’ve been using it fairly solidly since the early days, and wanted to get a feel for what I was counting on Twitter to do for me. The results were interesting:

  • I count on Twitter for group answers. A LOT. For instance, I needed to know who from the social media scene was in Detroit. I ended up using LinkedIn, but I know that means I missed a bunch of folks.
  • I count on Twitter as a way to express quick, random thoughts, or to mention references to cultural items to which I know people will respond. (For instance, I like tweeting parts of song lyrics, because it’s fun when people pick the song up as a reply).
  • I use Twitter to promote other people. While I was dark, I got no less than 14 requests to promote fundraising causes, and 12 general promotion requests.
  • I use Twitter to promote myself, my blog, things I’m doing.

A day without Twitter didn’t give me more time to write. It gave me fewer distractions, but I don’t sit around and LABOR on Twitter when I write something. Often times, I can just jot something from my mobile in between meetings, or I pop the window open, reply to a few folks, and then go back to my work. Meaning, I don’t find Twitter to be a time suck to me.

I’m wondering if I should try my “a day without” on other services, like email, or my BlackBerry.

Have you tried things like this? What would you lose if you didn’t have Twitter?

Photo Credit, Zed.Cat

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  • http://incontextmultimedia.com @Stephen Productivity in Cont

    I am not sure what I would lose, as I am still learning about what I am gaining. I suspect that I am gaining blog subscribers, and I know that I am gaining collaborators.

    I take big chunks of time off of Twitter while I am handling the day job for BigCorp, but when I am at the computer, cranking widgets, Twitter is a help, not a hindrance.

  • http://incontextmultimedia.com @Stephen Productivity in Cont

    I am not sure what I would lose, as I am still learning about what I am gaining. I suspect that I am gaining blog subscribers, and I know that I am gaining collaborators.

    I take big chunks of time off of Twitter while I am handling the day job for BigCorp, but when I am at the computer, cranking widgets, Twitter is a help, not a hindrance.

  • http://incontextmultimedia.com @Stephen Productivity in Context

    I am not sure what I would lose, as I am still learning about what I am gaining. I suspect that I am gaining blog subscribers, and I know that I am gaining collaborators.

    I take big chunks of time off of Twitter while I am handling the day job for BigCorp, but when I am at the computer, cranking widgets, Twitter is a help, not a hindrance.

  • http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com Stephen Hopson

    Chris:

    Like you, I don’t feel Twitter is a time sucker for me – so far. I had been reluctant to sign up because of that potential but I’ve kept potential distractions to a minimum.

    It’s still too early to tell what Twitter can do for me but thanks to fellow Twitterers like yourself and others, I’ve begun to see the light (i.e. traffic) directed to an article or two. That’s encouraging as well as interesting to watch. It’s a different animal compared to say, StumbleUpon. Very different.

    Like you, I check in occasionally throughout the day, esp if I have an idea I want to share and then I go back to what I was doing before.

    Great article. Good tips/ideas. Thanks for sharing. You’re new favorite blogger. :)

  • http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com Stephen Hopson

    Chris:

    Like you, I don’t feel Twitter is a time sucker for me – so far. I had been reluctant to sign up because of that potential but I’ve kept potential distractions to a minimum.

    It’s still too early to tell what Twitter can do for me but thanks to fellow Twitterers like yourself and others, I’ve begun to see the light (i.e. traffic) directed to an article or two. That’s encouraging as well as interesting to watch. It’s a different animal compared to say, StumbleUpon. Very different.

    Like you, I check in occasionally throughout the day, esp if I have an idea I want to share and then I go back to what I was doing before.

    Great article. Good tips/ideas. Thanks for sharing. You’re new favorite blogger. :)

  • http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com Stephen Hopson

    Chris:

    Like you, I don’t feel Twitter is a time sucker for me – so far. I had been reluctant to sign up because of that potential but I’ve kept potential distractions to a minimum.

    It’s still too early to tell what Twitter can do for me but thanks to fellow Twitterers like yourself and others, I’ve begun to see the light (i.e. traffic) directed to an article or two. That’s encouraging as well as interesting to watch. It’s a different animal compared to say, StumbleUpon. Very different.

    Like you, I check in occasionally throughout the day, esp if I have an idea I want to share and then I go back to what I was doing before.

    Great article. Good tips/ideas. Thanks for sharing. You’re new favorite blogger. :)

  • http://bloggerbeefedup.blogspot.com Lee Jordan

    My favorite things about Twitter are sharing and discovery. I can’t always Tweet every day, but it is fast becoming a habit. It has been a great way to get quick feedback casually from book editors, swap tips with other techies, and get to know others better. I’ve discovered a lot of new blogs, widgets, and people because of Twitter. I’m working on implementing a corporate twitter account for the company I work for. They see it as a way to generate leads and search engine ranks, I see it as a way to reveal the human side of our company.

  • http://bloggerbeefedup.blogspot.com Lee Jordan

    My favorite things about Twitter are sharing and discovery. I can’t always Tweet every day, but it is fast becoming a habit. It has been a great way to get quick feedback casually from book editors, swap tips with other techies, and get to know others better. I’ve discovered a lot of new blogs, widgets, and people because of Twitter. I’m working on implementing a corporate twitter account for the company I work for. They see it as a way to generate leads and search engine ranks, I see it as a way to reveal the human side of our company.

  • http://bloggerbeefedup.blogspot.com Lee Jordan

    My favorite things about Twitter are sharing and discovery. I can’t always Tweet every day, but it is fast becoming a habit. It has been a great way to get quick feedback casually from book editors, swap tips with other techies, and get to know others better. I’ve discovered a lot of new blogs, widgets, and people because of Twitter. I’m working on implementing a corporate twitter account for the company I work for. They see it as a way to generate leads and search engine ranks, I see it as a way to reveal the human side of our company.

  • http://www.quirkynomads.com Sage Tyrtle

    I recently started turning my computer off at 7 PM, and devoting the rest of the evening to non-computer activities. I don’t turn it back on until the next morning when I wake up, and I’ve found that I’m more productive in everything I do as a result – on *and* off the computer. For example: I’ve been intending to put together an essay that involves quite a bit of actual book (remember, those things made of paper) research, and just couldn’t talk myself into walking away from the computer while it was on. I’m finally making progress on the essay, after almost a year.

  • http://www.quirkynomads.com Sage Tyrtle

    I recently started turning my computer off at 7 PM, and devoting the rest of the evening to non-computer activities. I don’t turn it back on until the next morning when I wake up, and I’ve found that I’m more productive in everything I do as a result – on *and* off the computer. For example: I’ve been intending to put together an essay that involves quite a bit of actual book (remember, those things made of paper) research, and just couldn’t talk myself into walking away from the computer while it was on. I’m finally making progress on the essay, after almost a year.

  • http://www.quirkynomads.com Sage Tyrtle

    I recently started turning my computer off at 7 PM, and devoting the rest of the evening to non-computer activities. I don’t turn it back on until the next morning when I wake up, and I’ve found that I’m more productive in everything I do as a result – on *and* off the computer. For example: I’ve been intending to put together an essay that involves quite a bit of actual book (remember, those things made of paper) research, and just couldn’t talk myself into walking away from the computer while it was on. I’m finally making progress on the essay, after almost a year.

  • http://larak.wordpress.com Lara Kretler

    Well, let me be the first to say that you were missed on Twitter! I don’t find it to be a time suck for me either, primarily because I follow smart, interesting people. Also, I try not to Tweet anything that would be boring or annoying to those who follow me, which keeps my own Tweets down to a reasonable number. I think those two things are the key to having it be a positive addition as opposed to a hindrance to productivity.

    I’ve tried taking a day off from email and I find it only leaves me feeling grouchy and behind the next day as I’m trying to plow through hundreds of emails. The secret to email seems to be staying on top of it before it grows into an uncontrollable beast.

  • http://larak.wordpress.com Lara Kretler

    Well, let me be the first to say that you were missed on Twitter! I don’t find it to be a time suck for me either, primarily because I follow smart, interesting people. Also, I try not to Tweet anything that would be boring or annoying to those who follow me, which keeps my own Tweets down to a reasonable number. I think those two things are the key to having it be a positive addition as opposed to a hindrance to productivity.

    I’ve tried taking a day off from email and I find it only leaves me feeling grouchy and behind the next day as I’m trying to plow through hundreds of emails. The secret to email seems to be staying on top of it before it grows into an uncontrollable beast.

  • http://larak.wordpress.com Lara Kretler

    Well, let me be the first to say that you were missed on Twitter! I don’t find it to be a time suck for me either, primarily because I follow smart, interesting people. Also, I try not to Tweet anything that would be boring or annoying to those who follow me, which keeps my own Tweets down to a reasonable number. I think those two things are the key to having it be a positive addition as opposed to a hindrance to productivity.

    I’ve tried taking a day off from email and I find it only leaves me feeling grouchy and behind the next day as I’m trying to plow through hundreds of emails. The secret to email seems to be staying on top of it before it grows into an uncontrollable beast.

  • http://www.mediumandthemessage.com zoe

    okay, i agree. a day without twitter can be…well..trying.

    but you must have learned something! i mean, there was a time before twitter where you got along just fine. While twitter is a great and useful tool, not using it for a day is like not using your car for a day. it’s not ONLY an inconvenience. some good could come out of it.

    what I’m trying to say is that from your tweet you said you wanted to learn something. so…stop focusing on what you missed out on and tell us what you learned :)

    z

  • http://www.mediumandthemessage.com zoe

    okay, i agree. a day without twitter can be…well..trying.

    but you must have learned something! i mean, there was a time before twitter where you got along just fine. While twitter is a great and useful tool, not using it for a day is like not using your car for a day. it’s not ONLY an inconvenience. some good could come out of it.

    what I’m trying to say is that from your tweet you said you wanted to learn something. so…stop focusing on what you missed out on and tell us what you learned :)

    z

  • http://www.mediumandthemessage.com zoe

    okay, i agree. a day without twitter can be…well..trying.

    but you must have learned something! i mean, there was a time before twitter where you got along just fine. While twitter is a great and useful tool, not using it for a day is like not using your car for a day. it’s not ONLY an inconvenience. some good could come out of it.

    what I’m trying to say is that from your tweet you said you wanted to learn something. so…stop focusing on what you missed out on and tell us what you learned :)

    z

  • Ted McEnroe

    Nice post! It’s good to step back and see what you use any tool for, but this is interesting because I bet there are surprising differences in how we all use Twitter.

    It’s easier to live without than e-mail for me anyway, because:

    a) it’s still a tool used by the more nimble among us. I’m betting that anyone on this list could easily find you by avenues other than Twitter, but not everyone who e-mails you, like those bosses at BigCorp mentioned above, would know how to communicate you without e-mail.

    b) for me as a comparatively newer user, anyway, while Twitter is valuable, it’s not quite in my mental muscle memory in the same way. If I close twhirl so I can focus for a little bit or need the screen space, I still have to actively think to reopen it, even though it’s something I use all the time.

    Those two things will change over time, though.

    c) maybe we have all lived through enough Twitter outages to handle a day away better. :-)

  • Ted McEnroe

    Nice post! It’s good to step back and see what you use any tool for, but this is interesting because I bet there are surprising differences in how we all use Twitter.

    It’s easier to live without than e-mail for me anyway, because:

    a) it’s still a tool used by the more nimble among us. I’m betting that anyone on this list could easily find you by avenues other than Twitter, but not everyone who e-mails you, like those bosses at BigCorp mentioned above, would know how to communicate you without e-mail.

    b) for me as a comparatively newer user, anyway, while Twitter is valuable, it’s not quite in my mental muscle memory in the same way. If I close twhirl so I can focus for a little bit or need the screen space, I still have to actively think to reopen it, even though it’s something I use all the time.

    Those two things will change over time, though.

    c) maybe we have all lived through enough Twitter outages to handle a day away better. :-)

  • Ted McEnroe

    Nice post! It’s good to step back and see what you use any tool for, but this is interesting because I bet there are surprising differences in how we all use Twitter.

    It’s easier to live without than e-mail for me anyway, because:

    a) it’s still a tool used by the more nimble among us. I’m betting that anyone on this list could easily find you by avenues other than Twitter, but not everyone who e-mails you, like those bosses at BigCorp mentioned above, would know how to communicate you without e-mail.

    b) for me as a comparatively newer user, anyway, while Twitter is valuable, it’s not quite in my mental muscle memory in the same way. If I close twhirl so I can focus for a little bit or need the screen space, I still have to actively think to reopen it, even though it’s something I use all the time.

    Those two things will change over time, though.

    c) maybe we have all lived through enough Twitter outages to handle a day away better. :-)

  • http://pikesthinking.blogspot.com/ Walter Pike

    Not been on twitter long and only a few of us in South Africa.

    Finding it really great – really only follow business. and it doesnt take much time at all versus the value.

  • http://pikesthinking.blogspot.com/ Walter Pike

    Not been on twitter long and only a few of us in South Africa.

    Finding it really great – really only follow business. and it doesnt take much time at all versus the value.

  • http://pikesthinking.blogspot.com/ Walter Pike

    Not been on twitter long and only a few of us in South Africa.

    Finding it really great – really only follow business. and it doesnt take much time at all versus the value.

  • http://www.pauldettman.com Paul Dettman

    Man, I went so mad on email a couple of years ago that I gave my laptop away. I tried it for a few weeks, and replaced it with a Palm which meant I could only send about 3 emails a day without getting cramp. I have also gone for long periods without a cellphone, without missing it at all. While I rely on email for business and so on, my fiction writing is all done longhand so that I don’t get the internet services distracting me. Horses for courses – there is no point writing a blog on paper first, but writing novels in ink is how the Victorians intended and it works for me!

  • http://www.pauldettman.com Paul Dettman

    Man, I went so mad on email a couple of years ago that I gave my laptop away. I tried it for a few weeks, and replaced it with a Palm which meant I could only send about 3 emails a day without getting cramp. I have also gone for long periods without a cellphone, without missing it at all. While I rely on email for business and so on, my fiction writing is all done longhand so that I don’t get the internet services distracting me. Horses for courses – there is no point writing a blog on paper first, but writing novels in ink is how the Victorians intended and it works for me!

  • http://www.pauldettman.com Paul Dettman

    Man, I went so mad on email a couple of years ago that I gave my laptop away. I tried it for a few weeks, and replaced it with a Palm which meant I could only send about 3 emails a day without getting cramp. I have also gone for long periods without a cellphone, without missing it at all. While I rely on email for business and so on, my fiction writing is all done longhand so that I don’t get the internet services distracting me. Horses for courses – there is no point writing a blog on paper first, but writing novels in ink is how the Victorians intended and it works for me!

  • http://jessecollins.com Jesse C.

    I wondered where you were yesterday!

    Coincidentally, the day you went awol from twitterland happened to be the day that I tweeted how great I thought your newsletter was :) It was a great read — thanks.

    I used to find twitter more of a distraction until I decided I could—to use your metaphor—dip in and out of the stream and not worry about what I might’ve missed. It’s not meant to be mission critical. It’s down and dirty; that’s what I’ve come to dig about it.

  • http://jessecollins.com Jesse C.

    I wondered where you were yesterday!

    Coincidentally, the day you went awol from twitterland happened to be the day that I tweeted how great I thought your newsletter was :) It was a great read — thanks.

    I used to find twitter more of a distraction until I decided I could—to use your metaphor—dip in and out of the stream and not worry about what I might’ve missed. It’s not meant to be mission critical. It’s down and dirty; that’s what I’ve come to dig about it.

  • http://jessecollins.com Jesse C.

    I wondered where you were yesterday!

    Coincidentally, the day you went awol from twitterland happened to be the day that I tweeted how great I thought your newsletter was :) It was a great read — thanks.

    I used to find twitter more of a distraction until I decided I could—to use your metaphor—dip in and out of the stream and not worry about what I might’ve missed. It’s not meant to be mission critical. It’s down and dirty; that’s what I’ve come to dig about it.

  • http://twitter.com/ChuckSmith Chuck Smith

    When I first got Twitter I thought it was cool, but then I noticed it was messing up my efficiency at work. Now I set Twitterific to update once an hour and I find that’s a great interval for me. When I’m at home, I usually set it for 15 or 30 minutes. Of course, when I really need complete concentration I turn off auto-refresh entirely and just refresh when I need a break.

    I think the point of all these technologies is to make sure that they improve your life. There’s nothing wrong with turning off your cell phone, for example, although for many people it would be unthinkable. We always have the option to disconnect whenever we want. We just have to remind ourselves that we have that choice.

  • http://twitter.com/ChuckSmith Chuck Smith

    When I first got Twitter I thought it was cool, but then I noticed it was messing up my efficiency at work. Now I set Twitterific to update once an hour and I find that’s a great interval for me. When I’m at home, I usually set it for 15 or 30 minutes. Of course, when I really need complete concentration I turn off auto-refresh entirely and just refresh when I need a break.

    I think the point of all these technologies is to make sure that they improve your life. There’s nothing wrong with turning off your cell phone, for example, although for many people it would be unthinkable. We always have the option to disconnect whenever we want. We just have to remind ourselves that we have that choice.

  • http://twitter.com/ChuckSmith Chuck Smith

    When I first got Twitter I thought it was cool, but then I noticed it was messing up my efficiency at work. Now I set Twitterific to update once an hour and I find that’s a great interval for me. When I’m at home, I usually set it for 15 or 30 minutes. Of course, when I really need complete concentration I turn off auto-refresh entirely and just refresh when I need a break.

    I think the point of all these technologies is to make sure that they improve your life. There’s nothing wrong with turning off your cell phone, for example, although for many people it would be unthinkable. We always have the option to disconnect whenever we want. We just have to remind ourselves that we have that choice.

  • http://www.joshanstey.com Josh Anstey

    Chris,
    Great post.
    Really interesting to see how you managed to get around things you were used to doing with twitter.

    I agree with you about Twitter. I think it is a great tool, and not a waste of time at all. In fact, it is even a time saver in making finding information quicker, and interacting a lot easier.

    I think you should definately try a day without your blackberry and email. Have a technology-free day. What do you think?

    Cheers,
    Josh

  • http://www.joshanstey.com Josh Anstey

    Chris,
    Great post.
    Really interesting to see how you managed to get around things you were used to doing with twitter.

    I agree with you about Twitter. I think it is a great tool, and not a waste of time at all. In fact, it is even a time saver in making finding information quicker, and interacting a lot easier.

    I think you should definately try a day without your blackberry and email. Have a technology-free day. What do you think?

    Cheers,
    Josh

  • http://www.joshanstey.com Josh Anstey

    Chris,
    Great post.
    Really interesting to see how you managed to get around things you were used to doing with twitter.

    I agree with you about Twitter. I think it is a great tool, and not a waste of time at all. In fact, it is even a time saver in making finding information quicker, and interacting a lot easier.

    I think you should definately try a day without your blackberry and email. Have a technology-free day. What do you think?

    Cheers,
    Josh

  • http://suzemuse.wordpress.com Sue Murphy

    Funny – I actually tried this last week to see what would happen. Although I did Tweet once or twice during the day from my phone (it’s a hard habit to break!) I didn’t go to the site at all.

    One of the things I noticed right away is that I felt “out of the loop”. I went back on the next day and I felt like I had to play catch up, to get reintegrated to the conversation. Just shows how much information is flying around in there.

    I too, don’t find Twitter to be labour intensive or a time-sucker. In fact it’s a valuable resource to me now and if I really do need to bring my Twitterscope down to focus on something I do it. Chuck Smith above said it – we have the choice of whether we want to be connected or not.

    You are a braver person than me if you try the “no email or Blackberry for a day”. I don’t know if I have the strength for that :-)

  • http://suzemuse.wordpress.com Sue Murphy

    Funny – I actually tried this last week to see what would happen. Although I did Tweet once or twice during the day from my phone (it’s a hard habit to break!) I didn’t go to the site at all.

    One of the things I noticed right away is that I felt “out of the loop”. I went back on the next day and I felt like I had to play catch up, to get reintegrated to the conversation. Just shows how much information is flying around in there.

    I too, don’t find Twitter to be labour intensive or a time-sucker. In fact it’s a valuable resource to me now and if I really do need to bring my Twitterscope down to focus on something I do it. Chuck Smith above said it – we have the choice of whether we want to be connected or not.

    You are a braver person than me if you try the “no email or Blackberry for a day”. I don’t know if I have the strength for that :-)

  • http://suzemuse.wordpress.com Sue Murphy

    Funny – I actually tried this last week to see what would happen. Although I did Tweet once or twice during the day from my phone (it’s a hard habit to break!) I didn’t go to the site at all.

    One of the things I noticed right away is that I felt “out of the loop”. I went back on the next day and I felt like I had to play catch up, to get reintegrated to the conversation. Just shows how much information is flying around in there.

    I too, don’t find Twitter to be labour intensive or a time-sucker. In fact it’s a valuable resource to me now and if I really do need to bring my Twitterscope down to focus on something I do it. Chuck Smith above said it – we have the choice of whether we want to be connected or not.

    You are a braver person than me if you try the “no email or Blackberry for a day”. I don’t know if I have the strength for that :-)

  • Stales

    Chris – I’m a relative newcomer to the twitterverse. In the short period of time that I’ve been on twitter, I’ve used it to seek out other cancer survivors. To me, it’s become an invaluable resource for connecting and sharing information.

  • Stales

    Chris – I’m a relative newcomer to the twitterverse. In the short period of time that I’ve been on twitter, I’ve used it to seek out other cancer survivors. To me, it’s become an invaluable resource for connecting and sharing information.

  • Stales

    Chris – I’m a relative newcomer to the twitterverse. In the short period of time that I’ve been on twitter, I’ve used it to seek out other cancer survivors. To me, it’s become an invaluable resource for connecting and sharing information.

  • http://www.ephealy.com/ Ed Healy

    I’ve gone without checking my email for a day. That was a logistical suicide mission. It took my half a week to dig out from under the giga-ton of messages in my Inbox.

  • http://www.ephealy.com/ Ed Healy

    I’ve gone without checking my email for a day. That was a logistical suicide mission. It took my half a week to dig out from under the giga-ton of messages in my Inbox.

  • http://www.ephealy.com/ Ed Healy

    I’ve gone without checking my email for a day. That was a logistical suicide mission. It took my half a week to dig out from under the giga-ton of messages in my Inbox.

  • http://www.wrightplacetv.com Dr Letitia Wright

    TWitter has been a HUGE education for me. I have learned things very quickly and people will email you with answers almost immediately.

    I like Linked in but it is slow compared to Twitter. I have days when it seems like I am on all day and days when I might check it once or twice. When you are gone a long time it’s like finding out what happened at a really good party that you had to leave early!

    Dr. Wright
    http://www.twitter.com/drwright1

  • http://www.wrightplacetv.com Dr Letitia Wright

    TWitter has been a HUGE education for me. I have learned things very quickly and people will email you with answers almost immediately.

    I like Linked in but it is slow compared to Twitter. I have days when it seems like I am on all day and days when I might check it once or twice. When you are gone a long time it’s like finding out what happened at a really good party that you had to leave early!

    Dr. Wright
    http://www.twitter.com/drwright1

  • http://www.wrightplacetv.com Dr Letitia Wright

    TWitter has been a HUGE education for me. I have learned things very quickly and people will email you with answers almost immediately.

    I like Linked in but it is slow compared to Twitter. I have days when it seems like I am on all day and days when I might check it once or twice. When you are gone a long time it’s like finding out what happened at a really good party that you had to leave early!

    Dr. Wright
    http://www.twitter.com/drwright1

  • http://www.managingthegray.com C.C. Chapman

    I took a two day Twitter vacation last week. I missed a lot of the same things you did. The biggest being the quick and instant feedback to questions I might had.

    Like you I don’t labor over what I Tweet. I pop open the window as a thought hits me, write it, post it and go on about my day. True stream of consciousness for me. I only have to think if I go over the 140.

    Take a weekend and leave everything off. You’d be amazed how good this feels. I keep my phone on for any true emergency, but don’t check e-mail, twitter, or anything. Completely unplug. Trust me, it’ll feel good and you won’t miss as much as you might think you would.

  • http://www.managingthegray.com C.C. Chapman

    I took a two day Twitter vacation last week. I missed a lot of the same things you did. The biggest being the quick and instant feedback to questions I might had.

    Like you I don’t labor over what I Tweet. I pop open the window as a thought hits me, write it, post it and go on about my day. True stream of consciousness for me. I only have to think if I go over the 140.

    Take a weekend and leave everything off. You’d be amazed how good this feels. I keep my phone on for any true emergency, but don’t check e-mail, twitter, or anything. Completely unplug. Trust me, it’ll feel good and you won’t miss as much as you might think you would.