Is there a way of keeping on Twitter without it taking too big a chunck of my life and my attention? I have tried going cold turkey a couple of times, but always came back to it. The basic problem with it is that it is too easy to engage with. You open the screen and straight away you can find a tweet to read. With a bit of searching you can find stuff you are interested in already predigested and ready to transfer directly from your phone to your brain. It is very much the information equivalent of a fast food burger. It has been optimised to give you what you want as quickly as possible with minimal effort on your part.
This isn’t of course a bad thing in itself. If you are hungry a burger is perfect. And when you have a few moments to spare a quick spell of Twitter is not a bad use of time. And you do get useful as well as interesting information from it. The trouble is that it crowds out stuff you want to do that has value that requires concentration.
So is there a way that I can limit my access to Twitter so I don’t overdo it without actually having to give it up altogether? Well there was an experiment I did a few years ago using an app called Freedom which seemed to work for a while. It blocks access to specific websites for periods of time that you define. The trouble was that when I tried it I soon found that there were some fairly easy ways around it. It turned out that my willpower was still required. But in despair I tried it again and it has now improved to the extent that it can only be removed with considerable difficulty and it works across all my devices. I’ve been using it for three days now and I am already seeing the benefits.
At the moment I have it blocked from five in the mornning until one pm. I then have another block session between 10pm and midnight – so that I don’t let it keep me awake at night and I can get straight on without being distracted with it in the morning. I think this might be sufficient, but I’ll experiment and see how it goes.