A Twitter amendment

Last weekend I was in San Diego for the annual meeting of AAR/SBL, and (as has become my custom) I mostly saw old friends and new acquaintances. Most of the latter I have "met" online; most of those "meetings" were on Twitter.

Tomorrow marks 8 weeks since I began my experiment with decreasing my Twitter usage: zero time on that infernal website Sunday through Friday, and 30 minutes or fewer on Saturday; moreover, no active tweeting (original, RT, replies, etc.) on any day of the week: only occasional links to something I've written.

After San Diego, I'm reconsidering my experiment, or rather, considering an amendment to it. I think I'm going to try a modest "return" to being an active rather than passive user on Twitter, albeit within the same time and use constraints I've already set for myself. That is: limit both reading and tweeting to Saturdays, for 30 minutes or so, but become a sort of power-user for that half-hour of time: sharing thoughts, interacting with others, retweeting, threading ideas, following new accounts, replying and connecting, etc., etc.

It's another experiment, and if the various negative consequences of using Twitter that caused my first self-imposed exile return in any way, I'll drop it ASAP. Twitter brain, group think, the itchy need to check replies, inability to focus reading, long dark rabbit holes that bruise the soul: none of that, thank you very much.

But seeing old friends and new (and in the flesh, at that!), so many of whom I've met through that otherwise detestable website, persuaded me that there might be additional such benefits on the horizon. Given Twitter's systemic effects, I continue to believe that it ought to be burned to the ground. But perhaps I can squeeze a few more drops of good out of it before it (Lord willing) does so.


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