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Today, I’ve deactivated my Twitter account (@glueckpress). Twitter gives you 30 days between deactivation and deletion, so if anything really compelling should come up why I need this account, I will be able to get it back before January 6th.
I appreciated the conversations as much as the daily chit-chat. Whoever wants to reach out, is welcome to do so. You know where/how to find me, and I certainly will be finding you. 🙂
(Update: …and then 2020 happened. I’m back. Sigh.)
Wait… what?! Why?!
Twitter has helped me staying connected with people who are, to this hour, very dear to my heart. So in this post, I’ll try to explain some of the reasons for me making this kind of radical and certainly unexpected move.
However, these may turn out not very coherent and quite personal. If you’re not into that kind of stuff, feel free to leave now.
Are you okay?
Yes. Well… I don’t know, why don’t you tell me once I’m done here? 😄
At least, nothing dramatic has happened in my life lately; I’m in good health, I have a great job, no family disasters. All is well, thankfully.
Are you just sick of Twitter?
No, I actually appreciate Twitter a lot, it has been my social network of choice for the last decade. I left Facebook years ago, Google Plus killed itself, I’m on LinkedIn solely because my job requires it, and I never even so much as dabbled with Instagram, Snapchat, or (lately) Tik Tok.
The design concept of having to distill a thought into a predefined number of characters about the length of this paragraph has kept me engaged and excited about Twitter for almost exactly ten years – I sent my first Tweet as @glueckpress on January 1st 2010, believe it or not.
So, no, it’s not Twitter.
Don’t you appreciate your tweeps any longer?
I do – hell, I do a lot! Some of you people I have been in touch with more directly via Twitter for all these years I’m privileged to call friends.
I get that the fact I’m leaving the conversation so abruptly might come across off-putting, and I apologise for that.
There is no simple, straightforward explanation, I’m afraid. Fact is, the idea to do this has been on my mind for months. The decision to do it now came while replying to comments on one of my last Tweets. I’ll try to give you the gist of it.
I easily distract myself.
While Twitter has been a source of knowledge and an instrument of learning and research for me, it’s also been a major source of distraction. Everything can be, I know. It’s not Twitter, it’s the person looking for distraction.
In that particular Tweet shortly before I deactivated my account, I had managed to ask people for their opinion on a fun project I actually wanted nobody’s opinion on – I just wanted to do it. Facepalm, I know.
I could easily not have tweeted about it at all, but I did. So here I was, comments with well-meaning, in some cases wise advice pouring in, some from people I dearly, dearly respect – and my Amygdala was freaking out! People were telling me things I knew all too well, and the fact that they thought I didn’t (or wasn’t considering them), was entirely my fault. I had meant to be funny and had created a whole lot of confusion instead that, obviously, was on me to clean up now.
This wasn’t the first time I had made a fool of myself in public, and on another day I would have laughed it off, cleaned up the mess I had made, and moved on.
However, what hit me this time was that as I was replying to the comments, trying to manage my self-inflicted issue, I was able to physically feel negativity rising inside of my body like poison being drawn up into a syringe – and not only was I the only person to blame for it, it also felt so incredibly familiar.
How many mornings had I woken up, eager to work on a fun side project, until I would open Twitter – you know, just a quick glance – and wind up starting my actual work day completely distracted and demotivated two hours later?
I’m an addict personality.
In my life, I’ve been addicted to all kinds of external substances as well as body chemicals triggered by certain emotional states. I’ve learned that if you’re an addict, the substance can and will change, but the pattern of addiction itself is very unlikely to.
- You may stop drinking, but start smoking.
- You may stop smoking, but start over-eating.
- You may manage to maintain a healthy diet, but find yourself in an unhealthy relationship.
- You may stop wanting your partner’s or family’s approval so badly, but start scrolling a social network on the hunt for instant gratification in the form of Likes from total strangers.
In other words, you may manage to get on top of the most unhealthy, life-threatening habits of addiction, but you’re probably never going to be free from addiction itself.
For the last eight to ten years, I habitually would start my day with a cup of coffee, scrolling Twitter; I would take a break from work and scroll Twitter; I would sign off from work for the day and scroll Twitter; my wife and I would go for a walk through the neighbourhood, we’d come back and I would scroll Twitter; I would have a cup of tea before I went to bed and scroll Twitter.
I’ve done a Twitter hiatus in the past, and it worked great. So if it had been only for fighting addictive patterns, I probably would have done it again and not delete my whole account. However, in the context of a few other things I’ll talk about in a second, trying to get rid of the addictive trigger altogether probably contributed to the decision.
I’m retiring ‘GlückPress’ (gradually).
The history of this curious ‘personal brand’ (for lack of a better term) started almost exactly a decade ago. I was a self-employed web designer working for clients. ‘GlückPress’ was the name I had picked for the WordPress multisite install I had set up to market my services and host my clients’ websites.
The idea of a ‘GlückPress’ hosting network never took off; eventually, I moved my clients to a proper web host and used the main site of the network as my personal blog. (Fun fact: until about mid 2019, the very site you’re reading this post on was still physically the main site of that same old multisite.)
Likewise, I began using the Twitter handle ‘@glueckpress’ that I had originally set up for my ‘business idea’ as my personal Twitter account. Since I was almost exclusively interacting with people from the WordPress community, the ‘-press’ in my handle kind of fit my WordPress-y profile.
Fast forward, by end of 2018, I started feeling increasingly uncomfortable with my ‘-pressy’ online presence. I’m by far not as engaged with WordPress and its community as I used to be, even though I met the majority of people I call friends today through WordPress.
So I decided to retire GlückPress and @glueckpress gradually. I’ve changed a couple of usernames already; for some others, there are implications that I need to wrap my head around first (like GitHub and Gists).
This website will probably be up under it’s current domain for quite a while longer. When it’ll be transformed into something new, there will be proper redirects in place. So if you wish to check on me, you’re always welcome to come here!
Why didn’t you just change your username?
I know I easily could have, but I guess the digital citizen in me was smelling an opportunity for a radical experiment:
- Is there a digital life without a social network? (Not counting my work LinkedIn presence.)
- Can one maintain a career online without a social network?
- How much of the time I’ve spend on Twitter will I actually spend on fun stuff, reading (books, i.e. paper), or even hacking away on a side project?
I don’t know, but I’m super curious to find answers. And if it doesn’t work, that’s an answer as well.
You’re an idiot, Caspar.
Maybe. Or maybe I am just overly confident that people who value me for who I am will continue to do so even if they don’t see my profile image in their timeline every day.
I will continue to post on this site, and as I said above, I’m intending to stay in touch. ❤️
14 reactions on “Off Twitter”
Wow, was für ein Schritt.. Respekt! Noch bin ich nicht so mutig. >2000 Follower aufgeben, wenn man sich in unserem Job ja doch auch selbst vermarktet..
Du hattest einen sehr prominenten Account, in einer engen Zielgruppe. Unvernünftig, das aufzugeben, mag man meinen. Aber ich ärgere mich jeden Tag, wenn ich auf Twitter gehe. Es macht wenig Spaß mehr. Und da ist das “Big Data”.. War das der Hauptgrund? Von daher ist dein Weg nur konsequent.
Ich freue mich auf viele Offline-Begegnungen mit dir. Werde nur unsere Direktnachrichten vermissen.
@Michael Seit dein Kommentar einging, habe ich den Artikel noch mal mit mehr Kontext aktualisiert. Beantwortet das deine Frage nach dem Hauptgrund? (Einen Hauptgrund gab es eigentlich nicht, eher viele verschiedene Gründe, von denen ich einige jetzt zu skizzieren versucht habe.) Direktnachrichten kriegen wir bestimmt auch anders hin! 😉
A part of me is jumping and screaming yaaay! Bring it on!! This is a chance to enjoy and savour the taste of that coffee much longer. Err excuse me, real friends don’t stop valuing friends because they don’t see them digitally everyday. Running a personal blog is living a digital life, valid too, ahaha. Anyway, enjoy this journey as much as you can. Stay blessed.
Appreciate it, thank you! 😄
Oh noes! Just wanted to pitch you FAX to WordPress 😀
Indulging self is my favourite addiction. Have lots of fun and see you around, on and off line.
Thanks, Milana, definitely see you around!
I will miss you on Twitter and the only really compelling reason to come back is that your twitter content is not available anymore. It does not say “this account is deleted – but here is the content anyway” – it is not shown – completely gone. Some great conversations and smart thoughts are lost now. And that’s a little bit sad …
Thank you, Torsten, and believe me, the sad part – not taking part in those conversations – is very real for me already! 😭😄❤️
I’m currently exploring feed reader options, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve already added your Twitter account, as well as a handful of others, to my list of feeds (still possible via twitrss.me, though for how long seems quite uncertain). This way, I’m trying to roll a few gems from my previous timeline over into my daily reading. And once the holidays are over, I’m planning to blog at least fortnightly. 😉 (Which reminds me I need to pimp my blog for that purpose, add comments notifications and all…)
I don’t feel overly sad to be losing my Twitter archive of all those years, to be honest. It’s definitely emotionally challenging, not going to lie, but the experience is all worth it to me. I’m trying to consciously (and voluntarily) experience what it actually means to trust social media with years and years worth of your content – and then lose it all in an instant. The reality is that each and everyone of those platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Google etc – could disappear literally any time, forever. As rediculously unlikely as it seems today, one has to admit it is far from impossible.
But we don’t even have to imagine a full social media apocalypse. The businesses that facilitate our daily conversations online grant the right to distribute content on their platforms on nothing but their own terms; they have become essential to online communication and commerce in so many regards, yet the sheer access to their platforms is protected by exactly zero laws in the world and can be unilaterally revoked literally at any time, for any and every reason whatsoever, as long as it is deemed appropriate by the platform vendors themselves.
With my ‘little’ experiment of deleting a decade of tweets I’m trying to explore the emotional and technical implications of living on the web without access (or with very limited read-only access) to the content monopolies of the social media behemoths.
However, as I said earlier, I’m very consciously treating this as an experiment – nothing less, and nothing more. If it doesn’t work out in a way I feel good about, I won’t hesitate to come back and create a new account on Twitter. Matter of fact, I am quite certain I will at some point, as I’m hoping the experiment Twitter has set out on for themselves may be unfolding in ways I won’t want to miss!
Only today I thought: ‘I haven’t seen Caspar for a while’.
Sorry for being slow. I can resonate with a lot of things you wrote though.
I’m sure I see you around 🙂
Hey, Monique, thanks for checking in! I was just going to update my home page here that I’m moving over to my other site. It still looks like nothing, but there’s quite some action going on. 😊 Definitely see you around!
I had the same thought today, when scrolling through Twitter. ‘Where’s Caspar?’
I am not that engaged – and in that I mean reading Twitter – lately either, so I probably missed the announcement (if there was one?)
Anyways, I just subscribed to your new RSS feed. Read you later, Caspar!
Sorry, Florian, found your comment here just now! 🙈
Hope you’ve subscribed to caspar.blog, that’s where the action will be in the future! (In both, English and German, although currently, there’s a bit more German going on due to #Projekt26.)
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