I’m Garrick and I’ve Been Twitter Free for 30 Days.

“You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 17

At some point in late February – after 7,367 posts – I stopped visiting Twitter and deleted all the Twitter apps from my machines.

My world suddenly became more calm, more quiet, and I had more focus.

I’ve posted a handful of direct messages during that time – but nothing public.

In the past couple days, I’ve been visiting Twitter.com again and have found it as satisfying as a fifth Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut.

The @-replies, the retweets, the opaque URLs, the echo chamber-ness, and the cute passive-aggressive-ness all taste like the sugary frosting around 140 characters of emptiness.

Based on this graph from Compete.com, I wasn’t the only one visiting less.

Have I missed things that are important?
Maybe. Google’s ‘latest’ search captures most of the things I’m actively tracking (and if there’s a good way to see how empty 140 characters feels – compare it against other search results). For the rest – given how quickly the Twitter stream flows – quello che sarà, sarà.

Has it changed how I communicate?
Most definitely. I’m emailing and IM’ing more and I like that. More thoughtfulness, more conversational, more intimate, focused topics, far less twitchiness.

What happened on my Twitter account during that time?
My follower count remained static. I received a small number of direct messages and an even smaller number of @-replies. It left me with the distinct sense that maintaining engagement on Twitter is like pushing on a string – once direct pressure is no longer applied, movement stops.

Yes, this post is primarily to put a bookend on my my archive of Twitter-related archive.

Want to discuss this further? Drop me an email or IM.

Hat tip to Jamie for the intro quote.

Update 24 March 2010:
I just received this message from Klout.com

“Our analysis shows that your influence on Twitter has dropped from 30 to 8. There are a lot of reasons this could have happened but don’t worry, we are going to help you become more influential!..”

“…can the zeitgeist get so toxic that disconnecting from it is the smart play from a mental health perspective?” – Dave Slusher

Update 2 April 2010:
It occurs to me that Retweeting is Email-forwarding’s lazier cousin.

Update 21 April 2010:
I finally found a line I wrote in June 22, 2009:

“there’s an argument that I live 2 years into the future. If that’s the case – then sometime between now and March 2011, Twitter (the organization) is no longer relevant.”

Elsewhere:

“When I Tweet, nothing much happens for me other than reducing my incentive and motivation to create anything else. That seems like an obviously pretty bad deal in every way you slice it.” – Dave Slusher

“I’m well into my social media vacation….I’m not sure I’m ever coming back….There is a calmness and peace to my days…” – Dave Slusher

You should get my email