After 13 years (or more) I’ve deactivated my main Twitter account @pilgrimchris. Before I explain why (and it won’t take long) I’ll give a quick explanation of why I joined Twitter in the first place.
I joined Twitter out of necessity as it was, at the time, the only way I could create a @socialhiking account.
SocialHiking, or www.shareyouradventure.com, was a great way of sharing my hiking adventures with a wider audience and I loved it (the service is about to close unfortunately).
Over the years on Twitter I have made some good friends and have enjoyed much fun, banter and discussion. I gained a modest 3,500 followers and discovered interesting people I wouldn’t have otherwise.
However, in recent times, I have found myself more and more uncomfortable using Twitter. Out of those 3,500 followers I’d only engage with the same dozen or so regularly (always great engagement), whilst I rarely engaged with the vast majority. This, I know, is the nature of Twitter and whilst follower numbers have never been important to me (I don’t use the platform as any kind of marketing tool) it has made me realise that I prefer more direct communication with my friends and colleagues without the distraction and noise that a Twitter timeline invariably brings with it.
For me, the Twitter experience has become toxic. Apart from the wonderful engagement with the few, I find the incessant negativity of agendas far outweighs the positivity of healthy debate. Far more times than not I leave a session on Twitter feeling like I’ve been punched in the stomach.
I’m aware that my own interaction with certain conversations has been less than ideal… it is this lessening of me as a person that, ultimately, has led me to quit Twitter as @pilgrimchris. I was, at times, becoming the very thing I detested in others – a self opinionated prick.
Twitter has never been a necessity for me. It was always a place to ‘hang out’ occasionally with like-minded folk and have fun – whether that be daft humour or more serious debates or anything in between. I just don’t feel like it’s fun anymore.
So…. I’ve deactivated my account. I have 30 days to decide whether this is the right decision for me after which Twitter will permanently delete my account. Maybe, during those 30 days, I can work out how to use Twitter in a way that brings me joy instead of pain: if so I’ll reactivate my main account (although I suspect if I do I’ll be trimming both my followers and followed numbers quite severely and locking my account)
If not, then I’ll simply let my account die a natural death.