40 Days and 40 Nights*

I am giving up Twitter for Lent. I’m pretty freaked out about this decision. It’s causing me a lot of anxiety.

And that’s kind of the problem.

I like Twitter. I get Twitter. Twitter makes me feel connected.

I spend too much time on Twitter.

So I’m going to go without it for 40 days and 40 nights. (Holy Thursday cannot get here quickly enough. Already.)

I’m not giving up social media altogether. I’m going to keep blogging; I’m going to keep reading blogs and commenting. (I’m getting better at doing this. Maybe less Twitter will mean more commenting.)

I’m going to check in at Plurk.

But I have to step back a little bit, and assess how to better use the time I spend on Twitter. Maybe I’ll get more sleep or do more cleaning. Maybe I’ll play more games with my kids. Maybe I’ll read more books. (That sound you just heard was Dan slapping his head and saying, “D’oh!”)

I’ll be going to next week’s tweet-up anyway (I already have a sitter!). I really like everyone I’ve “met” on Twitter, and as I primarily tweet with Pittsburgh people, I’ve developed a whole new circle of friends. It’s the ‘social’ in ‘social media’.

But it’s time to assess my Twitter use, and perhaps develop an alter (read: professional) ego to make it more useful to me (for networking, not for “marketing” or anything douchey like that).

Plus, it really is the hardest thing I could do for Lent.

If my posts suddenly become very short and frequent, you know why.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Is it futile? Will all these people I’ve made friends with on Twitter leave me? Will they even miss me? (Probably not.) Should I give up something else instead?

*To clarify, I will not be breaking my Twitter fast on Sundays. I was not raised with the “rule” that Sunday during Lent was a free day. It’s true that I don’t have to do anything above fasting or abstaining from meat on Friday, but as I am already a vegetarian, I like to go the extra mile.

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25 thoughts on “40 Days and 40 Nights*

  1. I’d suggest giving up Facebook, but only because I’d miss you much less there than I would on Twitter. Do what you gotta do; we’ll all be happy to see you return in 40 days.

    • Oh, you’ll still hear from me, no worries. πŸ™‚

      I am barely on Facebook. Maybe that will change soon. But I am starting to have a problem with Twitter. For reals. I need to do some reconnecting. In real life.

      Thanks.

    • I’ll obsess for a week or so. I’ll probably even blog about it. But I have to try β€” I have to know Twitter’s role in my life.

      It’s going to be like the time I gave up coffee. I had a weeklong headache. It lead to me really cutting back on coffee.

      I’m stalking your blog. So post often! (That goes for anyone else visiting here who has a blog, actually.)

  2. I have thought about it-not for Lent-but just limiting the time I spend on twitter and Facebook-well the internet as a whole. But I like feeling connected. Most of the people I consider friends live too far away and/or have their own time crunching issues to do much together. I moved away when i was a teen-and since coming back 3 years ago meant leaving all my adult friends I realized that my childhood friends have all left. Part of the reason I started going to tweet-ups and Burgh Mom events was to expand my friends and so far I have met some great people.
    Good Luck.

    • I hear that! I have met many great people, and I don’t plan to unplug from social media in any permanent way. But I have to pull back enough to figure out how to contain it.

      Don’t worry. I’ll blog obsessively about it for a bit!

  3. Wow, I’m impressed. Last year the Calgary Herald featured a teacher who gave up facebook and twitter for Lent. I just joined twitter (well, in November), but I can see how it time. Still, I can hardly watching TV without it!

    I hope you do blog about it. And if not, see you in 40!

  4. I don’t tweet either. It’s my own personal 365-day Lent. (I know if I started, I wouldn’t be able to stop.) Hope you tweeted it up big today so you could go on hiatus in style, in true Mardi Gras fashion!

  5. As a non-theist, I’m no Lent practitioner, though I was raised Catholic and I’m quite aware that giving up chocolate for 40 days is the modern equivalent of hanging on a cross. Nonetheless, I commend you for finding an opportunity to “step away” and re-evaluate how and why you’re using Twitter. One big problem with social media is that we rarely bother examining WHY we do it, and what we hope to gain from it, because we’re too busy doing it doing it doing it doing it etc.

    Enjoy your hiatus. The world will still be turning in 40 days, and perhaps your attention span will have expanded beyond 140 characters.

    • That last point about the attention span is huge for me actually. I mean, I know I’m short on sleep, and sometimes my job isn’t as capativating as I could wish, but I feel sometimes like I have adult onset ADHD β€” which as I’m married to someone with it, is no joking matter. Plus, there’s the whole dropping everything to tweet about it. Gotta stop!I love Twitter (see: narcissist), and I love having conversations on a personal level on it. But I would like to work on the professional side of my  on-line presence.Feb 17, 2010 08:08:34 AM, comment+x7y5pv3e5_urdnu0@comment.wordpress.com wrote:

  6. Good for you. I have a feeling that it will be difficult at first, but after a while you’ll stop thinking about it. If you need to prevent reflexive checking you can take a page from my husband when he needed to get more focussed at work: He put time-wasting urls in the block list for his brower.

    One way to use a bit of your Twitter-free time would be to type up a few of your thoughts and stories regarding breastfeeding and send them to theboobjuiceproject [at] gmail [dot] com. Just a friendly reminder! πŸ˜‰

  7. I have to give you credit for doing this. If social media wasn’t part of my job I would love to step away from it for a bit. As a practicing catholic though I haven’t given anything up. Should I have? probably but its been years since I did do it and cant find anything that I do now that isn’t tied into a source of income.

    I admire your strength to give up something that has consumed our daily lives. I’m doing the Lent thing vicariously through you πŸ™‚ The priests at Prep would be having a fit if I said that to them *haha*

    • The official line is that adult Catholics don’t have to give anything up for Lent unless they choose to. However, they (we) are expected to fast (Ash Wed, Good Friday), abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, and give alms to the poor.

      I gave up coffee one year; reading novels; swearing (I did great unless I was behind the wheel of a car). I’ve also done extra stuff, like a daily rosary.

      The Twitter fast has been interesting. In a lot of ways.

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