When I was in my 20s, I gave up coffee for Lent.

I had a headache for a week. It sucked. It also made me aware that I was pretty hooked on caffeine.

Giving up Twitter is worse. (Yet, probably better for me.)

The willpower it takes to not type “twitter.com” into my browser is… phenomenal. Although I could safely do so, I guess, as I would get a sign-in page, which would be enough to bring me to my senses.

I think. Best not to test me right now.

I have gotten some e-mail from “tweeps” (that would be Twitter peeps for those not in the know. And, for my dad: “peeps” is short for people, in this context people who are friends — not those marshmallow confections that Dr. Bro likes so much). They have asked how the no-Twitter thing is going, and I have been honest: It’s hard. I don’t like it.

I even find myself irritable about the whole thing. I guess part of that is feeling out of touch, and, I will admit, irrelevant.

Which brings me back to one of the reasons I gave up Twitter in the first place: the relevance of my on-line presence in the first place.

(Justin Kownacki has a zillion thoughts about on-line relevance, and I will be citing him in the coming 40 days. Just as soon as I get that professional blog on-line. But that is another post for another day. I’m still waiting for my attention span to increase. Although in squee-worthy news, Justin links to me on this post. I’m not really sure he means it to be complimentary, but I’ll take it. I’m a narcissist like that.)

Where was I?

Oh, right.

Twitter and this blog are purely personal pursuits. They are not for networking, they are for socializing. I’m not trying to drum up business, although I do occasionally post links to this blog on Twitter. One of the points I made in my Year of Social Media post was this:

Becoming a parent can be extremely isolating. Within the last five years, I had two babies, moved to the suburbs, went from WAHM to SAHM to WOTHM. While I still keep in touch with a handful of IRL friends (without social media, too), I have lost touch with many more. Friends I went to high school or college with, people I moved away from when I left the South Side.

In the past year, though, I have discovered so many more people and I feel as if I’m fast on my way to becoming friends with many of them. Social media and blogging have helped me overcome the isolation I have felt since the triple-whammy of motherhood, ‘burb living, and full-time work.

As such, Twitter (and to lesser extents, Facebook and Plurk) have been vital to my mental health.

I am stepping away not because I don’t want to be connected any longer. I absolutely crave that connection — like any person craves connection.

It’s just that it’s gone way beyond a way to connect to people, and become a compulsion. My husband is the psychologist, so I won’t be psychoanalyzing myself (he can do it in the comments for me), but it seems that not being able to stay away from Twitter for 5, 10, 20 minutes is a bit of a problem. Especially as the children may be setting a fire in the other room. (I kid. More likely they are figuring out how to use the remote. But still, what is mommy-blogging for if not to over-dramatize?)

So if I’m commenting more often on your blog, or sending you pointless e-mails and text messages, please bear with me. I’m searching for ways to still connect without being compulsive about it.

Thanks for your patience.

8 thoughts on “Withdrawal

  1. I intended that reference in neither a complimentary nor a derogatory way; just citing you as an example of someone who’s found a reason to step back and re-evaluate the whats and whys of the things we do.

    I usually step away from all things Internet-y when I’m on vacation or at Christmastime. Instead of withdrawal, I experience relief at not having to pay attention to all the distractive self-promotion and pointless bullshit. One Christmas my Twitter hiatus lasted for two months; people who knew me started calling me to make sure I was alive.

    When I do return, it’s usually due to work-related obligations; otherwise, I might never use the web again. Funny, that.

    • In some ways, though, you and I are in different boats, where the Internet is very much your job right now. For me, it’s about fun and connection only. That may change as social media makes its way into companies (mine included) and they need people (“experts”) who understand it or at least are excited about it, and one or two steps ahead of the newbies.

      I’m thinking of throwing in the towel on Blog365, only because weekends are a total pain. I like posting every day, but my weekend posts are devoid of interest, even for me.

  2. I have a “refresh” addiction, as in, I must refresh my Facebook page, blog stats, etc., every few minutes. Because surely at least one person has “liked” my status update in the two minutes it took me to change a diaper or swap the laundry. Surely.

    • Exactly. That’s why I had to step away. I’ve got to learn to put Twitter and the rest of them in certain times and hours instead of being glued to the Internet at all times.

  3. I feel the same way. I feel that Twitter keeps me connected to the world and the wonderful people I’ve met. Without Twitter I would have no idea what anyone is up to. While I have been know to turn off the tweet deck for a day or so, I still enjoy checking in. I am not quite addicted…yet, but I’m sure as I become more involved in what my tweeps are up to I will be way more involved, which is nice and scary. I have often thought about quitting Twitter cold turkey, then I realized I would be very alone.
    Good Luck with your fast. I too enjoy email so feel free to email bomb me!! I LOVE IT!!!!

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