Software and Other Mysteries

On code and productivity with a dash of unicorn dust.

A Fortnight Without Twitter

Twitter, I think we need to spend some time apart. Really, it’s not you, it’s me! Scrolling through the never-ending feed that is Twitter is more than a habit. It has crept into my muscle memory. More than once I’ve been watching an episode on Netflix and suddenly realized I don’t really understand what is happening because I’ve been mindlessly scanning through new tweets. Or I’ve become bored because there is a full minute until the bus arrives, so I better see what’s going on in the world.

My feed is almost exclusively filled with very clever people writing about programming languages, software design and new technology. There are so many cool ideas and shiny new things that there is no chance of me keeping up. I’m lagging behind. Shit! I should really learn Go now, so I’m ready when all other server-side languages are phased out. Oh, is Go old? Damn it, I’m too late! Elixir is still hot, right? Okay, I can learn Elixir, looks easy enough. I just have to understand GraphQL and how to integrate that into an existing React application first. Though, perhaps Meteor would be a good fit? Got to look into that first. Oh, here’s a post on Medium about how to stay productive! If I read that, perhaps I will manage to do everything else.

Twitter is stressing me out. I’m entirely sure that there is some cognitive bias that makes me feel this way, so add that to the list of things that I need to read up on. With all the developer evangelists, core contributors and successful start-up founders keeping my feed constantly updated, this also means that keeping up with the state of things has become more and more about consumption.

Almost all of my time spent on devices is spent consuming things. Blog posts, tweets, videos, games, music. The lack of me producing something by myself adds another layer of stress, but how can I write something insightful about Javascript if I don’t fully understand the inner workings of V8, Chakra and Spidermonkey? The logic goes that to produce, I need to consume, but there is not enough time to consume which means there is never enough time to produce.

Taking a short break from consuming Twitter is an experiment. A few years back I actually wrote about the joy of not being connected for a few days. It turns out, I fell back in the same pattern pretty quickly. This time, I will uninstall Tweetbot from my phone, tablet and computer for a fortnight. Why a fortnight you ask? Because it sounds Shakespearian, that’s why.

All other social networks will remain. I currently spend around five minutes a day on Instagram and along the lines of thirty minutes a week on Facebook, so they are not really time sinks at the moment. I’m curious to see if I will begin to fill the void by reading status updates by my high school classmates, or if this in any way helps with the admittedly small problems described above. Perhaps I’ll take up or Ello. Just kidding.

See you in two weeks, Twitter. Probably.