‘I deactivated my Twitter account for a week and this is how it’s been’

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Bandile Ntshingila (PHOTO: Supplied)
Bandile Ntshingila (PHOTO: Supplied)

Taking a break from Twitter for a week really opened my eyes to the feelings and motivations I have for using it. I needed to take a mental break from the endless news, opinions and trolls. Here’s what living without the famous blue bird app for the past week has been like.

So what motivated this, you ask? There’s nothing major that forced this to happen. I felt like, with everything that’s going on, I spent twice, if not thrice the time on social media or news sites in order to stay informed. Every second post either being from a news site about this and that country, and I just had to take a break.

Actually, doing this was a bit difficult. I thought hard about it and wondered if I might be overreacting, that there was no need to take such a drastic step. But I eventually did it. One click to “settings” and another click later, the account was deactivated. I uninstalled the app and felt an immediate sense of relief.

I could feel myself wanting to sneak a peek at what’s trending or who’s trending, so I decided to get up from my desk and go outside for a few minutes or try to start a conversation with one of my siblings. I don’t have a big following so I doubt anyone has noticed that I’m no longer liking or commenting on their tweets, but there has been a noticeable change for me.

I realised that I used the app to aid my procrastination. This wasn’t new information, but I didn’t realise how much time it took away from me actually doing my schoolwork. So, whenever I was busy with an assignment, and my concentration wavered, minutes later I’d find myself scrolling the timeline. Oh, how I cried for the nights I could have spent in bed rather than upright at my desk scrambling to finish an assignment!

I still had Instagram, but I also tried to limit my time on that app. So, I’d watch a few stories and watch a few videos from some of my favourite comedians if I needed a pick-me-up.

The app isn’t all that bad, the good stuff and good people there are great. For some, it’s the one app they use to escape, that they find comfort in. Some of us have formed great friendships, and have learnt a lot from some mind-opening threads, but I think I am ready to keep my distance from it. More than anything, it was an exercise to try and control my behaviour in certain areas of my life as my motivation and positivity were running a bit low. We’re in a pandemic, there’s not much we can control, but we can start with the amount of news we consume.

It has been close to a week now. I haven’t reactivated my account. Maybe I will, just before they delete it forever. Or maybe I won’t and I’ll just embrace that there are other ways of staying up to date and keeping in touch with what’s going on in the world.

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