Tweet Less and Live More

Cyan Banister and Jason Alba are thinking less about Twitter these days.

Their thoughts echo mine.

Tweet Less and Live More image Cyan tweetTweet Less and Live More

Tweet Less and Live More image Jason tweetTweet Less and Live More

This is why I welcomed the new year with a desire (that I have yet to break) to tweet far less than I had in the past. I used to keep my Twitter programs open to always notice what people were saying and sharing and to follow the trends of the moment.

But you know what? Trends are trends for a reason; they come and go. And it’s impossible, let alone stupid, to be on the lookout for what people say every hour of every day.

When 2013 began, I changed my Twitter frequency by writing a new tweet once or twice or maybe five times a day.

Go look at my stream at @ariherzog. Follow me if you want to follow me. I’m following 50 or so. Whether I discover new people or am attracted to familiar people from my tweeting past, I follow them. But if they tweet too much during the day or if they tweet content that I don’t find myself retweeting or thinking about, I unfollow them.

It is OK to follow people and also OK to unfollow them.

It is OK to take breaks and live.

In his July 2010 op-ed for the New York Times, Bob Herbert wrote about the importance of slowing down and taking time to experience life around us.

I’m not opposed to the remarkable technological advances of the past several years. I don’t want to go back to typewriters and carbon paper and yellowing clips from the newspaper morgue. I just think that we should treat technology like any other tool. We should control it, bending it to our human purposes.

Let’s put down at least some of these gadgets and spend a little time just being ourselves. One of the essential problems of our society is that we have a tendency, amid all the craziness that surrounds us, to lose sight of what is truly human in ourselves, and that includes our own individual needs — those very special, mostly nonmaterial things that would fulfill us, give meaning to our lives, enlarge us, and enable us to more easily embrace those around us.

Amen.

If I could suggest one piece of advice, don’t use Twitter the way I use it.

Don’t tweet the way anyone else tweets.

Find your own rhythm. Maybe your 140-character updates will comprise original thought. Maybe they’ll be retweets of others 90 percent of the time. Maybe you only want to reply to people, start conversations. Whatever. It’s your account. Use it however you want.

Whatever you do, recognize that Twitter will be there when you are finished doing whatever you do when you’re not there. It’s like the river that flows down the mountain. Do what you want in that river, and it will be there for thousands of years. Relatively speaking, so will Twitter and so will I and Cyan and Jason on Twitter.

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