Twitter和其他类似的社交媒体平台是社会的一面镜子，这并不奇怪。 它们反映并放大的不仅仅是我们的善，也有恶。 不幸的是，相对于前者带来的帮助和力量，后者更加有害更能引起污染。 这不是自助餐，可以任您挑选; 无论您喜欢还是不喜欢，你都会受到两种的影响。
从某种意义上说，事实上，我不得不以精简版开头来概括我的思想——换句话说，省略了有价值的背景，因为人们对于在网上阅读表现的不耐烦，期待一个TL； DR- is the problem。如果你还在读，我希望是因为你真的想知道我上面的意思。但老实说 - 大多数读者没有停留在这么远。
Then a few weeks later, I went in and purged my following list, cutting out about 75% of them. If I was going to read any twitter at all, I needed a feed that was vastly more narrow. I needed to cut out all the voices, even from people that I like, that had things to say which compelled me to try to speak up.接下来的几周，我精简了我的订阅清单，减少了大约75%的内容。过去 如果我需要阅读推特，我会订阅大量内容。我需要削减这些声音，甚至是我喜欢的人。因为它们迫使我去发表一些言论。
I used to advocate that you should follow a lot of diverse voices, especially those you disagree with, so you avoid creating an echo chamber. And here I was, basically betraying all that advice and narrowing my feed to a pure echo chamber. I only wanted to read from people I wasn’t likely to find any issues with.我过去提倡你应该订阅一些相反的声音 特别是那些你不同意的，从而避免一种回音室效应。而现在 我背叛了这条建议，缩减我的订阅变成一个纯粹的回音室。我只想阅读那些我找不到错误的人的推特。
I muted people who shared thoughts that angered me. I blocked people who had ever disagreed with me in even the most mildly disrespectful way.我将那些分享激怒我的观点的人禁言。我屏蔽了那些曾经不同意我观点的人，虽然有的只是轻微的不敬。
But it didn’t work. I kept finding more and more stuff in my feed that urged me to speak up. It was a constant battle to read twitter but not chime in. It seemed like every time I read twitter, within 60 seconds I found some self-important asshole’ish conversation that I wanted to tear into and then tear my own hair out.但是这不起作用。我在订阅中找到越来越多的人促使我想发表言论。阅读推特而不去插话，这是场持续的斗争。好像每次我阅读推特总能在60秒内找到一个以自我为中心的混蛋的对话想让我进去撕逼。
Months went by, and I got myself down to only checking twitter once or twice a day. By that point, I feel like I’ve broken my addiction to twitter. But it took me coming to terms with exactly what I was addicted to, and why.几个月过去了，我现在每天检查推特一到两次。某种意义上说，我已经戒了对推特的瘾。但是这让我开始思考我到底是对什么上瘾，为什么？
I realized that what I was addicted to was inflating my own ego, tiny bits at a time, by feeding the idea that my opinions — on anything — were informed, intelligent, reasoned, and useful, and that any conversation that I read could benefit from me poking my head in.
I mean, that’s what twitter is all about, when you think about it. Right? It’s about seeing something that others are discussing, and inflating that discussion with your own two cents.
Why am I so strongly compelled to do so? Because my ego needs it. I need to be important. I need to be respected. I need to be appreciated. I need to be admired.
Twitter feeds that ego like a drug addict is fed by a dealer.
It took a long, long time before I could admit this. And it took me leaving so I could see it more from the outside. It took me looking at the “mirror” of my social media persona and realizing that I had built this, brick by brick, tweet by tweet. I did this. All of it. I created the momentum of a habit that would continually draw upon the worst parts of my own nature. The more I came to terms with that, the more I was disgusted with myself.
About 20 years ago, I was having some health problems that I suspected might be related to my really high daily intake of caffeine. Like, drinking 8–10 cokes per day, high. So I decided to take a month off caffeine, cold turkey, to reset my system. That month was the worst most miserable month of my life to that point.
I had all kinds of physical withdrawl symptoms kick in. I mean, sweats, nausea, digestive unrest, headaches, etc. The whole thing. I’ve never actually been addicted to controlled substance drugs like cocaine, but I imagine that in my little slice of the world, I was experiencing a hardcore physical pushback from my lack of caffeine.
It didn’t take long for me to realize, horrified, that if I was actually that addicted to caffeine, I’d need to never have it again. There was no safe level. There was no moderation. Just like there’s no safe level of cocaine.
20 years later, and I’m still 100% caffeine free. No coffee, no tea, no caffeine drinks, nothing. I guess I get small amounts in the occasional chocolate or whatever. But I don’t consume any concentrated amounts of caffeine at all. And I’m much healthier as a result.
6 months may be too early to tell, but I believing for now that in the same way that I needed to drop caffeine, I also needed to drop my addiction to ego inflation through twitter.
A lot of people that know me IRL tell me that I’ve been a lot more calm and even tempered since leaving twitter. I hope that’s true. I still have a long way to go to unwind my negativity and ego-inflation habits. But I’m encouraged that I’m at least headed in a better direction.
I use LinkedIn now, and to a lesser extent, Google+. LinkedIn works for me for now because I only post once a week or so, and even then, usually only on something business/tech related, since that’s the expected norm for this platform.
I rarely comment on others’ discussions, and certainly in no ways do I do so if it’s something inflammatory or controversial.
I self censor. I still regularly have thoughts and ideas that I would like to ego-inflate by sharing with the world — you know, THOUGHT LEADERING! But I keep them to myself, usually.
I’m drinking caffeine-free drinks like sprite or lemonade. They’re not nearly as addictive. I still have to keep them in check, but it’s a lot easier to do so.
But the effects of dropping twitter have not been all positive.
I’m sad, and lonely. I feel deeply disconnected from a community that I think I helped to build. I feel saddened because I want to be able to have the good parts of twitter without being taken down by the bad parts. I feel like I’m less mature and less capable of that kind of responsible usage than I’d like to be. I’m jealous of others for being able to do so, apparently effectively.
My OSS life, which used to be a huge part of who I was, is now a hollow shell. I have built a couple of libraries since leaving twitter, but almost no one has heard of them, because I have no platform to publicize myself. I mean, I occassionally post on LinkedIn and Google+. But together, those aren’t even a drop in the bucket compared to what I did on twitter.
My motivation to finish my book writing, or work on my OSS projects, is at an all time low. I don’t care anymore. Why work on all that, if I can’t keep calling attention to what I’m doing by tweeting about it? I recently built (OSS’d on github, of course) a library that I think could be a really important part of the ecosystem, and it’s basically irrelevant. All the docs and tests I wrote, they mean nothing because the project has like 10 stars. No one will ever hear of it or use it. And I won’t likely ever do any more to add to it.
And I’m also deeply saddened at a noticeable downturn in my business. I built my work in large part on the platform of @getify. I relied on being able to offer a public workshop, tweet about it a few times, and virtually always sell out tickets. Now? I’ve had a string of utter failures in public workshops, with ticket sales being so low that I’m having to cancel or — worse — run them at a net loss.
I also struggle to drum up new corporate training work. I got a lot of those leads in the past from my regular public community presence, and as I’ve retreated from that community, fewer of those leads are coming in. I’m having to dig for and find work, and it’s getting harder and harder. I don’t know if the pipeline will keep working, or if I’ll have to eventually change my work entirely.
On the whole, is it better that I give up on twitter and lose all these other parts of my career/endeavors, but I regain my own sanity and peace of mind?
I don’t know yet. But since I don’t know, the worst thing I could do would be to keep feeding those worst parts of me haplessly. Unless I ever figure out some way to balance these pros and cons more effectively, I feel like I’m better off staying on the sidelines.
Until then, I hope you’ll come connect with me on LinkedIn.
And whatever you do, be good to others online. They’re more than just the pixels on your screen. On the other side of that pixel is a real human being, with all manner of hopes and flaws. Remember that the next time you feel the urge to tear into them after reading a tweet you don’t agree with.