Reflecting on My Twitter Sabbatical, 1 Week In

I ceased tweeting seven days ago with a simple message.

I don’t miss it. I don’t miss reading what people are reading. I don’t miss watching what people are watching. I don’t miss being an online voyeur into other people’s lives. I don’t miss the retweets, and the retweets of the retweets. I don’t miss 10 people trending the same topic, and 10 more people echoing the trend 10 hours later because they just logged onto Twitter and felt like sharing what they just learned. I don’t miss the chatter. I don’t miss the noise. I don’t miss much.

I don’t know what that means. Maybe it’s too soon to reflect.

My blog post on taking a break received little fanfare around the web, far less than prior Twitter actions I’d announced in the past. In the days after sharing my reasons in April 2009 for Twitter purging, I observed ricocheting reflections from Heather Padgett, Mike Langford, Scott Horvath, Liz Hover, Todd Jordan, Neal Wiser.

Not that I expected fanfare. Maybe I changed my Twitter strategies too often for people to care anymore. I emailed a group of folks who I knew followed my tweets and I shared a link to my action. Some people emailed back that they appreciated the message and were considering similar measures, having also grown tired of the noise filtering into their streams from people they followed. Over 80% of the people I emailed didn’t respond; I don’t know what that means.

Twitter usage is changing. Social networking usage is changing. An early adopter, I drank the Kool-Aid and recognized the benefits. I continue to offer advice to organizations why this or that tool is best, and suggest reasons for adopting it in the workplace. But from a personal side? From someone who drank the juice? When I look back over the past week and notice my productivity skyrocketed, it’s clear as day that my tweeting was unproductive before.

While I credit the tool for helping me secure speaking presentations and networking opportunities, I do not miss at all the social conversations for the people who I would converse with on Twitter I can separately converse with by email, Skype, Google Talk, Facebook, LinkedIn, you name it. Granted, those tools are not as real-time as Twitter; but with a 50 million global user base, the world is not on Twitter so why should I feel any different? I don’t care to know everything someone is up to, nor do I care anymore to share my updates multiple times a day. What if everyone could only send three tweets every day? When and if I return to tweeting, perhaps I’ll do just that: quality over quantity, enhancement over noise.

I’m not saying goodbye to Twitter, but I won’t be sending another tweet any time soon because, frankly, it doesn’t do anything for me anymore.