A few notes from my Twitter (X) breakup

And some broader social media takeaways

Last week I deleted my Twitter account. I hadn’t been on there for six months, and I’d decided an inactive account was probably worse than no account at all. But did I learn or gain anything from my decade on the platform? This is my attempt to figure it out.

I joined Twitter in 2012, and I built up to about 1250 followers, most of which came in the first year. I was on there primarily to keep up with the book industry and share my work, and I also enjoyed the insight into people’s lives. However, I often felt too rushed to join in properly, and it was never my forte to maintain a fast-paced written conversation with people I didn’t know well. I’d send out tweets, but then my inner overthinker (who’s called Hilda and can be a real bitch) would be shrieking aaaargh! at both the worry over what I said – Am I being too salesy? Do I sound silly? – and the time/energy it was taking to say it. Which is all pretty hilarious as the algorithm and my regular low engagement figures probably ensured I was tweeting at no one most of the time.

Twitter was also a time-suck: half an hour would go missing as soon as I clicked into the app. And yet, I persisted because there were some nuggets of gold, connections with people I really admire, and valuable industry insights. I’ve had some great moments with Twitter over the years. A chat with John Birmingham. A reply from Lisa Jewell. A follow from Bradley Trevor Grieve. These kinds of dopamine hits were enough to keep me scrolling. And I appreciated the real-time news information and updates too. Who wouldn’t want to watch the battle for US democracy on the Twitter feed of 6th January 2021. Utterly terrifying, as I recall.

Read the rest of this post on my Substack, and sign up for regular short pieces on writing, books, publishing, culture and more.

To explore all the articles on my Substack home page, click here.