Could you give up Twitter or Facebook?

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Monday 16th January 2012

Blimey. I thought I’d set myself a tough challenge for the New Year by giving up alcohol for January (successfully so far, but we’re only halfway through!) and resolving to blog every day for a month. But one thing I’ve never contemplated is relinquishing Facebook and Twitter.

But that’s what writer Tom Cox has done. Well, he doesn’t exactly say he’s given up Twitter but he’s deactivated his Facebook account and says he’s doing just fine without it. Better still, he’s got cracking with his new book and no longer wakes in the middle of the night and reaches for his iPhone.

As he writes in today’s Guardian: “No matter how positive you feel about Facebook or Twitter and the ways in which they’ve enhanced your life, it is unlikely that anyone will ever lie on their deathbed and say ‘you know what? I’m really glad I spent all that time social networking!’”

Hmmm, he’s definitely got a point. The only trouble is that I could give up Facebook and LinkedIn without a backward glance or twinge of regret (I’ve never really got the hang of either), but Twitter? Now that would be hard.

Since I signed up to Twitter two years ago I’ve had a whale of a time. I’ve discovered fantastic press articles (this month’s Vanity Fair profile of Rebekah Brooks for one), gleaned brilliant tips on writing and blogging, got advice about renovating a house in France, got back in touch with old friends (hello Constance!) and made lots of new writer pals. Admittedly I’ve procrastinated for England (and France) over my work and probably wasted hours and hours of time, but so what, it’s all been good fun.

Perhaps the answer to the social networking conundrum is to go cold turkey on the accounts that you’re not bothered about and stick to the ones you enjoy. And perhaps I should be ultra-disciplined and leave Twitter alone between nine and five. Lots of writers tell me that they’re on Twitter chatting to people at the crack of dawn but by nine they switch off and get down to their manuscripts. Well, that’s what they claim anyway…

What do you think? Could you give up Twitter and Facebook? I’d love to know.

8 comments so far

  • I could easily give up Twitter … perhaps I haven’t completely figured it out or gotten any benefits (other than some laughs) from it. It would be much more difficult to give up Facebook. I use FB for a political outlet, mostly. Without it, I’d have no place to rant!

  • I gave up FB for several weeks before Xmas and I am now only posting the odd thing of interest. I Tweeted far less then too. Now I try to Tweet and/or FB 2 or 3 times a week to keep my hand in but the abstinence killed my addiction somehow and, I have to say, I’m getting a tremendous amount of writing done, so maybe there is something in it. Good luck with Dry January. Day 16 and we haven’t cracked yet either!

  • i have the perfect excuse to give up neither – as a book blogger it’s important to be out there and chatting to people, not quite 24/7 but at least for some time, most days. I’ve also made new friends through both that I would never have found otherwise and, although I don’t believe it’s necessary to tweet my every move, it’s nice to keep in touch with them on a more or less daily basis.

  • Hi Wendy. Well done on getting to Day 16 too! I don’t want to speak too soon but I think it’s getting easier! Re FB and Twitter, I think I really would miss Twitter but definitely think I should use it sparingly…

  • Hi Maryom. It’s lovely to hear from a fellow book blogger and I agree that Twitter is an essential part of life for us. Like you, I certainly don’t want to tweet my every move though!

  • Thanks so much for commenting, Larissa. It’s interesting how lots of us are addicted to Facebook and lots to Twitter, but not necessarily both.

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