A few days ago, I stopped using Twitter, one of my largest sources of dopamine on the Internet. It feels weird not being part of any social network. When I pick up my phone and try to find something that stimulates my lazy brain, I go through an uncomfortable feeling of not having any candy that pleases my brain with dopamine. It’s crazy how technology and social networks make us addicted to their toys without us being aware of it.
I’d say Twitter was the social network I was the most addicted to. It’s been a few days without using it and I still have moments during the day when I feel like signing in to see what’s going on: the stuff people are talking about, the blog posts that are being shared, the GitHub repositories that are becoming trendy.
I think one of the reasons why we get so addicted to those social networks is that they are designed with gratification features that make us feel good when the content that we inject into the platform has some sort of recognition. In the case of Twitter, I’m talking about likes and retweets. Imagine for a second Twitter but without retweets and likes. It’d very likely be a boring platform that no one would like to use. Why would I share something on Twitter, if I can’t see the impact of my tweet?
Without a Twitter account, I have a loneliness feeling. I feel that this, my website, is my little corner on the Internet. A tiny place that people might stumble upon if they are searching for something that I’ve written about in the past. I have no idea of how many people are reading this, or if the people that read it like it. It’s an odd feeling, but I like it. It’s like sending a letter, without expecting an answer.
You might have noticed that my blog doesn’t have likes, number of views, analytics, or any kind of tracking feature. I made that on purpose. It’s good for me, because I focus on the content, rather on the impact, and it’s also good for you because you can anonymously land on the website, read plain and ad-free rendered HTML and CSS, and leave leaving anything behind. If you like it, or want to talk further, you can open an issue on GitHub, or just use a plain email.
Without Twitter, I’m becoming comfortable not knowing what’s the trendiest and latest open source project that has been released, the latest podcast that everyone is listening to, the revolutionary productivity trick to deliver more and keep your brain occupied longer times.
Twitter connected me to people, which I appreciate a lot, but also echoed hate speeches from people like Donald Trump, which I’m opposed to. Twitter made me addicted like Facebook did. It’s a free service, so they continue to run their business playing with our vulnerabilities.
My time on Twitter is over. My brain needs to recover back from this. It needs to slow down from the insane amount of information that it was exposed to almost every day since I joined the platform. The good thing is that Internet continues to be there, with their beautifully standardized and democratized protocols that anyone can use.