Statement on Twitter

Statement on Twitter

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The short version: I maintain a Twitter account at @RobertTalbert. However, for reasons explained below:
- I only check my Twitter account twice a week (Monday and Friday) for 30 minutes at a time;
- I generally only check DM's and mentions, and do not engage with the main timeline; and
- Most posts to my timeline will be links to blog posts, or auto-shared posts from other services.

If you want to contact me with a question, inquiry about giving a talk or workshop, etc., please use the contact form found on this website.

I've been on Twitter since 2006, when there were only 10,000 users and it was called TWTTR. I have made countless meaningful connections with people and organizations on Twitter, and many real-life friendships. In many ways my entire academic career was built on Twitter. I owe the platform a lot.

But it's also become increasingly clear over the last few years that Twitter, and social media in general, consumes more personal energy for me than it produces, and it's not a good use of my time or attention. I had noticed this each year since around 2016, when I started including a complete social media fast as part of my observances of Lent. The time away from social media improved my stress levels, sleep quality, and productivity. In this past year (2022) I started to realize that this was the same year after year, so I decided to make a break with social media.

This brief TED talk from Cal Newport really cemented my thoughts about this. I encourage you to take 15 minutes to watch:

There is still value in Twitter as a way to signal-boost what I am writing, reading, and speaking about, as well as engaging with those who are tweeting about my stuff. I've scaled back my engagement with Twitter to encompass only those things. I only check Twitter twice a week (Monday and Friday) in 30-minute sessions, devoted mostly to checking DM's and @-replies; and most of my posts are just links to blog posts, or auto-posted from third-party services. I do not typically engage with the main Twitter timeline.

I'm adopting these limitations as a way to improve the quality of my life and work, not to put on a self-righteous aura. But, I'd urge you to consider whether social media is a net positive for you, and adopt some boundaries on it.

The exception to the social media rule is LinkedIn, which is a service that does, for now at least, gives more than it takes. If you're on LinkedIn, feel free to reach out to connect.