This is an opinion editorial by Mark Maraia, a professional development author and Bitcoin researcher.
I’ve been studying Bitcoin since 2020 and I’ve noticed there is a strong, vibrant community on Twitter. In fact, “Bitcoin Twitter” is virtually its own “country” that exists online.
I’ve had a Twitter account since 2009, but I never use it to tweet. There are several reasons for this (perhaps the subject of a different article) but, suffice to say, I’ve never found it to be a great use of my time. Like many Boomers, I see social media as a huge time and productivity drain. I also see it as perhaps the worst addiction of our age.
In a recent “TFTC” podcast episode, host Marty Bent and guest Ryan Breslow, the CEO of BOLT, got into the topic of our addiction to technology and, specifically, Twitter.
Both admitted to having Twitter addictions. It appeared from the conversation that, while Bent admitted to his addiction, he had not done much to break his addiction, while Breslow had. In fact, Breslow described “his toughest personal challenge is managing his time on Twitter.” Breslow used to check it randomly and often everyday, which brought him the dopamine hit that keeps all of us hooked on the technology.
How many can say the same? Probably many of you who are reading this.
No Silver Bullet
Since I’m not on Twitter, it’s easy for me to feel excluded. I may have great ideas to contribute but they won’t be heard, unless I become more active on Twitter. My compromise approach has been to join Telegram, which has been just the right middle ground for me.
But, as Breslow pointed out, there is no silver bullet approach. Day to day, how are you managing your addiction? It turns out that few of us can resist the appeal of something that’s “always available, one button away.” Breslow adopted this rule for his posts: He checks his Twitter feed once to see how a post did. It’s easy to say and hard to do.
I’ve been writing about this growing addiction to our devices before the age of smartphones and before Bitcoin. In fact, I wrote about it with the advent of PDAs (which stands for personal digital assistant), in particular Blackberries, which were — during their heyday — sometimes called “crackberries.” I even wrote a chapter in my second book that ironically was titled “Fire Your PDA!”
I joked back then, that most people did not know that there was an on/off switch on their devices. And for those of you who are too young to remember, Blackberries were highly addictive in the age of email and before social media or texting.
Well, as anyone reading this article today can attest, the problem has only worsened with Twitter and other social media platforms, but it’s at least 10, or perhaps even 100, times worse.
Kicking An Addiction
Before I share specific experiments that you might implement in the new year to increase your awareness of this addiction, let me ask you these questions:
- Do you admit that you have a Twitter addiction?
- Has it hindered or interfered with your relationships with a coworker, family member or friend?
- Have you ever tried going a day without it?
- Do you check Twitter (or another social media app) first thing when you wake up?
- Do you keep your phone in your bedroom?
- Do you keep your phone on your nightstand?
- After you post something, do you check it compulsively?
It’s a safe bet that if a family member or friend has ever asked you to stop reading your Twitter feed when you are with them, you are probably addicted to or misusing the technology. In fact, I’m betting that it’s harder for some of us to give up our addiction to social media than to give up our addiction to certain foods, like sugar. In fact, I’d say our addiction to devices is as damaging to our health as is our addiction to sugar.
What follows are several actionable “experiments” (from easiest to most challenging) that you can implement today that will be worth trying in 2023:
- Turn off notifications for Twitter for one week
- Turn off notifications for Twitter for one week and check your usage data for the last week. Set a benchmark for the number of minutes you spend on the platform each week. Monitor this on the same day each week.
- Establish a defined number of times per day when you will check the app on your device. Or set a block of time for when you check it.
- Turn off your device for one hour per day. (This is actually a really good way to assess how compulsively you check it.)
- Turn off your device for an entire day. Keep track of the number of times you go to check it and/or turn it back on.
- Turn off your device when meditating or reading spiritual literature. Keep track of the number of times you go to check it and/or turn it back on.
- Turn off your device when you are eating. Keep track of the number of times you go to check it and/or turn it back on.
- Turn off your device when you are writing an article. Keep track of the number of times you go to check it and/or turn it back on.
- Turn off your device when you are working, if possible.
- Turn off your device for an entire weekend.
- Delete Twitter from your phone for a day.
- Delete Twitter from your phone for a week.
Some of these experiments may be totally unworkable because of life situations, but the overall purpose for them is to assess how addicted you are to the device. The goal of the exercise is for you to gain greater control over Twitter or the social media app that has you in its grip. Ideally, if you spend less time on Twitter and devote more time to your friends and family, it will improve the quality of your life and productivity. Remember: We want the tech to serve us and not have us be addicted to the app or the tech.
Consider establishing one or more of the above as a possible 2023 New Year’s resolution. Best wishes for an awesome 2023!
This is a guest post by Mark Maraia. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.