I’ve made a decision. I’m committing Twiticide. It’s drastic, I know, but I’ve got to go. You see, it’s not good for me. I get addicted to stuff. I’m not talking about drink or drugs or food, thankfully – I’m talking about behaviours. I have this ENORMOUS CAPACITY to busy myself for ages by doing jack all. This lazy/weird streak showed itself when I was a little girl. I spent hours – HOURS – sorting my family’s Christmas cards into piles.
I can’t explain it to you any more than that.
After that, I graduated to the encyclopedia. I spent hours – HOURS – writing alphabetical lists of names in my neatest handwriting. This was slightly more useful than the Christmas card thing. A few years later, everyone in my family, including me, was surprised to discover that I was brilliant at Trivial Pursuit.
Then, in my teens, I got a ZX Spectrum and I spent hours – HOURS – playing Manic Miner. There were twenty levels and I never got past level 19 – The Solar Power Generator.
In my twenties, I was better. I was moving around so much that time escaped me before I could chuck it away. But then, aged 30 and an English teacher, I got my hands on Football Manager. My addictive gene did the conga. Knowing that I should really be marking GCSE coursework or, at least, planning some lessons, I deleted the programme from my computer and threw the CD rom out with the rubbish. Then I bought another one and installed it again. Then I uninstalled it and threw that second CD rom in the bin. Then I got another one. And then the board of directors sacked me. No other team would give me a job. I floated through the game sadly for a couple of seasons and then I finally quit. But not before thirty-two virtual years had passed and God only knows how many REAL hours. And maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d wasted that time managing someone good but I’d picked Aberystwyth Town in the League of Wales. There was no league above us and no league below.
Then came Facebook. I knew it was time to knock that on the head when I found myself looking at other people’s lives – mostly their kitchen extensions. I will just warn you now that it’s not easy deleting a Facebook account. And I mean DELETE – not deactivate. It took me a month to find out how to do it and another month before they’d let me go. Sneakily, I still have my Facebook page where I can post long rambling blog posts about how social media is bad for my health. It’s hosted by an extremely antisocial person who doesn’t even have a profile picture.
And now we come to Twitter.
You’ve been magnificent.
I’ve ‘met’ readers and bloggers and friends. I’ve read stuff that's made me happy, stuff that's me sad, stuff that's made me laugh my head off and stuff that's made me shake my head and think, 'Oh, this world!' All in 140 characters or fewer. There have been extraordinary tweets like that of @Patrick_Ness when he quietly kick-started an enormous crowd-funding campaign to help refugees and unforgettable ones like that of @janesharp1671 (Sarah) linking to her ‘Period Blog’ – in which she described agonies I related to but, unlike Sarah, have felt too defeated and powerless to articulate. Then there’s lovely, funny, sharp and original @jessvallance1 whose book, Birdy, is ACTUALLY fantastic, and also my proper mate @girl_DJ (Kirsty). And... and... actually I know that there are a MILLION REASONS a minute why I SHOULD stay on Twitter. But that’s also why I’m knocking it on the head. Because I don’t have the discipline of those cool individuals who just infrequently drop in and out. I drop in and then I read seven news articles, five blog posts, three film reviews... and when I look up at my clock half my day has disappeared.
This is not what I gave up my job for. So, I’m afraid, out of desperation, I’m deactiving my account. It’s been great but it needs to know who’s boss. And as things stand, it’s not me. Hopefully, when I’ve learned self-discipline, I’ll be back.
You can still find me on www.facebook.com/hayleylongauthor
Goodbye, au revoir, hwyl am nawr, ciao, auf wiedersehen and all the rest. My Twitter account will be gone by Monday lunchtime.