I have a Twitter problem. More of an addiction, actually. When I can’t come up with the right words, I turn to Twitter. I can always find a funny story or an interesting blog I haven’t come across before on Twitter. It distracts me from what I am doing, gets my mind off of what I should be doing.
This is nothing new. A full-time student for the past several years, I often used Twitter as an escape from what I was supposed to do. I first signed up for Twitter just to “check it out” about two years ago. I was immediately sucked into the pop-culture whirlwind, often with a bit of 90’s nostalgia mixed in. I followed middle school and high school favorites such as Alyssa Milano and Dawson…I mean James Van Der Beek. Seriously, it is amazing how much time celebrities seem to have to tweet (although I am sure the publicists and other assorted staff many employ don’t hurt). I would get lost in Twitter for hours.
When I decided to give writing my full attention, I created a new Twitter account for my writer-persona. I kept the old account for friends, family, and a slew of celebrities and sports stars. I signed both accounts into TweetDeck, added Facebook and a few lists, and went on with my life. I ended up with four fully-visible columns: Facebook, MsAnaQuinn, #amwriting, and #writegoal. I also had a whole bunch of lists and my entire other account in several other columns, but to see them I needed to scroll over.
What amazes me was, after two years of constantly knowing what most of these pop-culture icon were doing with their time, I never scrolled over. I switched which account was signed in on my BlackBerry, and I essentially forgot about the other account.
Until last night. I was bored, and I didn’t know what to write for today’s blog. I had already read every post in my feed on Facebook and the people I follow on Twitter. Suddenly, I found myself scrolling. After more than a month, I scrolled and checked up on those celebrities. Guess what? They were still there, oblivious to my disappearance (shocker, right?). They were still tweeting away on everything under the sun. A few were political rants, but most were about nothing. Within a few minutes, I was bored. But, boredom is better than a blank screen, so I kept reading. And wondering why I ever cared.
See, for years, this is all I knew of Twitter, and it was an escape. I read just about every tweet by all 150+ people I followed almost every day, because it gave me a way to procrastinate, and I didn’t know there was anything else out there. It seemed like an addiction, but when I found something else, I gave it up easily, without realizing it.
I still use Twitter when I am procrastinating. That may truly be an addiction. But now I find I get something out of it. I laugh at the postings and blogs by Tawna Fenske, but find myself learning from her advice. I absorb tips on how to better use social media from Kristen Lamb (her book helps, too). I have conversations with writers I would have never met without Twitter. And while Jim Cantore may have kept me up-to-date on the weather I was too engrossed in my computer to see, Ryan Seacrest certainly wasn’t giving me tips to make me a better writer. I may still be procrastinating, but at least now I get something in return.
Have you ever found yourself procrastinating, only to realize you were still being a lot more productive than you could have been? Am I missing other great ways to procrastinate? 😉