Stepping away from Twitter

December 20, 2012 — 2 Comments

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, yada, yada, yada. Each of these social networking sites has something to offer and I have accounts on most of them. However, I think it may be time to streamline. Increasingly, I feel pressed for time to do all the things that I need and want to do. There’s an endless amount of work-related stuff to do, but I also want to be a good father and husband. Moreover, if I don’t squeeze in time for exercise, I’m not very good at anything. I’m like a dog. If I don’t get in a walk, I might chew the furniture.

I currently have two accounts on Twitter: @danaernst and @IBLMath. Why two accounts? Most of my tweets are math-related, but not all of them. I created @IBLMath for two main reasons. First, I wanted to increase awareness of inquiry-based learning in mathematics. Second, I thought it was a good idea to have an account that was solely devoted to tweeting about math and teaching-related content. At the time of writing this post, I’ve tweeted 4,445 times from @danaernst, and according to How long have you been tweeting?, I made my first tweet on March 4, 2009. Twitter has been an amazing resource for me.

Then along came Google+, which launched in June of 2011. I don’t know the exact date that I joined, but it was within the first few weeks. I connected with quite a few academics early on and now I have a substantial network of people interested in mathematics, teaching, and technology. In fact, nearly all the people that I enjoy most on Twitter are also on G+. Since my network on G+ is so much larger than on Twitter, I often encounter content on G+ that I don’t see on Twitter, but I rarely see content on Twitter that doesn’t pop up on G+. Moreover, the interaction that happens on G+ is often much more substantial than what I’ve experienced on Twitter. I regularly cross-post content on Twitter and G+ and it’s not uncommon for one of my “popular” posts on G+ to see zero attention on Twitter.

I’ve been wondering for a while now whether maintaining my Twitter presence is worth my time. One of my weaknesses is that I’m not very good at doing things part-way. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. As a result of this, I find myself feeling anxious when I’m not caught up on surfing Twitter, G+, Facebook, etc. posts. The reality is that I don’t have time to even come close to keeping up. The rate of new content is overwhelming. My first semester at NAU has been successful, but I need to find ways to be even more efficient and effective at work, family, and play. In this vein, I’m looking for ways to trim unnecessary things from my life. I don’t plan to give up social media, but I think that I can save myself actual time and certainly some mental and emotional bandwidth by walking away from Twitter.

I’ll treat this as an experiment and see how it goes after a few months. I don’t think that I’ll miss it. I will likely continue to advertise my blog posts (from this blog and my Elevation Gain blog) on Twitter and respond to @mentions.

Dana Ernst

Posts Twitter

Father of two boys, husband, mathematician, cyclist, trail runner, rock climber, and coffee drinker. Columnist for MAA blog Math Ed Matters.
  • I’m kind of feeling the same way about Twitter right now. I just only have so much attention I can give to things like social media and I need to maximize my ROI. I’m getting a lot more out of G+ these days than I am with Twitter.

  • Thanks for sharing :)