Curbing the Twitter instinct

I recently came across a neat little tool called Tokimeki Unfollow. You connect it to your Twitter account, and it walks you through the accounts you follow in chronological order and invites you to unfollow accounts that no longer “spark joy.”1 It also cleverly defaults to hiding account bios to encourage you to evaluate whether each account still feels useful or interesting based on its own merits rather than on its reputation.2 Over several weeks, I used this tool to reduce the number of accounts I follow from over 2000 to less than 150. Twitter already feels a lot calmer, more interesting, and less addictive.

Another technique I put into practice recently was to save my Twitter password as a screenshot in 1Password instead of as a text field. Forcing myself to type an unreasonably long password is just enough friction to curb the instinct to check Twitter whenever I feel bored.

  1. On why one might want to dial back social media use, see “Why you should quit social media” by Cal Newport and “Growing apart and losing touch is human and healthy” by David Heinemeier Hansson. 

  2. This is something Dan Abramov touched on recently, on Twitter of course.