I saw this funny photo on Instagram the other day. It was a picture of an old phone focusing on the hash or number button. What made the picture funny was the caption. It was a dialogue of a man asking a friend why would his grandmother’s old landline phone had a hashtag buttons when Twitter wasn’t even around back then. It made me think about Twitter and how it affects people in general.
Twitter caught the whole world by storm. Launched in 2006, it instantly gained worldwide popularity. There are already 200 million registered users who are sending more than 400 million tweets daily, with nearly 60% of tweets sent from mobile devices. This only shows that Twitter is available to almost everyone and it is not difficult to be on it. It is very easy to use and is accessible at any given time and place. It is a good way to receive news or read about the public’s opinion about certain current events; but Twitter, like anything else, has a different side; too.
It is named the “Web” for good reason.
There are people who are so engrossed in Twitter that they spend hours just posting and retweeting. Why is Twitter so addicting? Instant messaging offers instant gratification. Add to the fact that most of us prefer texting than using our God given voice. Twitter gives the freedom to send those messages all over the world. Being able to express oneself is good, but people tend to abuse things if there are no restrictions. You could be just reading a tweet and then realize that you have just spent an hour or two just reading commentaries and writing comments of your own. Simple discussions can snowball into something that is “trending” and you just get sucked right in to it.
We think we need so many useless things. When all we really need is time to breathe
So how can you stop wasting your time on Twitter? You don’t need to delete your account. Twitter, like any social media, can be a powerful tool if used wisely. Instead of wasting your time with it, you actually can turn things around and be productive if you play your cards right. The key is prioritizing the things that you do on Twitter. Ask yourself why you are on Twitter in the first place. Know what you want to happen and focus on that to avoid wasting time.
Back in January my friend Brewster, posted a tweet that read: “What do you want to see happen in 2014.” My response was simply, “More social and less media.” It sparked a great conversation about something that I’m really passionate about—being present. It’s about deliberately booting out and booting into the world around us. It’s about being more intentional and less accidental. Twitter is this great connector, but it also allows us to consume relationships at an alarming rate. We’ve been design to be social, but think about how you connect with people offline when connecting to people online. What I mean by that is we need to connect with people who we know; not just strangers. Build real relationships, both online and offline. We have been created to be in “true relationships” that add meaning and value to our lives.
Another thing that you can do is to guard your time. Set an alarm to remind you that you also have things to do in the real world. This will keep you from zoning in deeply. Take time to think about whom you want to follow on Twitter and focus only on those who tweet meaningfully.
Remember to live! Take real breaks and eat out. Connect with friends outside the virtual world. It is great to know what is on other people’s mind, but also try to have some time to focus on your own thoughts. Always remember that the only person who can set you free from a time-wasting cage is you.
How can you be more focused and aware of the things around you?
In a world moving way too fast, do you need focus because you fill every “spare” moment rather than taking an intermission to be present in every moment? Checkout my book Framing Faith and sign up for exclusive updates and give aways.