the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: addiction

One Day Off Twitter (Or “Getting Off” — Ha Ha)

Sophia and I had an unlikely laugh today, thanks to… of all things, Twitter.

I wanted to stay off of Twitter for a week, but I just didn’t have the self-control to do it. That’s when a friendly voice on Twitter came up — a blogger named @krisiallen — with the million dollar solution:

@Neilochka give someone you trust your password & have them change it & not tell you what it is.

I thought that was genius. Seriously. I think someone could develop a whole service out of this. You give access to your social media passwords to some bond-trusted customer service representative in, say India, and when you get too distracted from your work, you text this service, writing, “Cut me off from Twitter and Facebook for three hours, and don’t let me back on, even if I call you crying.”

A few friends offered to be my bad cop, but I knew the perfect person to help me with my plan — one person who was so loaded with integrity, and strong-willed, that she wouldn’t cave in no matter how much I begged or offered free Olive Garden coupons. Yes, Sophia.

Note: In retrospect, this was not the smartest decision, considering that she now has access to everything I’ve ever written privately to any of you on DM, but let’s just say that despite my advanced degrees, I’m not the brightest guy on the block.

At midnight, she cut me off from Twitter. I felt a sense of relief.

Unfortunately, this morning, there was an unforeseen glitch. I noticed that Twitter had sent me an email notifying me of the password change and wanting me to confirm it. I had to call Sophia to tell her to change the password AND the email.

After my morning coffee, I sat down to work. I was productive for about five minutes, when I absentmindedly grabbed my iphone to check Twitter on one of my seventeen different Twitter apps. And — boom — just like that — I was given access to the pot of gold. Even after the password and email change, I was back on Twitter. Would I have to destroy every laptop in the country before I could be free of this tempting siren with her heaving social media bosom? I was advised by a friend online that I would need to SIGN OUT first for the new password to take affect. Twitter certainly makes it difficult to leave, don’t they? Like leaving the Mafia?

I went one step further. I deleted all of the Twitter apps off of my iPhone.

Around lunchtime, I became hungry again… and not for lunch. For gossip. Was anyone talking about me? Perhaps there was an emergency on the blogosphere and someone was calling out for me on Twitter, desperately needing my help, and I was selfishly absent.

“@neilochka? @neilochka! We need you.”

Maybe I shouldn’t reveal this to other twitter addicts, but if you go onto Google and search you Twitter handle, like @neilochka, you can see if anyone has mentioned you! Sadly, my only mention was a spam offer for “penis pills from Brazil.” I guess there weren’t that many emergencies I had to deal with today. I could go back to work.

Five minutes ago, I went on my iphone to check on Facebook (which has been my poor cousin procrastination tool of today — I’m just not that into you, Facebook!) And there is was, sitting in a little corner of one of my iphone screens, right next to Evernote — Hootsuite, a Twitter client that I rarely used. I opened it up and instantly saw all my missed Direct Messages. There was only one, but it was like manna from the sky. I decided to keep this twitter application a little secret between me and God. I wouldn’t use it to update. I would just read up on what others are doing. I would just use it to pimp my new blog posts. That’s legit. If I don’t pimp my posts on Twitter, no one is gonna read them, right? And less money for my family.

But that would be cheating. And we are all trying to teach the next generation that cheating is bad. And I am supposed to be the Citizen of the Month.

I haven’t deleted the app just yet. But I will… right after I publish this post. Honestly.

P.S. — More important than this boring post is this — I don’t usually send my readers off to other blog posts written by better bloggers than I am for obvious selfish reasons, such as not wanting to feel inferior, or having you read her blog before mine, but Jenn Mattern, the super-talented writer of Breed ‘Em and Weep, wrote this post about marriage, divorce, hurt, and healing that is just beautiful, very personal in nature, and touched me a lot.

And while I greatly admire her writing, I even admire her more for her amazing ability to stay off of Twitter without resorting to using handcuffs.

News Flash: Facebook is as Addictive as Twitter

Day One off Twitter was going pretty well. Why? Because there was still… Facebook.

When I decided to test my resolve with Twitter, I wasn’t worried about Facebook because, unlike many of you, I’m not addicted to Facebook. I can take it or leave it. I go days without going on Facebook. Sometimes, I can’t even think of a good status update.

(Mom, I’m sorry this post is going to sound like Chinese to you, but try to follow along. Think of Twitter and Facebook as the digital equivalent of cigarettes and hard liquor).

Facebook is not a “conversation,” and I am mostly addicted to talking in real time. The comments on Facebook come to you in familiar form, like in a blog post. You don’t have to rush to be there every minute or feel like you are missing out on important cultural information or the latest trend. I’m also comfortable being a “broadcaster” on Facebook, which means acting like one of those self-important jerks who sends out links and updates about myself, without caring much about any of you or what you have to say. I can separate myself from the mob.

This is impossible for me on Twitter. I care about complete strangers on Twitter. The interplay of words and emotions is so personal; it feels as if we are in bed together whispering secrets to each other. No wonder I am always making sexual innuendos! Despite Twitter’s reputation for being business and PR friendly, it is a place of intimacy, much more personal in content and concept than Facebook. The conversations seem “real,” and I always forget that 1000 other people are reading my words as I chat with someone about their marriage. You see this happen in real life, in crowded cafes in Manhattan, where the couple seated next to you speaks openly about personal matters, ignoring the fact that you are sitting five inches away, overhearing every word.

Facebook updates tend to be cheery, like “I rocked that new job interview.” Twitter tends to get more of the S.O.S. type of messages, such as, “My grandmother just collapsed! For heaven’s sake, send prayers from the almighty!” You have to be one f*cking cold person to not get involved with others on Twitter, unless your only role in life is to tell snarky one-liners. It is overwhelming, especially for neurotic, codependent types like myself. You need me. And I need you.

(Mom, I know this sound a little batty, but you know what I’m talking about. You’re always making fun of those people on the bus who constantly have their face in their phone, texting. This is what is happening to me!)

So Day One off Twitter was going well. I avoided Twitter. I updated my Facebook status instead… three times. I published a funny photo of Jesus dishes from the 99 cent store. I re-shared and mocked a link about bloggers and brands. I looked at Kyran’s new profile photo. I read about Kathy’s surgery. And then, holy shit, I understood what was going on — I was losing my status as a broadcaster and CARING ABOUT YOU FREAKING LOSERS on FACEBOOK. Am I that lonely? Am I that afraid of being alone?

PLEASE! Leave me alone. I have work to do.

New plan. Start over again. A week without Twitter AND FACEBOOK.

A Week Off Twitter

I decided last night to test myself by staying off Twitter for a week. I tried this experiment a few months ago and lasted two days. Am I really such a weak person?

This morning, I was awoken at six AM by the sweetest voices floating in the air. But they were dangerous too; Sirens were trying to distract me. They were the cries of distant women needing me, naked women only wearing the reddest of lipsticks, whispering things i cannot repeat, virtual seductresses luring digital sailors with their 140 character music to shipwreck on the rocky coast of social media.

As it started to drizzle outside my window, I watched the wetness softly hitting the glass, and wondered, “Did they really need me, or did i need them? And was this all in my mind, delusions splashing around my head like the noisy wet waves of the ocean?”

I bit my lip to cause myself pain, and I repeated to myself, “Be strong. I can do this.”

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