Blimey. I thought I’d set myself a tough challenge for the New Year by giving up alcohol for January (successfully so far, but we’re only halfway through!) and resolving to blog every day for a month. But one thing I've never contemplated is relinquishing Facebook and Twitter.
But that’s what writer Tom Cox has done. Well, he doesn’t exactly say he’s given up Twitter but he’s deactivated his Facebook account and says he’s doing just fine without it. Better still, he’s got cracking with his new book and no longer wakes in the middle of the night and reaches for his iPhone.
As he writes in today’s Guardian: “No matter how positive you feel about Facebook or Twitter and the ways in which they’ve enhanced your life, it is unlikely that anyone will ever lie on their deathbed and say ‘you know what? I’m really glad I spent all that time social networking!’”
Hmmm, he’s definitely got a point. The only trouble is that I could give up Facebook and LinkedIn without a backward glance or twinge of regret (I’ve never really got the hang of either), but Twitter? Now that would be hard.
Since I signed up to Twitter two years ago I’ve had a whale of a time. I’ve discovered fantastic press articles (this month’s Vanity Fair profile of Rebekah Brooks for one), gleaned brilliant tips on writing and blogging, got advice about renovating a house in France, got back in touch with old friends (hello Constance!) and made lots of new writer pals. Admittedly I’ve procrastinated for England (and France) over my work and probably wasted hours and hours of time, but so what, it’s all been good fun.
Perhaps the answer to the social networking conundrum is to go cold turkey on the accounts that you’re not bothered about and stick to the ones you enjoy. And perhaps I should be ultra-disciplined and leave Twitter alone between nine and five. Lots of writers tell me that they’re on Twitter chatting to people at the crack of dawn but by nine they switch off and get down to their manuscripts. Well, that’s what they claim anyway…
What do you think? Could you give up Twitter and Facebook? I’d love to know.