Is there a 12-step program that can help Twitter addicts like Sabina Clarke?

Is there a 12-step program that can help Twitter addicts like Sabina Clarke?

by Sabina Clarke

I’ve come to the shattering conclusion that, yes, I’m addicted to Twitter. After Googling addiction, it seems that I have a “behavioral addiction,” which makes sense because despite my very best intentions, I spend hours on Twitter. So it has become apparent that I have a physical, psychological, behavioral compulsion or craving to sign on to Twitter every day.

Some of my time is spent reading the tweets of others, responding to articles, “favoriting” the tweets of others, retweeting someone else tweets, creating my own tweets, answering direct tweets, uploading photos to go with my tweets and reading articles from news outlets around the world.

Lately, after watching days turn into weeks, I’ve vowed to abstain for just one day only to be lured back and find myself again breaking my pledge for what I promised would be a quick 15-minute Twitter session — as the hours slip by. The fallout is that everything else stops, and other projects lie dormant, all resigned to second-class status.

What to do since cold turkey hasn’t worked? Exorcise Twitter from my brain? Abandon my followers? Put aside the insatiable need for the latest news fueled by a constant craving for information propelled by the endless bombardment of news that never ceases?

Why this infatuation with Twitter? Is it an unfulfilled need to constantly express myself or is it more? What is Twitter’s hold on me? It is palpably real, but I am not so clear about why.

I’ve identified that it is immensely satisfying and also a bit pompous to pontificate on anything and everything with the whole world potentially listening. And I realize that it is gratifying to share what I decide is important with my followers, my potential followers or just the vast empty cyberspace.

Maybe the best way to describe Twitter’s allure is to compare it to sitting at a gigantic round table while having an ongoing dialogue with everyone in the world. That has to be why I find Twitter so alluring. That explains its hold on me. It is amazingly democratic. Everyone has a voice. Twitter Kingdom invites everyone to the table; it embraces the entire universe. I’m hooked!

Epilogue: End of Sixth Week: At the end of Week Six, I’ve become less enamored with this grown-up game and wonder if I even want to follow or be followed. If I disappeared for a day or a week or a month, would anyone in Twitter Kingdom know or care about my missing tweets? I am beginning to think not. And after reading a post by an overly enthusiastic Twitter devotee who shamelessly brags about amassing more than 10,000 followers in fewer than 10 months, I ask myself, “Do I want really want to be like him and have 10,000 Twitter followers?” I think not. My next challenge will be locking my Twitter account and protecting my tweets. This is my ultimate goal. I long to be free of the need to follow or be followed. Then I can tweet solo and without a care in a Twitter Kingdom of my very own.

Chestnut Hill resident Sabina Clarke is a PR consultant & freelance writer. Her work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Chestnut Hill Local, Irish Edition, Irish American News and other news outlets. She can be reached at twitter@sabinapatti.