3 Ways To Not Be an ADHD Twitter Twit
Thursday, March 25 2010 Douglas Cootey
There are a lot of style guides out there on how to use Twitter properly. Many will tell you what you should and shouldn't do. They tell you how to get followers…how to get retweeted…how to build multiple streams of revenue using Twitter DMs as your combo pathway to Hell & Easy Street. I'm simply going to tell you how to use Twitter without losing your ADHD self in it.
On one hand, Twitter is blogging in fast motion. Those little 140 character quips keep things light and quick. I've been using the service since August 2007 and have made fascinating connections with people all over the world. I get news faster there, keep my finger on the pulse of what folks are feeling strongly about, and have stimulating or entertaining conversations on a variety of subjects. On the other hand, Twitter is a non-stop stream of shiny, tempting, web links that distract me and steal my attention away from the things I'm supposed to be working on.
Just last night, when I was supposed to be writing, a friend in my stream asked for help answering a question about surveillance systems that were accessible with an iPhone. Since I love geocamming, I knew exactly what to suggest, here, here, and here. That didn't take up too much time. Of course, I had to enjoy some old cams, search for new ones, test them on the iPhone, etc. But I wasn't writing. Even though the original guy in question thanked me, I have to ask myself: Did I really spend my time wisely? Since I was helping, I could afford the time (sorta), but other times I cannot.
How Not To Be Distracted By Twitter
For those times when I cannot afford to be distracted, even if I want to be helpful, here are the steps I take:
- Shut off the constantly updating Twitter clients - Twitter power users utilize Twitter clients to help them sort and access the data when they are following a large amount of people. But leaving the client apps running is like leaving the TV on when you're trying to listen to somebody talk to you.
- Don't have Twitter loaded on your web browser - Close the window. Close the tab. All those links are distractions waiting to happen. I'm going to show you how to tweet without having Twitter open.
- Use a one way client - Power users set aside time to work Twitter for marketing and networking. They log in. Spend some time, then log out. And that is why I'm not a power user. I have trouble disengaging. When I want to continue microblogging but need to avoid distractions, I have a few tools at my disposal.Since I am an iPhone owner, I have access to apps like Birdhouse, Twitfire, and the newly released Chirpie. They are no nonsense clients that help you do one thing: Compose your tweet and post it without seeing the Timeline of Distraction.If you don't own an iPhone and don't have a one-way client for your phone, you can tweet via SMS texting. Just make sure you don't turn on Device Updates which pours your Timeline of Distraction into text messages all day long. Not only can that be costly, but it's extremely distracting. (I only have direct messages enabled to be sent to my phone.)Lastly, there is a slick little service I recently discovered called Twitlet. Sign up with them and they give you a bookmarklet to drag into your browser's toolbar. I've been using it all week when I need to turn off the distractions and it has worked great. It's a bit bare bones, and doesn't count how many characters you type, but it also goes away when you're done using it.
Twitter is an exciting communications platform, but for folks with ADHD it can be a bit distracting and time consuming. Hopefully, the tips I've shared with you today can help you reclaim some of that time without leaving Twitter altogether.