April 10, 2008

why i deleted my twitter account

history76156222.jpg
[A cartoon from 2007 etc.]

It's no big deal. I liked Twitter. But I found it too easy.

I think my time would be better spent drawing cartoons and writing books.

That's just how I feel.

[UPDATE:] This story seems to have made it onto the front page of Techmeme. Lots of people talking about it. Wow.

[UPDATE:] An archive of my Tweets can be found here.

[UPDATE:] A couple of hundred e-mails later, I restored the Twitter account. You can read again it here.


Posted by hugh macleod at April 10, 2008 12:07 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Wow. I don't know why I am surprised, but I am.

What a decisive move. In support of your emerging book.

Good for you.

Posted by: Pamela Slim at April 10, 2008 12:26 AM

Apparently getting rid of a Facebook account is not all that simple ... when they say it's deleted you may find that all your entries, news feed items etc. still exist ....

Posted by: Ric at April 10, 2008 12:45 AM

Missed your announcement on this on Twitter. So, it's a bit of a surprise. I even still remember your Tweet saying Twitter has become important to you because of the # of followers you had, etc. But, I can understand where you're coming from to some degree.

In any case, you'll be missed on Twitter. But, I'm sure we'll continue to hear from you.

Good luck with the new direction of your writing/blogging/social web/drawing life.

Posted by: Shai Coggins at April 10, 2008 12:49 AM

Wouldn't you want to keep your Twitter account if only to keep someone else from claiming that name? Even if you don't update it ever again?

Posted by: mdy at April 10, 2008 12:58 AM

Now I can rest assured that my Timeline-gobbling rant of 10 days ago isn't the reason you've closed shop. It was only reason you stopped Following me.

This is a bold and courageous move as Twitter is becoming a vortex - perhaps a vital one - in which I find it hard to manage or even attend to real life.

An artist's aura of empathy is a precious field which can so easily be corrupted by distraction; even good distraction.

I look forward the 2008 panel on the History of Your Blog.

I thank you for your thoughtful discourse in the Twitter Timeline on the legacy of W. and the ramifications of the 49th Parallel.

Say what you will of Twitter but it is quite unlikely that I would have had the opportunity to converse with the likes of Steve Gillmor, Laura Fitton and yourself.

Now, I'm going to text @mydishes and tell them to wash themselves so I can check my current replies.

Gregg

Posted by: Gregg Scott at April 10, 2008 1:22 AM

So is everything you ever wrote on there just...gone? Is it all really that worthless? I ask that not just of your account, but in the greater sense. Would you ever, say, do the same thing to your blog? Just hit 'delete' and flush it all away. Is everything we're doing here completely disposable?

Posted by: Seth E at April 10, 2008 1:24 AM

Doh!

A said day, Hugh. I enjoyed your random updates from Alpine.

We'll miss you.

Posted by: Joe Andrieu at April 10, 2008 1:25 AM

I wonder when gapingvoid.com will become a gaping void?

Posted by: Geoff at April 10, 2008 1:26 AM

I will miss you.

Posted by: Mickipedia at April 10, 2008 1:27 AM

Hugh,

Your twitters will be missed, past and present. Did you consider simply letting your Twitter account stay frozen in time for the indeterminate future? I know I (and several folks I know) will miss numerous gems of yours that we had favorited. Perhaps you could consider doing so - I think the Twitter folks have the ability to pull old accounts out of cold storage or something.

Thanks for all the art you create in all forms.

A fan,

Tantek

Posted by: Tantek at April 10, 2008 1:29 AM

I will miss your tweets...but wherever you are happy ..follow your heart... :)

Posted by: hunee at April 10, 2008 1:31 AM

I've always heard toxicity is a function of dose. And then there's something about moderation that people harp about. So I s'pose if one could Twitter just enough but not too much, that would be nice. You're right, though, about it being just too easy.

Posted by: Cindy at April 10, 2008 1:32 AM

Good move.
I congratulate your decision. FOCUS is a key skill to create the best of whatever it is you are into.

D

Posted by: DunCAN Fischer at April 10, 2008 1:34 AM

It wasn't because you couldn't tweet about anything other than Alpine, Texas then? ;-)

But yeah, tools like Twitter, Facebook, et al encourage a fascination with the minutae of life. Makes it much harder to concentrate on the things that require uninterrupted though.

Good luck with the book!

Posted by: Dave O'Flynn at April 10, 2008 1:40 AM

drawing is good!


Posted by: Jeff Tidwell at April 10, 2008 1:41 AM

It's become a 24/7 conversation like a stadium chat room instead of a microblogging platform now - I enjoy being connected to everyone, but I understand why you want that hour or two back each day. Very bold move, kick ass on the book and dont look back...

Posted by: Chris Heuer at April 10, 2008 1:46 AM

You will be missed.
Your conviction and determination is inspiring.

Posted by: dydimustk at April 10, 2008 1:49 AM

Wow, does your cartoon ever resonate for me. Although for me, the midpoint between when I started blogging and now - when I was first getting seriously derailed - revolved more around politics than tech, a pattern which has more or less continued. (Case in point: 80% of all my recent blog posts are twitter digests; another 15% or so are either explicitly political or explicitly tech-related. Which leaves - if one is assessing things generously - maybe 5% of content that is in line with my original blogging intent; that is, it favors literary narrative over polemics.)

Finding balance is a precarious and difficult feat. (Or we make it so, through all our collective and individual distractions.)

In any event, I quite respect your choice here, and hope it bears fruit for you in terms of improved focus and attention to matters of craft, the stuff you live for, the stuff you love.

And which, of course, you're incredibly good at.

Posted by: Victoria Marinelli at April 10, 2008 1:56 AM

Oh. A surprise. It was only a few weeks ago you were saying it was the only way you were going to communicate, you were not using email. So the blog is what it left.

But I'm with the others - why delete? Why not just mothball and leave the information up there? You'll be missed.

Posted by: Rachel at April 10, 2008 1:59 AM

Wow, Hugh, I guess you *were* serious.

Didn't think you'd delete the account though, figured you were gonna just stop posting to it. Or that you were kidding.

I feel like you deleted part of my email inbox. Part of it that I was saving because I liked it. I don't go for that inbox zero stuff… I save the things I like.

I'm bummed about losing the ability to chat with you on twitter, but really kind of even more bummed about losing one half of tweet replies and DMs between us. I'd have copied those if I knew this was what you had in mind. Bummed that all the tweets of your I had in my favorites are also gone. I guess I should have backed shit up, eh?

I can totally see why you'd rather work than tweet, and can even understand having to take a nuclear option to avoid "accidentally" getting back into it. But I wish you'd left the frickin' pages up and just locked yourself out of the account with a password you couldn't remember or something.

And yeah, I know they were your words and you have the right to do whatever you want with them, etc. Just wish you hadn't.

Drastic measures, man. You know what? Fuck. That's really all I have to say about it. I'm fucking pissed off. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

Posted by: John T Unger at April 10, 2008 2:06 AM

Seems like 2007 should really have read, "SOCIAL OBJECTS! SOCIAL GESTURES! SOCIAL MARKERS! (twitter!)" You really didn't say much about Twitter until the very end of the year (and the beginning of this one), and for those of us who never read your tweets, it was only a very few mentions.

I honestly never understood your fascination with it in the first place. It displays too little information in too impersonal a context for it to really matter to anyone (even less so than Facebook, in my opinion). Sure, you can title them "@whomever", but it's very much a public conversation, and you still can't say all that much for it to mean much of anything to anyone. Kind of goes against a lot of what you say about social objects and making real connections and whatnot. Not to say that Twitter doesn't have its uses, but as the main #1 personal contact of a person, or for doing any kind of business with an even slightly articulate message...it is just not the right tool for the job.

Glad you finally saw your own light ;)

Posted by: jflowers at April 10, 2008 2:19 AM

After your excitement and evangelism of twitter, this comes as a total shock to me.
And this "too easy" reason is not a meaningful explanation, is it?

Posted by: Baher at April 10, 2008 2:20 AM

I guess I knew it had to end eventually. You were following, and being followed by, too many people for it to be sustainable for long.

Limits are a good thing. Twitter is working so well (for now) because it placed a limit on what you could do (send updates) and imposed a challenging limit on length (140 characters). These limits make you boil down your thoughts until only their most valuable core remains.

Unfortunately, like all the other social networks out there right now, Twitter has not placed a limit on connections with other users. And because there is no limit, these connections have less value than they could, with people trying to scoop up friends by the thousands.

Maybe in the future someone will develop a mechanism that makes people sit down and spend a couple of minutes figuring out which connections are the really valuable ones to have. Until then, we probably need to try and place that limit on ourselves. Consider it an interpersonal diet.

Personally, I've found that following 30 people has been working well, so maybe I will try and stick with that. I guess after tonight I am left with one spot to fill, and boy it sure does it come with some big shoes.

Posted by: Mike at April 10, 2008 2:22 AM

If it means more cartoons and writing I'm all for it.

Posted by: John Wesley at April 10, 2008 2:30 AM

Can't help feeling that if you'd followed the ten commandments (http://www.twitter.com/tencommandments) you might've gotten a more enjoyable and sustainable experience out of twitter...

Posted by: Phil Whitehouse at April 10, 2008 2:36 AM

Hugh,

Its admittedly been to long since I've spent some time here but I was following you on twitter.

I enjoyed your updates but I admire your decision to commit to the tasks at hand which don't delude your efforts.

All the best.

Tim

Posted by: Tim Draayer at April 10, 2008 2:53 AM

I think I see a good point in this somewhere, but what intrigues me is how Jaiku is less easy...? :)

Posted by: Peter Cooper at April 10, 2008 2:56 AM

Sad to hear that, Hugh - but you gotta do what you feel is right for you!

Good luck with the book.

Regards

Neil (dungeekin)

Posted by: Neil Simmons at April 10, 2008 3:12 AM

Wow Hugh,

On the one hand I am shocked at such a big move and on the other hand I can understand it perfectly.

I have said many times that my blog output has diminished drastically since I started using Twitter. It is an incredible time sink.

Having said that, I get enormous value from Twitter so I would find it very difficult to drop it.

Posted by: Tom Raftery at April 10, 2008 3:46 AM

Fair play to you for knowing where to spend time for best effect. I like your drawings more than I liked your tweets because your drawn characters on cards stick with me longer than your typed characters on screen.

Posted by: Bernie Goldbach at April 10, 2008 3:51 AM

Talking to a friend the other day about
"How to be creative"
He wondered why you recommended to "stay away from crowds " .

You overheard that, didn't you?

Posted by: Cara at April 10, 2008 3:54 AM

Aw, I'm so sad! How is your prediction supposed to come a reality without you there!?

http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/004000.html

Posted by: Ariel Waldman at April 10, 2008 3:56 AM

what happened to 'if you're not on twitter i dont want to talk to you' ? weird, anyway, looking forward to more cartoons.

Posted by: richard galbraith at April 10, 2008 4:28 AM

Hugh on February 29th:
"Note to World: If you're not on Twitter, I don't want to make friends with you."

Funny how things turn out ;)

Posted by: Locutus of Borg at April 10, 2008 5:13 AM

I thought I read somewhere that you had a financial twitter??

Oh well, I agree with Duncan Fischer, Focus is a good thing!

Posted by: Christian at April 10, 2008 5:23 AM

What an apt cartoon. Instead of using technology to talk about other things, all people seem to talk about is technology itself. Crazy, crazy world.

Posted by: Dileepa at April 10, 2008 5:35 AM

Seems kind of harsh...

Posted by: Mary Anne Davis at April 10, 2008 5:44 AM

Thank god for that. Now you just need to convince Scoble.

I personally enjoy your considered and stylish posts to be unconfined by the twitter 140 characters. Hopefully you will return to blog posting a little more frequently, even if it is 'just' the cartoons.

I enjoyed texting my friends but when I stopped we had even more to talk about over a glass of wine. I am now online only three days a week, it feels like breathing again.

Posted by: jill at April 10, 2008 5:45 AM

I hope that Twitter reserves the gapingvoid user id - sort of like a sports team retiring a player's number - for you in case you decide to return someday.

Posted by: Mike Doeff at April 10, 2008 5:47 AM

why is this a loss? Spent way to much twitter time talking about the Texas move. We get it, you moved to a small TX town. zzzZzzzz

Posted by: Texas ranger at April 10, 2008 6:14 AM

I will definitely miss your tweets. Bummer too, because 3 days ago I was excited when I got the Hugh MacLeod is now following you e-mail.

Happy drawing and writing.

Posted by: Alvin at April 10, 2008 6:22 AM

I'll miss having you as part of my daily twitter stream, Hugh, but definitely understand the decision.

It gets far too easy to just enjoy the content of others and not create your own ... and the 140 chars is often enough to satiate that need to express one's self, but not nearly enough to make an impact.

I look forward to seeing the increased output of cartoons though.

Posted by: Rob Clark at April 10, 2008 6:45 AM

I did enjoy reading the tweets about your various misadventures. I think you should come back, but limit yourself to 5 tweets a day.

Posted by: christoff at April 10, 2008 6:50 AM

Good choice... i need your cartoons :)

Posted by: Beppone at April 10, 2008 6:51 AM

i agree with most of the comments on this thread.

mostly that you will be missed.

but like many forms of social media, twitter can be addicting and if it was getting in the way of important work, then you made the right call

i hope you will still keep blogging and i hope all of your friends on twitter will keep linking to your blog and your drawings

fred

Posted by: fred wilson at April 10, 2008 6:59 AM

We'll miss you on Twitter, but I agree that it can be a time suck.

Looking forward to the book!

Posted by: Average Jane at April 10, 2008 7:01 AM

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

snif

snif

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Posted by: liza at April 10, 2008 7:10 AM

You will be missed! I enjoyed getting your updates from your travels and from Alpine, but I suppose you're looking for more creative and thoughtful media than 140-character tweets (and 2005 was a good year for blogging).

Posted by: Alex at April 10, 2008 7:19 AM

Well, your tweets will be missed.
Anyway, good luck with your book and your other plans.

And it was a pleasure to read you there while it lasted. :)

Posted by: Roland Hesz at April 10, 2008 7:20 AM

One less Pillar right?

Posted by: Jon Shuler at April 10, 2008 7:59 AM

I have been feeling the exact same way about this whole twitter phenomenon.

I feel like following suit, haha.

Posted by: T-Lex at April 10, 2008 8:03 AM

bored already?

Posted by: umbluteleleu at April 10, 2008 8:08 AM

Thank god Hugh!

Huge waste of time. It is f*ckign navel-gazing at its finest and a totally uncreative activity. Get on with your lives people. We are much more than a collection of sound bites.

And as for Twitter's business model, in "Tell me the future" (The Guardian, Monday December 3 2007), Biz Stone claimed (and predicted) that Twitter has emerged to create a seamless layer of social connectivity across SMS, IM, and the web. Twitter asks one question: "What are you doing?"

That same day, I predicted that "at some point in the next five years, investors will ask Biz Stone one question: "What are you doing?"

If they don't get bought by Google, they're doomed.

http://www.i-boy.com/weblog/2007/12/copredictions.html

~G~

Posted by: George Nimeh at April 10, 2008 8:33 AM

Good for you Hugh. I'll miss your tweets on everything (including the #alpinetexas posts, which were fascinating), but that will just make me pay more attention to your blog again. Focus is good. :)

Posted by: Kevin Briody at April 10, 2008 8:33 AM

It's too true. The Internet at large can make us forget who we are and what really pleases us. Go For It!

Posted by: BryanA. at April 10, 2008 8:39 AM

I have to admit, I have considered the same. On certain days, Twitter can be quite a distraction from the real work I need to do...

Congrats on your bold move, Hugh.

Here's to more cartoons and a finished book from you.

Peace.

Posted by: BarbaraKB at April 10, 2008 8:42 AM

Bollocks - you cant leave just like that !! What will we do w/out you in twitterville ? :)-

Hmmmm is this twitter fatigue or impact of continuous partial attention ? Maybe your the early adopter - signaling something that is undefined.. somthing like remember bloggers who have stopped blogin!!

Posted by: /pd at April 10, 2008 8:54 AM

That has not been my experience - I've been MORE productive, AND more intelligent about the production AND my production has been more intelligent.

You added much to our community. We'll miss you.

Posted by: Frank Martin at April 10, 2008 8:58 AM

As everything you send out via RSS finds me, as long as you're on the grid and creating, I hope to hear the ping. Can't wait for you book. All the best.

Posted by: Rex Hammock at April 10, 2008 9:14 AM

You'll be back.....

Posted by: paul at April 10, 2008 9:15 AM

@mdy

> Wouldn't you want to keep your Twitter account
> if only to keep someone else from claiming that
> name? Even if you don't update it ever again?

You can't register an account with a name that's been deleted. They clearly warn you about that on the delete page -- if you want to re-register it later on your stuffed.

(I registered, tweeted once, then deleted my account a while ago. It's not for me either.)

Posted by: Stewart Johnson at April 10, 2008 9:16 AM

You could have stopped Twittering except for important messages. I would have never seen you work if it wasen't for Twitter.

Posted by: alexdesignz at April 10, 2008 9:16 AM

Congratulations. I think many people, including myself, tend to get caught up in all these tools. Where is the focus going? It's going away and that's not a good thing. Less content. Higher quality. Sounds a bit like Jerry Maguire. Good stuff.

Posted by: Rob Safuto at April 10, 2008 9:18 AM

I apologize for insulting you by saying I was going to unfollow you. Ah, well, if this means you're reverting back to 2005, all the better. (:

Posted by: Joe Latone at April 10, 2008 9:19 AM

Interesting move, Hugh.

It makes a lot of sense for you, business-wise, to increase focus like mentioned above.

Although, on a larger scale, this is an embodiment of your very telling cartoon. Most markets are built on execution, communication and the marketing of ideas (in whatever form they take). There has been a large up-swing in communicating our ideas to the point of dilution. People are starting to realize that we've got the channels in place and now it's time to focus back on what we're actually trying to say.

Circles, hills & valleys, et al.

Posted by: John Ratcliffe-Lee at April 10, 2008 9:21 AM

Man, and I JUST found you like 2 weeks ago.

Posted by: Scott Fassett at April 10, 2008 9:29 AM

Ahhh.. Tone above the hum - good move. Time to get back to 2005 (maybe 2004?), just don't pull an Into the Wild move on us. Your work continues to guide me and those I share it with. Looking forward to the book.

Posted by: Jason Adams at April 10, 2008 9:33 AM

Well, Jaiku is better than Twitter anyway. ;D

Posted by: Lauri at April 10, 2008 9:35 AM

You shouldn't del the account, tho, Hugh. Someone might pick it up and use the id to do a fake Hugh. Instead, unfollow everyone then block your account, in effect making it an orphan id.

Posted by: Joe at April 10, 2008 9:47 AM

If Twitter was keeping you from doing something important, than more power to you Change the world :) Then you need to call into the Gillmor Gang from time to time so we can catch up on you. You are still important to us.

Posted by: Christian Burns at April 10, 2008 9:48 AM

It's a good move if your alternative is writing and drawing. If it was watching tv or surfing the web, it'd be a regression.

Posted by: Nathan Clark at April 10, 2008 9:51 AM

You're a better man than me. I've been debating doing the same thing, but I haven't been able to bring myself to cut that particular cord.

Posted by: Daniel Andrlik at April 10, 2008 10:14 AM

Congrats on removing yourself from the Abyss that is Twitter.

Posted by: Kerri. at April 10, 2008 10:16 AM

I just paced myself... but this is truly a warning... that is why I don't push that feed anywhere.

Posted by: logtar at April 10, 2008 10:20 AM

I started my time clock on how long this would take as soon as Hugh left facebook after being such a big promoter for a while, I can't say I am surprised in the least. I do agree you ought to keep the account as a placeholder as someone else mentioned.

Posted by: Thomas at April 10, 2008 10:22 AM

Wow, that is a bold move. I've met some great people on twitter. It does take time, but so far it's been fun.

Was it something that happened at SXSW that triggered all of this?

Sounds like you are an all or nothing kind of guy...

Posted by: Aruni at April 10, 2008 10:23 AM

Congratulations on taking some important steps to focus your energy Hugh. I'll miss your Tweets for sure, but understand completely how something like Twitter can begin to consume your time, energy, and life giving short shrift to those things that are truly of greatest importance.

Perhaps we'll find a way to balance the multiplicity of communication methods one of these days. Perhaps a gadget . . . or a mashup . . . or ?

Posted by: Remiss63 at April 10, 2008 10:38 AM

Twitters is for twits. Enough said.

Posted by: Alias at April 10, 2008 10:41 AM

Hmmm...feels like the last time I was dumped. Twitter loses a lot of value for me ("it's who u follow, not who follows you", remember?)
Everything's been said, so if this ALIGNS your daily actions with long term focus, great. There's stuff to think about in all you say, this decision isn't any different..
Thanks for all the insight on your tweets.

Posted by: joaquin at April 10, 2008 10:46 AM

Hugh,

Sorry to see you go from twitter! I loved reading your tweets. Interesting move towards achieving maximum signal to noise ratio... can't say i blame ya! Best of luck to you as you launch forward in your "new chapter" in life - pun fully intended!

So, now i've gotta check out your blog more to keep up with you... :-)

Susan
@smbeebe on twitter

Posted by: Susan Beebe at April 10, 2008 11:11 AM

All the very best

Posted by: Thejesh GN at April 10, 2008 11:13 AM

Why do you consider your cancellation "no big deal"; considering all the hype about twitter?

Posted by: Reginald at April 10, 2008 11:16 AM

I've only just joined.

1. I understand why you've left.
2. Do I see the future before me?
3. Should I act now before it's too late!

Posted by: Peter Gold at April 10, 2008 11:23 AM

Welcome to the Twitter free!

Posted by: steve at April 10, 2008 11:24 AM

You'll be back .. I know you'll be back ...

Posted by: Owen Cutajar at April 10, 2008 11:26 AM

I found the "Cheerio", followed by the immediate disappearance of the account to be a great statement, very theatrical. I miss the archive and favorites, but think I liked the statement even more!

Posted by: Ken Wallich at April 10, 2008 11:28 AM

I'm still in the youtube! youtube! youtube! phase. I should write more.

Posted by: chaosgone at April 10, 2008 11:32 AM

I'm with John Wesley. If it means more writing and cartoons, awesome

Posted by: Jyri at April 10, 2008 11:34 AM

I'll miss your commentary on life throughout the day, but at least the blog is here to stay.
And the cartoons. And we have a book to look forward to (where's the pre-order form!)
you're not downsizing... but rationalising!
Enjoy Alpine ;) Have a Shiner Bock for me (one of many little things I learnt from your tweets and now my life is better!)

Posted by: Offbeatmammal at April 10, 2008 11:43 AM

And I was just getting to know you. Guess I got twitterized to late.

Now the question will be, is there life after twitter?

Good luck on the other side. Look forward to the book.

Posted by: Hjörtur Smárason at April 10, 2008 11:58 AM

I'll miss it! But at least we have your thoughts here.

Everybody buy Hugh's book when it comes out!

Posted by: D.J. Coffman at April 10, 2008 12:00 PM

Bold move, but understandable if your priorities are the blog and the book. I wish you the best with both.

A recurring meme I keep hearing and reading is when to internalize and when to tweetsource for inspiration. Funny how these memes come in waves.

Posted by: Eric Gonzalez at April 10, 2008 12:16 PM

I truly understand how you feel. I took 2 1/2 days off twitter after the UNC lost and I was more productive and focused. Twitter does require a lot of time. It's almost like internet phone talking, when you're on the phone you can't do as much as when you're off it. I'm going to stay on twitter for a while but going to try to focus on projects more.

I'm @waynesutton on twitter and I'm not deleting my twitter account.

Posted by: Wayne Sutton at April 10, 2008 12:28 PM

Doing what *actually* matters is a smart thing.

Twitter is a vast distraction that probably outweighs it's benefits.

Posted by: Noel Jackson at April 10, 2008 1:28 PM

Hugh:

I enjoyed following you on twitter, and wish you all the best in gaining back your focus.

Cheers,
Connie

Posted by: Connie Crosby at April 10, 2008 1:48 PM

Good for you. I only use Twitter from my iPhone and mainly to stay in touch with friends and family. I never succumbed to the huge trap and/or time-sink it can become, if you try to actually read the stuff of all the people you are following... :)

Posted by: Alexander Falk at April 10, 2008 2:19 PM

If deleting your Twitter means more energies towards HTBC: The Book, then I'm all for it.

Posted by: Joe at April 10, 2008 2:25 PM

Will miss you on Twitter, but completely understand. Best of luck with the book. Keep your creative well full.

Posted by: David Armano at April 10, 2008 2:25 PM

The first "big" abandonment of Twitter. Good for you. The sooner it dies, the greater our chances of redeeming our civilization.

There's nothing more annoying than a Twitterhead. Not even an Apple Fanboy. Not even that.

Posted by: Lawrence Salberg at April 10, 2008 2:44 PM

The odd thing is that I was listening to this week's Gillmor Gang just a few minutes ago and someone was praising Twitter for the ability to recommend good asian restaurants in NYC.

Posted by: Michael at April 10, 2008 2:48 PM

Parting is such tweet sorrow.
But looking forward to the enrichment of simplicity!!!

s

Posted by: Crawford at April 10, 2008 2:55 PM

Stopping twitter bold and courageous? Please take some time to leave Silicon Valley and visit the world.

Posted by: at April 10, 2008 2:59 PM

Now you can't even come back to tell us of your father's recovery... They are right, you will be seriously missed...

Now to go follow @waynesutton to gloat a bit (I'm @hawksdomain) :)

Posted by: Paula Hawk at April 10, 2008 3:24 PM

What's "Twitter"?

Posted by: Bo at April 10, 2008 3:25 PM

It is a big deal, we (already) miss you on Twitter.
Twitter is the only way for me to stay somehow close to people I have deep respect. Thank you for that opportunity.

Good luck with the book.

Posted by: Mariela at April 10, 2008 3:30 PM

Blogpostate
http://twitter.com/scottandrew/statuses/770080967

Posted by: scottandrew at April 10, 2008 3:48 PM

miss you

Posted by: ninefish at April 10, 2008 4:05 PM

Good for you, not so hot for us... but come back anytime you like, will you?

Posted by: Shelley at April 10, 2008 4:13 PM

Hugh,
I am sorry to see you leave twitter. I think this is a huge mistake. I think you lost a huge branding opportunity and effective showed your fans that you did not care. That might not have been the intent... but that is the perception.

I wish you well and remain a fan. More analysis here: http://facereviews.com/2008/04/10/gaping-void-drops-twitter-account-big-mistake/

Cheers!

Rodney Rumford

Posted by: Rodney Rumford at April 10, 2008 4:19 PM

Obligated to post my own disappointment with your absence. Amidst all the uninteresting and couldn't-care-less twitterings, I really looked forward to the flashes of insights from one of my favorite bloggers. I look forward to your return!

Posted by: Don The Idea Guy at April 10, 2008 4:22 PM

Wow. Your very own twitter right here on your blog. How ironic.

And no 140 char limit!

Posted by: Julian at April 10, 2008 4:41 PM

I agree with manyof the comments here Hugh - I absolutely understand why you have stopped, but at the same time think it is a shame - that said, if we see more cartoons out of you as a result then yay!

Paul

Posted by: Paul Fabretti at April 10, 2008 4:52 PM

Good move. Twitter is a time and attention sink unless you use it very, very carefully. More focus, more quality.

Posted by: David Koopmans at April 10, 2008 4:52 PM

Well, congrats and good luck Hugh.

I'm not sure if it will prove a good move or not in the long run.
I would never have found your brilliance if it weren't for Twitter and my friends there who were friends and fans of yours...
But we all must do what we think best.

I won't ever delete my Twitter account - even if I stop using it. Because for me it's a record of my thoughts and experiences and interactions with those I have met and befriended there.

But hopefully it will provide you with less distraction so that you may get your book completed.

Sending good thoughts your way for your Dad's recovery. Twitter will be less without you there.
But we'll still be there if you decide to come back.

LMP

Posted by: GeekMommy at April 10, 2008 4:58 PM

good thing
free the muse from the clutter
http://youtube.com/watch?v=fG_F20pB4Tk

Posted by: Andy Sermovitz at April 10, 2008 4:58 PM

Thank you. Too many thought provoking people have disappeared into Twitter and no longer have anything meaningful to share, unless you want to follow, stay connected to tweets or check their tweetstream regularly--and even when you do that, their heart (or mind) is not totally there. Twitter has become an amusing pass time for me, but I have had to turn it off most of the time as it is really more of a distraction than anything else.

Plus, I'm really annoyed that much of the great discourse that has flourished in the last few years has been consumed by Twitter and reduced to 2-second half-thoughts that 90% of the time have no resounding value (to me at least).

I hope more follow you. Thanks.

Posted by: Johnson at April 10, 2008 6:00 PM

Nice move, man.

Posted by: Vincent at April 10, 2008 6:02 PM

Good to see that you've made a decision that works for your life and not the stampede of the crowd. Best of luck.

Posted by: Tom Guarriello at April 10, 2008 6:24 PM

Who needs Twitter - Puppets are the future :). Go well....

Posted by: alan p at April 10, 2008 6:26 PM

Well, I'm glad I never signed up in the first place, I had a gut feeling such constant form of 'life updates' small chat was going to be distracting. I'm more of a letter guy myself, gives you time to contemplate before you 'post'.

Posted by: jswa at April 10, 2008 6:50 PM

Hugh stops using "hammer", world wonders "why?".

Your cartoon caught it all so well.

Why do caught up caring so much about one communication tool over another?

Keep creating...a story worth repeating,
Mike

Posted by: Mike Wagner at April 10, 2008 6:59 PM

good move. maybe spend more time talking to people face-to-face

Posted by: KB at April 10, 2008 7:03 PM

Good luck, dude. You're still VERY high on my top 10 list of Internet people I want to meet in person. I can understand how twitter can take away from your other engagements, but your tweets were something I followed closely.

Can't wait to read your book, and I can only hope one day I'm lucky enough to score a business card with a drawing of yours on it.

Posted by: Mitch Canter | studionashvegas at April 10, 2008 7:43 PM

For those of us that don't use Twitter this is like seeing a news story about a long-running tv show getting canceled and realizing that we've never seen a single episode. I'm overwhelmed with not caring.

But if it means you'll be writing more in mediums I might actually access then I'm all for it.

Posted by: Matt at April 10, 2008 7:59 PM

A disappointing day for sure, I will miss your tweets. Do what's right for you!

But I echo the others... you should really keep the name gapingvoid on twitter or some doosh will pick it up..

Posted by: Shannon at April 10, 2008 8:37 PM

Can I have your stuff?

Posted by: Prokofy at April 10, 2008 8:39 PM

If you twitter about a tree falling down and no one "follows" you, does it shake the ground?

So much energy spent on making a few bits in a database line up in a certain way.

Good thing you're coming to your senses.

Posted by: GeekTieGuy at April 10, 2008 9:41 PM

Have to say, I tried Twitter because you seemed so keen on it, but I could never get it. To be honest, it matters less to me the details of what's going on in Alpine Texas or wherever you are every instant of the day. Those sorts of details were (to me alone maybe) a fairly boring period for gaping void. The brand, not the blog. Neat experiment but I found myself reading "great coffeshop in alpine has wifi, etc. rock on." and wondering why I was still reading. And then I stopped reading gaping void on twitter and felt much better.

Glad to hear it, personally. Rock on. Etc.

Posted by: sam at April 10, 2008 10:22 PM

You was bored of doing "Twitter" "Twitter" "Twitter" "Twitter" "Twitter" "Twitter" "Twitter" "Twitter" ?

Posted by: Bp at April 10, 2008 10:30 PM

I can most certainly relate. http://www.changeforge.com/2008/04/01/are-we-to-connected-to-social-media/

Posted by: Ken Stewart at April 10, 2008 10:54 PM

I don't know you, have never met you, in all likelihood probably never will. Up until a few weeks ago I'd never even heard of you.
And yet, I was worried. I'd gotten used to your regular twitters and their varying shades of trivia and gravity. I began to worry that something awful had happened to your dad whose treatment you had been describing.
I'm pleased there were no crises but I can't understand why you have gone from being such a prolific twitterer to zero. Are you an all or nothing kind of person?
Please return soon with perhaps a twitter in the morning and another before bed.

Posted by: ickledot at April 11, 2008 2:09 AM

10:45 – Coffee
10:57 – Toilet
11:02 – Dump finished
11:05 – Twitter my most insignificant day

I tried it. Still have an account but have yet to figure out if it gives me anything at all. Do I really need to know that someone is waiting for a train...or going to a bar...or whatever?

Posted by: David Everitt-Carlson at April 11, 2008 3:26 AM

Dear Hugh - I am not surprised -the world happens when we are busy microblogging.. I feel the same.

Hope to see you soon =)

Henry

Posted by: henriette weber andersen at April 11, 2008 4:11 AM

I remember your Dec. 2 post when you took a stand on blogging. And now books. Good luck in West Texas. No Country for Old Men -- and Tweets.

Posted by: Jeff at April 11, 2008 5:19 AM

Twitter is not the lifeline some commenters make it out to be. It can be useful sure, but be real, it's pretty meaningless as a communication medium.

Some people just need find meaning in their own life instead of clinging to others to feel important.

Posted by: Tomas at April 11, 2008 6:18 AM

I followed you on twitter for a few days, then stopped - very high "signal to noise" ratio. In fact, most of the high profile bloggers I read I stopped following on twitter for the same reason.

I use twitter, but may only check it once or twice a day, and I feel no need to "catch up" on tweets I've missed. I still have good things come of my twitter connections, so I'll be on the service for some time to come. Like most things, twitter is better in moderation.

Posted by: Michael C. Neel at April 11, 2008 7:20 AM

I just signed up to twitter last week, I added you and was flooded with an overwhelming amount of twitter...I was about to unsubscribe from your feed, nothing personal, just too much tweet.

for my todo queue: sociological study of the rights & responsibilities surrounding Twitter....

Posted by: matt at April 11, 2008 8:00 AM

I hear what you're saying, Matt. Then again, I had close to 5,000 followers by the time I left Twitter, so I must have been doing something right ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at April 11, 2008 9:18 AM

I switched off for close on 27 months: 2003-5. I know what that was about for me. CYA later.

Posted by: Dennis Howlett at April 11, 2008 11:34 AM

You can quit me, but I just can't quit you!

Posted by: Suebob at April 11, 2008 12:53 PM

Jeez. comment 140!

I bet you 8 pints of Guinness (or alternative of your choice) in a bar of your choice in either London or Dublin that you have started a trend and many (lets call it more than 5%) of your Twitter followers, ahem, follow you...

Posted by: Clive Birnie at April 11, 2008 1:02 PM

Hugh, just don't stop drawing the flippin' cartoons. You gotta do what works for you. I'll miss the tweets both from you and the ones you forwarded as well.

Best of luck with the book.

Cheers,
Tim

Posted by: Tim Letscher (let5ch) at April 11, 2008 4:19 PM

noooooo... why?

Posted by: red_fox at April 12, 2008 2:38 AM

So. Farewell then @gapingvoid
Your Twitter feed many enjoyed
But now you've left to write a book
Typical fucking blogger

Posted by: Kyle MacRae at April 12, 2008 4:37 AM

Your move shocked me. But it gave me the push I needed to step back. I'm not stopping, just reappraising what I do (blogging) and how I blog. Twitter is ok for me personally. I switch it on when I can and what I miss is OK.

Anyway this is about you. Good move. I could see something was coming via Durham and Alpine. Hope it does you lots of good. Cheers and thanks for your conversation and cartoons. Really enjoy them.

Posted by: dc crowley at April 12, 2008 9:40 AM

I have a Twitter account - but rarely sign into it, why? I just never remember to (unless one of my followers asks me where I've been) plus, does anyone really care that I've just had a glass of water or that I'm craving chocolate or if I'm writing? See? Ya I'm totally exciting. Good luck with your book. And I love that cartoon.

Posted by: Sassy at April 12, 2008 11:55 AM

I also deleted my twitter account some months ago. I found it really interesting to see that after a while, Twitter is mostly a tool most of us use for distraction. Instead of concentrating on what we're doing, we're talking about talking about whatever it is we're doing. And often times it's not necessary or even interesting to tweet so much.

I had an "ex" who insulted me for burying myself in a guidebook to a place we were in. I wasn't really burying myself in it. I was using it to orient myself to the place. The ex twittered a lot. And come to think of it, I wonder why his criticism of me "burying" myself in a guidebook didn't apply to himself burying himself in the ephemeral internet as opposed to whatever experience he was going through at that moment. Instead the tweeted about it, thus a step further removed from the experience itself.

Posted by: Thib H. at April 13, 2008 12:28 PM

I totally agree with Sassy who wrote: "...plus, does anyone really care that I've just had a glass of water or that I'm craving chocolate or if I'm writing?"

My sentiments precisely. Many tweets are about these kinds of uninteresting random thought bubbles. I find it interesting that how in reading a person's tweets they may seem very open and communicative but in person they are actually rather hesitant and secretive. Not always true for everyone, of course.

Posted by: Thi at April 13, 2008 12:32 PM

I'll miss your tweets but will continue to follow via the blog and elsewhere. Twitter's just a medium for ideas, that's all. If an artist chooses to forsake watercolor and focus on oils, so be it...they haven't 'betrayed' watercolor.

I'm amused by a couple of long comments that question your decision. If they think your decision was a mistake, shouldn't they be required to say so in

Posted by: rsomers at April 13, 2008 11:04 PM

Hugh, I think there's should be a "2008" update to that cartoon: "Ah, Texas...."

'Cause what I see there is not just the "twitter! twitter! twitter!", but the fact that all three panels are packed entirely full of things with exclamation points, in exactly the way that your blog this year isn't.

Posted by: Brooks Moses at April 14, 2008 1:34 PM

I didn't realise you'd left twitter till I read about in an online subscription this morning...

I totally understand why... its very distracting. But at the same time I really liked getting to know you and enjoyed your distractions.

Susie :-)
(KahunaGirl)

Posted by: Susie at April 15, 2008 6:53 PM

I applaud your decision: http://lowtechtimes.com/2008/04/15/stop-twittering-or-never-start/

Best of luck to you!

Posted by: S. P. Gass at April 15, 2008 8:09 PM