On Trolliday

So yesterday I decided to join in the one-day (that’ll show’em) twitter boycott against trolling and general unpleasantness. If I’m honest, this isn’t really because I’m particularly plagued by trolls on twitter – I thought the world of cycle campaigning was prone to spats and name calling, but it’s as nothing to the battle-riven world of bank note design – who knew? In fact, since I noticed that most twitter spats consist of two people who agree on 99.9% of everything falling out about the other 0.1%, I have had a strict policy of not arguing with people on twitter which has been surprisingly effective. And I could see the point that some made that combatting trolls by silence was effectively giving in to them, instead of shouting back. In fact, the real reason why I decided to take part was because when I first heard of the plan I wondered whether I’d actually be able to go a whole day without twitter and that was a little worrying. Having held off joining Twitter for ages because I could see it would be hopelessly addictive, I duly found that it quickly became the place I spent the most time in on the internet. Time to see if I actually could manage without it…

Thinking about it a bit more I realised that the problem wasn’t twitter so much as me. Working from home as I do, it’s nice to have a place online which is basically a big pub conversation, where you get to meet new people, have a joke, ask stupid questions, set the world to rights, hear new things – even start cycle campaigns. And that’s all great and I wouldn’t live without it for the world now. It’s just that I’m not really terribly good at concentrating on one thing at a time, and having an endlessly updating scrolling world of distraction just a click away isn’t all that good an idea. The minute my brain hits any sort of a road block in a task … it’s slid off and gone to check if there’s anything new on Twitter. And then refreshed it to see if there’s anything newer. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing – just in the course of writing this blog post, I have broken off multiple times to exchange tweets with people, tweet something new, follow up some other tweets, checked to see if my latest witticism had been retweeted, found someone else to follow – and then gone and checked my email, checked my other email, and had a quick look to see if anything amusing was going on on Facebook. Clearly, if I could learn to be less distractable, I’d be more productive and I would be able to spend less time on the laptop and more in the garden.

And so, yesterday I had a go at going without. I decided not just to stay off twitter, but be disciplined about all the other distractions that are out there from cycling forums to Facebook. Twitter, I went cold turkey with. For the rest, I stuck to the basic ‘Pomodoro technique‘ – 25 minutes of concentration, followed by a 5 minute break. This was, in fact, so effective that I got most of what I needed to done in about half the time it usually takes and spent the rest of the time gardening, which I can do for hours without needing any sort of management technique to help me. Go me…

Today, I’ve been trying to stick to the discipline without actually forgoing Twitter – which has been a little hard because of the final launch of the Nice Way Code adverts which are wrong headed in so many ways, but which more focused people than me have managed to deconstruct elsewhere. It’s hard to get on with doing something at all constructive while you’re also trying to get #iamnotahorse trending on twitter.* So it hasn’t been quite as effective – but I have been finding that when I do fend off the distractions and actually knuckle down for half an hour, I think a lot better and get more done. It’s not as good as defeating the forces of violent mysogyny – or even getting the Scottish Government not to waste money on feeble safety campaigns – but it will have to do.

*Time for us all to get one of these

5 Responses to On Trolliday

  1. John Gibson says:

    That is brilliant, where do you find these things.

  2. WOL says:

    Interesting alternative to the (free) playing card clothes-pinned to the back wheel fork.

  3. disgruntled says:

    @John – Twitter of course, where else!
    @WOL – true although the playing card is more to turn your bike into a motorbike…

    • WOL says:

      Mom used to make us put playing cards on our bikes so we wouldn’t ride down the neighbors. Makes it a little tricky to pretend your bike is a horse though.

  4. […] basically getting the work done without endlessly frittering away my time on twitter. I’ve dabbled with it in the past and found it quite effective but not transformative but this time I actually went to the effort of […]

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