Twitter burnout is among us. With the company going public to potential investors last week, Twitter Burnout Syndrome (yes, I just coined that myself) is an actual financial concern. People have a history of getting overwhelmed by the site’s tendency to dominate their lives and taking a hiatus; sometimes even signing off forever. Even celebrities are susceptible. The likes of Jennifer Love Hewitt, Megan Fox and Alec Baldwin have dropped off the site’s grid and left their masses of followers hanging at one time or another.
John Mayer says the reason he deleted his Twitter account in 2011 is that the site had taken up so much of his brainpower that he couldn’t write songs (sorry, can we just LOL over that for a moment please?). With 500 million tweets shared each day, the whole thing can start to feel like a pretty big headache. Below, signs that you are suffering from Twitter Burnout Syndrome and need to take a little break.
1. You engage with your followers more than you do with your family/roommates/significant other.
2. You can’t resist retweeting people you can’t stand just to get more attention. Doesn’t matter if their horribly composed tweets are absolutely appalling to you and clash with your beliefs, this quasi-famous person has followers galore so you can’t stop yourself from retweeting them to get more eyeballs on your profile.
3. You have nightmares about the fail whale.
4. You try to turn your inner dialogue into crafty wit. You’re on your commute to work when a voice in your head suddenly says “shit, I forgot to load the dishwasher.” The next 20 minutes are spent reworking that into a snarky 140-character phrase that the internet would find funny. So what if you don’t plan on tweeting it, you should always be practicing your Twitter-speak, right? Right?
5. Every time something wonderful happens, you immediately whip out your smartphone to tweet it before even celebrating. Did you just have a baby? Get a great job offer? Win the lottery? Awesome, now you get to tell everyone you know about it, which is apparently much more important than the event itself! If you have to tweet it first before even letting yourself revel in the joy of it, it might be time for a priority shift.
6. You develop a celebrity complex. You feel like you’re letting your followers down if you don’t keep up with your daily tweet quota. They’re counting on you, aren’t they? What will they do with themselves if you don’t share your charming thoughts or a picture of the sandwich you ate today? 24/7 tweeting is a tough job, but you feel you have no other choice. The people need you.
7. You feel a guilty obligation to tweet. If something interesting happens, you feel guilty not sharing it, as if that means it never happened in the first place.
8. You can’t cook like a normal person anymore. When you microwave that frozen chicken and throw it onto some iceberg lettuce, you’re not longer making a quick meal, you’re “whipping up a grilled chicken salad for your boo,” and must alert the masses with a photograph. Not even your Easy Mac is immune to worldwide sharing anymore.
9. You speak in hashtags. “Sorry I walked in on your personal phone call this morning, hashtag awkward.” “It’s really hashtag rainy outside.” (Full disclosure, I’ve so been known to do this.)
10. You tweet during sex.
11. You trick yourself into thinking you’re “friends” with celebrities who have retweeted you. Getting a Twitter acknowledgment from someone you look up to can be so exciting. However, this does not mean they will now invite you to their parents’ Thanksgiving dinner, banter about inside jokes with you, or even think about you ever again after the millisecond it took them to retweet. Sorry.
12. You suffer from the all-encompassing FOMO (fear of missing out), and you’re fairly certain that if you spend a few hours off the grid, everyone will forget about you. Actually, just the opposite might happen. Your “real life” offline friends might be thrilled to have you back from Twitter’s #darkside, and you might even remember wonderful details of the real you that you’ve traded out in favor of your internet persona. There’s life beyond the little blue bird!