“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom” – Francis Bacon
Yesterday my twitter account was hacked. Again.
That’s 3 times in the last 6 months (in which time I’ve also stopped actively using the service). Twitter help page says change your password and revoke access to third-party sites which may have compromised your account. I’ve done this three times. And my anti-virus is pretty robust (I use one of the highest rated available anti-virus/ internet protection software).
So, why am I leaving Twitter? Mainly, it’s about trust. Or lack of trust.
When I first started tweeting, I thought it was great. It seemed an amazing way to connect with other like-minded people. I even made a few quality connections in the real world following introductions via twitter. As someone who blogs, I embraced twitter’s idea of micro-blogging. What a great idea – sometimes you don’t have enough to say on a topic to write a whole piece, or you may just want to highlight something or make a brief comment. And with much higher frequency than blogging.
But with my account hacked 3 times in 6 months, while not even actively using it, it’s become more trouble than its worth. Your reputation is way more valuable than 140 characters.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it” – Warren Buffett
Before I decided to quit, I slept on it and thought through what my life’s like with and without twitter. I used it quite actively for about a year, posting over 770 tweets. For the last 6 months I’ve not used it at all. What’s different post twitter:
Build your reputation in the real world: I’m more focused now on connecting with fewer people but in a more meaningful way. Instead of casting my line on twitter and hoping someone out there might connect, I’m putting more energy into talking with real people and building real relationships. (I’m also much more focused now at conferences).
Rifle versus shotgun: My energy is focused on less activity, less busy-ness, and more results. I try to stay open to new ideas and new relationships, but also recognize that quality requires more focused effort. This also means working with fewer clients over longer periods of time and focusing to bring valuable healthcare technologies to patients.
Signal to noise ratio: This has improved considerably. When we use technology, sometimes its all too easy to use it as a crutch instead of just a tool to enhance our effectiveness. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a big fan of technology and social media; it enables me to operate in a way and work with entrepreneurial medtechs which would have been unthinkable even 15 years ago. But there’s an awful lot of noise out there that sucks up time. Being selective about what works may help…
Selective use of social media: Some might argue that if you’re not “social” you just don’t get it, you’re out of touch. I disagree. Selective use of social media tools that enable me to be more effective include WordPress (where this site is published) and LinkedIn. I’m a big fan of both. But don’t feel compelled to use everything just because it’s there. Use what works for you.
Focus on your message: Not using the twitter crutch means I end up putting more effort into blog posts and more effort into real relationships. It forces you to think much more clearly about what you say. You no longer have the option to just bash something out in 140 characters because the moment caught you. You have to think. Think about what you really want to say. Thinking enables creativity and original solutions.
Sharing your thoughts: Don’t get too hung up on this. Twitter is about sharing your thoughts or “joining the conversation”. If I write a post that moves people, it will be found and shared. I don’t need to promote it through twitter. If it only moves one reader, that’s just fine too (from small acorns…). The chances of sharing will also exponentially go up if you follow the point above.
Better home life: For a short while, my wife suggested I was spending more time on twitter than we were together. While technically this was never true, it’s so easy to pick up your smart phone and just disappear into the twitter black hole (the same with emails and text). Hours can pass. Yet, when you’re with others, be it your spouse, children, family or friends – don’t they deserve your undivided attention? Not a glance under the table at your phone.
Thundering silence: Disabling twitter for me was just one small step to reconnecting with my thoughts (meditation, tai chi and walking are others – but I’m not here promoting these to anyone; they’re just what I do). Reconnecting with your thoughts enables creativity and vision. Embrace the silence, learn to be inside your head a little more.
Some of the most prolific entrepreneurs I know don’t use twitter and even shy away from other social media. They let their results do all the talking. They have their own way of connecting with their thoughts, of listening to the silence. Of course, with all this silence and thinking, you still have to DO something. But maybe you end up doing less, but more of what actually matters.
This post is by Raman Minhas.