10 signs that Twitter is screwing up your life

Tweetie for the iPhone

It may not cause cancer, but there's no doubt that Twitter is addictive.

For most people that's not a problem, but some people simply can't handle it.

Will you end up mugging people for their mobiles so you can send just one more tweet?

Here are ten signs that Twitter might be taking over your life.

1. You use @ everywhere
If you find yourself typing "I will be @thepub" without irony, using @john when you meant to type an email address, putting @ in front of people's names in forum posts and blog comments or spending Valentine's Day in the shed because you wrote "@wife" on your partner's card, you may have a problem.

2. You know the numbers
Here's a question no sane person can answer instantly: how many friends do you have? Some people hear "friends" as "Twitter friends" and the exact number trips off their tongue. Not only that, but they can tell you how many new friends they added yesterday. You really don't want to be one of those people.

3. Unfollows make you miserable
Yesterday, you had 32,344 followers. Today, you have 32,343. Cue angry messages to @stoppedfollowingyou demanding an explanation while you sit in front of your PC, rending your garments and weeping softly.

4. Everyone around you is on fire
If you can keep your head when all around are losing theirs, you've completely misjudged the severity of the situation. If the people around you are on fire, being attacked by space lizards or turning into flesh-eating zombies, sending a tweet really shouldn't be at the top of your to-do list.

5. You're talking like a two-year-old
Hello tweeple! What's happening in the twitterverse today? How's my favourite tweeps? Why do twooligans twy to twab me with twives every time I leave the twouse?

6. You're tweeting while removing a cancerous tumour from a man's kidney
It's bad enough tweeting during your own surgery, but there's something deeply disturbing about surgeons doing it while they operate. Hey, don't let our life or death surgery keep you! Tweet away! Why not play a bit of Xbox while you're at it? It's not as if surgery is difficult or dangerous, after all.

7. You know too much about people you don't know
Alexei Sayle once said that your brain is like a warehouse, and there's only so much room inside it - so if somebody tells you something inane, you might forget how to breathe. If you know Stephen Fry's exact location but aren't entirely sure where your kids are, what they're called or how many you have, you're proving his point.

8. You've licensed your tweets
Tweet.cc enables you to publish your tweets under a Creative Commons license. With very few exceptions, if you're thinking about which particular Creative Commons version you should use for your tweets, you're thinking way too much about Twitter.

9. You tweet when you meet
"Having a drink with @bob and @bert and @barb", tweets Billy. "Having a drink with @billy, @bert and @bob," tweets Barb. "@thepub with @barb, @billy and @bob", tweets Bert. "Are you going to order a bloody drink or what?" says the barman.

10. You think in 140 characters
Your wife has been attacked by a shark in the middle of the high street. "How can I make this poignant but funny in 140 characters?" you think. "This would be a lot easier if it weren't for all the screaming."


Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.