Yuletide log-off: are people really taking a break from Twitter over Christmas?

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Arguments around the family Christmas table may make up for the lack of social media bashing

Declaring you’re taking a break from social media over the holidays is a new modern tradition.




Declaring you’re taking a break from social media over the holidays is a new modern tradition.
Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to stop tweeting.

People all around the world are coming together to vow they will not be on social media over the holidays.

The annual Yuletide logging off has become a grand new tradition – a mass exodus of those “taking a break from Twitter” who “won’t be checking social media” until the new year.

It makes perfect sense. Christmas – with its stress, arguments and pointless fights – can be in many ways, nothing but Twitter in real life. So why double up? Last week, the actor Lili Reinhart summed up the general mood when she signed off “toxic” Twitter and announced it was “like a cesspool for evil”.

But it’s equally as cliched that everyone will break their vow immediately – or at least spend the whole time scrolling under the table.

Nevertheless, across the world, people began logging off.

PatriciaKarvelas
(@PatsKarvelas)

I’m logging off twitter for a while. I need to immerse myself in full DANCE MOM and Xmas. See you all soon #auspol

December 21, 2018

Stewart McDonald MP
(@StewartMcDonald)

Christmas wrapping done and now ready to have a few days of down time. I’ll be taking a break from Twitter, so best wishes for Christmas from Gordon and I 🎄☃️ pic.twitter.com/mYZjksAVlF

December 23, 2018

Romain Cheyron
(@Romain_Ch)

Fatiguée des insultes constantes, Lili Reinhart (#Riverdale) quitte Twitter temporairement, comme elle l’explique dans sa story Instagram. pic.twitter.com/MXLc7QJxMS

December 18, 2018

Former Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul announced it too, in more muted terms. On Sunday night, the UK Labour peer Andrew Adonis disagreed, and struck the most defiant, and perhaps funniest, tone of the season.

Andrew Adonis
(@Andrew_Adonis)

I am not signing off twitter for Christmas. There is Brexit to be stopped

December 23, 2018

But any Twitter break is a vow made to be broken, as seen in this faux-logging off post from Queensland Labor senator Anthony Chisholm.

Anthony Chisholm
(@AnthonyChisholm)

Going to have a break from Twitter for a couple of weeks, exception is if an LNP MP does something stupid. So will likely be back within hours. #auspol

December 22, 2018

And the number of people who have “taking a break” in their display name, but who are nevertheless still tweeting.

Joan is taking a break before 2019
(@joanhewrites)

Banter is way overrated https://t.co/RaVVzqHtuX

December 22, 2018

Kristi is taking a social media break!
(@kmdiehm)

5 of 5 stars to Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor https://t.co/bvaPurHG8v

December 21, 2018

The louder you proclaim taking a break from Twitter, the sooner you will be back.

Even the New Zealand ministry of foreign affairs lied to us. “We’ll be taking a break,” it said on Friday.

MFATgovtNZ 🇳🇿
(@MFATgovtNZ)

Season’s greetings to everyone. We’ll be taking a break on Twitter till January 7. If you’re a Kiwi travelling overseas during the holidays, don’t forget to register on https://t.co/feEhYwsvQL pic.twitter.com/e6ltI08xLP

December 20, 2018

It was back two days later – telling us to get a working holiday visa for Japan.

MFATgovtNZ 🇳🇿
(@MFATgovtNZ)

Did you know Kiwis can get a working holiday visa to #Japan? And Japanese people can have a working holiday in NZ too. Check out https://t.co/mppCIGvIr2 pic.twitter.com/c1zx46Otrk

December 22, 2018

Guardian Australia’s own columnist Greg Jericho fell victim too. Fittingly, it was so he could tweet a graph.

Greg Jericho
(@GrogsGamut)

I’m taking a Twitter break till the New Year.

So I hope everyone has a great *and safe* Christmas.

See you in 2019, I’m off to read some books and relax.

December 19, 2018

Greg Jericho
(@GrogsGamut)

Breaking my Twitter holiday…

December 21, 2018

So for all the bluster, logging off is really one of the most pointless announcements you can make, as many on Twitter themselves pointed out:

al [saw bo rhap x4]
(@alexfckingnovak)

What I say: I’m logging off twitter goodbye!

What I mean: I’m closing the app for 5 seconds and then reopening it!

December 20, 2018

Shappi Khorsandi
(@ShappiKhorsandi)

I’d like to announce that I will not be taking a break from Twitter this Christmas time. I felt it important to say rather than just keep turning up to chat.

December 18, 2018

Joana Ramiro
(@JoanaRamiroUK)

Why are people taking breaks off Twitter during the holiday period? ‘Tis the season I need this sort of escapism the most! What I supposed to do instead? Indulge in tension and anxiety-riddled interaction with my relatives?! 😥

December 22, 2018

On Friday, Nikki Usher wrote in Slate that the “taking a break” message was so ubiquitous because it is the only effective way to set an away or out-of-office reply on social media.

Nikki Usher, Ph.D.
(@nikkiusher)

Hi – so I tried to pin a tweet to let you all know I was taking a break from Twitter. Without away messages, it’s basically impossible to let you know this in any meaningful way. The death of the away message, below https://t.co/skSWivKFYv

December 21, 2018

Whatever the reason, the Christmas log-off is a proper modern tradition. Magical, hopeful and impossible. We’ll see you back online soon.

The Guardian Tech RSS

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/dec/24/yuletide-log-off-are-people-really-taking-a-break-from-twitter-over-christmas