Twitter Addiction Destroys Man's Life

Larry Carlat used to be a married editor of a men's magazine. (Men's Health, according to LinkedIn.) Then he became obsessed with Twitter, lost his job, got divorced, and alienated loved ones. In a grim addiction memoir for NYT Magazine's Lives column, the tweetoholic describes tweeting "every hour on the hour, day and night":

My tweets were a clear violation of the company's social-media policy. I had a choice: to delete the account or face termination. Sensing that my days were numbered, and being ambivalent about the job anyway, I chose to fall on my sword.

About a month after I left the job, I separated from my wife […] I wrote something like, "I would've taken a bullet for my wife, but now I'd rather be the one pulling the trigger." To me, it was just a joke. To my son, it was a disturbing remark about someone we both love. He threatened to stop following me on Twitter.

But still he had not hit rock bottom. Larry Carlat deleted the murder tweet, but even as "my habit started to feel less like a rush and more like a burden," the tragic Twitter junkie could not break free. He only escaped his life-controlling prison of cyber exhibitionism last month, when he quit cold turkey:

Do I still have the occasional urge to tweet? Do I continue to compose tweets in my head? Do I miss my Twitter friends? Sure. But the immense weight of compulsion has been lifted. Now, before I go to sleep, I turn off my iPhone before I turn out the lights. When I wake up in the morning, my first thought is of making coffee, not of typing

No! Stop! Resist the urge, Larry! Think of your sobriety, of how hard you've fought to stay clean—

"Someone spiked my coffee with optimism this morning and I spat it right out."

Another addict falls off the wagon. It's sad, really. [NYT Magazine, headshot via LinkedIn]