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Reflecting on the tough decision to leave Sports Twitter

By: Alex Patt

Back in August of 2020 I had come to the realization that my lifestyle needed a change. No, it was not moving to a new house or a fancy diet, but it involved social media. To be specific, Twitter.

For those who knew me on Twitter, they probably remember I deactivated my original account in late August. I made sure to let everyone who followed me know what was going on in a long post before deleting the account. I wanted to make sure people knew I was okay and to express my gratitude to all my Twitter friends and sports colleagues for their friendship and influence. It was important for me to make sure they all knew that they will always have a place in my heart. I would not have had the opportunities or same sports memories without the people I knew on sports Twitter.

Then, with one press of a button…nearly eight years worth of tweeting was wiped away. RIP chifanpatt1 December 2012 – August 2020.

How did it all start? I made my original Twitter in college so I could follow all the latest sports news and share my opinions. My brother, the verified NBA writer Jason Patt, was the one who pushed me to do it. My main motivation in December 2012 to go through with it was to follow the progress of the infamous 2013 NHL lockout. Next thing I knew I was meeting new people and gaining a following. As time went on I used Twitter to try to get my foot in the door of a sports media career. Through people I had met, I got the opportunity to participate in a number of sports podcasts and write for several websites. As time went on my following grew as did my connections with people in the media/sports field. I met some absolutely amazing people who I am honored to still call my friends. I was able to guest on other people’s podcasts and did some live shows at local Chicago bars (shoutout to Big Dave from BAWL! on Bulls who invited me and my Swerski Sports Talk Chicago podcast partner Shawn Hopman to do a live show at Piece Pizza). Probably the coolest thing I got to do was be part of a live Cubs talk panel at John Baker Day, 2019 (shoutout to Danny Rockett for making that happen).

So why cut the cord?

Well, life is a journey of many turns and sometimes you have to adjust. While I got cool opportunities to write about sports, do podcasts, and other fun stuff (which I still do even today) a career just was not shaping. Then I got the opportunity to work in Travel Advertising. After being a temp with my company from September, 2018 – January 2019 I was hired full-time in August 2019. My first full-time job at age 25. This is a career that came unexpected, but I like very much. This is making me a living, and frankly…I find that doing sports writing/talking is more enjoyable as a hobby or side-gig than trying to make it full-time work right now.

Anyway regarding Twitter itself. I found that it was not only consuming my life, but causing me unnecessary stress. I was CONSTANTLY on Twitter and scrolling as if nothing else in the world mattered but Twitter. Even when I was hanging out with my buddies or with family. On top of that, there is a real ugly side of social media that was really stressing me out and making me upset. Sometimes to the point where I was kept up at night because of it. I found myself questioning who I was and my self-worth. If I did not feel exactly how others feel, does that make me a terrible person?

Sounds dumb right? Well it kind of is…which is why I looked in the mirror and asked, “Why am I doing this to myself? Is it really worth it?”

The thing is I tried to reduce my Twitter time without getting rid of my original account. Kept my phone down during work hours, tried logging off for a few days, kept my phone in my pocket while out with friends etc. Even if I avoided it for a few hours I still found myself in downtime just sitting on my bed and scrolling away. It felt like a legit addiction and the only way to fight it was to get rid of it.

I figured making @chifanpatt2 was a great way to still have as many of my old followers still connected as possible, but it was much easier to just let that one sit around and only use once in a blue moon while not feeling the need to keep going on it. So far that has worked very well and I only tweet out personal articles or check in on people occasionally. I want to be able to still stay connected with friends and colleagues and leave the door open for future opportunities while not feeling “tied down”. Again this all sounds weird, and I will not deny that it is, but that is how it is for me.

Do I have days I miss being on Twitter? Yes. It sometimes feels I am missing out on Cubs, Blackhawks, Bulls, Bears community stuff. I miss cracking jokes and posting memes that I think people will enjoy. Sometimes I think of some silly Cubs or Bears joke and think, “Man my buddies on Twitter would love this!” but I think its better for me to focus on other things right now.

But I cannot stress this enough, I am thankful for all the great friends I made on Twitter. From those who I interacted with on a day-to-day basis, to those who I interreacted with just a few times, it meant the world to me that I could share my life with people. I do not want my friends and colleagues from Twitter thinking I left because of them and that they know I still care about them. The good memories I had with people will be ones I will always cherish.

Remember the night the Cubs won the World Series? It was like every Cubs fan on Twitter was my brother or sister that night. I made sure to take screenshots of my tweets from big Chicago sports moments, including: Cubs WS, Cubs pennant win, Cubs NLDS win vs. the Cards, Blackhawks 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup wins, Bulls playoff games and the 2018 Bears division clincher against the Packers.

Today I still write for FanSide’s Cubbies Crib and do weekly episodes of Bill Swerski Sports Talk Chicago in addition to my personal blog. I am also lucky to stay in close enough touch with some Twitter people were I do guest work on their podcasts. It might not be the same but some is better than none. My door to talk to people is always open through various means.

I will be using my new account to continue to check in from time to time.

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