Going cold turkey on Twitter (again)

David Bullard writes on decision to quit social media for good


At exactly 6pm on Monday 26th September I closed my Twitter account once and for all. To add a bit of drama to the occasion I renamed my account ‘The soon to be departed ‘Prof’ David Bullard’ and gave a warning to my 3 950 followers at midday that the account would no longer exist in six hours time. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

The responses were interesting. Some wished me well for the future, some expressed sadness that my robust and shoot from the hip views would no longer be around and others accused me of buckling to the cancel culture mob. That was precisely what I wasn’t doing though.

By voluntarily canceling my Twitter alter-ego I was depriving those whose greatest thrill in their empty lives is canceling other people for all sorts of imagined transgressions.

In fact, my account had been suspended a week earlier because a particular group of snitches had got together to report me for a lighthearted comment I had made about suicide being about the only logical alternative to constant load-shedding to a follower of mine.

The person to whom the comment was directed didn’t appear to have a problem with it but the snitches got together and reported me which led to an e-mail telling me that my account had been locked for ‘violating the Twitter rules’.

As a punishment my account would be locked for a week and I would only be able to read other people’s Tweets but not respond in any way. One of the snitches got very excited by this and commented to one of their chums that it’s “3 strikes and you are out. I will help report”.

I had been banned previously under a different Twitter identity but carried on with a low profile presence under a different account as ‘Cecelia van Damme (no relation)’, a man-hating woke lefty and a strong supporter of strange fashionable causes.

This account had all of 35 followers until I came out of the closet in May of this year and revealed my true identity which led to a dramatic upsurge in follower numbers.

So why, after having been on Twitter for more than ten years have I decided to chuck it for good? Well, to be perfectly honest, it was taking up far too much of my time and was beginning to bore me to tears.

The problem with Twitter is that it becomes dangerously addictive but like so many other dangerously addictive things there are side effects. One of them is that you start believing that what gets said on Twitter is representative of the real world. You only realise that it isn’t when you talk to your more intelligent acquaintances and discover that most of them don’t use any form of social media at all.

Another problem with the addiction is that you waste an inordinate amount of time checking your Twitter account to see if anybody found your latest comment amusing and to read any responses. Then you respond to the response and obviously you have to check again in a few minutes to see if anyone has responded to your response.

Most tweets are banal but there are occasional flashes of wit and that’s what keeps people going back; the hope of reading something funny or informative among the hateful dross which seems to characterise Twitter these days.

I did have hopes that Elon Musk wasn’t bluffing when he said he wanted to buy and improve Twitter but that was before we all realised it was a publicity stunt.

Helen Zille has long been a hate target on Twitter and one marvels that she stays at it. I once described Twitter as a ‘steaming cauldron of malice’ which it mostly is. It’s also an echo chamber outlet for unhinged people who clearly can’t afford the services of a psychiatrist.

It was at its nastiest during COVID when a large number of extremely bored people had nothing better to do with their time than berate those who didn’t have much confidence in the faux vaccine. In fact, at one point being a COVID denialist or questioning the official science on Twitter could get you into serious trouble.

Much the same happened to those who dared to suggest that a biological male cannot possibly be regarded as a woman as J K Rowling found out. This infuriated the trans lobbyists and even the child actors that J K Rowling had made famous in the Harry Potter movies denounced her heresy. You could almost hear the cocks crowing three times.

In the UK there have been several cases of PC Plod visiting a household that has used Twitter for ‘hate speech’. If someone says they have been offended by something then the law is automatically on the side of the accuser, irrespective of the triviality of the charge, and common sense doesn’t even feature.

However, what really drove me away from Twitter for good was the incredible hypocrisy of the Twitter rules. Most mornings I would receive an e-mail from Twitter highlighting a tweet from someone like Max du Preez or Gareth van Onselen. Below their tweets would be what I can only describe as hard core pornography from a variety of Twitter accounts. I sent a message to Twitter asking how it was possible to suspend an account for something that has been said while allowing people to post pictures of their genitals but, unsurprisingly, I never got a reply. The classy example below is the mildest I dare add to this column.

Fortunately, that appeared on my iPhone but if I accessed my e-mail on my laptop some really nasty stuff would pop up on my screen, all sent from Twitter. Not really what you need when you’re sitting in a public place or if the wife has just walked into the room.

I’ll be honest and admit that I do miss Twitter a bit. There were some fun people I interacted with and the opportunity to rant about things like load shedding was highly therapeutic. But I can’t support an organisation that censors free speech and yet can’t decide whether or not it’s a porn site.

I’ve been ‘clean’ now for six whole days and although I am able to return within 30 days of closing my account I have no intention of doing so. I just wish that I could get back all those hours that I wasted over the years on Twitter.


I attended my doctor niece’s wedding last weekend. She’s briefly back from a stint in Ireland as a very welcome medic and will shortly be returning there for a more permanent post.

She and her husband are both adventure fanatics and do really crazy things like rock climbing, running marathons and mountain biking. So it was quite natural that they would choose an unconventional wedding and decide to get married on the beach beneath the lighthouse in Gourikwa Private Nature Reserve near Mossel Bay.

I’m obviously biased but the bride did look stunning in a long white dress and veil and the weather was perfect with a cool breeze to balance the 24 degree temperature and clear blue skies. But enough of this schmaltzy mush….

The wedding venue was a four hour drive along the N2 from Somerset West and through some of the most glorious and well tended farming country you could wish for. Heaven help us when the EFF start invading the land.

However, the point I wish to make as Johannesburg falls once again to the ANC wolves and Gauteng becomes more like a failed third world state by the day is this. On that 344km journey I saw not a single pothole. I saw some areas where the road had been re-tarred but certainly not the botched job you see elsewhere in the country.

The road markings were bright and clear and looked newly painted, the passing lanes were clearly marked 400m in advance and the sign also specified how long they were and, best of all, there was hardly any litter by the roadside; particularly through towns like Caledon, Riversonderend, Swellendam and Heidelberg.

I was stopped by a traffic officer as I was driving past Heidelberg who just wanted to check my driving licence and car licence disc. He couldn’t have been friendlier. The last time that happened to me in Randburg the cop had his hand on his gun and walked around my car glaring at me and repeating “You know why I’ve stopped you don’t you?” When it became obvious he wasn’t going to get a bribe he let me drive on.

None of this good stuff happens by accident. If the Western Cape was still run by the ANC gangsters there would undoubtedly be potholes everywhere, corrupt cops would be bullying bribes out of drivers and litter would line the streets.

The great surprise is that, as most of South Africa collapses around us, so few voters in the rest of the country seem to have worked out why the Western Cape functions as it does.