Now that Gary Lineker has left Twitter, we'll just have to get used to the idea he's a real person again

My name is Simon and I have an addiction. Well... not quite - but then most of us tweeters have wondered whether they have a healthy relationship with social media

Share

In the virtual world, it ranks as a major news story. If you searched for Gary Lineker on Twitter yesterday, you would have received the following message: “Gary Lineker does not exist”. Hang on a minute, what do you mean he doesn't exist? I've just seen him on Match of the Day, in his best smart casual outfit, helping to explain to a grateful nation the weaknesses in Norwich City's back four.

Lineker was one of the most popular figures on Twitter - he had 1.3 million followers, and was admirably demotic in his willingness to engage any of them in a discussion - but, with a startling statement that left one of two questions hanging, he tweeted himself into virtual obscurity.

Narcotic

Lineker, a prolific tweeter who has posted 8,000 tweets in the past twelve months, simply said, “I'm leaving Twitter for personal reasons. Thanks all,” and, with that, he became a non-person on the world's most powerful communication network.

His explanation was that Twitter was taking up too much of his time, and that he wanted to see what life was like without it. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. There can't be many among us - and I certainly include myself in this - who hasn't wondered at some point whether our relationship with Twitter is a healthy one. Because it is so powerful - as a news source, as a debating forum, as a means of keeping in touch with friends without going to the trouble of actually talking to them, as a way of feeling you are having a real conversation with someone in the public eye like, for instance, Gary Lineker - it has a truly narcotic appeal.

Checking my Twitter feed is sometimes the last thing I do at night and the first thing I do in the morning. My name is Simon and I have an addiction. Well...not quite, but I can easily see how, for someone like Lineker, Twitter can take over your life, and what started as bit of banter with Piers Morgan - no chance that he'll retire his tweeting finger, in case you're worried  - and developed into a chance to converse with genuine football followers, became a beast that constantly needed feeding.

Virtual reality

Unsurprisingly, Lineker as Twitter quitter has been one of the most popular discussion topics on the network over the past 24 hours, and it was difficult to avoid the observation that, in contrast to many resignations, Lineker has actually chosen to spend more time with his family. But isn't that just a little bit selfish, Gary? What about all your followers? Who can they now complain to about the running order on Match of the Day?

And they'll never be able to go to the pub again and say that they've just been having a chat with - guess who?... only that Gary Lineker. Even in the real - i.e tabloid - world, Lineker's retreat from Twitter has been treated as something of a news event, which does illustrate the importance attached to the virtual presence of public figures. I suppose we'll just have to get used to Gary Lineker as a real person again, and forget all about our mate, @garylineker.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would create a government that actually reflects its people

Kaliya Franklin
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower