Almost as much as celebrities love to tweet, they love to quit Twitter. And as much as they love to quit Twitter, they love to return to the social networking service.
If Nexis can be trusted, the first high-profile Twitter quitter was Miley Cyrus, who very publicly ditched the service in October 2009 at the behest of her boyfriend, actor Liam Hemsworth. Cyrus delineated her reasons for terminating her account in a rap video she uploaded, explaining to her to her 1.1 million followers that she wanted to keep her “private life private.”
Proving that returning to Twitter is as easy as quitting, Cyrus started tweeting again in April 2011 and remains a fervent user, even though she threatens to take a hiatus from the service now again. Other celebrities to quit and restart include Ricky Gervais, who left the first time after calling Twitter “pointless” in January 2010. He rejoined in September 2011. Other Twitter quitter yo-yos include John Mayer, serial quitter Alec Baldwin, Minnie Driver, Chris Brown, Sylvester Stallone, Nick Offerman, Charlie Sheen, baseball player Chris Davis, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Nicki Minaj, and William Shatner.
Some celebrities bail out of Twitter because they feel overexposed (Cyrus). Others leave after being trolled by mean Twitter users (Driver, Hewitt, and Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda), framing their retreats as protests against bad players. Still others, such as CeeLo Green this month, cancel after posting something controversial, perhaps in hopes that their swift exit from the scene of the word-crime will perform damage-control magic. With the past as our guide, Green will soon return, after which he’ll tweet something that he will come to regret, quit once more, then rejoin, again and again, forever spinning on Twitter’s wheel.
Of course, celebrities aren’t the only users who quit Twitter. According to a Reuters/Ipsos survey from last year, 36 percent of Twitter users polled had left the service and 7 percent had shuttered their account. Hedge-fund manager Doug Kass said good-bye in June 2013 (“…too many haters”) and returned about four months later. Earlier this month, market wizard Clifford Asness announced his exit, but he continues to tweet anyway. Sportscaster Joe Buck departed in May 2012, citing his vulnerability to “minute-by-minute criticism,” but he later got back on (although the account looks dormant now). Journalists have been known to quit, but often the departure is a stunt — a week or a month of temporary Twitter exile to clear their heads before returning and usually writing a piece about how they’ve now learned to manage their habit.