Gary Linekar walks away from Twitter
Gary Lineker walks away from Twitter

BBC sports presenter and former Everton and England striker Gary Lineker has quit Twitter because tweeting was consuming his life.

Lineker stepped away from the micro-blogging site for the sake of his family life, according to sources.

He insisted there was nothing "sinister" about his decision to quit Twitter, which lets fans and celebrities forge close bonds.

"I left Twitter because it tends to take over and I thought I would live without it. There is absolutely nothing sinister about the decision at all," he said.

A Sun source told the paper: "It's hard for him to make the most of that time together and to keep up with things on Twitter, so he has decided to remove the distraction. Gary is a real family man and he is very clear about what his priorities are. "

Lineker sent more than 8,000 tweets to his army of followers on the micro-blogging site. But he ended his involvement with a terse missive to his 1.3m followers.

"I'm leaving Britain for personal reasons. Thanks all," he wrote.

Last year, Lineker was disgusted by Twitter 'trolls' who mocked his son George's battle with cancer as a child. The former Tottenham Hotspur man spoke of feeling "physically sick" at the cruel jibes.

As Lineker leaves, other stars are expanding their online presence worldwide. Brad Pitt has recently started posting messages on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.

Meanwhile, Oxford and Cambridge dons are wishing their students would spend less time on social media and more on 'real' writing.

They have bemoaned the impact that sites such as Facebook and Twitter are having on teenagers' ability to write.

The craft of essay writing is "going down the plughole", warned one professor.

Professor Abulafia told an examinations seminar at think tank Politeia: "People no longer know how to write. What they do write tends to be short messages in a sort of meta-language, with meta-spelling on Twitter and Facebook."

A survey of lecturers by Cambridge Assessment, a huge examinations board, found that students were badly prepared for academic writing, reported the Telegraph.

Education secretary Michael Gove has spoken of posing exam questions differently in order to test pupils' writing ability. But some teachers oppose the idea because they fear it will make consistent marking impossible.