Detritus and Debris: Weeding My Social Networks

Visual Restfulness

Last week, I took advantage of the CLMOOC theme of Digital Audit to dive critically into my Twitter account as much as I could. First of all, I didn’t tweet (much) during the entire week. I did check in every now and then. Maybe I shouldn’t have but I did (apparently, I still have work to do on my attention and my social media habits, but in my defense, the few tweets I did produce were related to creating art for the DS106 Daily Create). The chart above shows interactions with my Twitter feed before and during my hibernation.

I casually disappeared.

Then, I spent about three hours over two days going through my Followers and those I am Following. It’s all so bloated now. I can’t say that I have ever had any intentions to having the largest number of followers I can amass. I truly believe that it not important to me. But I had racked up the number of those I was following because I can’t resist a teacher or writer that interests me.

Still …

In the course of my weeding, I “unfollowed” more than 500 accounts, and still have many more to go. (Sidenote: there has to be a better way than scrolling through time in my account, as each page loads in my Follower Page. Sigh. If you know a better way, can you tell me?).

My criteria was: does I recognize this name, even remotely? Do I ever see or notice this person in my timeline? If not, the likely result was an unfollow. I haven’t yet made it to the bottom of my follower list, so more are likely to go. (Note: I think I am going to explore this topic further in another post)

I also weeded out by blocking about 600 accounts that were following me. How the heck did so much debris get into there? I found marketing companies, strange invitations, weird bots, and folks with no connection to anything I am interested in. BlockBlockBlock. I went back two days later, and there were more new accounts to block. BlockBlockBlock.

This could be a full-time job … (I know I can set it up to approve every follow request but that seems like it would just exasperate the issue of email notifications.)

As for other social media, I took a pause in Mastodon, my latest social space of choice for writing and connecting in a federated space, but Mastodon still feels more personal to me, and under control. I missed writing in that space more than any other.

My Google communities seem fine and manageable (although I left a few G+ communities that I no longer needed), and Flickr and other places were not sources of much concern (in relation to flow of media and access … privacy safeguards are always another issue).

Facebook is a place where I have an account, but only because I run the Facebook page for Western Massachusetts Writing Project. Still, I ended the deluge of email notifications from Facebook, and quieted the siren’s call of all that I was apparently missing. Same with Instagram.

This is what I did with my off-line time instead of what I usually do (including writing blog posts) … I wrote postcards every day for the entire week for my CLMOOC friends, and sent out two postcards every day into the world. I made the social more personal, and it felt good (as the CLMOOC postcard project always does, by re-affirming the human connections.) Two postcards arrived during the week, too. That made me happy.

I still have much to do, but it felt good to do some weeding and resting. You, too?

Peace (amid the quietening),

  1. Bold moves. Decisive. Good for you.

    Like pruning an apple tree, it may turn out to also be productive to trim the social tree.

    For now, I am too lazy, and I expect someday to just actually disappear, to become a faded set of snapshots (with luck, fondly dogeared).

  2. Thank you Kevin for providing the impetus to weed my account. There is so much written about leaving Twitter and although I am not at that point, I have been feeling somewhat indifferent about it of late, so it was good to stop and reflect.

    For so long I followed any educator who followed me. It just seemed right. But I have noted the consequence within spaces like Nuzzel. Although I have used lists in the past, but with my tendency to use Twitter on my phone, this can be tedious.

    I went through and removed two thirds of follows. I basically kept those who I have had some conversation and connection with. I am not sure what difference this might make to how I use Twitter, especially with my dive into the #Indieweb. Time will tell.

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