Digital Pruning

Written on June 26, 2020
Posted under Personal

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When I woke up this morning, I was following 733 Twitter accounts. As of right now, I’m following 435. 298 just got the boot.

I’m not sharing this to brag, or to to make you feel bad. I’m sharing this in case it helps you out.

There are moments when pruning the digital garden that we’ve cultivated is beneficial. My Twitter feed, for example, had an extremely low “signal to noise” ratio. It was all just people retweeting stuff or being angry or whatever, and not a lot of good thoughts, important content, & the like. My friend Patrick made mention of a service he was going to be using called Tokimeki Unfollow, and I decided to give it a once-over.

It’s actually really hard to go through all of the accounts you follow & try to determine who stays & who goes. Old friends you don’t talk to much? Companies that you really enjoy? The one person that shares a ton of content, both good and bad?

The thing that kept me going, and being really decisive about pruning, was the little line above the “Unfollow” and “Keep” buttons on the Tokimaki site: “Do the tweets still spark joy or feel important to you?”

As I went along, I made up a few guidelines for myself:

  • People over products
  • People over companies
  • Thoughts over mindlessness

So… following the people that were part of a podcast is more important than following the podcast itself. Similarly, following the people working for a company or publication is more important than following the company itself. In both cases, I can expect that the important content from the parent company will filter through via RTs.

Additionally, I cut out a bunch of people who did nothing but RT without substance. A friend (I believe it was Patrick (EDIT: I was right)) imparted some wisdom to me years ago; instead of a blind retweet, they were more interested in actually knowing what the person thought about the content they were sharing (often done via quote tweets). Thoughts over mindlessness. Signal over noise.

I’m not saying I won’t add these kinds of accounts back; on the contrary, if I find myself missing the kinds of things that they posted, I’ll absolutely follow them again. I’m just trying to do a hard reset for my feed, and for my mental well-being.

Additionally, for my sanity, I’m doing 2 additional things:

  • Removing Facebook from my phone
  • Installing (and using) an RSS feed reader

The former, I’m removing so I stop wasting so much time. The latter, so I can have a dedicated location to read content from all of those companies, blogs, etc. that I want to read.

I have no idea how it’s going to go. This isn’t the first time I’ve done a prune before. But especially with everything going on right now, I think it’s vital to have peace of mind wherever we spend time, and this is how I’m going to attempt to give myself some.

Did this help you? Do you have your own suggestions for how to keep your digital garden pruned? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know!