Cleaning Day

12 Dec

A good portion of my day today will be spent in house cleaning. Things haven’t gotten gross–just a little too cluttered for any productivity. When I need a break today from house cleaning I’m going to sit down at the computer and do some social cleaning of my personal networks, especially on Twitter and Google+. In fact, this post will be exclusively about Twitter and Google+, because the dynamics of mutual agreement on LinkedIn and Facebook are very different.

I like to think of the streams and news feeds of social networks as a series of fountains. You have to pick out the dead leaves and rescue stranded frogs daily. This might be compared to muting a post you’re not interested in or flagging spam comments. Every now and then though you have to clean the filter and scrub the algae off the bottom of the fountain. This is what I’m doing today. The ‘Unfollow’ button is going to earn its keep today!

If the last sentence just quickened your heart rate, let me explain how I found the freedom to do this. Imagine me in a meditative shaman pose, if that helps. On Twitter and on Google+ there is no obligation to follow or circle back. Your stream is for you. It should show what you want–whether that’s Skyrim tips or cat GIFs or #YouMightBeAPoliticalStaffer memes. If someone is not adding value to your stream you don’t have to keep them in it. Take a deep breath and realize your liberation!

Now that we have all reached social enlightenment, here are some other social maintenance practices I do.

First, I know what I want to see. For me personally Twitter is almost exclusively politics at all levels, skewed strongly to the right. For @MagicBottleMkt I want to see a few, honestly-good social media people, but mostly I want local tweeters and news. On Google+ I can be more varied because of the magic of circles. I have political and social media circles there, too, but also Sci-fi/Fantasy, photography, music (gotta have some art in my life!), and alternative education.

Second, I use Twitter lists and individual circle streams as noise filters. Twitter lists are what I will be working on a lot today. I’ll write another blog post another day about lists, perhaps highlight some of my favorites. Right now, I’ll just say that I don’t worry about my main stream becoming noisy. When my circle streams and list streams become noisy and cluttered, I know it’s time for some social cleaning.

Third, I search, search, search! I may be at a live event, such as the Tulsa Oilers game Friday night, that I don’t usually have any interest in. Thanks to Twitter search I can connect quickly and briefly with other people, interact during the game, and then leave with no obligations. During one of the many Republican Presidential debates (what are we averaging now? One every 1 1/2 weeks?) I can follow hashtags on Twitter and do a search on Google+ for ‘presidential debate’ and get all the interaction and commentary I want without having to add a bunch of folks to my network. Search is also useful when I’m starting a new role-playing or multi-player game. I tend to do games on kicks and binges. With search I can gather the best tips and fun people to play with and then leave them when the game loses my interest.

By the way, all of the above makes for terrible relationship advice. 😉


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