De-cluttering the Twitter Feed

I often start each year with a rather laborious, but I have found vital task of “de-cluttering my feed”. I imagine this task could apply for any social media platform, but in this case I am just talking about my twitter feed, the sum total tweets of all the accounts I follow, served up in an allegorically charged stream of content via the tweetdeck interface. I have been, and often get overwhelmed by the content in that stream, I have trouble taking it all in, and simultaneously do not look away. I find this de-cluttering practice an essential part of keeping me more focused and efficient with my time using this pervasive platform. I feel my time using twitter in general is limited in any case, but that is a question I will ponder further this month.

Instigated by some,

And inspired by others, I did think it might be valuable to share some of my process. (This is usually where the whole blogging process falters, as the desire to craft the ultimate treatise on social media efficiency spins wildly into the draft pile)

To get things going I thought I would respond to a simple question… how do you de-clutter the twitter feed?

In short Amanada, yes, the entire process is entirely manual. and depending on how many accounts you follow, could take some time. I use the original website interface, and look at my “following” list. It’s a shame you can’t sort this list, because I like to scroll through to the very beginning, (for nostalgia sake) and see who I first followed back in 2006 when this platform held more promise for good, than for ill. My “first five” has changed over the years, for instance I believe the old Darth Vader account was #3, but those closer to the beginning are still some of my fav people.

I think I used to follow over 2000 accounts, but have been slowly whittling that down to today, just over 400. It’s not only the total amount I am trying limit, but also the relevance, and how the feed serves my goals and focus for the coming year. As I scroll up the list I ask myself, a few questions.

  • Is this account still active?
  • Is this account still of interest either personally or professionally?
  • Is this account relevant to my needs?
  • Can this account be “listed”?
  • Can this account be “muted”?

There are likely many others. I try to be ruthless here. I am constantly following new accounts throughout the year, and I want to continue to add new content to keep my feed as useful as possible, but if it takes more energy to read, not pertinent to my focus and ultimately it is not bringing me joy, its got to go. Working at a University, I would like to keep track of what is happening at my institution, but following the dozens of organizational account in my main feed is too much. This is a good eg where a list is sufficient.

In my field of labor, Education, Technology and Media, social media is a valuable tool for making connections, learning and sharing what you have learned. but it can also spin wildly out of control if left unchecked. Unfollow. List. Mute. Out with the old, to make space for the new.

As I suggested in my earlier tweet, this is only the beginning of my digital de-cluttering for 2020. There is surely much more important work to be done, particularly in the areas of security, privacy and sustainability. Thanks to some of my “first five” for sharing a few other resources. Grant has shared a “Digital Detox Kit” which I plan on working my way through. Brians’ latest post shares some more, most importantly an online course coming out of TRU that promises to structure some thoughtful guidance to “detoxify our relationship to the digital”. I am very eager to being the TRU Digital Detox STARTING TODAY.

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