I’ve been having a bit of a clear out both IRL and even more so on social media… I thought you might be interested in some of what I’ve learnt from the latter.
Clearing out Twitter
I had completely lost track of the number of random or irrelevant twitter accounts I had chosen to follow. I can’t explain how it got to that. A large number were apparently not used very much. A large number weren’t following me back. Unintentionally pointless.
A massive clear out ensued and a few things have struck me as a consequence…
- I now like my timeline much better both on mobile and PC.
- I now don’t need to use lists at all.
- Accounts that annoy me or don’t seem relevant really stand out now.
- New accounts I’ve followed are more interesting and tangential to what I do.
I’ve probably unfollowed close to 2,000 accounts and I’m now at a very happy and meaningful following just under 950. My sense is that is still plenty and I wouldn’t be surprised if it reduces further.
So what have I learnt?
- It’s easy to get in a mess following people you just don’t need to follow.
- Intimacy is the only way you can assess quality/relevance.
- There’s real value in high quality tangential connections.
- I have an eclectic range of professional interests!
By the way… Over the last year I’ve been looking at my twitter statistics. I thought a few key metrics should give me some insight into how I’m landing. It doesn’t really at all. Not new learning but I thought I’d share!
Clearing out Blogs I follow
Over the last couple of months I’ve started to unfollow some of the more popular blogs in my network. I’d noticed that I’d often find myself reading them via Twitter first then finding them again in my WordPress reader stream. Unintentionally pointless.
In doing so I started to realise there were quite a few blogs that I followed on WordPress that were dead or dormant. At some point in the past something interesting had been written on them so I’d followed them but they’d not continued and I’d never reviewed or had a clear out.
In all there were 175 blogs. Yes, 175…
I took a couple of hours to go through them all and unfollow those that were clearly dead , deleted or had moved elsewhere. At the same time I took note of the date of the last post or if the blog had been deleted or moved elsewhere. As geeky as it sounds it didn’t add much extra to the process and the results were quite interesting I think.
Ignoring those that were deleted or moved, there were 140 blogs left of which only half had been used in the last 13 months. Even then, of those where there were posts last year but not yet this year I had a sense that at least half again may have said their last…
Nothing wrong in that. We choose to blog what we want, when we want for whatever purpose we choose as long as it suits us well.
It’s just fascinating to me that at least 50% of blogs I’d followed were “no longer” and only something in the order of 25% had endured. It doesn’t tell me what the lifetime of a blog might be but it does suggest that many dip their toe for only a while.
So what have I learnt?
- Never follow a frequent blogger in my network, it’s overkill.
- It’s good to have a broad and eclectic range of blogs to follow.
Hope that’s been useful to share.
Just done the same. It’s improved my experience hugely!
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Thank you David – an interesting post.
Not sure I’m quite ready to be so ruthless on the people I follow on twitter. (Since virtually all follow me, it might seem a bit rude – however muting can come in handy. And I have used lists for years to segment audiences, so I don’t waste time trawling my time line.) But a spring clean of blogs and other news sources is always good (as is unsubscribing from all those irritating mailing lists you’ve managed to get on).
I have a hunch (not particularly scientific) that there is no point following famous people on any medium. That’s particularly so on twitter and blogs – since if they ever write anything really interesting, thought provoking or original, it will filter through onto your radar. I think some call this the wisdom of crowds – I sometimes call it the sanity sieve or crowd-sourced peer review.
I’d also suggest people have a spring clean of all the LinkedIn groups, companies and ‘influencers’ they follow. Most companies will never connect with you in any meaningful way (they will just treat you as advertising fodder). Most groups are full of self promotional crap or banal banter. Most influencer-accounts are run by slick PR people not the real person – so what you get it regurgitated ‘guru’ quotes and other irritating memes infecting your time stream (perhaps influencers should be renamed influenzas).
I’ll keep your blog on my list though.
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In a recent piece I wrote about how I relentlessly manage who I follow on Twitter. I do this for the reasons you’ve written here. I value the intimacy of many of the conversations I have. At the same time there are many tangential accounts I follow with little/minimal interaction. There’s a difference in connecting and engaging with someone who presents themselves markedly different on Twitter than someone who shares your interests.
Interesting what you say about blogs and WordPress. So I follow quite a few, and several I follow because I know that if they blog, albeit infrequently, I’m likely to miss it on Twitter. Sometimes I skim read a post and want to go back to it. There are times when I want to re-read it, so I’ll hit my reader to find it.
I totally get the unintentionally pointless angle, and I think that’s one of the greatest challenges of using SoMe. It can so very easily become unintentionally pointless regardless of the medium or platform used.