All hail the gods of hope, optimism and change.
The cult of I promise to do better, Virginia, has awoken. It’s like Groundhog Day for a week. Don’t blink. It’s a fleeting appearance before habit, guilt, remorse and self-flagellation seep back into their usual places for the other 11 months and 3.5 weeks a year.
But this year will be different!
In that spirit, I decided to go through my Twitter feed and get rid of some of the people I follow. At first I asked myself how I would choose. I had to have a plan. Then I got it. I would get rid of anyone who had thousands upon thousands of followers.
You know those Twitter feeds where some random guy in Iowa has managed to accumulate 123.5k followers. How? Obviously these super human Tweety birds are doing something right if that many people want to hang on their every 140 characters. Why would I want to get rid of those folks? One answer. Because when I read their tweets, the reasons for their popularity often elude me.
I look at how much tweeting it took to make those big follower numbers happen. I don’t even know how it’s possible to tweet that much. Do they ever leave their devices? Are they like that female astronaut who donned diapers to drive across the USA to her fatal attraction astronaut crush? How is it possible to tweet that much and have a job, a partner, kids and not be fed intravenously? Seriously!
I’m happily deleting those overachiever types I initially and absentmindedly followed because social media has become just another closet full of crap to clear out. I’m thinking about social media the way I’m thinking about everything else at this time of year. How can I minimize it? Fat. Booze. Food. Cookies. Chocolate. Books I’ve read and won’t read again. Knick knacks. Subscriptions. Repetitive thoughts that are no longer relevant.
I’m aspiring to follow the suggestions of Marie Kondo, that Japanese woman who wrote The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese Art of decluttering and organizing. You need to ask of the accounts you follow on Twitter the same question you pose to your stuff? Do you bring me joy? Can I learn something from you? Do I even like you? Why am I keeping you anyway? And as I was joyfully seeking out and deleting all those who had way too many followers for their own collective goods, I thought of my unfollowing as doing not just me, but them a favour.
I began to realize that Twitter and every social media app follows the same mentality that got us into the big mess we’re in. That is, expansion, almost always confused with progress, is the ultimate and warped goal. Build. Accumulate. Amass. Take over the world. Feel better for a while. Start all over again. Eat. Sleep. Tweet. Repeat.
Please sir, I want more and more and more. That’s Twitter, and that thinking was justifiable out of ignorance when the American Dream was a new dream, not its current nightmare.
I only want what I need or what I don’t even know I need. I only want to know what’s going on with the people I follow who are relevant in my life today or ones I really liked and never see anymore. Maybe the ones who are movers and shakers in places I once lived so I can pretend I still live there. And the news. The big news and Alternative news organizations. Arts organizations. Food stuff. Funny stuff. Writing stuff. That’s it.
So if I stop following you, it’s not you, it’s me. I don’t deserve you. You in fact deserve a higher class of follower. Besides, I probably never knew you anyway.
Any ideas around how you’re aiming to change your social media habits this year? Let me know what you’re thinking.