Reducing Twitter clutter on purpose

twitterclutterAll 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.

Letting go when gone is here


I met up with a friend the other night. As I listened to some of the details acknowledging an unexpected transition, which seemed sad to me mostly because of the amount of time that can be invested into a construct of togetherness, I couldn’t help but hear that saying about relationships being for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

In relationship, letting go, after the other has made the decision to leave, because they checked out a long time ago, even if they didn’t have the courage to act on the leaving themselves, is the only sane option that exists between adults.

Someone either wants to be with us or they don’t. We either want to be with them or we don’t. Trying to force either one of those things when the feelings are no longer there for one or both is a waste of emotional energy and time.

Life is a stroll into a labyrinth. Sometimes we walk together, side by side, so close our arm hairs prickle against theirs, and other times we are alone. We keep walking. We pick up and meet new faces, the unexpected, those we’ve known before, walking, walking, here and there, retracing our steps, meeting with groups for a while, then two by two and back to solitude, always.  Choices from the past no longer fit, not the choices we would make now.

Birth. Life. Death. Everything in between grace, chance, choice. Reasons sometimes clear, sometimes not.  A floating away that was meant to be. Hard for us to realize nobody did anything wrong. Ambivalence that’s tipped its scale toward indifference.

They say it’s good to walk a labyrinth in times of major change. The in and out, around and back, shows us, in a very explicit physical manifestation, that whatever situation we find ourselves in – alone, alienated, loved, coupled, single, in groups of friendship –  it’s all a movable feast, loss the temporary illusion.

The journey is so short. No point in hanging on to what has already decided it needs to be elsewhere for better or worse, right or wrong, no point in sticking around waiting to see what regrets might arise from emotion that’s finally been acted upon. No looking back. Actions truly are everything. The story that tells all.

It’s a lesson that I know I’ve taken much too long to learn.