As I entered the new year, I realized something terrible: my Twitter account is an utter mess.
My home feed is filled with more strangers’ random life comments than relevant content, and my lists include several which I am included on, but are no longer active or timely. Sometimes I am alerted by Facebook that it is my friend’s birthday today and all I can do is blink and ask, “Who is that?”
Over time, our social media accumulates a lot of baggage. Especially if you are constantly iterating to learn about new tactics (and you definitely should be iterating).
But social media is remarkably transient. This is often a challenge for us in our platforming efforts, but when it comes to decluttering, it makes shedding our former lives and experiments delightfully pain-free.
Yes, I know, we’re all fighting on a daily basis to grow our social media reach as much as possible. But raw numbers aren’t everything. Consider: If you were throwing a cocktail party, would you rather have thousands of strangers attend or a smaller group of carefully selected friends, acquaintances and leaders in your field? Social media is a cocktail party.
And if your account has become as unruly as mine has, a digital declutter could be a powerful move, allowing you to better keep track of and engage with the people you care about most, while also making it a lot easier for your followers to understand who you are and what you’re about.
Your Digital Declutter in Three Steps
1) Unfollow unknowns
Not going to lie—this can hurt a little because unfollowing others can cause your own follower count to dwindle, too, as some of them return the favor.
But if you had no idea who the follower was, what are you really losing? It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that social media is about numbers, but really, it’s about the same thing as any other interaction—engaging with other humans. And the more you trim out the accounts you don’t have a connection to, the more you’ll be able to spot and engage the ones that really matter.
You can make a day out of sifting your entire follow list if you like, but I’ve made this a regular part of my social media hygiene routine by skimming the top of my feed every time I log in and unfollowing anyone I don’t recognize.
2) Review your lists, groups and chats
Over time, groups and lists have a way of accumulating without us even noticing. When I assessed my LinkedIn Groups, I was astonished to discover I was still a member of groups for local chambers of commerce from as much as four moves ago.
You don’t need that baggage in your life.
Assess which of these feeds and chats are truly still relevant to your writing focus and priorities. Ditch the rest of them.
3) Reconsider your alerts
Ever tap through to check out your latest alerts, only to find it’s something you don’t care about at all? We’ve all been there. And you don’t need that noise in your life.
So our third step for decluttering your social media is to assess your notification settings. Don’t be afraid to be merciless—pare it down to what you really care about, and let the rest float away.
The average American checks a social media account 80 times a day. You’ll catch up with what matters just fine, probably in the next 12 minutes or so.
A KIS Approach to Social Media Dominance
Social media can be demanding, especially when you’re trying to build an author platform. A good declutter can help you to keep close track of what matters most for your writing goals, while also simplifying your efforts. Keep it simple!
Since I initiated my own declutter, I’ve started to find home feed a lot more fun and have engaged more with others’ posts. Even better, it’s made social media feel easier again.
You can experience this, too! Follow these steps and make them part of your regular social media care, and you’ll find social media becomes more enjoyable than ever.
By day, Emily Wenstrom is an author social media coach and content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, an award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author whose debut novel Mud was named 2016 Book of the Year by the Florida Writers Association.