When Kristin talked about getting off the internets, as it is “Another linchpin to bad times,” she wasn’t too off course on how I feel about it myself. I love what the Internets can give me, but on the same token, when I’m feeling an attack of The Sads, or a variation of it, I can spend hours scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and randomly reading Wikipedia articles with no real return on my investment of time. Back in 2009, I went off Twitter for a month and found that my attitudes towards it didn’t change nor did my habits, things just shifted else where.
I know several people who were able to get rid of various big social media sites, either by deleting Facebook, Twitter, or something else, and felt like they were able to control getting their life back. While I’d love to ultimately do that, I’d like to be realistic on my own uses and be more prudent on how I not only utilize social media, but how I am best using my time online. And it’s not just about social media, blogs and mailing lists are almost just as bad clutter in my digital life as paper can be in my physical one.
- Unsubscribe from unnecessary mailing lists My obsessive need to clean out my myriad of inboxes was not for naught, because it helped me start unsubscribing to lists that I no longer was interested in anymore, found useful, or was never subscribed to in the first place. My mailing list label in Gmail has over 2000 emails sitting in it, but now currently has 5. Since I’m hell bent on buying nothing in 2013, I also removed myself from any store mailing lists or shopping collection sites websites (like Fab.com) as there was no point in torturing myself. I’m sure I’ll be apt to check websites (like Boden and Fluevog) and pin to Pinterest for 2014 shopping inspiration.
- Delete unused social media accounts Back in the covered wagon days of social media (2008 or so), one of the big “must dos” is once you figure out your “brand,” you then register your said brand on every damn service available regardless of what it is to prevent name hijacking. Which is all fine and dandy until the emails start rolling in from all these services every time one of their employees fart, accounts have been hacked or nearly hacked, brands reimaged/bought out/discontinued, and so on. Fuck it. This is not worth the hassle anymore. Sometime in 2010, I started keeping track of social media accounts I’ve deleted (or have died a inglorious death of some sort), and as of this writing, I’ve dumped
3435 accounts (and it’s growing). I also keep track of the date as well as how (a lot of sites require you email in to request account removal) the account was removed. Also in 2010, I started saving the confirmation emails from sites as I create an account in case I need to find out what username/email combination I gave when an account needs to be deleted. Sites I’m active on are typically always linked from my front page, and I’ve also started a flavors.me account to create, as they put it, a unified web presence. I used to love the idea of lifestreaming, but services either force you to use it on their site (ala FriendFeed) or plugins available are either shoddy, missing popular services, or too much of a hassel to hack and configure. 2013 is going to be all about streamlining and consolidating.
- Stop following people/services/accounts/blogs that no longer hold my interest/are not engaging In 2012, companies were less likely to create websites to showcase a product/service as they were more likely to create a Facebook page or a unique hashtag for Twitter. Community engagement with their community is huge in making social media work while promoting their spiel, I get that. The problem I keep finding is when people/companies make it a “thing” to either spam your timeline with constant “One of our employees just made a poopie! Like if you agree!” posts or individuals who read supposed marketing best practices and repeatedly plug their own blog / services with no engagement with others or just keep posting links to articles and or things they are interested in (and still not engaging with their followers / friends) or the blog takes a drastic turn somewhere that no longer holds my interest. I’m sure you’re very nice, and if we met over hot cocoa, I’m sure we’d hit off, but I’m under no obligation to follow you or your services anywhere online if you drive me insane. (I’ve also started a mass culling from my Twitter and RSS feeds and will soon be doing the same on Facebook.)
- Get the archives back up This is a project I’ve been talking about forever (like years) and with the domain hopping, the archives have taken a beating so much so, I keep linking to Wayback Machine to access the content rather than just get it up here. It’s a massive undertaking as it’s not only entries from 1996 forward but it’s also the metadata and fixing of dead links that need to be addressed. But it needs to be done.
- Stop buying domains When I bought my first domain in 1998, it cost about $70. Now, through my webhost provider, I pay $10 a domain. I’ve started to let go domains that are no longer used ove the years, but overall, the current stable is enough.
- Stop obsessively checking social media accounts This is where the real problem comes in, because when I get bored instead of doing something vaguely useful, I start obsessively checking Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Pinterest. And this probably the crutch of Kristin’s earlier comment because it’s not, “Oh, let me see what is going on” and then leave it alone; it’s, “Oh. Let me see what’s going on for the next five hours even though no one has posted/responded/commented on anything I’ve done but I’m still going to keep checking.” To me, social media is supposed to be about what’s on my time, not chained to the device/service and it’s tipped over that by a long shot.