Trimming the Fat from your Social Media Diet

Keep relevant people close while removing the irrelevant ones. Start trimming.

Posted by Curtis Miller on September 15, 2009

As I stated in my previous post about fostering better offline relationships, new online tools allow us to find and connect with people that share our interests in many different ways. Sadly, many of these tools place an implicit or explicit emphasis on the number of people you're connected with or that are connected with you. These numbers do not matter. What matters are the relationships you make with the people you choose to connect with. I try to follow the same process of elimination for everyone I connect with online.

I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to subscribing to their RSS feed, following on Twitter, etc. It's usually about a 2 week trial period, after which I reevaluate my choice. I also occasionally reevaluate long standing connections to see if it still makes sense for me to be connected to that person through whatever tool I'm using.

My main reason for cutting people is mostly due to a lack of relevance to me at that time. Just because one of your posts caught my attention doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to be interested in the rest. If someone has ceased being relevant to me, why would I continue to skip over their posts in search of relevant content? (That's a key indicator for me: I begin skipping over people's blog posts, tweets, etc. That's when I know it's time to move on...)

Negative people seem to have an effect on my mood, so I choose to remove the negativity. You may have heard the phrase "negativity is contagious." Well, I've found this to be true in online interactions as well. Occasional outbursts I can live with, it's the constant negativity that gets to me...

I also try to cut people who are rude, racist, bigoted or arrogant. I'd really rather focus my attention elsewhere; it's not worth devoting any energy to these people. Besides, it seems like many of these people are so vocal because they're eager for responses; it's fuel for the fire they're stoking.

Remember, you don't need to follow everyone; it's your choice. Be picky. This will allow you more time to establish better relationships with the people you choose to maintain a connection with.

Try taking some time to evaluate the people you follow, read, etc. and make a few cuts. Start with me if you'd like ;) You might be surprised at how easy it actually is.

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