Monday, April 21, 2014

The Great Clean-Up

Last night, after Zozo was washed and in bed and the house was picked up (meaning: the plastic eggs were all gathered, snapped back together and placed in a basket to return to storage downstairs) and we were relaxing, I tackled the beast that is known as Facebook.

About every six months, I get fed up with all the email inbox deleting I have to do on a daily basis, and unsubscribe to just about everything. Some are messages that sounded like a good idea at the time and then just got annoying. Some are messages from stores where I gave them my email address in exchange for a discount. I do not mind doing this, but please don't take that as an invitation to email me four times a day. (Michaels Arts & Crafts, I'm talking to you. There's only so many craft projects a working mother can tackle.) I'd be okay with once every week or two, but damn. Who on earth thinks it's a good idea to communicate like that? I don't call my mother four times a day. Some emails are from businesses who already have my address because of on-line purchases, and who then decided, "Hey! Let's leverage these five billion addresses by sending them discount emails like Groupon or Daily Steals, because there's not enough of those floating around!" Ahem, cough, Amazon.)

Because I find myself deleting at least 20 emails each day that I don't even click open, I realized it was time for another purge. Only this time, I went crazy and extended it to Facebook.

There's a nifty little option where you can tell Facebook, "Hey, like, some of these people aren't totally close friends or family but I don't want to piss them off by unfriending them. I just don't want to see the garbage they post." It's called "unfollowing their posts in my News Feed" or something like that. It's perfect for people like friends of friends, who I've never met but who must be lovely because they are friends of cool friends. Not that we've ever spoken. Several are fitness fanatics whose posts largely make me feel like an underachiever at best and unworthy of taking up space on the planet at worst. No, my eggs aren't organic and yes, I let my kid stuff herself silly with m&ms yesterday. Shoot me. Still, there's a chance that some day, some day, we will want to get in touch with these people. Now, though, I can unfollow my good friend Smitty (whom I've never met) and get rid of the guilt! Beautiful!

So I did that last night. It took forever. Facebook apparently wants me to see all the mundane, inane, worthless shit that everyone in my friend network posts because it made me unfollow each friend individually. It took about four clicks per person. I started off small. "Well, sometimes she posts something interesting, in between all her kid's illnesses and her migraines and her trips to the grocery store..." And then, I got ruthless. If I follow you on Instagram (and what you post there is largely what you post on Facebook, only better because there's a pretty picture attached), unfollow. If all you ever post about is how crappy your newest ex-boyfriend is, unfollow. If you're back with your deadbeat ex-husband, again, after he's shit all over you multiple times but now he's homeless so he needs a place to crash and you fell for it again, unfollow. If I vaguely remember meeting you at a photography workshop and don't remember, really, who the hell you are or what value you bring to my life, unfollow. No, wait. Unfriend. I did a few of those last night. I prefer to unfollow because it feels much more civilized. "I still like you. I just don't want to hear from you."

This morning, I woke up to a streamlined Facebook news feed. Every post was relevant (well, except for those stupid sponsored posts trying to sell me something, but hey, thanks for being free, Facebook, so I'll deal with your pesky ads). Every post meant something to me. And it took me a fraction of the time to get caught up on what the people I care about the most are doing.

Then I headed over to my email inbox, and have been on an unsubscribing spree. "Tell us why you're leaving!" they ask. "Because you email the shit out of me, rendering your messages diluted and banal."

I've got a kick-ass cyber spring cleaning going on here, and it's awesome.


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