Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook feed and seen unfamiliar faces, vaguely familiar grade school “friends,” your mom’s weird lonely friend, and other virtual strangers? Is your LinkedIn profile full of job seekers, recruiters and…your mom’s weird lonely retired friend (they’re everywhere…)?
I took a good look at my social networks recently and found that my valuable business contacts and treasured friends were overpowered by feeds full of strangers, spammers, and frenemies. So, I decided to do some spring cleaning. I decided to take back control of my networks.
So I sat in front of my computer and I went to work. At first I thought I would feel guilty deleting people but it was actually freeing. During my spring cleaning, I deleted 1,321 contacts. Here are my before and after numbers:
Twitter – Before 993 Tweeps– after 348 Tweeps
Facebook – Before 663 after 414 friends
LinkedIn – Before – 933 connections – After 506 connections
Total – I deleted 427+249+645 = 1,321 contacts
1,321 contacts deleted – never to be heard from again. This felt great! You know the feeling when your house is completely clean from top to bottom? You know exactly where everything is, it smells good, it’s more efficient, and you want to spend time there. This is how I feel now about my social networks….except for the part about smelling good.
Here are the 4 Steps to Spring Clean your social networks:
Step 1: Set a goal or purpose of each network
This is the reason you use a social network. It should be short and to the point – this is the reason why you are using the network.
For example: my goal for Facebook is to stay in touch with the people who are most important in my life. OR my goal for Facebook is to make everyone jealous because my life is so fabulous (I don’t recommend this as a goal, but this is a common use of Facebook – I deleted these people).
Step 2: Set up rules for keeping or throwing away contacts
Once you create a rule, you can measure your contacts against the rules to see who stays and who goes.
Here are my rules:
Facebook – “Would I be excited if this person was coming over for dinner?” If the answer is no, they get the axe!
LinkedIn – Only people I have met, worked with, or had a genuine interaction with. Goodbye recruiters and job seekers.
Twitter – Only Tweeps who are funny or add valuable information. Goodbye spammers. You can get me 10,000 followers for $1? No thanks!
Step 3: Delete
In my house, we live by a very important rule – “When in doubt, throw it out.” This applies in your social networks too. If you’re on the fence, the connection is not that important to you – hit delete.
This is the fun part. Go through your networks and delete everyone that does not fit your rules.
Step 4: Share, chat, be genuine, and connect
Now that the spammers and superficial relationships are gone, you can use your social networks for their true purpose – connecting with old friends, new friends, and watching cat videos.
That’s it – four easy steps to get rid of the time wasters in your life. This took me about one hour and I highly recommend you spring clean your social networks. Try it out – it feels great – and unlike traditional spring cleaning, you can do this on the couch! Happy cleaning!