Virtual spring cleaning

There’s no place messier than your newsfeed.

Posted 4/24/19

It’s spring—time to throw open those closet doors, Marie Kondo your way through the attic, dust the highs and lows and clear out the nooks and crannies. Maybe it’s also time to …

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Virtual spring cleaning

There’s no place messier than your newsfeed.

Posted

It’s spring—time to throw open those closet doors, Marie Kondo your way through the attic, dust the highs and lows and clear out the nooks and crannies. Maybe it’s also time to unfollow your ex on social media. Why do you need to know what the nephew of your sort-of friend from the fifth grade is wearing on Easter? You don’t. If it doesn’t bring you joy—and, let’s be honest, all those e-newsletters you never open certainly don’t—get rid of it.

We think of spring as a time to de-clutter. Since such a large portion of our time is now spent online, there’s no doubt that the virtual company we keep can become cluttered as well. Here are some tips for cleaning up your virtual life as swiftly as you totally plan on, definitely will, clean out your garage. • Go through your email subscriptions. You have promotional emails from stores you online shopped at years ago that still make their way to your inbox weekly. The word “unsubscribe” is usually at the bottom in the lightest gray it can be before it becomes white. Find it. A new window will open and prompt you about whether you’re sure—like, really, really sure—you want to unsubscribe. You do. Persevere. Find the next email list you didn’t know you were on by searching terms like “shop” or “sale.” If you’re receiving a newsletter you signed up for from a media outlet (not The River Reporter’s, obviously) that you haven’t opened in months, say goodbye to that too.

• You have a friend, or two, or three, on Facebook, whom you haven’t seen in years, and who consistently posts political diatribes you don’t have the time to read. It’s time to unfriend. Facebook is like a room in your house. Stop letting a bunch of strangers hang out and yell at each other in there.

• Apps. Your child probably downloaded “Fruit Ninja” years ago, and it’s followed you to several cell phones. You thought you would use the fitness app more than you do. Re-claim some storage on your phone and uninstall.

• You’ve downloaded a lot of files to your computer over the last year—pictures, PDFs, work documents, memes—go through and clean them out now. If those documents are absolutely vital to you, consider making a folder and tucking them away on your computer, rather than letting them clog up your downloads folder.

• Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok—whatever social media you’re using, you’re probably following some “influencers,” whether you meant to or not. Maybe you want to follow the good-looking woman who keeps trying to get you to buy tea that will make you skinny, or maybe you followed her back when you went to high school together. Are the “influencers” in your life, virtual or otherwise, really doing you good? Or do you feel berated every time you scroll through your feed? It seems silly, but social media does have an effect on the way we feel about ourselves and how we perceive the world and each other. If everyone you follow is trying to sell you something that will “make your life better,” they’re probably not worth following.

There. Doesn’t that feel good? Now go outside.

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