Saturday, January 02, 2016

Conquering the clutter of online information

I have my personal share of clutter to deal with - real, tangible clutter in the forms of papers, pens, notebooks, a scrap of paper with a quote written upon it, a receipt to file. And I suppose I'll deal with that in some form the rest of my life. 
But the clutter I want to conquer now . . . the clutter that has increased almost exponentially . . . is the clutter of online information. 

Information overload. That picture is what I feel now with Facebook. I don't have a gob of "friends" on Facebook -- I've intentionally kept that to a minimum -- yet my newsfeed has recently been swamped with everyone's "likes." And to be brutally honest, I don't care. Really. I don't care that friend XYZ "likes" someone's photo - someone I do not know. I don't care that friend QRS "likes" one of his/her friend's post. It's not that I "don't care" as in wishing them something negative, it's that I don't care to see that information. I do not want to be in his/her mind.  And here I must pause and issue a true apology to any of my Facebook friends who have been swamped with all my "likes." If I had known then what I know now, I would never have clicked "like" so many times.
 Now to my recollection, Facebook used to allow in their privacy settings a way not to share your "likes" with all your friends. But that has changed big time. Wading through all of those "likes" is like slogging through a swamp - it's slow going. And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of it taking up my time that could be spent in something more profitable.
To conquer that, or to make some feeble attempt at conquering that clutter, I've done two things. I've "unfollowed" a number of "friends." (I put these scare quotes around friends because, really, friends should be few and well-chosen. Many Facebook friends are simply acquaintances.) If you are one of my Facebook friends and you've notice that I've "unfollowed" you and you are offended, I'm sorry, but don't take it personally. Unfollowing wouldn't have happened if Facebook had the simple option of letting me decide. I'm really only interested in your personal posts, not your personal persuasions, and will visit your page from time to time.  I've retracted my "likes" from pages that seem to vie for my attention with multiple postings. Many, if not most, of these are business pages. I'm not sure if many "likes" helps a business page or not; it's sure not as if I've donated money or resources to them. But if it is a means of conquering this online clutter, so be it. 
One thing I have enjoyed and benefitted from through Facebook is the opportunity to communicate with like-minded booklovers and readers. For this, I've kept my membership in those groups and the friend contact as-is. They are the friends without scare quotes. 
Here’s hoping that these online information overload decluttering attempts are successful!

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