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I choose pruning over drowning

February 21, 2012

As I journey through rich, dynamic moocs like #change11, #cck12 and #ds106, I have been paying closer attention to how I manage the never-ending stream of information and ideas that are out there.  For me, the biggest challenge of the participatory web is to find a way to paddle around happily in the flow rather than drown.  The more I have played with platforms like Twitter, FaceBook, Diigo, HootSuite and LinkedIn over the past year, the more I get the sense that I’m using them differently than most.  Here are a few examples:

I have about 30 friends and family on FB and, of those 30, only about five are active contributors (more than one post a week).  Even if I haven’t signed in for a couple of days, I will only have a handful of new updates waiting for me.  It only takes me about five minutes to read through and add my own likes or comments, if I wish. Yet, some of my contacts have hundreds of ‘friends’ so they are far less likely to either notice my daily posts or make the time to reply.  This was glaringly obvious when a family member passed away a few months ago and not one of my contacts replied to my update about it.  I was terribly insulted at first and then I realized that my post was probably buried under their cluttered stream.

My email inbox is similar: it has about a dozen messages in it right now so any new message will stand out sharply on the white screen.  Since I don’t lose track of items in my email, I don’t waste time looking for them, either. I wrote a lot more about that a couple of weeks ago in How I make time for social learning.

I was feeling like I was alone with this introspection until I read this humourous post from my fellow moocer about Pruning your social network connections.  Thanks, Mark, that was the little nudge that I needed to go ahead and drop one of my FB contacts.  I like this individual and have learned a lot from his diverse interests but I don’t see any value in his Foursquare checkins and weather updates and other tedious tidbits that clog up my virtual arteries.  I’m not feeling the reciprocity or ‘comment love’ from this person so it’s time to let it go.

Is anyone else out there pruning their social connections and leaving more white space around the people and posts that matter?

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From → Smarter worker

2 Comments
  1. Dino permalink

    Brainysmurf – I agree with your assessment of Foursquare. If the object is to let friends know where you are so they can join you, how about ask them to join you. Also, I’ve heard stories about the negative side of location-based networking, getting robbed cause you’re essentially advertising when you’re NOT at home. Turns out there’s a website to “help” this http://pleaserobme.com/.

    I commented on my pruning technique on Matt Thommes’ blog, so instead of repeating myself, here’s the link. http://matthom.com/archive/2010/06/22/pruning-your-social-network-connections.

    • Thanks for this, Dino. I still find it amazing how much personal information people are willing to dole out online as if everyone who reads it is well-intentioned! I enjoyed your pruning criteria on Matt’s blog. Nice to see how others approach this issue. Cheers! 🙂

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