// what do you think?


A Total Reset And Rediscovery

In the movie, Megamind (yes I have kids and yes I’d watch that movie even if I didn’t, it was awesome), the “bad guy,” Megamind, finally gets what he wants. He defeats his nemesis, Metroman. But he finds that he’s not happy being the overlord of Metro City, because it was the process of trying to defeat Metroman, not actually defeating him that he enjoyed.

I’ve kind of felt like that myself lately. For me it’s all about discovery. Learning is more important than knowing.

At any given time I’m usually subscribed to anywhere between 200-500 RSS feeds. And about once every year or two I unsubscribe from all of them and start from scratch. I’m doing it again this time but I’m taking it up a notch. I’m also unfollowing everyone from Twitter. I may even unfriend the majority of people from Facebook and delete a bunch of apps from my phones.

A lot of people do this kind of house cleaning as a way to simplify, to dampen the noise, but that’s not why I’m doing that. I’m actually trying to unsimplify things. Before I explain further I wanted to address one point.

Some people on Twitter will be upset by me unfollowing them. Please don’t take it personally I will most likely follow you back. If that’s not acceptable and you feel the need to unfollow me as well, I totally understand.

Now why am I unfollowing everyone and unsubscribing from all of my feeds if I’m just going to add them back? For me it’s the process of discovery that I enjoy. I also want to diversify my media intake. I’m still keeping all the people in the lists I’ve created so I guess I’m not starting from total scratch, but I’m unfollowing over 9,000 people. Why?

For the last 5 years it’s been my job to know and understand everything I possibly could about social media so that I could explain it to clients and coworkers. But now that social media has gone mainstream I think it’s time for me to explore new groups and trends and apply my same thinking and problem solving to those areas.

Basically, instead of using social media to learn about and explain social media to people, I’ll be using social media to learn about and explain people. I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone. I don’t know if I make sense to myself but for me, this is an important process.

What about you? Do you ever do a reset like this? Does it make any sense?


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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://regulargeek.com/ robdiana

    Generally, I am against the “big reset”. My reasoning is that there are a core number of RSS feeds and social network contacts that you will likely keep at almost all times. For my RSS feeds, I tend to review my stats to see what I am reading and sharing. In some cases, I have removed popular feeds because of the signal/noise ratio in order to keep my RSS reading somewhat sane. Reviewing and pruning seems to be a good process, but it has to be continuous not once per year. Otherwise, entropy rules and you just have a lot of unread feeds with little signal.

  • http://twitter.com/VBalasubramani VBalasubramani

    No. And no.

  • JessFlynn

    Makes sense to me! Thanks for the reset to discovery explanation. I’ve been trying to do the hardfrost quarterly but my input desires go into overdrive. Makes me want to clear the slate to ensure the that meaningful information gets thru

  • Anonymous

    Hello Tac! Although I generally do not like when people reset by taking their follower-following ratio to an exclusive number (I think that can easily be managed with a list, one that is private), I do love the idea of a reset, like spring cleaning! Rethinking “what” interests you. Some people may no longer fit this redesign of your new interest graphs. I do like to preserve access via DM, and this presents the conundrum in this exercise. I think the key is to preserve a diverse ecosystem that builds on weak ties. And you are absolutely right, “as social has moved mainstream, it is time to explore new groups and trends and apply my same thinking and problem solving to those areas.”

    I especially love and agree with “For me, it’s all about discovery. Learning is more important than knowing.” You may like, “Innovators are learners, not experts.” here > http://screenr.com/w4F.

    It is great that you are taking the time to explain your rationale, as most people would not realize that what you are doing here is deeper than it may appear. I look forward to following your experiment!

    Thank you for sharing,

    Angela Dunn

  • http://www.jeremymeyers.com/ Jeremy Meyers

    My new years resolution for the past 4-5 years has been “simplify”. Anything in support of this mantra gets my vote. I’ve been cleaning out my following list for awhile now, and the fewer streams and screens i’m attached to, the more peaceful my life is.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Thanks Angela. It’s not meant to be exclusionary but I know it comes off that way. It’s an unfortunate consequence of the process but it’s an important process, for me at least. Thank you for the recommendations.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Thanks Rob for the comment. I do a lot of curating and pruning probably on a daily basis but for me there’s just something about starting from scratch. Maybe I’m just not good enough at the pruning process.

  • http://pop-pr.blogspot.com Jeremy Pepper

    Been doing that on Facebook - if it’s your birthday, and the name rings no bells, I’m wondering why you’re in my network that I’m trying to make friends and family.

    So a lot of unfriending on birthdays (ironically). And, if I can’t post on your wall, it means that you don’t think of me as a good enough friend, so I unfollow that way.

    It’s interesting for business, though, and will likely have to change it so I have different settings (which is what I recommend to my college kids). But for now, I’m ignoring friend requests from people I don’t know IRL, and unfriending the same.

  • http://larryprevost.com/ Larry Prevost

    In a past company I worked for, I knew a few managers who used a similar method to manage their email. They would go on VK for a week or two and come back to a very stuffed email inbox. So they would “nuke” the whole thing. Then, they would send out a message to the company stating that they lost all of their email and to please resend anything that was important. One manager who practiced this told me “You’d be surprised at the effect a week of idleness will have on the perceived importance of a message”.

    Sounds like you are embarking on something similar. Should make for some interesting results.

    I’d be interested in hearing about your findings on this bold Twitter experiment where “no Tweep has gone before”.

  • http://twitter.com/kristy Kristy Bolsinger

    I love the rationale you used in the reset. Have seen others do it previously and their reasoning was…well…something I couldn’t get behind 100%. Not that that’s necessarily important. More than anything I wanted to really just say that I got to watch MegaMind on a plane recently and LOVED it :) Okay…that’s all :)

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Oh my gosh. That’s brilliant. I’m so doing that when I get back from SXSW :)

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Code: Thanks for your comment.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    Yeah, I’ve been wondering how to extend this to Facebook because I have all settings wide open but theres no good way to filter the wall. There’s no Tweetdeck for Facebook. Unfollowing everyone there doesn’t make sense but I do think some aggressive pruning is in order.

  • http://www.redskypr.com/2011/03/21/make-the-jump-organize-purge-visualize/ Make the Jump: Organize, Purge & Visualize | Red Sky Public Relations

    [...] Hard Frost - Times 20: Which leads to the concept of the hard frost. Two to three times a year I try to purge out feeds, e-friends (sorry!), connections, e-subscriptions that are no longer as relevant to me as they were when I first engaged. Tac Anderson, as he frequently does, takes it a step further and starts over as he explains in A Total Reset and Rediscovery. [...]

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/the-total-reset-experiment-week-1-you-need-to-blog-more/ The Total Reset Experiment: Week 1 - You Need To Blog More! | New Comm Biz

    [...] week ago today I chopped the head off of all of my RSS feeds and all of my Twitter followers in an attempt of sparking insights through rediscovery. It’s only been a week but it’s [...]

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