You know by now that the connections you make on your various social media profiles become your network, and as you go further in your studies and career, you interact with more people and organisations, and your network grows. However, while it’s important to expand your network with new and relevant connections, whether these are from people you’ve worked with or from keyword and hashtag searches, it is also important to keep editing and refining your network to make sure you have useful connections and avoid being overloaded with information which may have ceased to be relevant to you.
Why is it important? Because you only have a finite amount of time to look at your social media accounts, even if you use an app or browser extension to streamline them, and the more non-relevant posts you have, the more likely you are to miss something useful or important. How to keep your network streamlined varies from site to site. For example, LinkedIn lets you add connections as you work with them, so as long as you continue to work in that field, or a related one, you would probably keep most connections who are still within the field, even if this is a large number.
It’s sites like Twitter and blog hosts like WordPress which are most likely to become bogged down with useless or irrelevant content, and so are most likely to need pruning down. Figuring out who to unfollow, or unsubscribe from can be tricky, but there are apps available to help. JustUnFollow, from the makers of GrabInbox, allows you to generate a report showing which of your followers are no longer active, or may be controlled by spam bots now; these should be the first to go, but it also shows who has unfollowed you. It could be an option to remove these people, but opinions vary on the practice – in general if the unfollower is still posting relevant content, it’s probably better to keep them, but finding out your unfollowers is certainly an avenue to reduce followers by. After that a manual examination of your following list is probably required and anyone you followed out of politeness, or is no longer posting what you find interesting or useful, can go.
Manageflitter is an application similar to JustUnfollow, but is considered to work better on Android phones. If, after reducing the number of people you follow you still find that you have a somewhat over-active feed, try using Bloglovin to streamline all your followed blogs into one place, or the lists function on Twitter, to allow you to read by subject or connection.
The real secret to managing your networks is simple – just make sure you keep on top of them. If you reach the point where you start to avoid Twitter because it seems full of rubbish, you need to spare a few minutes one evening to make your networks a more coherent, relevant, and engaging, and the sooner you deal with it, the easier it is to resolve.