Does It Bring You Joy?
I read a post on SheWrites that resonated with me a lot. Emily Lackey applied the ideas in The Life-Changing Power of Tidying Up to social media. She asked a simple question: did it bring her joy? Facebook itself didn’t make the cut. Twitter was cleaned up to a manageable size; a feed that made her feel happy when she looked at it instead of like crap about her own life.
I loved the idea until I went to apply it to my life.
The reality is that there are a lot of things I read each day that don’t make me happy. They definitely don’t bring me joy, and on many occasions, they make me downright frustrated. They make me feel like crap about myself. But the thing was, there wasn’t a single blog or person that I encounter that does that 100% of the time.
There was no one to unfollow, no blog to delete from my feed, no site that I needed to stop visiting. Unlike the simplicity of the KonMari method where a shirt is either worn or not worn, blogs and social media feeds were much harder to cull because sometimes they fit me and sometimes they don’t.
I agree with Lackey that mental clutter is detrimental to our well-being just as much as physical clutter, but I still couldn’t see anything or anyone to cut. Not when I knew that every single story that I follow is valuable to me in some way.
Here’s the thing, I went to a reading last week for two authors. They’re married and sometimes work together, but mostly work apart. I’m not going to name them because… well… this story isn’t really about them.
Anyway, one of the authors is wildly popular and the line to get him to sign books looped around the whole room. Admittedly, we were there for him, too. But his wife turned out to be the more interesting speaker with the more interesting book. She had a much much much shorter line, and many times she was left at the table with nothing to do except smile at the people in line to see her husband. We ended up going out in the hall to buy her book and got back in line to have her sign it.
As we stood there, I noticed something. The first writer had exuberant fans who were clearly happy to get a chance to see him. They walked out of the room in droves, clutching their signed books and looking pretty damn happy. But the second writer had thoughtful fans who were clearly moved to get a chance to see her. People lingered in front of her for a long time, sometimes very emotional, telling her their own similar story. It was a smaller group who walked out of the room clutching her book, but they also looked deeply at peace; like they had plugged into something that recharged them and focused them and connected them to something larger than themselves.
If you only look at the numbers, the first writer is the more successful writer. But if you drop the numbers, if you don’t look at success as checking off boxes, the second writer was clearly the one that stuck to people’s hearts. No small feat.
It was what I thought about when I tried to declutter my lists and sites I visit. The person clearly got rid of the people she sees to be first author types — wildly successful so they make her feel sad in comparison — and kept the second author types — people she loves connecting with. And that is certainly one way to do it.
But I thought about it this way: what if that wife stopped writing because she saw her husband was so successful that it didn’t feel worth it in comparison? Then all those people wouldn’t have gotten to have their moment with her at the table; her book wouldn’t have come out.
Instead, she sat there and smiled at his success, and enjoyed her own, smaller version, which turned out to be equally if not more important.
I don’t know the point of all of this except to say that I couldn’t cut one site or person out of my reading list. And that success comes in many different forms if we’re willing to be open minded. And for some reason, the story of the reading popped into my head the moment I tried to cull my lists to only people who make me happy.
Do you think you can apply the KonMari method to social media?