Signal / Noise / Internet / Grrrr

It's so easy to connect with people. There's no cost, no overheads to being "friends" with 500 people. You connected circle is a great big opportunity to chat, swap opinions, discuss, comment, promote, sell, bug, pester annoy... ah I'm tailing off into my real feelings about these things. In the past month I have reduced the number of people I follow on Twitter from 288 to 162. Reduced my 'connections' on LinkedIn from 181 to 107 and reduced my Facebook account from 160 'friends' to 0 (deleted).

Coincidentally in the last month, I have:

  • Set up my Google Reader account properly and installed Reeder on my Mac, iPhone and iPad
  • Committed to (and followed through) on 30-60minutes of training from per day
  • Dug out all the ebooks I've bought on web dev & design and started reading them (Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte first)
  • Directly connected with co workers at The Skiff & picked up work with Michael Bailey of This Is Deliberate
  • Spoken to half a dozen potential clients about exciting projects
  • Moved forward with two major commerce projects that are going live in the next few weeks.

I suppose I'm saying something quite obvious but from the other side I never realised quite how much mind clutter all of my pointless connections were causing.

LinkedIn - all recruitment consultants have been stripped out, I'm not looking for work, at least not the work they were offering. If I had a pound for every back end, permanent PHP job in Northern Ireland I was offered I'd be a richer man (nothing against PHP devs in Northern Ireland OFC, just not what I'm after)

Twitter - the signal / noise ratio on Twitter is insane at the best of time but cluttering up your timeline with rubbish from Stephen bloody Fry or Lady GaGa does nothing to help you with your day. There's nobody left on my stream who isn't directly related to web dev - I look at it a few times a day, follow some links, post  few questions. Never look at it when I'm not working.

Facebook..... well I'm not ashamed to say I think I was a little addicted to that tiny red mark with a number in it. In reality I think Facebook just let me know too much about the lives of people I'd barely consider distant connections. Nobody has 500 friends. Nobody has 160 friends (my last count). You have a handful, the rest are just faces you know and frankly I have other things to think about than what they had for dinner, what they'd do to sort out the recent riots in London, what they think of my updates and a dozen other useless scraps of information.

Clutter - there's too much of it. Declutter your life and prioritise the things that are genuinely important to you.

  1. My Family (Daughter, Wife, direct family)
  2. My hobbies (Reading, painting, modelling, social board gaming)
  3. My work (Getting good work done, keeping clients happy, getting more work)
  4. My Career (Learning new techniques, optimising best practice)

There isn't enough space in life to give these things the time they need as it is - so all those other little distractions are best left behind.