Waking up to a 100 unread whatsapp messages, annoyed at the disturbing and ever common ‘notification’ sounds throughout the day, a Facebook timeline full of ‘show off’ updates from people I don’t want to care about, the Gmail promotions tab full of marriage proposals from random women created by the marketing departments of matrimonial websites I never signed up for, and the updates tab constantly updating with information which I don’t need to be updated with so often.
We are what we consume, so I decided to take some action and clean it up over the weekend. Also captured the process so that others may also benefit from it. It’s no rocket science or something we didn’t know about, it’s more about just taking action. Here’s how:
Built on the original insight that gossip mongering is fun and one cannot get enough of it, it has gone way too far. Full of energy sapping ‘show off’ posts, and attention seeking comments like ‘I have been here too, you must do this..’, and posts from those whom I may care about but won’t want to know about, every other day. Can’t rely on Facebook insights team and engineers for this.
This is the most annoying ‘push’ medium. No screenshots here, but only 2 things to keep in mind:
a. It’s OK to leave certain groups. Although the people will get to know this and one may be judged, but it’s completely worth it.
b. If the above is not possible, turn off the ‘alerts’ in ‘group notifications’. This way only the personal messages will make the sound and worthily capture the attention.
The content at Quora is fantastic. The medium as such was conceptualized to be a ‘consume in your free time for an intellectual zoning out’. But then they hired a product marketing manager, and the notifications started. The notifications play no role since the timeline will anyway be updated with whatever the notifications are trying to apprise one about. It’s quite easy to clean this up and make it future proof, see the settings below.
Unlike the complicated algorithms of other social media platforms, Twitter follows a linear/chronological approach and is thereby not selective. But, if someone you follow ‘tweets too much’, he/she will overshadow the feed and one may miss relevant feeds from others. So, the big talkers need to be identified and removed unless the value added is tremendous.
While this is not social media, the email is becoming noisier by the day. While there are many ways to tackle this necessary evil, one program stood out to get this sorted in a matter of minutes.
Apart from this, I also choose the items to ‘roll up’ i.e not unsubscribe but deliver the content as a digest at chosen intervals.
The mind will require some training and may show withdrawal symptoms after not being bombarded with notifications and useless content it has become accustomed to. Being an idiot is addictive. But gradually, I could get the focus back and feel the depth in things around me, hear the birds chirp, decode the flavors in my food and understand human emotions better. And more importantly, I have the time to take some initiatives and move away from the ‘forever passive’ state.