What's a goldfish got to do with Spring cleaning?
Well, a recent study by Microsoft (so it must be true!) revealed that the average human now has an attention span of just 8 seconds, one second shorter than our golden friend above. Are you still reading or have I lost you already?!
Our lives are now so full of noise, information clutter and digital delights that we can barely make two laps around our fish bowl before we become distracted by another piece of shiny, bright information that we just have to check out. For me, my attention span has always been that of a butterfly - I actually think 8 seconds would be a good personal target! - so Spring is the perfect time for me to take some simple actions to keep my online world under control. Here's what I'm planning, how about you?
Cleaning up my Accounts
De-friending, un-following, unsubscribing, un-liking....all that!
Social media platforms are very clever aren't they? The Facebook's of this world use language that makes us feel REALLY bad when we decide to dis-connect from someone - but it's just a word and clever mind games. Please feel free to unfriend, unlike, or un-follow me if I'm not giving you any value - I really don't mind!
Did you know that according to researcher Robin Dunbar, director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University (so a clever guy!), the human brain can only have a meaningful relationship with 150 friends - whether online or in person. I don't know about you, but I'm looking for meaningful friendships.
So there you are - official permission to reduce your "friends" list from Oxford University.
Abstaining, doing without, giving up (for a short while only!)
Realistically I'm not going to give up social media altogether. I know it's fashionable at the moment to rail against Facebook, to make a grand gesture by declaring a dramatic exodus and then slam the door in FB's face. But actually I love Facebook and it has been a good friend to me during some difficult years. So no, that's not for me. However, the idea of a short break is appealing, and since it's Spring break next week in my area of the US, I'll be taking that time to close my laptop, and take myself off on a writing retreat. I may have to sit on my hands at times to resist the urge to check Instagram!
Making space, getting rid of, throwing away
It's time to say goodbye to twitter - sorry twitter. You've been good to me but you are no longer "sparking joy" as Marie Kondo would say, and you are not where my creative community hangs out so I'm setting you free from my - frankly, quite boring - tweets!
If you're an artist like me who uses social media to build relationships with your tribe, then it's really important to know where your people are. There's zero point buzzing around a platform looking for customers if they are having a party somewhere else.
Ultimately, the only reason to clean, cleanse, de-clutter is to make space for all the wonderful things you want to achieve with your life. I really love this quote by Marie Kondo (again!):
"The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past."
Who do you want to be later this year? Spring clean your physical, online and mental spaces so that you make room for that person to grow. Open your windows wide, feel that fresh air run through your life and if you made it this far, congratulations! Your attention span is that of a large fish tank full of goldfish.