Closets and utensil drawers are one thing. Your online life, however, is just as worm-holed, dusty, and tangled as that junk drawer full of old movie tickets and rubber bands. For a thorough spring cleaning, you need to take a good, long look at your social-media accounts, too.
Maybe your Twitter feed is full of people you started binge-following one night after too many glasses of a fine '98 Malbec. Maybe your LinkedIn profile still contains dubious endorsements from former work frenemies. Maybe your Facebook page is just plain cluttered with people you never actually talk to.
If that sounds like you, take a few minutes to get rid of the digital clutter. Here are a few tips on how to do exactly that.
Update that resume — not only with your most recent jobs and responsibilities but also with a headshot. "Your LinkedIn profile photo needs to capture your energy, professionalism, and passion," says LinkedIn's career expert Nicole Williams, who points out that a flattering photo isn't just window dressing. "Professionals who have a LinkedIn profile photo are 11 times more likely to have their profile viewed by a recruiter." Of course, you also want to remember to make sure it's appropriate. Williams reminds us: "If you don’t want your boss to see it, don’t use it!"
Don't stop at photos, either. If you've published a paper, link it up or post it. If you appeared on a panel discussion at a conference, add the video. Include any volunteer work you do, too. "Anyone who sits on a charity board, planned a bike-a-thon, or directed a charity event knows how much tactical and hard work goes into creating charity programs," says Williams. "It’s a great way to stand out among other professionals and even find common ground as talking points within your professional network." The key is to round out your profile with more than just a list of the companies that have paid you in the past.
Simplify it and streamline it. The quickest way to do that is to get selective with your news feed and unfollow posts from, say, friends of college roommates you haven't seen in half a decade. To do so, click on the drop-down arrow that appears on the top right of their post and select Unfollow. Or, go even deeper: Organize your people into the site's Close Friends, Family, and Acquaintances lists, which will automatically prioritize the importance of their updates. You can even create custom lists, too.
This might go without saying, but remember to update the look of your profile while you're tidying up. Pick a recent photo for your profile picture — and one that actually features you. Your dog is cute and all, but he can get his own page.
It's important to stay on top of your notifications and privacy settings, since Facebook might update its rules without you necessarily knowing. Click on the globe at the top right of your Facebook profile and navigate to Settings and then Notifications. From there, you'll be able to control those daily emails as well as push notifications on your mobile device. With Privacy settings, you can review who you allow to contact you, set up messaging filters for your inbox, and control who can see what you share by using the audience selector.
Sure, you could just start unfollowing anyone whose tweets aren't up to snuff — and well you should, because Twitter limits you to following a total of 2,000 accounts — but Twitter's new Facebook-like redesign gives you even more opportunities to upgrade your experience.
Now, the page is dominated by visuals instead of just the 140-character thought-lets. That means tweets with more engagement will appear larger automatically, but you'll also have the option to pin your favorite tweets at the top of the page, much like you can with a Facebook status. The design only debuted yesterday and isn't available for all users, so you have a little time to plan things out before you start rearranging.
If you really want to go deep, you can get your hands on some Twitter analytics, like Simply Measured's free reports on your Twitter followers, or use Followerwonk to find new influencers.
Now, your online life will be running like a lean, mean, engagement machine. Even better, you've spring cleaned without touching a toilet brush.