The Great Boxing Day Data Cleanse of 2014

I just spent around an hour shrinking my Facebook friends list from 1,500+ to 535. I ignored another 2,000 friend requests. I made my entire Facebook feed from the beginning of time private, which eliminated 33,000+ followers (dear Facebook followers – you really meant to follow me on Twitter, that’s where all the public fun is.) I turned off all my email notifications.

Hint – if you want to do stuff like this, use the iOS app instead of the web app – it’s so, so, so much faster. Last night I tried to do this on the Facebook web app in front of the TV. It was a total fail – every few unfriends caused the page to refresh and I had to start scrolling all over again. This morning I was pleasantly surprised with how much better / cleaner / faster it was with the iOS app.

I cleared out all my outstanding LinkedIn friend requests. I’m much more promiscuous there and will accept anyone who either I recognize, writes me a personal note, or seems interesting. I turned off all my email notifications and re-inserted LinkedIn in my Daily browser folder.

I spent some time fixing up all the friend requests in Goodreads. I don’t care who follows me, but I got rid of the folks I follow who I don’t know and focused that list a lot better to see if the feed would be useful going forward.

I just deleted everything off my iPhone that I never use and put the infrequently used stuff in various folders. That took things from eight screens to two. Charm King – how the fuck did you end up on my iPhone?

It will continue. Feedly – clean up feeds and add ones from companies in our portfolio that I haven’t been following. Consolidate all photos and music in one place and make sure they are accessible from all computers. And whatever else I run into.

There’s something very satisfying about the winter cleaning that I seem to do every year.

  • did somebody say winter cleansing?

    been there, done that.

    • So satisfying. Hope you are out rolling around in the snow.

  • You’re way ahead of me…

  • Brad, I did the exact same thing a week ago. Facebook, LinkedIn, personal contacts, Feedly amd even Twitter. I have seen my interest and engagement on Twitter to be re-kindled.

    • Interesting. I hadn’t thought of unfollowing a bunch of folks on Twitter but I’m adding that to the list to clean up.

  • Bruno Werneck

    A once-a-quarter cleanup of AngelList, Crunchbase, Disqus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and Twitter are a must (not to mention Insightly and Streak contacts on the personal front).

    I recently posted in Quora asking what are some clever ways people think to sync their accounts across platforms. It would be so helpful if when you added a contact to Twitter the same individual were also added to your AngelList and Crunchbase follows as well. IFTTT and Zapier are trying to build this connectivity out haven’t seen it executed well quite yet.

    How do you go about ensuring all your databases are synced up?

    • I use FullContact, but that’s because I focus on a central address book that is fully synced and deduped. I don’t want the same folks in my Twitter and AngelList accounts.

      • Bruno Werneck

        Read your post on FullContact a few days ago and will give that for a whirl.

        You’re right–don’t necessarily want to interact with the same individuals from Twitter on LinkedIn and vice versa. A bit schizophrenic to deal with all the platforms at once but the use case for each resource differs.

        It would not make sense to create one centralized, deployable avatar to plug-and-play into every site since our personalities and interactions on each platform serve specific purposes. Interesting how different it is to build a network and voice in different places.

        With that said, hopefully Mattermark solves the business intel problem in one place in due time.

        • Working on it on both Mattermark and FullContact fronts!

          • panterosa,

            I’m interested to see how the network feature develops. Bart was interested to chat on this and I have been diagramming a lot on it.

            In re Bruno’s comment and yours, managing who is on which platform and what and how they discuss things is a constant battle between manageable lists, the need for discovery and the need to constantly prune bloat.

            My digital janitor and I have been doing boxing day to new years cleansing. As a creative, I am most guilty of saving things and links which inspire me but can’t be used right away. The core stuff needs to not be ankle-bitten by clutter.

  • What is your “Daily browser folder”- Is it a folder with links?
    And what photo storage App are you using these days?

    • Bruno Werneck

      Interested in finding out what you, Brad, and Mark Suster’s ‘daily data download’ regiment is (i.e. what resources you first parse through, how often/which posts and Tweets do you elect to respond to, what to read vs. what to archive, etc.).

      I feel as if all prolific bloggers/commentators suffer from urgency addiction ( How do you guys mitigate time suck and stay task-focused?

      • I shift between “focus time” and “random time.” For example, if I need to write for a while, I just turn all the shit off and write. And – like right now – I just give myself up to random time.

    • Here’s the stuff in my daily browser window – I just open all tabs first thing in the morning and read through them.

      Re: photo – we’ve been storing them in Dropbox and using Picasa to access them but it’s a mess right now.

      • aha. I hit mine by memory but it’s not as efficient. i always dreamt of a little app that’s just a “start page” that you configure. I used to have a simple HTML page which I made into my default homepage. I need to redo it. it was great. maybe i’ll share it. but making it in HTML is not fun. there needs to be a drag and drop app that does that. is there one? Almost like a smartphone Homescreen but for regularly visited webpages.

        re: images…yup, bless that mess. same boat here too. we need something that works better.

        • Bruno Werneck

          How do you guys manage workflow when you sit down to read/write?

          I currently handle 95% of my workflow through Feedly, Twitter (TweetDeck), and Evernote as laid out below.

          Brad—I know William has a couple of his Feedly collections publicly available @ I am working to have my profile set up for viewing—it would be awesome to check out yours!

          1. Subscribe to feeds
          A. Use ‘You Might Also Like’ to explore additional feeds
          2. Use ‘Save for Later’ function to archive posts
          3. Save articles
          A. Directly to Evernote notebook using Feedly Pro
          function OR
          B. Set up ‘recipe’ on IFTTT to link Feedly ‘Saved for
          Later’ folder to Evernote notebook
          4. Tweet
          A. Directly to Twitter feed using Feedly Pro Function

          Twitter (TweetDeck)
          1. Follow individuals
          2. Use ‘Favorite’ function to archive posts
          3. Save articles
          A. Set up ‘recipe’ on IFTTT to link Twitter
          ‘Favorited’ Tweets to Feedly ‘Saved for Later’ folder
          1. Triggers ‘recipe’ in Feedly 3-B to
          link Feedly ‘Saved for Later’ folder to Evernote

          1. Create notebooks
          2. Use ‘tags’ to organize Evernote (

          How are you guys set up?

  • It’s a daunting prospect though! For the amount of dealflow sites/resources we have bookmarked, scrolling down through them takes about 15 minutes! The one we are beginning to get on top of, though, is Twitter – we found justunfollow to be quite useful in this regard.

  • Cecelia Feld

    I hope Dropbox and other cloud storage places for photos outlive you all. If they crash you won’t have to worry about cleaning up/out. Get thee a couple of hard drives, one for storage, the other for backup (for photo storage, anyway). They are large and cheap.

    • The cloud beckons, mom. The seductive, siren song of the cloud … Wheeeeeeee.

  • Thought for a minute we were cleansing then same thing