Feeling Log-in Bloat: Going On a Social Network Diet

Feeling Log-in Bloat: Going On a Social Network Diet

Gregory Han
Aug 18, 2011

I'm currently taking inventory of all the log-in passwords and accounts in my password management application (LastPass changed my life), and it really hit home after scrolling through the seemingly endless list of services how many darn online social-style sites and apps I'm signed up to use. Facebook, Twitter, Twitpic, Spotify, LinkedIn, Last.FM, Music Beta by Google, Wordpress, Flickr, foursquare, Pinterest, Tumblr, DailyMile, I Heart It, NeighborGoods, and most recently, Google+. And these are just the ones I still frequent/use, with a few like StumbleUpon, Nike+, and Polyvore fading out into the distance where Friendster and my old LiveJournal account have gone to pasture…

It all started off so fun, but somewhere down the line, maintaining a steady stream of content and sharing across all these sites can end up feeling like a job in itself. Am I neglecting my still infantile, pink-toed Google+ stream? Did I get to responding to all of the various Twitter DMs received, shout outs from friends and readers? It's been awhile since I added photos to my Flickr feed. Hey, here's a handful of Pinterest RePins! And I just remembered all of the membership sales sites I subscribe to...

Not this situation is anyone's fault but my very own, as I'm admittedly what writer Robert Anton Wilson once labeled as a "Neophiliac" (is there a cream for this type of itch?) when it comes to new services promising an Aladdin-ish, whole new world. I could make the argument it's all related to both my personal and professional life, but in the end, all these online social services create as much work as my paying job already presents. Masochism is inviting more email notifications willingly into your inbox.

So this weekend, I'm going on the online equivalent of one of those sketchy "cleanse diets", but in this case I'm aiming to shed some online bulk and close up a few accounts. Knowing my personality, there's something new just around the corner, so closing one door to open another might be the only way to curtail this ever growing list of sites I'm starting to lose track of ("Wait, when did I sign-up for The Biker Shorts & Shotguns Appreciation Network?"). In many ways, opening too many online services is remotely similar to having too many credit card accounts open; you've got too many once you start forgetting you had an opened account in the first place. I'm definitely over my credit limit here.

Addendum: Ha, upon Googling "new social networks", I came to notice the New York Times posted a podcast discussing this very same topic just a few hours ago. Guess we've got the makings of a support group out there!

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