To Do: A Social Media Spring Clean


Once upon a time I was at a writing-related event when Someone Very Important (To Me) who works for A Very Important Company (To Me) introduced herself and then said, ‘We were just reading one of your blog posts in the office the other day!’

I should’ve been elated. I should’ve been delighted that anyone, anywhere who I didn’t have direct contact with should take the time to turn their eyeballs towards this URL, let alone someone who I knew for a fact worked at a desk surrounded by piles of unsolicited manuscript submissions (who were all eyeing the piles of purchased manuscripts she was already working on with jealousy and suspicion). This woman didn’t have the time to read a Post-It note, yet she had devoted time to my little blog.

But instead, my stomach dropped. My palms began to sweat, and I drifted out of the conversation as my mind raced with anxious thoughts. What post? Was it one I read over before I published it? Did it have typos? What does my ‘About’ page currently say? Have I updated the ‘News’ page lately? Are the links working? WHAT DID THEY SEE?!?!?!?


I’ve decided the theme of the images in this post will be ‘pictures I took of my computer showing my blog in various places.’ This one was the hot desk I rented for a while…

On a related note, it’s pretty annoying to get an e-mail from someone that reads ‘I was just on your website and the link to [insert something] doesn’t go anywhere. You might want to update that.’ Or ‘On your Amazon bio, it says that [insert something] will be out in October 2013. But on your blog, it says November. You might want to update that. Or, ‘In the back of [one of your books] it says that you have [insert something] but I’ve looked everywhere and you don’t. YOU MIGHT WANT TO UPDATE THAT.’

It annoys me on two levels. First: that someone has taken the time to alert me to what is obviously a tiny oversight, and that they think I have the time to be worrying about such things. Second: that I’ve overlooked it, and that I haven’t taken the time to make sure my entire online existence is as up to date as the trendiest of irony-loving Brooklyn hipsters.

It’s so easy to let online things slide. Mostly because you’re hardly looking at them. How often, for example, do you look at your own Amazon Author Profile? I almost NEVER do. (Listings? Yes. For new reviews, obviously, lest my soul needs some sand-papering. But not my Author Profile.) And the times I check or update my ‘About’ page are negligible, even though I’m on my blog and publishing new posts quite regularly.

But shouldn’t I always be ready for anyone to visit any part of my online existence? 

Obviously, yes. I should.

Except that, of course, I am not doing that. My online existence is a cobwebbed, outdated, messy… um, mess. My bios are different on every site. Some of them talk about plans that never happened, while others leave out the most important stuff that’s happened since. There’s no cohesiveness.

So this week I’m going to a major spring clean, and I invite you to join me and spring clean your social media existence too.

I’ve done a couple of items on the Spring Social Media Clean already:

#1: Scrubbed My Website

Take a look around: things are all new and shiny! Taking into account that I want my website to be simple (read: easily updatable) and that most people these days are looking at websites on a mobile device (read: no sidebars) I have:


This one was in Nice, France. Ooh-la-la!

#2: The Great Unsubscribe

I’ve had my current e-mail address since early 2010, I online shop more than I real-world shop and I’m always suckered in to subscribing to newsletters and mailing lists and blog posts and all sorts. I get a lot of e-mails anyway, but add these subscriptions in and you get an inbox that’s groaning at the seams.

So every day for a week I spent ten or fifteen minutes unsubscribing to anything that came in that I wasn’t interested in anymore. It was boring and time-consuming, but my inbox instantly improved. After a week I had sent 50—50!—subscriptions packing, many of which I couldn’t even remember signing up for.

#3: The To Do List

This week I plan to finish the job. I will:

Check/update my bios on:

  • Twitter
  • My public Facebook pages
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Amazon Author Pages
  • Goodreads.

Check/update my books, as in:

  • The product descriptions for all my books that are for sale on Amazon
  • The front and end matter in all my e-book and POD interior files, re-upload if necessary
  • Make sure they’re for sale wherever they can be, fix issues and upload if necessary.


And this is what my little desk nook looked like when I first moved in. It looks WAY messier now.


  • Go through my Posts: Drafts list—I make a new post to jot down ideas I have, but there’s 114 of them I’ve never come back to. Time for a clear out, me thinks…
  • Go through Feedly (my Google Reader replacement[earlier I mistakenly typed ‘Feedler’. To do: check more thoroughly for typos!) and unsubscribe to any blogs I’m not interested in any more and add any new and exciting ones I’ve come across
  • Go through the Reading List on my browser (a kind of bookmarks thing) and either read, file or delete each link
  • As I haven’t answered any e-mails in, like, a month or so, power through my inbox until everything is read
  • Google myself to see if there’s any online stuff I’ve forgotten about.

So, who’s with me?

And if you’re already up to date, what’s your system for staying that way? Let me know in the comments below…

40 thoughts on “To Do: A Social Media Spring Clean

  1. Cat Lumb says:

    This sounds like a fantastic and worthwhile project! I would so very like to participate, but…(here come the excuses) I’ve got a manic busy week this week and I’m already behind on numerous writing projects as it is…
    I might schedule it in for mid-April in the hopes that, by then, you’ll have completed your own spring clean and will have lots of tips to streamline the process 😉

    • gracielynne62013 says:

      I love this post. It is delightfully humorous and surprising in inspiration. I have done a bit of unsubscribing myself but i need to do it on a more regular basis. I am horrified to even consider looking at my “About page” lol

  2. Melanie Jo Moore says:

    Oh! The great unsubscribe mission! I did that last year along with deleting every unimportant email. I don’t know why I can’t delete emails as they come to my box. I let them pile up until I have to set aside a whole afternoon to deal with it.

    Love this post and I hope to embrace it!

  3. shegyes says:

    I have been trying to work on the same thing. I’ve been slowly updating all my information online (I am nowhere near done) and trying to keep up with my blog post schedule. Great job on what you’ve accomplished so far! It’s more than I have. Good luck with the rest! 🙂

    By the way, did you find out more about what that Someone Very Important (To You) at that Very Important Company (To You) thought about what they were reading?

  4. shegyes says:

    Reblogged this on Skye Hegyes and commented:
    This is a young woman who’s work I am currently reading and whose self-printing steps I am finding invaluable (too bad I didn’t find her BEFORE I started trying to self-publish).

    Here, she’s got the right idea about cleaning up social media information. I love seeing her own progress in this endeavor, and it’s basically what I have been trying to do myself.

    For anyone also cleaning up their social media, what are you doing? How is it progressing for you? Leave a comment (or two) about your own experiences with cleaning up your social media. What has worked? What hasn’t? Was there anything so outdated you were like, “What was I thinking?!”?

  5. Michelle says:

    Cleaning up social media can be more tedious than decluttering a house (or the dreaded junk drawer). I’m guilty of letting stuff pile up in my email boxes and have every intent of purging every week, but something always “comes up.” I wish you well on the unsubscribe mission!

  6. Carol Balawyder says:

    I’ve never heard of feedler. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
    That’s quite a to do list you have:) I know what you mean about things piling up on your computer and how much time it takes just to go through the e-mails and blog posts.
    That photo in Nice? Ooh-la-la for sure.

  7. sh0nawrites says:

    You must have been reading my mind! I normally do this twice a year – Christmas and in the summer time. In the midst of some spring cleaning and glad to know I am not alone in my quest. One place I don’t seem to get round to is my emails – my inbox currently has 900 unread emails! Good luck to all who are taking on the task!

  8. coldhandboyack says:

    I also put stuff off. I have an update to my only Amazon book to fix a couple typos. I’m waiting until the next book to do it. Then I can include a hot link to the other novel.

    My email trick is to keep two addresses. All purchases and commercial stuff gets one email address. Friends and family, and a few select writing contacts get the other one. I haven’t looked at my “spam” mailbox in six months. Send me the catalogs and specials of the week, go ahead.

  9. marilynslagel says:

    It must be spring. I’ve been doing the same thing. None of my bios say the same thing. Will rectify that soon. I’ve Unsubscribed on lots of newsletters, etc. already.

  10. elizabethraine says:

    Unsubscribing from things is so freeing. I’ve been trying to do these things too( the ones that apply. I’m not published in any way yet), and updating my linkedin account was also really refreshing. Good luck!

  11. ladycheetah7 says:

    You are right. It is time for spring cleaning. I have two blogs and two separate Twitter accounts and have been meaning to update, especially since my numbers if followers are increasing.

  12. writer2050 says:

    Good advice Catherine. All on the to do list except for my Inbox which is pretty much updated except for the main one which has 69 saved. I have 6 email addresses and I check them regularly.

  13. James F. Brown says:

    “And this is what my little desk nook looked like when I first moved in. It looks WAY messier now.”

    Good for you, Catherine. A clean desk is the sign of an empty mind! 😉

  14. Sherrey Meyer says:

    Do you read minds or keep a crystal ball handy? I’ve was just thinking about all these things I need to to clean up things around this laptop and blog of mine. Thanks for sharing your process, which is very similar to my own.

  15. andrewknighton says:

    While I don’t have half as much web presence to deal with, this has acted as the kick up the proverbial I needed to go tidy it up today. It’s easy not to see this as a priority, and just letting it pile up into a huge task.

  16. Barbara Forte Abate says:

    *Dons rubber gloves, hairnet, apron–holsters feather duster,* YES, I’m definitely in! This is so long overdue for me, but the only real progress I’ve made over the past year is to write the clean-up intention on every new list I write. So thanks for both the outline and the inspiration, Catherine!

  17. Robbi says:

    Great advice. I just had a new website built and still find items I need to update and clean up. Great time of year to do just that!

  18. Harliqueen says:

    What a brilliant idea. I really need to unsubscribe from newsletters, I get some from online places I don’t even shop at anymore 😀 I’m with you on this! Great plan.

  19. Lorna says:

    I think it is the sunshine. It’s much easier to springclean our social media than wash our windows though isn’t it? Pinterest is next on my list to springclean!

  20. Jane Jazz says:

    I feel a bit dizzy after reading that… you’ve turned into a coffee-fuelled whirlwind! I love the pink bag by the desk that (of course!) matches your website! Don’t you feel all clean and streamlined now? Well done 🙂 JJ

  21. D.G.Kaye says:

    Excellent post and you touched on all the ‘notes to self’ I fully intend to get to. There are so many hours in a day and as writers we use them all to the max and tend to push other things aside. Good point stressing the importance of updating yourself on all your bios. For me that is primary on the list. 🙂

  22. merrybond22 says:

    Oh my goodness, I need to do this. But also find all the odd places like the Independent Author Network where I’ve created an account and posted my bio– years ago– and update those.

  23. Lady Jewels Diva says:


    I find a review at the beginning of the year to work well for me and took some time over xmas to rework my website and update it as I have more books coming out this year and needed room for them all. I got my bio right and then went to every site and changed it.

    It’s also time to cull the three FB book pages I have as with more books coming out, having a page for each book is time consuming and I don’t want to deal with it.

    It’s time to cull, cull, cull!

  24. Rebecca says:

    Yes, I’m with you. Have been doing some blog clean-up, too. I have over 100 drafts that need to be eidted. Ah, you can tell it’s spring, the desire to clean everything in site.

  25. fabispunk says:

    Great tips! I’ll add it to my weekly maintenance list. Specially the clearing my feedly. I love that reader, but since I started it, it has grown to the point it feels like a task to open it. I need to purge, not just reorganize.

  26. vwaldeck says:

    Found a program called Mailstrom that helps me control the Email Monster. Google for it. Stunning service.

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      When you’re in ‘Edit Page’ look to the right side of the screen. You’ll see ‘Template’ and a drop menu menu. The default is the blog page you’re used to with a sidebar, but if you select ‘Full Width’ instead, you get no sidebar. That’s in

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