Ben's Blog - A Journey from teaching to software developer


Ben's Blog - A Journey from teaching to software developer


A Way to think about online profiles - a reason to delete and restart your Social Media Profile

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Ben Gristwood
·Jul 5, 2021·

4 min read

So, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, of how much information we keep online and retention of online profiles. It’s highlighted a lot because of recent cases in the press of people being called out on things that people have said in previous historical Facebook and Twitter posts. So I came up with a kind of list of ways of “cleansing” your online presence.

Before reading this there may be a number of people who say seeing the first paragraph of this article: “but I have loads of followers, I don’t want to miss out”, “what if I want to go back to previous posts” and “Why should I care” so this post kind of addresses the common reasons.

This is what social media companies bank on…Retention due to the Dopamine effect. I want the likes, I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out, I don’t want to lose people.

But I have loads of followers, I don’t want to miss out

You can only maintain 150 relationships. This is called Dunbars number - of those 150 you can only maintain a close friendship with 15 people at any one time. If you are following more than that, you will only read TINY proportion of that from a tiny proportion of people. It’s a fact.

Thinking on that further, if you have close friends and family, that hits into your Dunbar number, so that will also have an impact.

When looking at the social networks you have, maybe consider looking at focus on 1, rather than many platforms (e.g. limit to Twitter over instagram and Facebook). It gives you less to “Check” on a daily basis, less to scroll through and a more focused attitude to life (plus you put your phone down and concentrate on the real relationships in your world, the people in front of you), this also has proven positive impacts on mental health

What's the main reason?

Social media does require “critical mass” it’s part of the reason why so many social media sites fail, but I still felt in making this decision it was the right choice to find the people who i was actually interested in following.

This is a big one and the reason why I’ve recently cleaned out my profile e.g. deleted and started again. Over time, your profile gets clogged. I had over 2,000 followers on my profile, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t want most of them seeing what I was saying. I also wasn’t going to sort through them all.

I also didn’t know the message I was sending out to them and who I was sending it out to. I’ve tried to keep post professional, but there have been times in my life where I’ve had twitter arguments etc. with people. What if one of them now was a potential employer? What if a tweet I have made 15 years ago(when twitter started, 2006) was taken out of context. This has happened many times in the news by people tweeting when they were young and inexperienced and the net was (potentially) less toxic.

This has to be the reason for deleting an account and starting over, rather than just renaming your account(Which they want you to do).


Cleaning down your online profile (E.g. erasing it and starting again) does not erase all the stuff you have done before, it just cleans it down. The good stuff still comes out. I have written a number of articles that have social presence over the years and you can search and still find that good stuff, but now anything bad/controversial then gets erased.

Also if someone has mentioned you are great on their profile, it stays, so you’re still winning that way(and if they are having a go at you, then it’s them who come off bad as they can’t see your profile, your side of the argument or anything about you)

Unless you are social influencer or major celebrity, it isn’t going to make much difference, it just means you are giving yourself a bit of a digital detox.

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