Thanks to organizing guru Marie Kondo, we are collectively purging our homes of old items that no longer spark joy, and our drawers are looking a little neater for it. We know now that cleaning out our physical spaces is important to our well-being, so shouldn’t our digital spaces go through a little spring cleaning as well? That’s what designer Julius Tarng set out to do with Tokimeki Unfollow, a KonMari-inspired tool for your Twitter feed.
“Tokimeki” is the Japanese word that was translated to “spark joy,” and what that means in terms of the Twitter accounts you keep is different for everyone. Created in Glitch, the open-source app lets you go through each account you follow one by one, showing the most recent tweets from that account and asking you if the tweets still spark joy or feel important to you. You can choose to start from your oldest or newest follows or go in a random order. The app recommends that you don’t look at the account’s bio, so you’re not judging your followers based on who it is, just on the content of their tweets.
From there, you can choose to unfollow (at which point, it’ll ask you to thank the person for the tweets you’ve enjoyed before), add it to a private or public list, or keep the account.
So everyone was joking about Konmari-ing their Twitter, but I went ahead and made a tool for that:
Say hello to ✨ Tokimeki Unfollow ✨!
— julius tarng (@tarngerine) February 4, 2019
Within seconds of starting to use the tool on my own Twitter feed, I was confronted with some agonizing choices. I had no problem unfollowing random celebrities, but deciding what to do with my friends’ inactive accounts from college was an unexpected challenge.
I decided to unfollow the ones that were spamming my feed with “I just entered the #Ham4Ham lottery!” tweets, but I had several last-minute changes of heart, and, unfortunately, there isn’t an undo button. There also isn’t an option to mute people — on purpose. “I wanted to challenge myself to overcome the feeling of socially obligated follows,” Tarng explained in an interview with Motherboard.
But aside from the features that were intentionally left out, Tarng points out that some features people have been asking for, like keyboard shortcuts, can be added on their own since the code is open source.
You’re definitely not obligated to go through all of your follows in one session. The app can save your progress so you can take a break when you need to. Tarng says he’s worked on KonMari-ing his Twitter follows for about three weeks now, and he’s still only gone through about 400 out of his initial 1,000 follows. It’s a time-consuming process, but like the actual process of decluttering your home, it’s not meant to be a race.
I probably spend about half of my day staring at screens. Although there are other tools and browser extensions (such as Just Unfollow) that can help you organize your feed, Tokimeki lets me make my incredibly sad reality a little bit brighter by helping me better curate what I see on my screen and being more mindful about who I’m interacting with. To all the Twitter accounts I’ve loved before and have let go through this decluttering process: thank you for your service.