I don't remember following Cher on Twitter, but at some point I hovered my mouse over that empty Follow button on her profile page and then clicked down hard.
I'm now staring at Cher's flowing golden locks and knowing smile among the list of people I follow on Twitter. I'm asking one question: Does Twitter-Cher spark joy?
Japanese tidiness maven Marie Kondo is all the rage. She has a. She has bestselling books that tell people how to apply the concept of sparking joy to whether they should keep that rotting teddy bear from first grade or those pumpkin-orange socks grandma knitted as a birthday gift.
I already Konmaried my house. I donated bags of clothes. I cried over old family photos. I pared everything down. I did it with aplomb. Now I'm going all Konmari on my Twitter follows, and I'm struggling.
I'm hardly a Twitter ninja, since I follow only 664 accounts. That's still more than three times as many as Cher, who tracks only 193.
If each account I follow tweeted only once a day, I still wouldn't be able to keep up without resigning my life to a never-ending Twitterfest where I'm propping my eyelids open with toothpicks just to stay up to date.
I stare at my profile's array of follows and feel overwhelmed. I need help, so I turn to Glitch app Tokimeki Unfollow for an assist.
"Let's look at your follows together, one by one, and think about if each one still sparks joy, intrigue, inspiration or is in any way still important to you," writes the app's creator, Julius Tarng. Tarng recommends setting the app to hide biographies and to start with your oldest follows first.
The app shows recent tweets from each account and asks me if it still sparks joy. I'm nervous. The first account up is someone I used to stay in touch with for a job I worked over a decade ago. I've got butterflies in my stomach. I contemplate. This person is no longer relevant to me. I click "Unfollow" and feel a flood of relief. I'm now down to 663.
I'm faster on the draw for the next one. Unfollow. 662. I come across an old boss, a person I still adore. Keeper. Martha Stewart appears. Hesitation. Unfollow. CNET. Keep! Chatsworth House in England. So much joy.
Half an hour in, I'm rolling like a steam engine down a hill. Tokimeki Unfollow is too slow for me. I head back to my Twitter profile and start picking off follows like Clint Eastwood taking out the baddies in Unforgiven.
I unfollow people I no longer recognize, accounts that've gone dormant, colleagues from another lifetime, businesses I can't remember why I followed in the first place.
An hour later I'm numb and tired and down to 434 follows. I keep Teller from Penn & Teller, NASA's Curiosity rover, a bunch of astronauts and (of course) Steak-umm.
I take one more look. And there's Cher. I click on her profile. Her tweets are full of emoji hearts, all-caps missives and political retweets. And somewhere in all this weirdness I feel an ember. And that ember flickers into a spark. I keep Cher.
The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.
iHate: CNET looks at how intolerance is taking over the internet.