I have found myself using Facebook less and less over the past year or so… I found myself assaulted by game announcements, pictures of kids I have never and would never see in real-life, drama and angst from people I hadn’t seen in years and, in all honesty, would probably never see again. It was overload and I didn’t need it. Where I work, I deal with being constantly bombarded with crap like this so I really didn’t need to come home and hear it on Facebook.
Lately, I have been wanting to integrate my internet footprint onto Facebook, sharing things of interest from my blog, my RSS feeder, my Youtube account, etc., and thought Facebook would be a great outlet as a part of that, however I just couldn’t stomach the inane ramblings of so called “friends”…. so I did it.
In the ego-driven world of Facebook, I hit the “unfriend” and forever silenced people that, while I cared about each of their individual well-beings as people, could care less about their daily dealings. I call it “ego-driven” because that’s exactly what Facebook becomes. –> If someone invites you to be their friend, you begin collecting them on Facebook like they are trophies, “AMG I HAZ 3000 friends on FACEBOOK, I IZ HAWT!” No, you aren’t. You just don’t care who you are friends with and are opening yourself up to getting daily updates on how someone’s little Timmy’s is doing on their potty training… you know… little Timmy, son of that person you USE to know in high school and barely ever talked to and who never actually talks to YOU anymore. But all-be-damned little Timmy ALMOST had a bowl movement in his little trainie-potty yesterday, and by golly you’ll know about it!
So, like a proud and majestic Native American warrior, I resolved to discarded my trophy “scalps” and sorted out only people who I could actually LABEL a REAL LIFE friend or family member.
I went from just under 200 friends down to 87. That’s right folks, I committed to telling over a 100 people I no longer required hearing about their lives on a spastically daily basis and ended our Facebook relationship.
Now, I know what some might be saying who read that… “but Rich, why didn’t you just hide their newsfeed updates… it’s an option and you just click —” NO!!! You are missing my point here… if they aren’t friends, why are they listed as a friend on Facebook? Why should I have to go through and IGNORE a “friend”… ??
I’m finding my time on Facebook to be much more relaxing and productive! No longer do I get page after page of mindless drool, but rather updates from people I actually care to HEAR about! Can you even imagine Facebook doing that?! I didn’t either, but it does now!! Here are a few tips I kept in mind as I went through this process – follow them, and Facebook can help you keep in touch with people you care about too!
When going through your long list of friends that you worked hard to accumulate since starting Facebook, your main question is, “why is this person my friend?”
Did you use to go to school with this person, and haven’t seen them since?
Is this person just a casual acquaintance… you knew this person in passing but have never actually hung out?
Is this person an extended family member, (ie. distant cousins), you never see anymore and never messages you?
Is this person a spouse of a friend?
Is this person a children of friend?
Is this person a friend because you are “suppose” to be, (see spouse of friend, part of a club or church, etc.)?
Is this person an Internet contact you no longer have contact with, (ie. a network through a blog or other)?
Is this person a family member of in-laws/relation through marriage… or for that matter a family member you don’t care to hear from?
Is this a person whom you use to work with, but either you or they have moved on?
You might be surprised, going through a list of people, how many people you have “friended” but don’t much act like an actual FRIEND towards… if they aren’t your friend, why have you friended them on Facebook? Think about it… what is your motivation for having this persons life lay bare to you… do you really care?
I don’t know… call me heartless and uncaring, but I’m glad I did it. In the grand scheme of things, Facebook is an online tool, so why shouldn’t I use it as such, instead of some kind of social hangout where I have to DO something because it is expected or socially correct. Oh, and as far as the feedback from “unfriending” 100 people; first, they don’t even GET a notification that you aren’t their friend anymore, you just DISAPPEAR into the shadows… and secondly, even if they DO notice, they probably don’t give a damn since they haven’t really been “friends” with you before… so there is very little in the way of blowback on doing this, but I’ll say it anyways…
If you ARE a friend who actually cares enough to read this blog and are not just an ex-reciprocal trophy Facebook friend, I may have unfriended you in error! Please contact me and I’ll re-add you, since obviously it was a mistake removing you if you take that kind of effort to reconnect… otherwise, have a great life and I’m sorry to say I will probably not miss hearing about little Timmy.
Other articles on “unfriending” on Facebook I found interesting:
Oxford University Press/OUPblog.com – 8 Reasons to Unfriend Someone on Facebook
All Facebook.com – The 12 Step Recovery Guide For Being Unfriended on Facebook