The ‘mass facebook unfriend’ is becoming increasingly common. People will proudly announce (via fb status, how else?) that they will soon begin culling many of you from their friend lists, deeming you unsuitable to remain there any longer. Later they will offer their congratulations to the survivors, you are considered a ‘true friend’, and you are allowed to peruse their page as much as you please. Except I don’t please, quite often I consider myself unlucky to have survived yet another cull, still forced to sit through bragging, banal statuses that I could have quite happily gone through life never reading.
After getting privately angry about a friend’s insistence to post everyday about her trip around Europe, enlightening me to the contents of her standard continental breakfast (standard continental while on the continent, how dare those Europeans?) and a little push from my friend over at Modern Life Is Rubbish (read my personal favourite post about her facebook gripes here) I decided to give it a whirl. Virtually, I possessed 376 ‘friends’, a relatively modest number compared to some I appreciate. I once had a friend who HAD to open a second account because she had so many friends it wouldn’t let her add any more, which is a first world problem if I ever heard one! I know myself that there probably isn’t 376 people in the world that I like, let alone would consider a ‘friend’, so for people with 1000+ friends…maybe go outdoors and meet a couple of these friends once in a while?!
Mark Zuckerberg definitely does not make it easy for you to un-friend en-mass, in fact it is quite a labourious task with each person having to be individually un-friended. And it wasn’t until I began that I realised the politics involved in removing people. Remove an ex-housemate/ex-boyfriend who has kept you and risk looking petty, remove a friend of a friend and risk the awkwardness of appearing bitchy should your paths ever cross again. It also became clear that some of the most annoying people on my facebook were actually people I keep in regular contact with in real life, but un-friending them would be at my own peril. Despite the fact I know they could contact me either by face or by phone, an un-friend would be the ultimate snub and bound to descend into a real life argument. Besides, how do you a tell a friend nicely that you love them but you couldn’t care less about their endless holiday updates/horse outings/baby photos? As socially unacceptable as it would be, for some of my friends it was all too tempting, but as I do like them as people I will sit content by hiding the posts that send steam coming from my ears.
Do I recommend taking the chance to glean those you actively dislike of your Facebook? Absolutely! Despite deeming 244 of my friends as ‘survivors’ (my commiserations if you didn’t want to stay there), I probably could have kept on removing until just my nearest and dearest were left (and those few people who I regularly enjoy facebook stalking). It was almost liberating to know that those girls who I didn’t like in school and certainly don’t like now have no point of contact with me, and I was the initiator of our final departure from schoolgirl frenemies. It also represents a transition from teenager to ‘grown-up’. Facebook is no longer a place for social competition, rather a place for keeping up with people I genuinely care about, and sharing things with people whose opinion I respect. It’s a place for reconnecting with long lost friends, rather than a place to remind the boy who pulled your hair in Year 1 that you survived the ordeal. I’d like to believe that my facebook is now how Mark Zuckerberg intended it; filled with friends, fun and real enjoyment!