What do you use Facebook for? For me it started out purely as a means of having easy regular contact with my family in Canada and New Zealand, in fact had it not been for them, then there is a good chance I would never have created a Facebook page. It grew slightly to include some close friends and a handful of old colleagues that I wanted to stay in touch with. I had around 40 “friends” and was more than happy with this. My profile, content etc was on lock down and the only people who could contact me were my existing friends. I like it like that. So what changed?
Well for starters I joined a Facebook group. It was almost a book club type group and had about 80 members. I got caught up in the whole “chatting” online thing and all the group members were sending friend requests to one and other, so I gave in and decided to go with the flow. My friends list grew from 40 to almost 100 in a matter of days.
Things were all fine and dandy for a while, everyone chatted, everyone had a “nice” time. However, as time went on the atmosphere in the group began to change there was decided frostiness between certain members, the comments were becoming more and more barbed, until eventually the books weren’t even being mentioned.
Every time I logged in my newsfeed would be full of cryptic status updates, clearly aimed at someone, but without the courage of adding who. Then the pm’s started, messages spreading gossip and trouble, then came the inevitable flouncing out of the group. Members en masse announcing they were leaving, being begged not to, deciding to stay and then leaving anyway
It got more and more depressing. Some of them began to lean on me to be mediator and try to calm the storm. I couldn’t quite believe how people who just enjoyed the same books and who had never met could become so vitriolic to one and other.
After weeks of trying to make these people see reason and trying to stop the fighting, I’d had enough. I used Facebook for fun and this just wasn’t fun. So I quietly left the group, I didn’t make a grand announcement, I just left. Then I looked at my friends list and of the 98 people on there, I only really talked to 43. The 43 original friends – all of whom I know in real life. So I had 55 people on my Facebook that I never communicated with, that I knew nothing about, just sitting there, like a stamp collection. That was when the power of the delete button hit me and I spent the next 10 or 15 minutes just deleting them all. All the fighting, bitchy status updates, barbed comments, gone with the touch of a button and boy did that ever feel good. My Facebook returned to normal – well my normal anyway!
So I often wonder, why do people have hundreds and sometimes thousands of Facebook friends and how often if ever do they communicate with them all, why don’t they delete them. I did once ask a friend who has over 600 people added to her Facebook and she was horrified at the thought of deleting anyone. When I suggested that if she never communicates with them they probably wouldn’t notice anyway, it was almost like I’d just slapped her!
So I dare you, liberate your Facebook. Cut out the deadwood, remove the people who you have just “collected”, the people you never speak to, the people whose status updates irritate you, the people who you have unsubscribed to in an attempt to hide their activity. Do it, press the button, feel the power, feel the freedom.