A couple of years ago, I deleted a LOT of people from Facebook. Well, I ‘unfriended’ them. When you first get Facebook, which for me was at school, it becomes all about how many ‘friends’ you have, and about immediately connecting with everyone you meet. Then you start university, and that game starts all over again. The problem is, the majority of those people you just don’t care about. It’s not that I wish ill on any of them, but I just don’t need to know every detail of their lives. The new rule is, if I wouldn’t stop for a chat in the street, or drop them a message to catch up, I don’t need to be a Facebook friend.
I think that became even more clear for me when I got into Twitter. Twitter is more about connecting publicly with a wide range of people, who share your interests. In contrast, I see Facebook as much more private, a space to share photos and messages with ‘real life’ friends. I’m not too strict, and there are people in my ‘friend’ list that I’ve not caught up with in a long time, but broadly speaking I’m friends with the people I want to be.
I was Facebook friends with plenty of people from my school who I never even spoke to when we were there. How ridiculous is that? We never communicated when we were in the same building every day, but I know when they’re in a relationship, I’ve seen their holiday photos and I know how they’re doing at university. Some people like the nosy element of this, but the bit that bothered me the most was that they also get the same from me. They see all my interactions, my photos, my friendships. But if we never speak and have never spoken, why am I sharing that? I know I write a blog, which puts things out on the internet, but that’s from a different perspective, and written in a way I’m ready to share.
Interestingly, my friend Alex told me something that made me happy about my decision to ‘edit’ my Facebook connections. She saw a boy from school in summer, someone I maybe spoke to a couple of times, and her friends came up in conversation. He said ‘Oh Sophie, hasn’t she unfriended, like, everyone from school?’ It turns out people have noticed, and people have spoken about it. Yet most of his friends are people I have never even spoken a word to. Intriguing.
This has been a bit of a ramble, but what I’m trying to say is that I use different things for different purposes. My blog is where I write, share opinions, or muse on things. Twitter is for connecting with brands, like-minded people and the world around me. Facebook is now for those people who are real as well as virtual friends. I want to log on and smile, because I’m seeing photos of my cousin’s children, or my friend’s new life in London. And if people notice I have ‘unfriended’ people I never even knew properly, then so what? It’s my account, and my life, and I’ll keep in it the people I treasure.
Have you ever had a ‘Facebook purge’?