I recently cleared up my Facebook friend list.
I used to have over 3,000 friends.
Now I have less than 500.
Why? I want to have more control over my life, so I find ways in which I can achieve this. There’s a lot about the world you can’t change, but one of the great things about social media is that you have the ability to tailor the experience to yourself.
Something that was really beginning to get me down was that I often shared updates on Facebook – be it my latest blog post, a photo with friends – and I didn’t seem to have much interaction or engagement with them. Didn’t I have all these “friends”? Well, no. And that’s fine. But it wasn’t serving me well to know all these people were observing my life from afar with little to no interest in my life, or even well-being. It didn’t feel natural to me. A little sinister, even. So I decided to try and streamline just who exactly I was sharing these updates with. Whether or not this has had or will have an effect on my engagement levels is a separate matter: I just know my updates are going to a safe place.
I think it’s important to remember that removing your link with someone on a social website/app does not have to be in malice, it doesn’t have to mean you don’t like someone. It just means you don’t need to be linked in that way. It’s not right for you anymore. Just like you outgrow things in the flesh world, this can and should follow online. Why hold onto something that no longer serves you?
A lot of people that I deleted from Facebook, I continue to follow on Twitter, and/or on Instagram. Their updates work for me there, and they matter to me there. However, as for on Facebook, it was time to say goodbye.
I wanted Facebook to become more close-knit for me: reserved only for family, friends, and “mutuals” who I feel genuinely support me and I them.
Something positive I noticed also, is that I posted a status to declare I had done a mass clear out and thus only the survivors would be reading it – and therefore YOU matter to me… this message helped show people my appreciation for them. A lot of people got in touch to say how touching it was to know I thought of them in that way. Everybody needs a bit of reassurance and love, sometimes. We are but human.
Three things I would recommend considering and keeping in mind if you are planning on a Facebook-friend-cull:
- You may not achieve it in one day, I know I staggered my process over a certain period of time. I find that little and often is most useful*.
- You have to be ruthless. When was the last time you interacted with a particular person via Facebook? Probably not recently, or even never. DELETE!
- Remind yourself it’s not in malice: it’s not about being nasty or making a point. It just isn’t the right thing for you there.
*When you have a lot of Facebook friends, they don’t always all show up in your friends list anyway. I found that every time I went back, I would find people-to-delete under a letter I thought I had already completed. So it takes a few times over with a fine-tooth comb.
I now know that the people who view my updates probably care about me to some extent, and that’s a relief. It’s a comfort. With Twitter and Instagram, I’m happy for the world to watch… but I want Facebook to maintain more of a community vibe.
And now, when I do have interactions on my updates, they come from people I love every time, and so it means so much more. It uplifts me every time.