A couple years ago, I joined Facebook. And I'll admit, it was pretty exciting at first, that rush of connecting with friends in a new way, seeing what was going on in their lives - in all the glorious, mundane detail. I went through several phases. First, the wide-eyed, "this is so cool!" phase, where I would request or accept friends, regardless of whether or not I'd even call them my friend if we were standing in the same room - even people I didn't click with back in school days. And it's a whole other topic to wonder why I was even compelled to accept their friend requests in the first place - maybe to try an relive a childhood where I wasn't the popular kid?
The next phase was games - and I added even more friends because some of those sneaky games required *other* Facebook "friends" who played the game, too. At some point, I realized that I could delete those "friends" after adding them to the game, but that also meant remembering who I'd added and who to delete. After a few months, I deleted the games entirely...
Now I'm on to a third phase: paring down. I had been thinking about how to simplify my life and as Facebook was bothering me at the time, it's the first project I took on. It's not the first time I pared down - I went from more than 300 friends to about 250 last year. But a couple weeks ago, I deleted just over 30 percent of my "friends" - from 252 down to 171.
I guess I got tired of the drivel - the status updates that didn't interest me, the games or the links to articles I didn't care about - and in my new mission to simplify, Facebook seemed to be a looming issue that I could tackle right away.
I'll probably pare my list down even more because the change has been a good one. If I haven't ever had a conversation with someone in real life - let alone a meaningful one - then are their status updates really adding anything to my life? I'm glad that they're brushing their teeth and raising their kids and enjoying their life, but it was costing me time and energy to sift through those moments and it certainly wasn't adding anything positive to my life. So, I simplified.
Has anyone been offended? Has anyone had their feelings hurt? If they have, they aren't telling me. Truthfully, in the last few weeks, not one person I deleted has requested to be my friend again. No messages, either. And it's removed clutter from my account, so I see more status updates from people I want to - and that's the best thing of all.