The other day I did something that I don’t normally do. Mostly because I don’t take the time to think about it, but I have my reasons.

I cut down my friends list on Facebook, unfriending people who I do not believe to have a place in my life any longer.

I have never been a vengeful person (okay, maybe just a little), nor an extremely private person, but after a conversation with Julie in the car on the way back from Wyoming last week, I decided that it was finally time. For the record, there is nothing on my Facebook that I wouldn’t mind anyone seeing, future employers included, and the way I see it, the Internet is basically like a bulletin board piled with advertisements and flyers; some might be concealed, but if you really wanted, you could read every one of them. And people out there knowing about me and my life doesn’t really scare me that much. If I don’t want someone to know something, it’s as simple as just not putting it out there.

I tend to keep friends around on Facebook once I make them, just because unless they post something really offensive, I have no reason to unfriend them. Whenever I do hover over the unfriend button, I get a small wave of guilt, as if I’m burning a bridge. What if I might need that person in the future? What if they become really famous and because I clicked a button, I can’t prove I know them? What if, what if, what if…and then I go and do something else.

But I made up my mind to do it, and see just how many of those 1,750 people are worth keeping a connection. After I scrolled through the obvious keepers, like family members and friends I still talk to with some degree of regularity, I came upon the people who I haven’t thought about for years, from high school, freshman year, summer camps. Delete. Some guy I had one class with freshman year, some girl I met at a Starbucks, a guy I never met but liked some of my pictures, a girl who now lives in South America and probably would not even recognize me if I walked past her in the street. Bye bye. A few names didn’t even ring a bell. Unfriend.

In the end, I didn’t think I’d made much of a dent, but my Friends list was down to around 1,630. In a matter of minutes, roughly 120 people disappeared from my life in a few key strokes. And to top it off, I probably couldn’t name more than ten of them if you asked me who they were and how I knew them. I don’t feel much different, but interestingly enough, it did make me think how many connections I actually cared about maintaining. So, maybe, I’ll go through it again sometime and pare down the list even more. A lot of my friends have less than half of the connections that I do, and they seem to be doing just fine for themselves.

Then there’s the question of deleting Facebook altogether, it being a source of drama, a time-waster, and just and overall life-sucker-upper. Julie said that the only real reasons she keeps hers active is so her mother could see family pictures and she can have an extra avenue to contact relatives in case of emergency. My reasons are pretty similar, although I also have the added weight of having lived in several states and countries, and wanting to keep tabs on friends from all over, especially those in Israel who I can’t text anytime I want, or if I ever want to visit them, only to find out that they moved or something.

Alternatively, I can look at “the dump” as a way to clear out space for new friends, like the influx of friend requests after a conference. It’s a thrill when you log in and have 10 new friend requests from people you’ve met who you actually care about and might have a chance of building an awesome new friendship with.

7 thoughts on “Dump

  1. I did this a while ago. I don’t remember now exactly, but I had over 1000 friends. I went drastic. I cut down to 160. I basically unfriended everyone that I hadn’t talk to in a while, even if they had been kinda close in the past.
    I figured that if our paths crossed again or if either one of us wanted to talk to the other again (through fb or otherwise), I or he/she would.
    After a while, I did get a few friend requests from people I unfriended. And every now and then I “stalk” check in on people I unfriended.

  2. For me, less than 5 mutual friends on Facebook is enough reason for me not to click on the confirm button in the first place. I have 384 friends on facebook. I went to a highly populated high school. Most of those friends are people I schooled with in high school then primary school then a couple from campus and a few more whom I have made friends with in my day to day life. I look at all my Facebook friends and I know and have interacted with them personally in the past. Basically I don’t mind having them around. I think Facebook is simply a channel to keep tabs on people. However, a couple of people turn it into a highly personalized affair constantly updating us on their private life and achievements. It gets annoying at times and I don’t hesitate in unfriending those types of people.

  3. Facebook has never interested me, whereas blogging has. I am fascinated by others lives. We are among so many talented writers, photographers, foodies.

    My brother and sisters all do Facebook, and they have all tried to get me to join. Unfortunately, an incident (of total dysfunction!) occurred recently. My family was having a discussion over Caitlyn Jenner. My two grown daughters were defending their beliefs and suddenly one family sibling took to attacking me. (I thought it was rather funny, well, actually it was pathetic seeing as though she is sadly an extreme alcoholic. Before all was said and done, I had a few phone calls from family members concerned about me. They were afraid I would learn about the personal attack. Well, I did, thru their phone calls :))) At 63, this could be comedic if it weren’t so pathetic.

    Life is too short to use the bulletin board of social media as a means of attack. But it is a fantastic instrument to utilize for networking and reconnecting. I play in the blogosphere. I love it out here. And you are one of the joys, Jacob.

    Just so you know, I support Caitlyn. My daughters do too. We don’t have to defend why, unless we choose to, I think God expects tolerance. We have no credentials for judgement.

    Thank you for my free therapy session, Sweets.

  4. Thanks for this post. It reminded me that I needed to continue to be picky about whom I friend on Facebook, and even consider “cleaning out” my friends list at some point. The burning question about whether or not to keep Facebook: for me it serves as a real connection to people and a source of information at times so I plan to keep it. What I need to do is limit my time there. (smile) Cinda

  5. I’ve been contemplating about something like this. I actually have an idea on how to do it for myself, or to at least do some more segregation, so that people stay where I want to them to stay (that sounds kinda bossy or selective, but it sounds worse than it really does). But I really have to reflect on whether it would be wise to do it. But it really is a better alternative than deleting contacts.

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