Facebook: Cleanse or Delete?

Let’s see. We’ve all had our Facebook profiles for at least 18 months. We’ve requested to add/accepted all our friends, family, classmates, housemates, co-workers, ex-co-workers, ex-school friends, their siblings and girlfriends/boyfriends, lecturers, students, members of sports teams, people we’ve met once, people we have never met but think we might meet at some point and randoms from the pub – all to our friends list. The average number of people that we are connected to is around 164. We are “connected” to everyone in our immediate social network. Great. Fantastic.

Now what?

Well, we’ve worked out that we can separate the data that we are projecting to our friends via the news feed. We can show our class mates that we enjoy the drink and party hard or we can make out we are “dead clever” by projecting every little thing we find on the web through rss, delicious, twitter and friendfeed applications. Each element adding to the perception of how we would like to be seen.

But then again – bump into some of the “weaker” ties in the street/work/university – where is the guarantee that you are even going to acknowledge each other, let alone speak to each other. Being “connected” does not automatically make you vulnerable from the burden of social awkwardness (or whatever is going on in each others head) We prevent these people from seeing elements of our profiles (if only to make ourselves feel better) – only to avoid going through the difficult process of simply removing them from your network.

So after 18+months of Facebook- with even the most phobic of technophobes admitting to having an account, is it time to start writing the rules about social cleansing. Personally, I’m feeling a bit clogged up with negativity in some of online channels I participate in. I would much prefer if I had a network of people who could help each other – socially, professionally, emotionally – much like Twitter.

Do we even NEED Facebook to remain connected?

I mean, cummon. Those who what to find me, KNOW were to find me. Likewise, I can pretty much find who I want using googling methods. Facebook makes it a tad easier, granted – as most of my close friends are scattered across the world – and it’s nice to get a consistent dialogue between the lot of them. However, what Facebook does essentially is to make it bloody difficult to “Quit following” those who may not to be required anymore – perhaps people who you never ended up speaking to after the first initial contact – maybe friends of friends who you might not get on with or indeed those who are just “not your type”. Furthermore, it amplifies certain things that you perhaps don’t want to see or know.

I don’t know. I think I’m moving on from the notion of “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

4 thoughts on “Facebook: Cleanse or Delete?

  1. I've got to admit, I'm on Facebook but I haven't got a clue what it's for. If I really want to contact anyone then I'll still use email, blog comments, twitter or phone. Perhaps that's why I'm stuck on 12 friends.

    Or maybe just no-one likes me.

  2. I seem to have “collected” a really random selection of people. I think if I could start again- I would have done it a lot better. It's the digital trail I have (and others have) left behind them!

  3. You could just pretend incontinent old Facebook is not capable of independent living any more, stick it in a home and let it wither away slowly. This talk of “cleansing” gives me the shivers.

  4. Sounds good – what's the best way of taking FB out of service? Cut out all the life to it (rss streams, delicious)?

    Maybe not so much “cleanse” -maybe “Detox” is better -make it survive on 8 glasses of water for a week to flush out all the toxins. Maybe that says too much about my existing social life?

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