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Unfriending Facebook

Submitted by Liz P. on May 31, 2010 – 5:04 amComments

Photo courtesy of Salvo Vaccarella via Flickr

I think I have had about as much as I can take of Facebook. I know too much about people I have no desire to know. I am friends with people I can not count as friends. And, I am confident that others have similar opinions regarding my presence on the site.  I have access to too much information about people whom I haven’t seen in years, and had it not been for Facebook, I likely never would have seen again in my lifetime.  I know when mere acquaintances get married; I can look at the pictures from their weddings and frankly I often do. I know all sorts of things about the kids I went to grade school with. It’s somewhere between unnerving and entertaining to realize how little most of us have changed.  The girl who was obsessed with the Flyers still is, the boy who was a great artist is still at it, and I’m still a little chubby and running my mouth.

The friend suggestions that pop up every time I Iog-in can instantaneously bring forth a rush of bad memories; a snotty girl from high school, an un-requited love, or the kid who used to lob spit balls at me in math class. And the friend requests can be infuriating. The other day a high school classmate “friended” me after I had “unfriended” her during a much needed friends list cleanse. What can I say? I don’t like you, I never did. Can’t you just stay in my past where you belong?  I can not get enough of the new “hide” feature.  I basically hide someone new on a daily basis. I have a strict zero tolerance policy for constant status updates.  A trip to the dentist does not breaking news make.

I am never without an opinion on the goings on of my “friends’” lives. Though, I can’t blame that on Facebook, judging is kind of my thing. “He made it through medical school?” I find myself thinking, or “How did someone as socially retarded as her land a husband before I did?” People jump in with commentary on my life out of nowhere; a few months ago I got a presumably drunken Facebook message from a guy who had abruptly cut off all communication with me six years ago.  Where did that come from? Not knowing what to do, I just didn’t answer.

What gives me the most pause though, is Facebook’s changing landscape. I remember when Facebook was new and designed solely for college students. (I’m sure I will repeat that statement someday whilst attempting to explain life before the internet to my progeny). Parents and co-workers are on Facebook now.  And despite keeping my profile as hidden as humanly possible, I always fear that the wrong person my happen upon the wrong status at the wrong time. I have all sorts of people blocked. I blocked a friend with whom I had a massive falling out. And, naturally, for good measure I blocked her husband as well. I blocked a colleague for whom I have neither a degree of trust nor an ounce of respect.  I also blocked my sister’s horrid ex-boyfriend after he repeatedly requested to be my friend.  You sir, are not a friend of mine, nor of any of the Powers’ for that matter.

So now it comes down to a question of deactivation; do I or don’t I?  In terms of my personal life, I think I would be better off without it. Facebook is more of a distraction than anything else; it’s what I do when I’m bored.  Sometimes I get invited to events and parties via Facebook, but most of the people doing the inviting have my e-mail address and cell phone, so it isn’t as if leaving Facebook would thrust me into social oblivion. However, Facebook has become an important marketing tool. People use it to promote their work, especially those in creative fields. If I continue to write, I’m going to need a way to tell people what I’m up to. A good friend of mine created a separate page for her professional life and I think that’s probably a smart option for everyone.  I doubt it will be long before I give Facebook the old thumbs down.

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  • ReadyWriter
    I've been having similar questions about why I have a Facebook account. thanks for sharing yours...
  • Curry Lynne
    Go ahead Liz, try it. Delete your account. As in a nightmare you will soon realize they won't let you leave. In a frenzy I deleted my account. Freedom. Ah, but wait! Just type in that email and password and it is all...still there with a few bits of info missing. Keep the site until they supposedly make you pay money. I too thought to myself, wow this is the best address book I've ever had and I need a fan base for my writing. Like Kid Cudi says, "I keep my facebook proper."

    Great article.
  • Nikki T.
    Do it. I can't stand facebook, and I've tried three times because of friends. You do slip into social oblivion briefly but, the people you're meant to stay in contact with will still be there. As for professional networking, I've found that the old fashion way still works, get out there and meet people. It's called networking, not working the net! And if you continue to write, people will find out about your endeavors without you having to update your status.

    I loved this!
  • Ina
    Hello, fellow choister blogger! I'm wondering some of the same things. I love Facebook because keeping in touch (with people I actually know and like) is so easy. But it's just too much sometimes. Maybe it's time for a purge? I have some friends who unfriended everyone they don't specifically want to be in communication with. I'm considering it...
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