Carmen Leandro
April 11, 2015 7:10 am

Most people don’t like to admit how much time they spend on the social media phenomenon known as Facebook, but I think it’s safe to say the site has us-as a society-under its thumb. It is not uncommon for people to clock up over a thousand friends on Facebook, which is crazy, if you think about it. Who needs that many “friends”?! Well for me it was like this, I had about 625 friends on Facebook and out of that 625 I’d say I’d call about 8 of them actual friends that I saw on a regular basis and then I had about 7 family members on there as well.  Everybody else I had on there were people I had crossed paths with at some point in my life, most of whom I hadn’t spoken to in years and finally there were a small few who I genuinely didn’t know at all.

This all seemed a little ridiculous to me and for a while I had wanted to do something about it, a sort of review/clear out of my Facebook. The amount of times I’d look at my homepage and think “…who is this person?” was getting silly. However even though I knew it was a completely logical thing to do, I was strangely apprehensive about it. Facebook is a very odd thing, it’s such a huge part of modern life that people give it a lot more importance than it actually deserves.

There were so many people in my friends list that had no actual relationship to me in real life, so it seemed logical not to have them as friends on this site. However I couldn’t help but feel a bit mean about it. But actually, if you think about it, it’s a bizarre way to feel about the situation, considering this whole thing is supposed to represent the life you live, not the one you pretend to embody.

I decided to bite the bullet and just go for it. I got my friends list up and settled on some rules: if I don’t know who they are, if I don’t see them in real life, if I don’t speak to them and if I don’t have a desire to keep in contact with them, then I’d unfriend them. I originally thought I’d be deleting about 50 people but as I started going through the list, it turned out I had seriously underestimated that number. At first I thought, maybe I was just getting a little too trigger happy with the unfriend button but then I realised nope! This was genuinely the amount of people I was friends with, who either were no longer in my life or were never in my life. My friend count dropped from 625 to 245. Even now I still have people on there who—as far as the rules I gave myself are concerned—I probably shouldn’t.

I didn’t expect to feel any different after clearing out my Facebook but strangely enough once I had done it, I instantly felt happier, it now feels a lot more personal, I look at my homepage and it’s filled with friends, family and people who I want to keep in contact with. Whereas before I didn’t even like posting on there because there were so many people I didn’t know. I didn’t like the idea of strangers having an insight to snippets of my life. If you’re considering doing a Facebook friend clear out but are a bit apprehensive, I say just go for it! There’s no reason to feel like you need to keep relative strangers as friends on social media (of course if you like those friendships that’s cool too!). But if you’re looking for a clean sweep, bring it back to your close circles—those people who have active parts in your life. It made me feel a whole lot better about my place in this virtual world.

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