Do you ever feel completely inundated with what we like to so innocuously refer to these days as “Social Media”? Today, I did. The culprit? Facebook.
Don’t get me wrong. I think that Facebook is a great application with the ability to connect millions of people, shorten the distance between family members and reunite long-lost friends. The user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and dynamic interface has given everyone from my friend’s grandmother to my 7th Grade Science teacher the ability to become part of the online community.
What I don’t like about Facebook is what led me to my actions earlier today. What I don’t like is the fact that I now have 474 friends most of which I have not spoken to in 10 years, didn’t even speak to that much then, and have no intention of ever speaking to in the next 100 years. I have let Facebook turn into a popularity contest, a voyeuristic endeavor, and a sideshow of sorts. Why then do I feel the need to investigate someone’s profile when I see they are dating someone new, or their sister is having a baby, or so-and-so and so-and-so just got tagged in a photo together? I think it’s human nature. I don’t really know for sure but what it ends up being is a glorified gossip column and a veritable waste of time. And that’s unfortunate because there are a group of people that I really do enjoy seeing their status updates and witticisms and what’s going on in their lives.
So, I was tempted to just go through with a flamethrower so to speak, and “de-friend” all of these people that I have no interest in hearing about their kid’s or dog’s or ferret’s birthday party. There is a stigma attached to this “de-friending” procedure, though, I think. Even though the person is not informed that you have disconnected with them there is still an inherent “diss” there. Furthermore, some of these people, (the ones I no longer wish to hear from) I friend requested in the first place!
In no way do I wish any of these people ill will or think badly of them. I just am not interested in what they are doing in their lives and do not care to be sucked into a mini research project on them based on an enticing tidbit of their previous weekend’s activities.
The strategy that I have learned to employ is not to “de-friend” anyone but rather to “hide” their updates. When someone pops up on my news feed and I think to myself, “Why did I connect with this person again?” all I have to do is hide them. They remain my friend, no one is offended, I don’t have to hear about the reunion I didn’t want to attend in the first place, and nobody is none the wiser.
From here on out I will certainly give more thought to those friend requests I accept. And, I will without fail only friend request someone who I really wish to keep in touch with.
What are your experiences? How do you keep social media in check and still derive a positive benefit from it?