I’ve developed a kind of love/hate relationship with Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great place to keep up to date with friends and acquaintances.
I used it originally because I was far from my family and many of my friends in Paris. As time passed I added work colleagues, acquaintances and I began to have a whole list of friends.
Wow I really didn’t know I knew so many people.
Looking in more detail
Then one day I decided to look closely at the activity on Facebook. I wanted to know who my friends were and how much contact we actually had.
This is where the penny dropped as I began sorting through many of my contacts. Looking at criteria such as:
- Have I published anything on Facebook and got a reaction ?
I thought at least if my friends we liking posts it was a kind of acknowledgement that they had seen them.
- Have they published anything recently that made me want to react?
I realised lots of people have accounts and no activity.
- Is the activity published interesting ?
There were to many photos of dying kids asking for a “LIKE”, too many threats if you don’t forward this you will be unhappy, too many if you don’t agree with x then LIKE.
A lot of the activity was negative.
Facebook has moved away from being a fun place for friends to give news, share their photos and basically keep in touch.
It has been besieged by causes and politics. I understand the importance of creating awareness for just causes, but it has become too easy to click and share without really caring.
Comments are aggressive. ‘I know 90% of you won’t share this picture etc. ‘ .
People complain about their phone company, the local supermarket or even shout about government policy. I am sure even I have done so in the past. Put simply a Coup d’etat on a fun application.
Taking the radical step
This is when I began taking the radical step of unfriending people. Sounds nasty doesn’t it ? Unfriending someone.
I admit it is a difficult decision to make clicking on the UNFRIEND button, but I had to do it. I was in the middle of clean-out and wanted positive things around me. I also didn’t see any point of displaying my life in a personal manner to people who are just no longer interested.
This applied to people publishing things on Facebook that no longer corresponded to my values. I am not trying to be pretentious. I can accept that I will not agree with my friends 100% of the time. Wouldn’t life be boring. However, there are things that can be said in conversation and laughed off but when they are written don’t quite have the same impact. When that becomes repetitive, there’s a problem.
Values are key element to friendship so why try and maintain a relationship that you’re not happy about just because of an internet application.
We change, they change
What the radical step taught me to recognise is that we change. Our friends change. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Many of the contacts I had were related to my work or past places I have lived. Those friendships survived and were very good, at the time, as we had a common point, just the one.
Obviously when that common point is not longer there, you either have to work at the friendship or it dies away. I am not saying it is a bad thing. We all move on and those friendships that are worth keeping, well, you naturally work at.
On the other hand, some friendships have developed further especially when there has been contact via messages other than just status messages.
Delete the account
I can hear people saying why don’t you just delete the account ?
The problem is Facebook has become a key connection point for many people just through ease of use. That’s why they added Facebook email.
A one stop shop. It’s reality.
There are also people who I am genuinely interested in keeping contact, and I like the contact we have on Facebook.
Whats the answer ?
I don’t think there is a clean cut answer or maybe I am too afraid to delete the account.
Maybe I should ensure that my friends, those I want to stay in contact with, do have other means of contacting me: Email, the blog, my telephone.
Have you changed your opinion of Facebook ?
Do you feel it has been besieged and has overtaken it’s initial idea ?
I would love to hear from you and your opinion on Facebook.