I’ve had a mixed relationship with Facebook over the last few years. On the one hand, I do have people I know in practically every time zone on Earth, and would like to stay in touch–but on the other, well, all of us who are Facebook users know all too well what a raucous cesspit it’s turning into. It’s not as bad as 4chan or Twitter yet, as I see it, but it’s just a matter of time. Plus, it’s a time sink, big-time.
On my personal Facebook profile, I’ve been weeding–a lot of my professional acquaintances and one-off meetings have moved to the public Page. The Page is heavily moderated, and I’m pretty determined to keep it civil. I don’t really have much fear of “oversharing.” I’m living an open source life, after all. I just decided to tone down the noise level, so I spent a few days working down my list. Here’s what happens when you aggressively weed your Facebook “friends” list:
- Peace: The people I’ve maintained connections with who have angered me the most are now gone. They can’t anger me like that any more.
- More peace: There are some people whom I basically like, who are heavy pot-stirrers–most of them are gone, so I don’t see the flame wars they start.
- Even more peace: A few people who spent literally every post bashing some politician or another with the same tired things are now gone. I can get that news once via my RSS feed, and be happy.
- Still more peace: A few reactionaries who will post every shocking urban legend or sad sob story they see and ask for reposts–are now gone. I don’t have to spend time on Snopes doing their fact-checking for them any more.
I chopped my friends list basically in half, and poor Facebook is so confused. It’s showing me neat things my grandson is doing, cool pictures people have taken, actual friends talking about the good times they’re having with friends and family, happy and uplifting memes, and an occasional bad pun; I couldn’t ditch my husband and girlfriend, after all. I woke up this morning with fewer notifications, and didn’t dread any of them.
You’ve gotta try this, for reals.