January 26, 2012
Defriending Facebook Friends---A Good or a Bad Thing?
Kappa Alpha Theta
Okay, so here’s a general rundown on my personal Facebook testimony...
High School Years:
9th grade: had no idea what Facebook was until I was invited to join by a good friend of mine around Christmas time. Gained about 200 Facebook friends by the end of that year.
10th grade: transferred from a small private school that was about a 30-40 minute drive, to a public school that was barely three miles from my house. My Facebook friends list doubled to about 400!
11th grade: more than 500 friends.
12th grade: more than 600 friends.
Freshman year: after meeting some of my floormates in Stewart Hall, getting to know people who I shared classes with, and rushing and pledging Theta, my friends list increased to more than 800 friends!
Sophomore year: more than 900 friends...but then over Christmas break, I did some major Facebook purging, which put me to only approximately 826 friends...
One thing I learned in my Journalism 101 class last year was that an average Facebook user has about 130 friends...shocking, huh? But it wouldn’t be surprising to go to a typical student’s Facebook page and find that his/her friend’s list contains at least several hundred (or even over a thousand) people! Some of the basic reasons why people accept random friend requests is that either they know the person through a mutual friend, they find the person’s profile picture attractive, or simply just to expand their friends list.
Now, when I first had my Facebook account, I wasn’t so wise on how to control it. I used to think that gaining a large number of “friends” was a must, and it would help me gain more popularity; but then, as the years went by, I began to think that an impossibly long list of Facebook friends was a bit overwhelming.
So over Christmas break, I decided to actually take the time to go through my Facebook friends list and purge the ones that I no longer want connections with. And believe me...it wasn’t easy...
First, I went through the friends who I no longer see or talk to. Specifically, those who I went to middle school, or even elementary school with! And as I was going through my long list, I found “friends” who I haven’t seen or heard from for at least five years (and, of course, “unfriended” them). So if you have Facebook friends that fit this criteria, do not hesitate to defriend. Chances are that they probably won’t notice since Facebook doesn’t send a notification on who deletes who, and they are most likely wrapped up in their own lives to even care that you did something to “offend” them.
Then, I purged those who have poor Facebook etiquette. By that, I mean those who post every waking moment of their lives. Usually, these are either elementary/middle school students or fellow classmates from high school who just want attention. Now, I’m sure we all have at least several friends that are in middle school who lie about their age and post derogatory pictures of themselves to make them look “cool.” Not to mention, if I had to ask, I’m sure all of y’all can admit to having at least one Facebook friend from high school who is engaged, married, or is expecting kids and constantly updates their Facebook with statuses of their spouse or pictures of them pregnant. Don’t get me wrong...I’ll admit that I have Facebook friends who are still in middle school (mostly either cousins or some of my younger brother’s good friends as well as friends who are my age) who are either already married and/or starting a family. But anybody who constantly posts statuses of their love life or post unpleasant-looking pictures of themselves all the time is definitely not worthy of being on my friends list. So if you have friends that fit that criteria, there’s no sense in complaining about it; unfriend them if their etiquette bothers you.
Finally, when I was purging people from my friends list, I made sure that there wasn’t anybody I didn’t like. I’m usually a very easygoing person and can get along with pretty much anybody I meet, so this situation wasn’t much of a problem. However, what I never understood is the point of other people friending enemies. I know...kinda ironic. But people tend to friend others who they aren’t particularly fond of because either (1) they are in an organization or group together or (2) just to stalk their page. Reason number one tends to make sense, but the other reason seems rather pointless. You don’t necessarily have to be friends with a person to see their updates (that is, unless that person has a “limited profile.”). If you have a person on your friends list that you absolutely cannot stand, do not hesitate to delete them; otherwise, you’re just asking for cyber-drama.
Defriending Facebook friends can be a bit catty and immature in certain contexts, but in other situations, it’s absolutely necessary. So if you have an overwhelmingly long Facebook friends list and don’t know at least half the friends you have, definitely use your spare time to go through it and do some spring cleaning! Sure it’s a task that’s easier said and done, but it’s worth having a list that consists of just people who you can easily keep in touch with! After all, when it comes to having a Facebook account, YOU are the one who controls it, not anyone else!
Patricia is a sophomore studying accounting. You may contact her at email@example.com.