Seeing The Social Network made me think about the early days of Facebook, and how even from the beginning it seemed like a natural part of life. Since Facebook came into our lives what would once have been a one-time, forgettable meeting with some people has turned into a life-long connection. Or has it?
One time in college I was walking through the commons when I ran into a mere acquaintance, who introduced me to his girlfriend because she happened to be standing there.
I went back to my dorm and checked Facebook, because that’s what you do as soon as you log onto any computer in the world, isn’t it?
I saw the exciting little tab telling me I had a friend request so my face smiled.
“Woo hoo! Someone added me as a friend! Wait a second … who is this?”
It was the girl I had just met in the commons. A bit creepy because I didn’t even know her, and this meant she went straight home, searched for me, and clicked “add.” I’m pretty sure this violates the unspoken Facebook code of ethics. You wait at least a couple weeks after regular contact with a person before you even begin to think, “Should I add this person on Facebook?”
I didn’t want to, but I accepted because it would be awkward if I ran into her on campus again, which I invariably would considering our school wasn’t that big and I occasionally had classes with her boyfriend.
After Facebook became a natural part of life and people were pushing 100-200 people on their friends list, I started hearing people discussing “cleaning up” their Facebook lists.
It’s surprising the amount of people who find going through their friend list and deleting people to be a hilarious activity.
I didn’t find it funny, but I thought, “Sure, why not delete a few people? I’m probably never going to see them again, especially that one guy’s girlfriend at this point, so why should they be cluttering my list?”
Then I got cleared off someone’s list.
WTF?? I worked with that girl for like TWO YEARS!! Sure, we weren’t really friends, but we certainly weren’t enemies or under any kind of distressing terms of friendship.
I didn’t mind her on my list – despite the fact that she stole my lunch straight out the freezer at work one day – because any time I happened to see her profile it reminded me of my good ol’ days at the book store.
Do I care about her life at all? No, not really. Actually no, not in the slightest. Still, that miniscule amount of rejection annoyed me. I’m in no way unique, so although it doesn’t bother many people I’m not alone in this matter.
Every time I find out I’ve been deleted I sit back in my chair at the annoyance that someone deleted me, that someone couldn’t stand the thought of my stupid little face popping up in their friends section every few months – if ever.
People with whom you have no contact will rarely, if ever, appear in your news feed, so what’s the bother?
After talking about this with Adrian I came to the conclusion that there is no point of deleting someone on a list that has no limits, a list on which you can privatize or block almost anything you don’t want to see or don’t want people to see. I guess it makes people feel important.
Also, it’s not like you have to search through hundreds of people to find someone. You simply have to type the first letter of their first name or the first letter of their last name and Facebook’s search tool will auto complete so you don’t even have to type the full name!
If you are really concerned about your amount of friends, you won’t be deleting a few people here and there, you’ll be deleting people by the hundreds. I don’t know anyone who has more than a few real friends. So what’s the point?
At the very least, if you are going to delete people don’t announce it on your newsfeed and tell everyone you are about to take out the trash on your friends list so if they don’t see you anymore they didn’t make the cut! Wow, thanks. I feel SO privileged to have made this cut because you are so amazing.
I’ve actually seen several people make this type of announcement. Every time I see that I wish I’d get the boot.
Obviously a lot of people wouldn’t care about being deleted, and really, it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But I’m never going to delete people because I don’t want to risk hurting anyone’s feelings over something that just doesn’t need to be done.