Today’s post focuses on social media’s largest platform online…you guessed it, yup Facebook. I joined the social network just before 2007 began and over the years I’ve learned how to use it to promote various things, highlight events and much more. In the past few years, I have used FB less as other social hubs like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube occupy my time. I have also come to terms that over the years, a lot has changed for me personally and professionally.
The same can be said for my friends list on there. You will have your loyal regular set of friends that you engage with…and then there are the friends who you rarely or barely keep in touch with, yet they still appear on your news feed. This past June just before I published my Graduation blog post, I did a Facebook cleanse and I strongly advise you do the same.
Reasons behind the cleanse
Let’s face it, people see and creep your activities online, yet they will never make an effort to pick up the phone or catch up with you in person. And then there are some who just don’t even use Facebook anymore and have moved on to other social networks that they use regularly or even better…have left social media completely. Aside from getting rid of a Facebook friend if you dated them and it didn’t work out, I’d like to highlight some of the main reasons why I did my cleanse.
You added them through a mutual acquaintance
I don’t know about you, but when I signed up to Facebook and heard that there was a 5,000 friends add limit, the 10 years younger Wayne Lapasa went out of his way to achieve that number somehow. It became a game and an obsession. Not fully understanding or utilizing Facebook properly at the time, I was adding people I had never met in real life, just for the sake of increasing my friends list number. Maybe the younger me thought that when people saw how high my friends list was, my coolness factor or online reputation would position me as “connected.” But here’s the truth, it’s a useless vanity metric. There is no point in adding people you that don’t know because A) they don’t really care about you and B) you don’t really care about them.
In a past life, I worked in the nightlife industry and I added just about every type of person you could think of. I’m talking DJ’s, MC’s, club promoters, club hostesses, security guards etc. In retrospect, it was a great way to network and legit stay connected, but here’s the thing. The shelf life in this industry is maybe five years, then the next batch of younger people take over and start to run the scene. So what happens to my FB connects from my nightlife era? Only a select few are still in the industry while the others are working in another profession, got married, have kids or moved out of the area. Long story short, people have drifted and lost contact. You start to realize that those connections you added over the years weren’t real friends, but just people you made money with. But once that environment is gone and there is no genuine friendship beyond that, it’s time to get your Facebook cleanse on.
People don’t greet you on your birthday
Every morning, FB sends you a notification about someone’s birthday from your friends list. They have created a shortcut for you to leave a greeting on their wall. You can’t miss it, it’s very visible. It is usually good etiquette to write a quick message and go on with your day. In my own birthday instance, 126 of 952 friends wished me a happy birthday, which was only 13% of my friends list. Guess what…none of the 126 friends were removed from my friends list but the other 826 were definitely under review lol!
Over the years I would make it an effort to send a HBD wall post even if I hadn’t kept in touch with that person, just for the sake of keeping the online friendship alive. Well guess what, about a year ago I made a spreadsheet and listed all the names of the people who took the time to reach out to me on my birthday, so that I could return the favour when it was their time.
If you’re reading this, I don’t want you to think I’m sour about not getting birthday attention from my friends list but in essence, it goes back to the caliber and quality of your FB friend…are they really a friend? Do they really care about you? And do you really need them? If the answer is no, the Facebook cleanse is waiting for you.
You no longer work with that person as a colleague
There’s always a fine line when it comes to having your work colleagues as Facebook friends. Are you comfortable enough with them seeing your personal life on there when you work with them in a professional setting? Do you even want to see their own posts, do you really want to know more about them beyond the 9-5 grind? Or how about when you switch jobs because that last job sucked and you have no interest in being fake and keeping in touch with them? That’s where I once was. I was so happy to move on from one of my jobs, I was smiling my last week there because I knew I was leaving a toxic work culture, with fake people and politics worst than Donald Trump at the time.
You would think it would be a sad time to leave a job after a few years, establishing what you thought were real friends beyond the business. But you come to realize, that your bullshit radar was so high that you couldn’t be fooled. When you get to the point where you no longer want to pretend like everything was cool with a select few people, you must make that decision. They still have access to your Facebook activity and they are there just to creep and gossip behind your back. That right there is a clear sign to cut the cord on that contact. When it reaches that stage, it almost becomes mandatory to do the Facebook cleanse.
They never engage with your posts
So we have now established that you have creepers or trolls from your friends list watching your every move. Just to recap, over the years you might have added them and vice versa. I’m sure you know by now, once you click on the post button on Facebook, your photo/video/status message/web link is shared with your friends network. They see everything. But it can really be tricky to narrow down their reaction to the post. It’s no secret that the most reactive FB posts are milestone moments in time, such as finishing school, getting engaged, getting married and child birth.
Sure, you will have your regular set of commenters and likers who support whatever your posts are, but then you have your dark social friends. They are the ones who see the content, yet never dare to comment, like or engage. It is likely they have taken the conversation offline or screenshotted your content and converse through the DM or non traceable platforms. These are the troubling ones, because it goes back to the quality of the friend…are they a real one or are they fugazi? What gives? Are they too cool to say something? Do they dislike you that much but don’t pull the trigger on removing you as a friend because they lose access to snoop on your personal life? There are more factors involved but you can see where I am going with this. If you have a large group of people on your friends list who don’t engage with your posts, it’s a definite sign that the Facebook cleanse is necessary.
What I want people to take away from this blog post is that no, I am not a bitter person ranting about so called digital friends. Facebook will never define me…but instead I can tell the difference on what a true friend is and who’s just an acquaintance. I loved Facebook, because it was initially the first social network that reconnected you with old contacts, better than any other previous social site could do. If used properly, it is a communication tool that can reach the masses. But then you have others who just over broadcast their lives way too much. You’ve probably hit the ‘Unfollow’ button a few times in your Facebook lifetime, trust me I have.
Even millennials shy away from FB these days because their own parents have finally caved in and wanted to be a part of the Facebook conversation. With that comes a loss of privacy – even on a network like FB, the younger target audience will flock to another social media tool to maintain their level of secrecy from others viewing their activities…but that’s another blog post story in itself.
We all have our own trusted circle of friends, from family, school, work environments, extra curricular activities, etc. And then you have distant connections that have just simply lost touch with, moved on, had a disagreement/fight or really had no care in the first place to begin with. Part of my reasoning for doing the Facebook cleanse was because I didn’t want people on my Facebook list to know what I am currently up to. Five months removed from my FB cleanse, I feel great about it, no regrets. I weeded out contacts I no longer have interest for and am OK with not knowing what happens to them in the future. I am certain I have been on the tail end of cleanse removals by my own friends list, but that’s cool…to each their own.
10 years ago, being on Facebook was all about reaching and touching as many people as possible – even if you didn’t know them. Now a days, I barely use FB (but still use other social networks) and carefully choose what I share on there. I have grown and learned to not easily trust others. The same qualities in people you see online, do not necessarily translate into real life. People come into your life, take advantage of your generosity and feel entitled. But then you have others who are genuine, appreciative and grateful for your help, your time and simply, your friendship. Those are the type of friends I want to surround myself with. Thank you, Facebook cleanse.