When iTunes first came out in 2003, young millennials chucked their CDs like frisbees and got lost in the world of digital music. Most of our first felonies were downloading torrents of Dashboard Confessional songs and, of course, the Garden State soundtrack.
After compiling a colossal iTunes library with everything from my Motown phase to my Shaggy phase, I decided I’d rather scale back and embrace a “less is more” approach. Today, I have a single shelf crammed with chosen vinyl records because I’ve learned that having restrictions on some things helps to value and appreciate those things even more. The same ideology should be embraced when it comes to social media. Perhaps if we approached our online accounts as more of invite-only get-togethers than open-door frat-like parties, we might enhance our overall social media experience.
Don’t Be The Casualty In A Facebook War
In true fad fashion, when Facebook came out in 2004, people started collecting friends like free Razr flip phones at a Destiny’s Child concert. Most of those Facebook friends (from a whopping fourteen years ago) still take up space on our feeds today. Maybe it wasn’t until just recently you found out you were connected with someone from Vader’s Imperial Guard, but somehow we’ve all learned the dark truth: there is a huge difference between Facebook friends and actual friends.
Social media offers a platform for people’s opinions with little consequence. Users, therefore, often have few filters when it comes to what they post next. Rants and raves and a fine line between a thumbs up and an online kick to the nuts make Facebook a breeding ground for dissension and negativity. Some people seem to thrive on the faceless arguments while others become casualties in a whirlwind war. We are weighed down in real life by discord online, and we carry the stress of others long after we close Facebook.
There are the constant complainers, the trolls, the overly political, the plain old angry and easily-offended, the people who were simply a part of a different season in life, or that random guy you barely talked to when you worked with him at Arby’s for a single day before you double-bird quit. These are the people crowding your feed with negativity and, especially if you don’t even know them, something has got to change. You need a break.
Be Friends With The Unfriend Button
I think we forget we control who our friends are and who we follow on social media. We can actually unfriend our non-friends who drag us back again and again to despair with their harsh appraisals of the world and abrasive opinions.
To improve your social media experience and in an effort to take back control of your mental, emotional, digital, and social health, consider occasionally trudging through your Facebook connections and learn to be better friends with the “unfriend” button.
Ask yourself these three questions to evaluate your connection collection.
- If you were to bump into the person at the grocery store, would you talk to them? If you avoid eye contact and you can’t be real-life, face-to-face friends, they shouldn’t be your Facebook friend either.
- Do you know who they are by their name and profile picture? Sure, maybe that girl got married, her name changed and you had to remind yourself of who she was. But if you’re so far in the person’s archives and you’re still wondering how the heck you know them, do yourself a favor and just unfriend.
- Is the content they post a constant source of negativity, harsh interactions, and needless stress? You don’t need more of that in your life. Un-freaking-friend.
Okay. Now you’re overwhelmed by the chore of unfriending most, if not all, of your contacts. Consider these three resources.
- If you don’t know how yet, learn how to unfriend people. Follow this link for simple instructions.
- Completely start over with a clean slate and follow this link for how to actually delete your profile.
- If you don’t actually want to unfriend someone, say a family member or a good friend, but you’re drained by the content they produce and share, you can simply hide their posts from your Facebook feed. Here’s how. It’s also worth noting that some people might just be better real-life friends than they are Facebook friends. That’s okay too.
It’s Really Okay To Unfriend People
We seem to have this underlying apprehension of being the single jerk who unfriends people. But, unfriending should be normalized. This is your life and you have a responsibility to preserve it and pursue personal health in all aspects. Don’t let your desire to please strangers get in the way of progress. You’re in control, and you have the opportunity to take back social media so that it serves you instead of you serving it.
Make it a habit to keep your Facebook feed clean. Only don’t get so high on your horse of unfriending that you can’t see yourself in the mirror. Reflect on this: is the content you produce and/or share make you worthy of being unfriended by someone else? Let’s all work together at making Facebook a healthier resource.
Less is more when it comes to our music libraries, as young millennials have learned the hard way, and less is certainly more when it comes to maintaining our lists of Facebook friends. I, for one, would much rather a cherished shelf of vinyl records than an entire hard-drive full of pirated fuzzy Myspace demos.