It’s Okay to Delete People on Social Media

I’m not sure what it is: something is in the air, an endless affliction of a quarantine life, or a mild passage of time, but lately I’ve been in the mood to defend myself. I’m not upset, I just wonder why I’m so digitally connected with people I haven’t spoken to since these fragile relationships – often measured in years – were formed.

We’ve written countless guides to shrink your various social media platforms, so I’m not going to walk you through the technical act of protection, unsubscribing, or what your service of choice calls the digital divide. Plus, it’s usually pretty obvious: find the person’s profile and look for the big icon that indicates you’re connected. Click on it, break the connection and get to your business.

Instead, I want to talk about strategy. I’ve found that advising people to cut back on their digital lives doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for my friends, and it certainly doesn’t work for me; I have written extensively about Spartan life on the Internet, but never listened to my advice. I made friends with random Twitter followers if we both thought about the topic for a bit. Heck, I let people become my Facebook friends if we have “common interests,” even if I can’t remember if we ever spoke directly.

Once you’ve gotten to the point where you are fed up with the insignificance of these digital connections – those tiny windows into your privacy that you’ve allowed strangers to have – you can think about removing those you’re connected to, and I couldn’t be happier for you. It’s a big and daunting step if you’ve been in this fictitious relationship for years, but it’s important.

And if not, I implore you: you don’t need to stay “in touch” with people you do n’t really want to communicate with . You won’t gain anything if you see news from time to time from people who may not even recognize you if you two walk in a crowd.

I understand that you may have a brief pang of nostalgia for that college acquaintance you once had such a good conversation with in the library. You may even feel a little guilty, as if you were somehow a jerk in initiating a denouement. But you know what? If you can’t remember when they last spoke to you, they won’t miss the connection , and neither will you.

Honest research has been done on the positive effects of quitting social media on your life. Since social media can also be an incredibly useful tool for getting information – watch all of the cutting edge videos of yesterday’s disaster – I invest heavily in the cropping approach. Only fill your social networks with important people; the rest to excise.

So how do you actually do this?

During my little winter break, I spent a lot of free time – between roommate board game nights, virtual hangouts, and World of Warcraft raids – to undercut Facebook a bit.

Back in the day, Facebook gave you a pretty good list of filters that you could use to find and create friends lists. So, for example, you could see all of your acquaintances who graduated from high school, everyone from your hometown, or even everyone who took a certain class with you in college. Currently Facebook gives almost nothing:

While you can go the hard way by opening your friends list and manually checking which of your connections you want to keep or disconnect, I have an alternative solution: use Facebook’s Shared Friends feature to quickly find someone to unsubscribe.

In my case, I just found a few people that I went to high school with. Before cutting them out of my digital life, I looked at our mutual friends. This gave me a pretty quick list of other people I went to high school with who received the “first” awards. After a few rounds, I must have defended about 20-30 people that I haven’t spoken to for most of 18 years. Trying to find them on a list of over 1000 friends would be exhausting to say the least.

More importantly, it was a kind of “surgical blow” that I could deliver during dinner. I didn’t have to set aside two hours to give everyone on my friends list a thumb up or down like a Gladiator . I don’t think I’ll have the patience for that, and I suspect that most people don’t have enough either. But I have no problem doing a series of quick searches and even faster deletions when the mood hits, especially when it takes less time than the YouTube videos I usually watch.

You can go even deeper down this rabbit hole if you like by looking at which of your friends have joined the same group as you – perhaps a group of alumni you no longer need, or a group dedicated to some small organization. with which you worked. from ten years ago. If you don’t care anymore about any of the Best Trip 2003 camperz! 1! ”, Deleting all your friends who are also members of this group will only take a few minutes of your time. The same is true for past events, and even for other individuals you like, such as a previously loved band.

While there aren’t many useful ways to delete friends on other platforms like Facebook does, don’t let that disappoint you. Even if you need to make a list of friends in small chunks – writing down where you stop after analyzing 30-50 connections at a time – the process is worth it. Just make sure you have a robust strategy for removing them, whether it’s “people I started following when I first joined this service eight years ago,” “people who don’t follow me back,” or “people, who have not published anything. over the past two years. ” This will help speed up the trimming process and remove emotions that might otherwise be quite calculated.

Reduce community sprawl. Get rid of people that you are not interested in or with whom you like to communicate. It will make you feel better.


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