The Cull: Facebook


I woke up early on Saturday morning. I sat in bed and from 8 a.m till 10.30 a.m I went through the battlefield of my Facebook Friends. My task was to reduce my 1,700 + friends to 300-400. This was no mean feat. I had suddenly realised that my reason for having so many 'friends' on Facebook was no longer valid. I originally decided I would add anyone who asked, so they could watch the videos we were making. Times have changed. If I want people to have access to the TV productions well, we have a separate Facebook page now. And Facebook has moved on since when we were first using it for work. You can message pages these days.


In short, I had had enough of FB Friends and the ridiculous social etiquette that surrounds it. I have suffered countless people, who I don't even know, telling me what I should and should not post to Facebook, people telling me off for celebrating something when I should be mourning mass deaths in another country, people using FB to 'watch' my movements and to keep tabs on me while never speaking to me in real life, people trying to get to someone in my family through me and complete nutters shouting in capital letters all over my posts without any relevance to the post itself. Some I just removed because we are no longer in touch and are very unlikely to be in the future.


What was interesting was that I have been thinking about this for a long long time. What had put me off in the past was Facebook itself. Do you have almost 2000 friends? Have you tried deleting any? It is not easy. First I tried on the website using my laptop. I found that when I went to my friends page and started to unfriend someone, the whole page would refresh and take me to the top of the list again. So I had to scroll back down to where I was, find the next person I wanted to remove and do it all over again. As I said, I had 1,700 + friends when I began. I wasn't about to spend my entire Saturday doing this. I switched to my iPhone app. Happily, on there, I could just go down my list of friends and keep unfriend-ing. I still had to do it one at a time. When I was down to 407 the list on my app stopped. I went back to the website and discovered that the phone seemed to be showing me a 'friends' list whereas there were some other people in sub categories like 'acquaintances.'

In other words, Facebook is not helping you to remove friends. In fact it feels like the opposite. It should not take you hours to weed through your FB friends and delete them. Facebook isn't stupid. They haven't just forgotten to develop the unfriending side of their product. I am sure there is a purpose behind it. In my humble opinion, the more you share around and communicate, the more they can advertise and the more money they make.

Anyway, after sticking at 407 when I had to pop out for a 2 hour shoot, I came home and then carefully went through each "friend" and finished the job by hand, typing in individual names to the search and painstakingly removing each one. What was interesting was that most of the people I didn't know who I was removing had long since deactivated their accounts anyway. After another hour long slog I stopped at the satisfying number of 257. Done.