“You must join Facebook!” The regular hounding of my friend as she tried to convince me to sign up, and connect with the big wide world and get “out”.
About a year later I finally gave in. I checked how others were using it and for the most part it seemed like one massive site filled with ego trips. It represented such a superficial dimension! However, this perception of mine soon changed after my son was diagnosed with hearing loss and I was introduced to a parent support group. Until then I had no idea what a Facebook group was, this in 2011!
My social media presence has been relatively low-key before I started to blog, this of course with the exception of my professional LinkedIn account which due to my profession at the time, recruitment, attracted many connections. Connections, a professional database in excess of 2 000 people, all of which I handed over to the company when I moved on to the NPO sector four years ago.
These days I administer and moderate a few groups and pages. I have an active Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter accounts under my blog name. A Pintrest account which I am yet to figure out as well as a YouTube account which is underutilised. In addition to this I also help my son manage his Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts. And of course my LinkedIn, which is a work in progress, since I started from scratch again.
Why am I telling you this? Well, some patience my dear reader – all will be revealed as I work my way through the process in my mind.
This post basically centres on my unusual Facebook habit of not exceeding the 100 friend list mark! Add to this the fact that I regularly do a “friend analysis” based on engagement, type of posts shared, liked and commented on. Once I go through this process I often find myself unfriending people. NOT because I don’t like them, NO, more because I feel a sense of clutter when I realise that I have someone on my friend list that rarely interacts. Then I also go through the process of “if I see you in the street today, will we stop and have a full on conversation or will it just be a nod of acknowledgement and that’s it” – if yes, then again, I unfriend.
Know that my personal Facebook account is exceptionally sacred to me. It is the one space where I can keep up with a handful of friends who have profoundly impacted on my life, people whom I don’t see often due to distance and life being very busy. It is also the place where I connect with families of my son’s friends, the behind the scenes of parenting dynamics. It is the space where I treasure most valued relationships in my very private and personal life. It is my space where I socialise – since I don’t get out much (actually I prefer to just stay at home and live in my head, because well, my head is the BEST place to be)!
Anyway, let me not get side tracked. Gosh, I’m actually starting to lose the point that I am trying to make here. This is so confusing!
Well, a few months ago, I did a complete analysis of my online platforms, my relationship platforms and how I go about engaging with the people in my online space. I recognised that my personal Facebook is just that, personal, and some of the individuals on my friend list did not necessarily need to be part of this space, especially if we regularly interact outside of social media (face-to-face, email, whatsapp and my other social media platforms). It is with this in mind that I felt quite comfortable unfriending 55% of my friends, tightening my security on my Faceboook and not risk having more people send me friend request which I delete.
Some friend requests I delete not because I don’t know the person, no, the request is deleted purely because I view my Facebook as my online sanctuary. Unfortunately some people do take not accepting a request or being unfriended to heart, and question this very personal decision, some even going as far as as blocking me for some arb reason, even though I have no issue with this.
I am of the opinion that if my relationship with anyone whom I have unfriended on Facebook has been negatively affected then that speaks for itself, because a relationship of any kind should NOT be depedent on, or limited to, whether or not you are a “Facebook Friend”.
Right now my Facebook friend list is 45! Most of these wonderful people do not follow me on my other social media platforms, because my relationship with each individual is very specific. There is also a HUGE level of trust that I place in these individuals to NOT share what I post outside of my inner Facebook sanctuary. I refer to these online friendships as evolutionary and will admit that I still go through my friend list and am often tempted to unfriend, and it is often when I am feeling sensory overload, people overload when I do this! Strange hey, for someone who blogs and shares quite a bit of her personal experiences on such a public platform.
This is me, and I am all kinds of crazy! How many Facebook friends do you have and do you take offence when someone unfriends you, especially if there are no issues and you are still in contact?