Social Media

Facebook Unfriending Is Awesome

I hate Facebook.

At least that’s what I thought. Over the years, this social media platform has become a wasteland of SPAM, meaningless status updates, and photos intended to promote one’s coolness.

Social media. It’s such a strange phenomenon – we can share ideas, photos, and events with friends, yet nowadays it’s a measuring stick for popularity, or unpopularity, as is the case for most of the world.

Thirsty? Go on social media. Want acquaintances to FOMO? Go on social media.

The other day, I was on Facebook and clicked on the “People You May Know” section.

I was quite horrified at what I saw.

How. The. Fuck. does Facebook know that I may know these people? The group was a weird mix from all over the place, mostly those that I don’t care to see.

It was like seeing a bad dream on my laptop screen.

I hate how smart the Internet is, oh but I love it too. C’est la vie.

It’s funny how an attitude adjustment can change the entire outlook of something.

My disdain for Facebook had gradually crescendoed into full-on loathing over the years. Then, at that moment, as I was on the “People You May Know” section, it hit me. The proverbial lightbulb went off.

Facebook was shit because I made it shit.

Why do I have all these friends? Why am I connected to so many people who I couldn’t care less about? What’s this need for everyone to accumulate more and more friends?

The solution was easy.

That night, I purged my friends list, unfriending over half of my so called friends. The ones I unfriended were a combination of: assholes, people I no longer cared to keep in touch with, people who polluted my feed with all sorts of bullshit, boring individuals, my family, etc. (just kidding about the family, I am so glad my parents are computer illiterate)

What was the result? Apparently, I have way less friends now. But c’mon, who really has hundreds of friends? Show me someone who does; I almost guarantee that I’ll hate that person.

But, my Facebook looks exponentially improved. There’s a lot less selfies and baby pictures now, which is great.

I’m not opposed to someone showing photos of their child, but every damn day? (Emily has gone over this already.)

God bless Jimmy Kimmel. He’s already celebrated National Unfriend Day for 5 years now. But I didn’t want to wait until November 17 to start cleansing my social media.

Over the years I had grown more hesitant to share anything on Facebook for the simple reason that I had so many friends that I didn’t want to share my shit with.

I actually enjoy people sharing photos, opinions, and ideas on Facebook, as long as they are honest and uncontrived.

I posted this message with my remaining friends after my purge, which felt amazing. It was a simple effort to control my content and to eliminate any unnecessary baggage.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 8.25.29 PM

What if everyone was friends with their actual friends? Imagine that.

– Chris.


What Is Your Social Media Motivation?

People are all salesmen in today’s world.

It’s apparent in all social mediums – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – that overlooked post of someone trying to sell a product that gets glossed over by people browsing through their feeds. They want their products sold, their websites to be visited, and their gigs to be attended. These advertisements are commonplace, unnoticed and not talked about.

The most common ads, however, are not made by corporations or celebrities. They are made by the common, everyday person, with their social media connections being the target clientele.

Madison Holleran was a tragic example. A budding track star at UPenn, she used Facebook and Instagram to advertise the grandness of her life. She was pretty, smart, and athletically gifted. She was selling an image of happiness and success through every post while concealing the intense struggle within her. Most unfortunately, Madison lost this struggle, committing suicide at the age of 19. People on the outside would have never suspected her to be battling depression because what they saw of her through her social media posts was someone enjoying life with a promising future. (If you want to read more about Madison, this is a good read)

Like Madison, millions of lives are on display via social media, the stars of their own reality show. Even the most ordinary of lives are now glamorized and elevated through photos – moments in time that are sensationalized through captions. Whether they realize it or not, people are selling the idea that their lives are fabulous and desirable.

Why is there this burning desire to sell an image? Why are Millennials consumed with their own celebrity?

These motivations can be better understood by thinking about the audience, which can be split into three groups – 1) people that are already part of one’s social circle outside of social media, 2) people that were once part of one’s social circle but are no longer, and 3) people that one is trying to get the attention of. Every photo, every caption, and every status update is on display for every Facebook friend, Instagram follower, and Twitter follower. Do people seek validation of their elevated status in the form of likes? Do people genuinely want their friends to share in their successes and failures? Is a photo or an inspirational quote meant to sell an image of someone the poster wants to be, but isn’t?

These questions highlight a great struggle for the Millennial generation. It’s the identity crisis that is being played out on a cyber scale. Do character and value dictate one’s social media, or does one’s social media dictate character and value?

Only the individual knows his or her own motivations. But this social media motivation is a discussion that is worth having – who knows how many people are out there just like Madison?

– Chris