We’ve all been there. It’s late. We’re sitting alone in our rooms, the only light is the bluish glow of the computer screen (super healthy for your eyes, of course). Staring at Facebook, something completely idiotic pops up in our newsfeed: “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him. Happy one week anniversary, sweetheart,” or a rant about politics that makes absolutely no sense. 0R aN eNt!r3 $taTU$ TyP3D l!k3 Th!$. That’s the worst. You read it and begin losing faith in your fellow humans.
Last night, this was me. And, as I clicked the “hide” option, my eyes wandered down the pop up menu to the “unfriend” button. Will this person really miss me as a Facebook friend, I wondered? They had more than 1,500 friends, so most likely not. Now they have 1,499. However, I then glanced at my own friend count and was appalled to see a number dangerously close to the 1,000 mark.
I opened up my friend list and began the classic “friend purge.” After all, I am graduating from college in a few weeks – do I really still need to be friends with people I haven’t spoken to since grade school? Probably not, but I actually found the entire de-friending process more difficult and nostalgic than I first anticipated.
We went to grade school and high school together AND our parents still go to the same church? I can’t possibly delete you as a friend. Every once in a while you like one of my random statuses? Why would I deprive you of the obvious joy you get from my humor? (I’m not usually that conceited, but it was late and I was delusional). You dated one of my friends for two weeks two years ago? What if you get back together, oh my gosh, that would be so awkward I cannot delete you.
While I did get rid of about 200 “unnecessary” connections last night, it made me consider how Facebook and other social media sites are really shaping our interactions IRL (in real life). The fact that I even know what “IRL” means kind of scares me a little bit. Are we so influenced by the Internet that we are clinging to things and connections that don’t even exist? Perhaps we need a little shift in focus. I know I will concentrate more on face-to-face interactions instead of superficial Facebook-to-Facebook friendships.
Caroline Campbell is a senior in the College of Communication with a major in journalism and a minor in history. Email her firstname.lastname@example.org.