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The Facebook Enigma: When Social-Networking Sites Infiltrate Our Real Lives

To Friend or Not to Friend? That is the question. This week, I tried to simplify my life... and I got burned.

Becky Graebner


July 17, 2013 - 4:00 pm
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As a Millennial, I’ve gotten used to relationships starting via Facebook. Dating wasn’t “official” until my Facebook status said “in a relationship.”  As far as friends went, after meeting one time, it was socially acceptable to find that guy from the bar and friend him on Facebook—then wait a few hours before messaging him…hoping he’d ask to hang out again.  In the beginning it was cool: friend everyone you know–and their grandma.

However, hundreds of Facebook friends and seven years later, I’m tired of my Facebook and its power over me.  I feel this odd sense of confusion if I don’t check it for a few hours and I was starting to feel burned out and annoyed by the constant, idiotic updates from some of my “friends.”

The BFF-obsessed girl who is in love with the Caps Lock Key:

Ohmigod. Tonight I had the BEST night EVER with my BESTIE, (insert annoying name). OMG I LOVE you GURLL. BEST FRIENDS FOREVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR :) :) <3

Gag me.

The kid who is really hoping to sound cool:

I am SO HIGH right now.

Really? I hope the police see this.

The person who needs some serious attention, ice cream, and a Sex and the City marathon:

Thank goodness you are out of my life. I am SO much better without you. Now I know who my real friends are and I don’t need you. I will never let you back into my life.  I am so much stronger now.  I’m in a good place. 

Please grow up. Then, call a shrink.

See what I mean?

Some people “delete” their Facebook as a sign of mental strength—only to reappear a few weeks later with 100 status updates about their awesome willpower.  Forget you.  I wanted a long-term solution.  So, after years and years of accumulating friends, nourishing Facebook friendships, and pruning some of those annoying (above) stragglers from my friends list, I decided to do a Facebook purge.

Honestly, when I told some of my real-life (not just digital) friends that I was going to go through my page and systematically delete people, they were aghast.  HOW could you do that?  That’s sad! Why?

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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I did the delete and then go back some time back. That was before the Snowden revelations. I deleted it again and will not go back. I have decided that Facebook is nothing but a spy ring. Not that I think my friends are spies, who mostly are people I worked with in the military, but because I don't trust Facebook or the federal government, so good riddance to FB.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As a person who has been on-line, as it was back in the day, since 1986 I have a simple parameter for my facebook page: If I am not related to you by blood or marriage, or I would not recognize you and walk across a busy street to greet you, I don't need you on my facebook. I do have a good out, though, many people my age don't use social media. A young man that is in my daughter's "I wanna be your boyfriend" line sent me a friend request a few days back. I also consider that off limits.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think you should reconsider re-friending the girl you defriended, but with an explanation about why you defriended her, including an idea of the parameters you used. Tell her it wasn't personal. Say you're sorry and that in the moment of cleaning, you forgot that you weren't cleaning out shirts that did't fit anymore you were clearing out actual people.

I'm older than you and joined facebook as a way to keep an eye on my young teens. Until very recently, every one of my 'facebook friends' was either family or someone I've known for many years. I have a different perspective than you, but the bottom line is that there's a person on the end of every connection that deserves some sort of respect. When you lost that understanding and chose to not share an authentic reason for the defriending with the girl you ran into, you were choosing to show her less respect. That's probably why she acted that way. It's cover for some people.

I don't defriend people. I change their settings. It's less messy, and life is to short. Cheers!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I don't defriend people. I change their settings."

THIS. I don't understand two articles in a row from young women bragging about purging people from their "fake digital life" because they felt like a victim of Facebook (lol) but were too stupid or lazy to click on "Hide All Updates From Newsfeed." I don't think I'd want the whole world to know that about me.

I also don't understand people deluded into believing that it's not "real life"; I've been using the internet socially since 1993 and it's always been real life.

My Facebook "friends" include a number of elderly and disabled people from my hometown--mostly distant relatives or friends of my mother--and while I don't care about what they're watching on TV or Yet Another Picture Of Their Dog Sitting On The Same Couch As The Last Thousand Pictures, I understand that this view into the world outside their living room is important for them. Letting them read my updates (and I've got lists set up so I don't bore work friends with family stuff or family with hobby friends stuff, etc) and look at my photos costs me absolutely nothing in time or energy. And I know they read them, because they'll see my mom at a funeral or whatever and tell her, heh. :)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree. Facebook is a very real means of connecting to people near and far and it's been a terrific outlet for me. However, I do see how young people growing up with it feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the 'friends' they acquire.

Like any tool, it's only as effective as the person using it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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