Facebook is ubiquitous, and it ain’t going away any time soon. That’s a good thing, because it’s a valuable social tool. But it can be pretty overwhelming when you log on and you’re confronted with an all-out assault from friends, family, co-workers, people from high school that you didn’t even care about then, and that creepy weirdo you met at a party one time and had a fifteen minute conversation with about Joss Whedon that was mostly just you agreeing that yeah, you guess Firefly was pretty good and pretending you didn’t sleep through most of The Avengers.
You have the people you want to stay updated on, the ones who are important to you, but how do you go about weeding through the rest? Who deserves to get the axe? Often it takes careful consideration, a weighing of pros and cons that doesn’t just take into account the present, but the future of relationships too. That being said, there are a few people on our friends lists we’ve all got that have no business being there, and whom you should drop right now like a cat into a crock pot.
People with children
It’s a pretty hard and fast rule that anyone with kids should be avoided online at all costs. Nothing good can come of being friends with parents. It’s just one never-ending cavalcade of pictures and braggy status updates about the “amazing” thing their child did that day. Oh, my kid took his first steps today. Look, my kid can use the potty now. Wow, now he’s graduated top of his class. Whoopee, my kid got appointed to the Supreme Court. Big deal, I can walk and poop and get a job. Well, I can walk and poop, anyway. And I’ve appeared in court.
You know the type. They post all day about all these causes, acting like they’re making a difference, but they never actually do anything real. There’s a difference between really making an impact and just sharing a bunch of links and photos. So you got a bunch of people to sign a petition about some oil pipeline, it’s not like that took a lot of effort. And is it really that much work to organize a protest that stops the destruction of the only local habitat of an endangered species of bird? I doubt it. You know what? I looked it up, and a lot of those birds are just going to get eaten by cats and bigger birds anyway, so smooth move on that one, John James Audubon.
Also, raising money for breast cancer research by riding your bike across three provinces? That’s not even half of the country. Better luck next time. And $8400 isn’t even that much money, either. I make that in like three years.
This one should be a no-brainer, but a lot of people hold off on hitting that unfriend button because they want to keep tabs on their ex. It’s a lot easier that way to find out where someone’s going and sit in your parked car outside, smoking cigarette after cigarette listening to radio static for four hours stewing about who they could be seeing inside that condo.
And, let’s not kid ourselves, social media allows us to rub their face in our current successes, too. But really, as soon as the relationship is done you should cut those ties. Otherwise, what may start as a civil, respectful post-romantic friendship will almost certainly turn ugly. Spiteful messages will be sent, embarassingly photoshopped photos will be posted, and rumours will start to spread about who’s a big cheating whore and who’s not. And eventually this will all be used in her case to take out a restraining order on me.
Well, guess what, Charlene? If you didn’t want your dad and your 67-year-old aunt and your fiancé to know that you once told me I’m better at oral than any guy you’ve ever been with, then maybe you shouldn’t have created a situation in which I can tag you in even one post about it, let alone four.
There’s no foreseeable time when Facebook isn’t a regular part of everyday life. So we might as well get used to it. We’re well past the early, Wild West days when your stature in life was told by how many friends you had. Thankfully we’ve now settled into a much more calm and reasonable system based on the quality of those friendships. And, obviously, the much more vital count of how many Twitter followers you have.
Photo by Gerard Girbes via Flickr