Social Media Diet: How I committed Facebook social suicide

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A reader caught wind of the fact that I socially bailed on Facebook in 2011, and asked me to share the story. Conveniently, I documented the process on my personal blog. I’ll be sharing the three posts this week, as part of a series called Social Media Diet.

Originally written December 2011
YOU GUYS! I’m doing it! I’m culling my Facebook friends list down to maybe 20 people (Empire staff, family who use it, a few networking folks) and only using it for work stuff from now on.

I absolutely can’t delete my account — I need it to manage all the Offbeat Empire’s Pages, which are a critically important traffic generator. Plus, I don’t WANT to delete it — I like it as an archive.

But committing this more delicate form of Facebook social suicide is taking forever. I’m deleting people one by one (all 400+ of them), which is lame but also interesting … first, I’m realizing how few of these people have interacted with me on Facebook within the last year. Very few of them.

Second, I’m realizing how in almost all cases I have PLENTY of other ways to keep in touch with these folks, and most of them I prefer interacting with elsewhere. Facebook just isn’t a platform I like using.

Third, I’m stoked at cutting myself off from one more digital teat that I can go suck on when I’m feeling H.A.L.T.. I have enough digital addictions. I think I can spare one.

FOURTH! Very amusing to see people’s responses to what I realize now was kind of a flounce. I wasn’t looking for anyone to convince me not to go, but it was sort of amazing to see how fervently some folks were like NOOOOOOOOOO! The best were the suggestions that I create a NEW facebook account rather than kill the old one, and the follower who was overwhelmed by my mentions of the other places I’m already posting…um, see, THAT’S why I’m deleting Facebook. Because I like Flickr better.

Fifth: Once I’d made the decision, I felt almost drunk. I’m freeeeeeeeeeeeee! (A little!)

It took me, all told, about 90 minutes to kill off 400 friends remove 400 connections. At first it was irritating, but then I realized it was being a neat opportunity to do some thinking about each person, and consider stuff like:

  • do I have your email or phone number?
  • do I follow you on Twitter or Flickr or Pinterest or RSS?
  • could I easily find you again if I wanted to contact you?
  • have we interacted on Facebook recently? (…and enjoyed it?)

At first it went slow, but then it was freeing. Favorite deletions: my first love, and that stupid raver boy I had a massive crush on in 1996. FAREWELL, EMOTIONAL DETRITUS!

Interestingly, while my biggest priority with the cull was to cut back on the time I spent on Facebook, I realized afterwards that with only 40 33 friends who I ACTUALLY care about, FB is a much more interesting place. (To clarify: this does NOT mean “everyone cut = not cared about.” It means “people remaining = no uncared-about people.” There’s a big difference there. I removed HUNDREDS of people I care about, but have better ways to keep in touch with.) I mean, I feel like I’m still spending less time there… but there’s definitely a difference in the time that I’m on the site.

I’ll likely continue to cull my list down — I’m following a few colleagues who I see on Twitter all the time anyway, and it’s likely overkill.

I highly recommend a cull. It felt great.

Coming tomorrow: Social Media Diet: …And then I stopped using Instagram

Comments on Social Media Diet: How I committed Facebook social suicide

  1. I did this! I brought my friends list down from 400+ to 50-60 people. It is so great to do, I promise. Plus, I have plenty of other social media avenues to go through if I really really really needed to speak with someone (or you know, like…the phone). You’ll be so much happier that you did this!

  2. I make a point to go through my list every so often. Not just on Facebook but on Twitter and Tumblr as well. It really helps to keep things fresh. To be honest though, there are times I seriously consider deleting Facebook, but the only thing that keeps me from doing so is the fact that I have alot of friends overseas and Facebook is the only way I can talk with them.

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