“Facebook is rubbish! I never see any of my friends’ posts!” This is a statement I hear almost daily when I tell people I work on Facebook. I quickly jump to the network’s defence explaining how the algorithm that controls the network works and that you humanly can’t see everyone’s content. But this weekend something changed for me.
I have been having a rough year and in a moment of madness while I was evaluating my life I realised I only really have five or six close friends. So why did I have over 400 Facebook friends?! Now, I know there is a difference between real life and Facebook, but why was I friends with people I didn’t even know? Or those who I never really liked at school (it’s ok to say that, they didn’t like me either) so the cull began.
The first delete-spree was easy; everyone I didn’t know or wasn’t 100% sure who they were. I was a member of Young Farmers so had quickly racked up friends because we had 60+ people in common, when I actually don’t know who they are.
The second cut; people who wouldn’t say hello to me in the street. This was a collection of people I knew from school, college and university who I had accepted friend requests from feeling like I had to. But, really, I knew if I walked past them they probably wouldn’t know who I was.
The third cull was harder; people I liked but I wouldn’t really call ‘friends’. It was those people I would stop and speak to, but maybe only for a moment. Those who think it’s acceptable to send me messages via messenger at 1am about work; Then hardest of all, clients from work who I actually liked but realised I might not want them to know all of my personal updates.
I have to be honest, the cull wasn’t at all easy and the fear of offending people was real, but the results had an amazing and immediate impact!
Suddenly my News Feed was the place it was always designed to be. I saw updates from friends and family. I saw when my Auntie posted about her garden and when my friends shared memories, profile updates and pictures. But, more importantly, suddenly a new collection of people started to see my content. Friends I had known for years suddenly started commenting on whether I should keep my fancy dress box and the old photos I’d found (the clear out hasn’t just been online).
Facebook no longer felt like a place I mindlessly scrolled through searching for something of interest. It became a place for connection. I was connecting with my friends and family who otherwise I wouldn’t have been in contact with for weeks at a time, maybe longer.
So, next time you say that Facebook isn’t working for you, stop and have a search through your friends list. Are you only seeing content from those you wouldn’t class as friends? Maybe it’s not Facebook that’s broken, maybe you’re looking at the wrong people. Remember, sometimes it’s good to have a clear out.