Thursday 18 July 2019

Melanie Morris: What's with the cull? We all need Facebook friends

"I've just done a massive cull of my Facebook friends". So I read on my 'life feed' the other night, posted by a mate. Fortunately, I'd obviously survived this most cruel of wake-up calls, but it also got me thinking.

Obviously, people do this all the time ... go through their list of online connections, and ditch the ones they no longer find a place for in their busy, cyber world. It's a bit like filling a skip full of relationships past their sell-by date.

Yikes. Though I made the grade on this occasion, I have been dumped in the past -- only discovering it when I went to find the person to invite them to a party. I'd been silently dumped. What!? And after all we've been through. Okay, not much of late, but I looked at pics of your offspring, and left a pleasant comment at the time of the birth. And I also gave you the beauty advice you'd asked for when you originally sent that friend request. Humph. I've been used.

I have never done a cull. Sure, I've wanted to when the same irritating updates appear, posted by the same annoying person on my page over and over again. Equally, I neither care enough about the posts, and care too much about hurting the individual's feelings to do anything more proactive about it. At most, I'll just 'hide' their updates in my account settings

Does that make me slovenly? A coward? A Facebook slut? I don't really care who views any of the stuff on my page -- I wouldn't put it up there if it were 'sensitive'. And surely the whole point about social media is being, well, social. If I were a party, and being bored rigid by one of the guests, I'd just manoeuvre myself away from my 'friend'; not throw a strop and tell them I never wanted to see them again before heaving them out the door. Well, not without a bottle of Tequila inside me anyhow.

Since when did we have to tend to, and upkeep our Facebook page like a diligent gardener? Planting the right stuff in the right places and the right time ... cultivating the prize blooms ... weeding out the undesirables. Jeepers, it all sounds like a lot of hard work on top of our already busy lives.

Sure, it gets annoying when when 'friends' spam you constantly ... About the club nights they are promoting, the charity chain-mails they're passing on, the table quizzes, the requests for votes ... but isn't that what the delete button is for? Or, you could be a totally lazy ho like me and just leave them all unopened -- 197 unread messages in my inbox right now, and counting.

But I wouldn't have accepted any friends on my page without wanting them there or being interested in their lives -- either for personal or professional reasons. And there's nothing more fun than seeing random updates, wall posts or comments on my status from people I haven't see in ages. It's like running into an old chum in town, but in this case, it doesn't matter if you're in your PJs, eating muesli from the box.

People come and go in our lives. But why ditch them, just because they're in a fallow period, or because you've changed jobs/lifestyles/countries? As a wise man (or woman) frequently says ... you never know what's around the corner.

Share the love, people. Keep your friends close and let the 'floaters' float? Be a little more judicious in choosing Facebook friends at the start and enjoy the variety of your virtual acquaintances.

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