Kristan Hoffman

writing dreams into reality

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Social media cleansing

Periodically I like to go through Twitter, Facebook, and Google Reader and just … delete. Minimize. Cleanse. Today I did precisely that, and it led to some observations (mostly centered around Facebook):

  • Seriously, I got rid of about 10% of my friends just by deleting inactive accounts. (Which brings to mind the question: Hey Facebook, WHY are you listing inactive accounts??) Part of me wonders why each person deactivated; part of me envies/admires them for it.
  • I don’t even recognize the names of like half the people I’m connected to. Not because we aren’t friends anymore. Mostly because lots of ladies got married. (Sidebar: I won’t be changing my name.) Also, some people just like using ridiculous pseudonyms and/or making themselves hard to find for professional reasons.
  • It was kind of fun to reminisce about the different periods of my life from whence these people came. Especially the 2 groups of freshman that I was Resident Assistant for. I miss those kids and their hijinks.
  • It was really sad to see “Memorial Page” next to one girl’s name. We’re too young for that.
  • There are wedding and baby pics everywhere. We’re too young for that too! (Okay not really, but it still feels like it sometimes.)
  • Dang, Facebook is glitchy.
  • If I have to add you to a “restricted” list, we probably shouldn’t be friends anyway.
  • There really ought to be a way to filter political posts out of one’s news feed. I can be friends with people who think differently from me, but that doesn’t mean I want to read all their snarky status updates.

This latest cleanse was partly spurred by the peace I felt while on vacation, when I was mostly disconnected from the internet. Natalia Sylvester (who, ironically, I met through social media) said it perfectly in her latest post, “In the Vastness of Memory”:

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with social networking lately. I love the people it’s helped me connect to. I hate the co-dependency that constantly being plugged in has fostered.

I’m not saying let’s all be done with it. I’m just saying I want the control back. I want to share the occasional moment and be at peace with keeping some for myself.

Me too. And that’s something I’m going to strive toward in the days and weeks to come.

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9 Comments

  1. I’ve been trying to do better with that balance, and trying to stay off social media/email in the evenings. It’s so much more peaceful. I never knew what a stress it was! I can’t say I miss facebook at all. Now I’m limiting myself to blogging and twitter. It’s good :)

  2. Great post, as usual. I too have been suffering from serious facebook fatigue. I tried to delete my account, but soon realized I use it for so many other login things (spotify, hulu, etc…) that I went back.

    Love the post! I’m going to do the same.

  3. I love deleting people from my social media feeds too! But sometimes unfriending someone can be an awkward thing — like, even if they probably won’t notice, I still feel a little bad being essentially saying “I AM TOTALLY UNINTERESTED IN KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH YOU, YES YOU SPECIFICALLY, THROUGH THIS MEDIUM,” you know? But yes, it always makes me feel better after I delete a bunch of people. Yay for de-cluttering.

  4. Juliann

    I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten caught up in all the social media extremes. I blog. I tweet once a week. I only use facebook to tell distant relatives ‘Happy Birthday.’

    My husband just heard on the news that tonight is “Unplugged Night.” We’re all supposed to unplug. Easy enough, I think.

  5. Social media cleansing can be awkward, as Linda said, but it’s completely necessary. I haven’t been using social media much since starting dental school last August, except for the occasional peek at Tumblr. Most of it is because I just don’t have any free time nowadays, but some of it is caused by how overwhelming social media can be when you have so little time. Scrolling through Google Reader with 1000+ unread posts and Twitter stream full of tweets from people I’ve only talked to once make it very difficult to keep up.

    I’m doing a full social media cleansing in the next few days — and hopefully the end result will be a more meaningful social media experience. :)

  6. You make me feel so old. Great post; great idea.

  7. T.S.-
    Oh, in Paris I considered deleting FB and Twitter altogether. But FB is too practical (for keeping in touch with real life family/friends) and Twitter is too fun. :P Props to you, though! Seriously.

    Dustin-
    Ooohh, I didn’t even think about the common-login factor…

    Linda-
    LOL YUP. It’s that “yay for me — but oh, sorry for you, please don’t hate me” feeling. What I try to remind myself of is that my disconnecting from that person is NOT a reflection on their worth.

    Juliann-
    Good for you! I SO wish I were less interested in social media… but since I’m not, all I can do is manage it better.

    Emy-
    “a more meaningful social media experience” – EXACTLY! That’s what I am striving for as well. I’ve long since stopped *caring* about numbers (friends, followers, pageviews) but the habits of constantly *checking* them are still ingrained in me, so breaking that, along with cleansing out, are my latest efforts.

    Gustavo-
    Lol sorry? But thanks.

  8. I’m a little late to the party ;) For some reason I find it a lot easier to unfollow people on Twitter than I do to unfriend people on FB (for that, the Hide Feed feature is my favorite). Maybe because it seems more personal, since oftentimes these are people I’ve met in real life? Or maybe it’s because it’s so much easier to overshare on Facebook than it is on Twitter. Case in point, I once had a friend share an entire album of her C-section, pretty much in real time. I’m all for the miracle of birth but I draw the line at seeing blood (and lots of it) on my timeline. That time I did unfriend.

    Thanks for the mention, btw! ;)

  9. EW I can’t believe that really happened! Unfriend FO SHO.

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