But lately, opening my facebook page was becoming a chore I avoided. Sure I wanted to check to see if I had any messages from my closest friends and from family members, but reading status updates in the "Top News" section was becoming rather disturbing. There was a young man ranting about a young woman he "had not beaten" (she was apparently, from the gist of the post accusing him of this), while his family members and friends threatened her with colorful language in the comments section. There were posts about someone being charged with elder abuse and someone else losing custody of their children (these were accusations flung at each other that made the "Top News"). And then there was just the general profanity.
A quote from a college english professor begins to come to mind whenever I read anything filled with expletives. He said in class one day that whenever he read anything filled with profanity he began to question the writers intellect because he felt they lacked the ability to express themselves in any other way. Now I wouldn't go so far as to question a posters intellect based on a status update, but over the years his words have given me pause. There are far better ways of expressing emotion than resorting to four letter words (particularly the same four letter word over and over again...).
I know that you can block people's posts so they don't show up, but at that point is there really a point in keeping them on your friends list if you've decided you don't want to see anything that they say?
Last night, however, I read something that was the last straw. A "friend" had been involved in a conversation and for whatever reason, facebook decided that it was "top news." As it involved religion my attention was captured and I began to read. By the second comment she had used the words "Catholic" and "Nazis" in the same sentence (as in "the great Christians of the past that fought against the Catholic Church and the Nazis..."). By the end I was ready for a second round of spring cleaning.
I began by thinking: "Wouldn't it be nice if my facebook was filled only with people that I genuinely like? People who don't use the f-word in every sentence or that compare my religion with a regime that committed genocide?" And I started clicking delete. Over and over again.
At the beginning of the month I had 282 friends (or something like that). I ended the night with 121 friends. All of my online/blogging friends made the cut (apparently you Catholic bloggers don't use very much profanity on facebook!). All of my family members made the cut. Most of my family friends made the cut (the woman who made the comment was actually someone I'd grown up going to Church with from my parents' generations...) Lots of teachers made it. And of course my best friends through the years were safe.
And I really like the change.
Now I just need to start spring cleaning in my house...