Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Cleaning and Facebook

A few weeks ago I did a little "spring cleaning" on facebook. I deleted around 50 people, mostly acquaintances that I had worked with in college, but that I hadn't spoken to in years. I wasn't planning on doing anything else.

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...


  1. I know what you mean. I'm down to 53 friends and family but, with 1 exception are all people I am happy to hear from and don't post things that upset me. The 1 exception is a cousin who I do hide on my feed so I can keep up with him as family but am never surprised or unprepared for his liberal, homosexual, or otherwise offensive posts.

  2. Amen and amen! I did the same thing a week ago. Want to be friends? ;)

  3. I submitted a comment but blogger had a problem and lost it. :(

    I posted a similar post on the same issue of unfriending people on facebook that you can read on my blog.

    Sorry you had to be subject to profanity. I truly hate listening or reading profanity because it makes finding out what the sentence means very challenging.

  4. I need to start trimming my facebook friends list down as well some of the people I do not find spiritually uplifting or just are so anti Catholic

  5. I usually block those people so I don't see their status'. I like to leave them and hope they will see something I said and remember it... I usually don't get anything from having them as a friend, but maybe they'll get something from being on my friend list.

    Plus now there is an app where people can see who deleted them as a friend! I had gone through and deleted about 50 friends and one of them friend requested me back again - someone who I thought wasn't even very active on facebook and I really never knew her well in the first place!

  6. I started out only adding people that I either know personally (ie friends) or family... have added a few blogger/cm friends since then. Thankfully I haven't needed to clean out my list often but it happens :-/ Mostly a result of opening it up a little more... I've thought about going through mine again but haven't had a big reason too and sometimes having a bunch has an advantage (like the free Doopsy stuff I was able to get lol).

  7. I gave up Facebook for Lent in part because I was tried of all the ridiculous comments from my in-laws. Every time I logged on to FB I found something that would make my blood boil. Unfortunately, I can't just delete them since it would cause problems. I have deleted other people who consistently make offensive remarks. It's just not worth it to have to deal with all that negativity from people I almost never talk to.

  8. Lent seems the perfect time to purge the clutter and move towards the true, good and beautiful, doesn't it? Thanks for sharing - I am looking forward to reading more of your posts!


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