by Ryan Almodovar
Lately I’ve been finding myself becoming more and more dissatisfied with my user experience on Facebook. The website that is supposed to be the great connector, the ‘electric friendship generator’, now just seems unsettling to me, largely driven by the fact that when I check my newsfeed and I have no clue who any of these people are anymore.
All day, I see nothing but people I’ve been in one class with, people I’ve met at parties, third and fourth cousins, and kids I used to go to high school with. Somewhere deep in my subconscious, a child-sized version of me is yelling ‘stranger danger!’ The best way to handle this situation is to defriend – cut the dead weight from your profile and your lives.
Take the example of the long lost school mate. You accept and are excited about learning what Bobby So-and-so has been up to since graduation. Wall posts are exchanged, you might even chat, but after about 3 days you go back to the same anonymity you had until you reconnected. Quickly you remember why you and Bob didn’t really talk much in the first place.
If you’re going to have the kind of friendship where you don’t speak for years in between, you might as well de-friend and wait for the class reunion. Sure, you can make the argument that it might be valuable to keep them around for networking purposes, but if they haven’t been a vital part of your life since you last talked, it’s a fair bet they wouldn’t go out of their way to help you even if they had the chance.
Danger too lies in accepting anyone at random. Gentlemen: if an attractive woman in a swimsuit you don’t know friend-requests you, has five friends, and really wants to talk about her camera shows, not only is she not your friend, but you’re going to get a virus (oddly enough, the same thing happens in real life.)
Ladies, let’s say there’s a guy you’ve friended that you don’t necessarily know too well, or he creeps you out. If one day he invites you to a ‘Lost my cell, need your numbers’ kind of event, and you know he didn’t have your number before – you just might have a stalker on your hands. The psychological payoff of accepting a new ‘friendship’ isn’t worth that.
There are now actually alternatives to this over-friending phenomenon, including Path, a social network that only allows a maximum of 50 friends; so there are options if you find that there’s too much to handle. Obviously this site may never have the popularity or saturation of Facebook, but if you want to have a better more connected experience, it might not hurt to see who you know and trim it down some. If they’re really not that important, odds are they won’t notice anyway, and you’ll be closer to the people that you really care about.
To learn more about Ryan, visit Awkward and Dangerous.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.