As I am becoming more confident in applying what for lack of a better umbrella phrase I shall term ‘the decluttering philosophy’ to my physical possessions, I find myself almost without realizing applying them also to online activities.
I am pretty much squarely in ‘the Facebook generation’ – I use Facebook daily and find it really useful to keep in contact with friends who move jobs and homes fairly frequently. If I tried to keep their contacts in an address book it would always be out of date, email addresses change as people upgrade the quirky msn or Hotmail account of their teens for something more professional-sounding. The only sure way to be always able to check which city they live in and send a reliable message is through Facebook.
All in all, Facebook really helps me to stay in touch with old friends I would otherwise lose track of – but I also have many many contacts on Facebook who are not really close friends. People I met at uni, people with whom I went to primary school and no longer have anything in common, people who knew people I was friends with. Recently, while checking Facebook, I have started to ‘declutter’ these people. I’m not passing any kind of comment on them – I’m sure they are all (or mostly) lovely people – but frankly if I can’t even remember who they are or how I met them, then they’re just cluttering up my Facebook.
There is also a definite plus to this – the more I unfriend people who, honestly, aren’t actually friends (eg the former room mate of an ex-boyfriend), the more my news feed is filled with news of people I genuinely want to stay in touch with. It’s prompting me to reach out to them more, respond to their news and take the initiative to restart a correspondence or meet up in person.