I’m a bit too late — as always happens on Facebook. While you were there a seeming 20 hours per day inviting everyone to play Candy Crush, I was too busy doing important things to … well … UNFRIEND you.
In case you missed it, the world recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of “National Unfriend Day,” a comedic tradition launched by Jimmy Kimmel that still has some traction.
“(It’s a) trend that is now making people take long looks at their friend list and deleting those “extra” friends,” Micki Hogan of Digital Journal. “It reminds us all that cleaning your friend list is a good idea.”
Commentators on the trend see more pluses than minuses in the undeniable need to unfriend.
“What started as a silly idea has now become a serious reason to declutter your friend list in a non negative way,” according to Hogan. “We all have “those” friends: the over-sharing friend whose wallposts fill your wall, that one relative that you no longer speak to because they spread rumors regarding your personal life, the friend that overthinks every one of your Facebook posts.”
The biggest reason to cull the herd may be security. Going through your friend list can clear out “friends” who might actually be people you don’t know, hackers or spammers, and contacts who could cause you to regret the shares to which they now have access (think people who could affect your reputation, job prospects, or other important areas of your life).
With an estimated 1.3 billion Facebook users, the social platform has become a behemoth where a person can, literally, have “too many friends.” The average adult Facebook user has about 338 friends, according to CNN, and the time it takes to keep up with birthday shout-outs alone may be a waste of valuable time.
Unfriending has another benefit. Due to the algorithmic permutations on Facebook, cleaning up the friends roster will probably reveal the important posts from serious acquaintances that you might actually want to read.
“When one removes an over poster or spammer from their news feed the other posts become ‘unlost’ and visible within the never ending feed,” concludes Hogan. “If you downsize your list to those you have a close personal relationship with, you will able to see the posts that matter to you the most.”
As the saying goes, less is sometimes more. And no one needs a special day to grab the virtual machete and hack away at a massive list of “not really a friend friends.”
So, Melissa, you third grade “friend” about whom the only thing I remember is that you ate all the paste in art class: Happy Birthday (last week), that wreath you made out of plastic bags and bells was interesting (not), and — by the way — I UNFRIEND you.