It’s happened three times already this year. Either it’s a trend or I should start taking it very personally… Messages from Facebook acquaintances sweetly explaining that they were frightfully sorry but they were streamlining their contacts lists to close chums only but hope our paths cross in future… Blah blah blah.
A quick, unscientific survey of a few friends reveals that it’s not just me this has happened to. Coupled with a large number of people I know who as of 2015 have resolved to use Facebook less, it’s clear that there is a shift going on in our relationship with social media.
We all know the Facebook friend collectors. Hell, I was once myself. That 5,000 friend limit that Team Zuckerberg imposed became less a ceiling, more a personal challenge. And in a blinding bit of maths, us friend collectors cottoned on that more friends equals more likes equals winning in the popularity stakes. Or giving the impression of it at the very least. You’re never alone with 5,000 online friends right? Right??
The other snag of friend collecting; that potential headspin of a mismatch between online popularity and the real world. Why go out and mix with people when one can save the bus fare and interact from a laptop?
But after sitting gawping at a news feed of viral car crash videos, pictures of dinners and the nagging thought of Who The Hell Are You People?, friend collecting soon becomes fairly redundant. With a contact list of several thousand people, social media ceases being a fun, informative ammendum to life and starts being an unpaid administration gig.
With numbers of monthly users steadily dropping, privacy concerns and controversy over censorship and user name policy, it’s getting more difficult to feel the Facebook love. But the truth is that for all its many flaws, it remains a massively useful resource for keeping in touch and promotion. The downside being of course that overfamiliarity breeds contempt.
If there is a conscious move to slim down our Facebook account in 2015, then the biggest shock is it’s taken this long for social media fatigue to kick in. Back at the start it was a new platform and no one knew quite how to use it. When it exploded, it became a vehicle for anything and everything. There are times when the sheer weight of images and information that clog our home pages on an average day are overwhelming.
So much to process. And there are times that just keeping up with everything is a struggle. That feature we all liked about FB at the start, the sharing of information and keeping in touch made easy, has turned it into hard work. No wonder there is a shift towards Back To Basics.
The former FB buddies who sent me the apologetic message and then hit delete may just have the right idea. A social media experience that is smaller, more ruthlessly edited and, heaven forbd, features only people you know from the offline world and actually like… The numbers of names on the list may drop. But as an exercise in quality over quantity, it may just be the thing that saves Facebook and its like from one day being that website we all used to use in the early 2000s.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.