Thu. Oct 22nd, 2020

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

According to Amanda…Sometimes Facebook Friends Linger Too Long

2 min read

Please stop deleting your wall.  If not for yourself, then for me.  It’s creepy.”

This was a Facebook message from a concerned friend.  The same friend who called me a renegade social networker.

The truth is, I am a bit extreme – and not just because I periodically delete all of the posts on my wall.

My relationship with Facebook has always been tumultuous.  I resisted it for a good four to five years because I figured anyone who really wanted to stay in touch with me could do so through phone or e-mail.

I finally caved halfway through my sophomore year.  In the wake of a breakup with a long-term boyfriend, I had the itching desire to forge a new identity and Facebook seemed to be the way to do it.

Before I knew it, I had upwards of fifty friend requests.  In order to avoid having an outrageous friend list, I limited myself to accepting only the requests that had an accompanying message.

Yeah, I know.  Ridiculous.  Fortunately, I dropped that policy fairly quickly.  Still, I wanted to keep my friend list tight.  It kind of creeps me out when an acquaintance friend requests me and I’m suddenly privy to all the details of their life.

Despite my hesitations, I got caught up in the whirlwind that is Facebook.  Within a few weeks I had multiple photo albums up,  what I considered to be a witty personal information section, and a burgeoning friend list.

Then I realized that Facebook not only helps users create an identity but it also encapsulates it.  Facebook is in essence a personal archive.
Why is that problematic?  I’m the kind of person who likes the way mental memories are sort of blurred at the edges.  Facebook documents nearly everything. Cue my massive wall deletion.

Plus, I realized that Facebook was making me feel artificially close to people.   Hence my friend list editing.  I know it’s harsh, but I mean it when I say it’s not personal.

For better or for worse, Facebook lets friendships linger longer than they would otherwise.  While I love it as a supplement to my relationships with close friends and family, some friendships are supposed to fade.

Instead of filing those friendships away in my mental catalogue and every so often nostalgically thinking back on them, I am constantly reminded by Facebook that I’m not as close to those people as I once was, or that we weren’t that close to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook is a great tool, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the occasional wall-clearing.

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