What it’s like to unfollow 98.5% of your Facebook friends

A few months ago, I unfollowed someone on Facebook on my phone.

Conveniently, Facebook prompted me asking if I wanted to unfollow more people, leading me to a page with a bubble for each of my friends, groups, and pages. To unfollow, I simply had to tap the bubble of their face.

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And over the next few months, I used this page to unfollow massive amounts of people. In one sitting, I unfollowed half of my friends. In another, I got it down to about 60/70.

But after a bit too much deliberation of “do I really care to know what ______ posts”, on an impulse, I unfollowed  everything: all my friends, all the pages I liked, all the groups I was in. It took about 5 minutes of frantic bubble tapping.

Slowly, I’ve been adding people back in and unfollowing them again, trying to reach some sort of equilibrium for the “ideal feed”. Here’s where I’m at right now:

  • 2 groups – my college class group and my scholar group
  • 2 pages– my high school and the Student Congress page
  • 8 people– 1 friend from middle school, 5 people I regularly talked to in high school, and 2 family members.

Observations:

  • My feed got boring. Fast. It’s hard to notice at first, but soon you’re looking at the same few posts over and over again. I don’t think unfollowing people decreased the frequency with which I checked Facebook, but it definitely decreased the amount of time I spent each time
  • You become acutely aware of how stalker-like social media is. I noticed it the most the few days I decided to only follow one person. It’s creepy to keep up with all the pictures someone likes and people they friend. And some people I wanted to keep for precisely that reason. (I convinced myself to unfollow them…eventually.)
  • I missed seeing stuff. I missed almost all the pictures from my high school graduation and prom. Sometimes I saw a profile picture change a week late (or more). Sometimes I felt awkward liking a post or a picture late so I didn’t. (To those friends-sorry.) But now it bothers me less.
  • FOMO and social media envy died down– Seeing a post with 200 likes on it that’s a week old doesn’t feel that bad anymore. Realizing that I missed a social outing a month ago matters less than it used to. And it doesn’t feel like people are bragging about their social lives anymore, even though I made the conscious decision to unfollow them, not them.
  • I read individual profiles more. Now my new time waster is bouncing around individual profiles. Cue the stalker factor.

I like social media like this- a way to look up profiles of people you’re thinking about, and a way to message them if needed, a reference book of sorts.

Can I undo my choice now? I don’t think Facebook allows you to follow massive amounts of people in the way I unfollowed people. So unless I manually go through all 500 friends I unfollowed, this change is for the most part permanent.

I don’t regret this decision, and with the influx of people I’ll meet in college, it might be for the best. I’d encourage you to try something similar. At the very least, try unfollowing half your friends. It’s easier than you’d imagine, and no one has to know.

7 Reasons I’ll Like Your Facebook Picture

Inspired by the stream of all the photos I’ve ever liked on Facebook.

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  1. I actually know/have known you well. Sure, I may have  hundreds of Facebook friends, but just because I accepted your friend request doesn’t mean that I’ll like every picture you post.  The better I know you, the more likely I’m going to hit “like” on your picture. It just feels more comfortable.  Family member? BOOM. Like.
  2. You look happy. Screw mainstream prettiness. Anyone can accomplish that with enough selfie shots and Photoshop. But I really don’t see happiness in photos that often. Yes, I realize if you’re Asian like me, too much laughter in a picture will make your eyes smaller or nonexistent, but I personally prefer genuine smiling over beauty.
  3. You look absolutely ridiculous. Sometimes, this overlaps with the previous point, but I’ve always been fond of crazy-faced pictures that people have the nerve to put up online.
  4. Peer pressure. Perhaps the worst reason ever to like a picture. Sometimes a picture has so many likes that I feel the urge to go with the crowd, (although typically it goes the other way) Other times, I feel like someone is mad at me outside of Facebook (GASP! Interaction outside of the interwebs!), so it’s kind of an, um, apology. Or maybe I just want you to like me because I don’t know you too well. Or maybe I look up to you. Yes, that all counts as “peer pressure.”
  5. Baby pictures. Sorry, I can’t help it.
  6. Artwork.  Since I post some of my origami on Facebook, I tend to support other people who do artistic things too. And arguably, drawing/painting/etc. requires more creativity and skill/talent than paper folding, so even more reason for likes. This includes artsy photography occasionally as well.
  7. Heck, I like the picture. Ignore the previous reasons. What if I just want to like the picture? None of those reasons can stop me.

As a final note, there’s always a bunch of pictures I mentally like, my frequent brain lapses make me forget to click certain buttons, so don’t feel offended if I don’t send you a notification about your picture. It’s mental love. <3 Just kidding. Ugh. Virtual hearts.

And thus concludes the most pointless post ever. I’d like to hear what you guys think though. Do you like every picture that looks somewhat flattering? Is there something you’ll always click “like” for? Never? COMMENT!