I finally did it.
I can say I did it because the posts I see on a regular basis from my Facebook friends are boring, that I’m tired of seeing pictures of Timmy’s first day of school, or vacation pictures from Joan of places I can’t afford to go, but that’s not really true. I can say I’m tired of vague, junk-philosophy memes from Jill, which is true, but she doesn’t post many of those. But what it comes down to is this: The majority of my Facebook “friends” are not really my friends at all. Except for some relatives and a couple handfuls of real-life friends (whom I am eternally grateful for) my Facebook friends are really from three groups: People I used to know thirty years ago, people I used to work with five or more years ago, or people I see around town at the blues jams I go to every now and then.
They are all nice people, mind you. Fine, upstanding, hard-working and smart people at that. But they aren’t really a part of my life. Maybe more telling, I’m not a part of theirs. I am a bystander watching a parade go by that I’m not in. I’m a voyeur, spying on barbeques and birthday parties I wasn’t invited to.
So I did it. I went through my list of about 400 “friends” tonight and unfollowed most of them, about 90%, I’d say. No more posts from old work colleague Joe about how he is looking for two tickets to Adele’s Seattle show. No pictures of ex-manager Sue and her wife Mary’s twins. Boy aren’t they growing fast! No invites to George’s band’s next gig at that dive bar in Everett. No more forwards by Jim of the latest thing Bernie Sanders said about taxes. No more “Hang in There” quotes by Rumi from Jill.
I’ve still got my real friends and family, and now my news feed is all about them. I’m still not a material part of most of what I’m seeing, but it feels better. Closer. Less cluttered. Less... lonely, even. Plus, hey, we’re all still “friends.” This isn’t the Great Unfriending, after all.
That’s probably next year.