This year I noticed that my Facebook had become high-jacked by viral-videos, Upworthy-style misleading article titles and pictures of very small houses. I have a few specific functions I want Facebook to perform for me in this order.
- Keep up to date with the major and minor life changes of a broad group of associates I wouldn’t otherwise keep in touch with. I think of loose friends from college, high school friends, family friends, etc.
- Professional networking light. There are about a dozen people on my friends list who work in the web technology. While there are better solutions for professional networking, Facebook allowed me that semi-professional, semi-friendly connection to people.
- Contacts. Like loose friends, there are a number of people on my friends list whom I have no other contact for..
- Entertainment. This is the tricky one. There are maybe a dozen people on my Facebook friend list who are truly funny, or pithy, or wry in a way that translates well to Facebook updates.
- Lastly, and most leastly, are articles and links to outside sites. Occasionally, I mean, rarely, I find an interesting article/video/image linked to on Facebook. The vast majority of the external links are misleading, unbelievable(literally), or just down-right stupid. I would happily give up all worthwhile articles if I could get rid of all other junk articles.
At first I blamed users for sharing this junk. And I’m sure some of them are serial-linkers(I’m looking at you, Mom). But as I un-followed the most viral, more popped up. As I unfollowed more, even more popped up. My final solution was to unfollow everyone. Here’s the result:
I have 244 friends, and I had to manually un-follow each one. Tedious, but ahh… clean.
However, Facebook in this state, is only functioning as a contact list. The next step is to slowly, and thoughtfully, rebuild my news feed.