So you’re about a month into the semester, getting settled and into the swing of things, and home couldn’t be further away. Or could it? As soon as we log onto Facebook, we are flooded by status updates, muploads, and selfies galore, posted by people we really don’t care all that much about. Who decided that we should care about what everyone’s doing every second of the day? How is that we find ourselves on picture 230 of a (very) distant cousin’s vacation album?
Before I arrived at Brown for the semester, I came to a scary realization: I had over 1,000 Facebook friends. I’m really not sharing this to brag—no one actually has 1,000 friends in real life. I certainly don’t. So I tried the Facebook Cleanse. Like a juice cleanse, the idea is to get rid of all of the unnecessary details on your news feed by defriending the people you no longer really care about. Benefits and drawbacks of the Cleanse after the jump.
Benefits: No longer will you have to see the photos of the “Sorority Sistaz” cake that the girl from your ninth grade history class made for her little! Facebook will be a place where you can go to check up on the people that you really care about. You should always be wary of what you post on the Internet, you can now feel more safe that your posts are only viewed by people you actually like.
Drawbacks: It’s often hard to know whom to defriend and whom to keep. You can sift through the randos—like that guy from your 2010 summer program, or the girl who was Azerbaijan at a high school Model UN conference—but at a certain point, it gets hard to sever the ties with people with whom you’ve shared memories and experiences. By defriending people, you may throw away the opportunity to network with these people in the future by making them strangers (cue Gotye). What if the girl from your History class goes on to win a Nobel Peace Prize (…or a cake eating contest)? Or what if you run into her in two weeks? Either way, you have no way of knowing who you will want to keep in contact with in the future.
The Verdict? The Facebook Cleanse is certainly tempting for those of you who want to leave pieces of your former self behind, but there are other ways to use Facebook without saying goodbye forever. Facebook has recently added features that allow you to divide friends into “groups” and let you decide who sees what before you post something. You can also change your settings to only show the people that you care about on your news feed. So before you start defriending in a fit of rage like I did, you can take it easy and defriend sparingly. You never known whom you may run into in the future!