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Facebook Faux Pas

When to Implement a Social Network Cleanse

By Natasha Burton

I recently did a cleanse. Not one of those juice fasts, where you get that fuzzy feeling behind your eyes and become so on edge you could stab someone with a fork — a Facebook friend cleanse.

Truth be told, I used to collect friends like handbags and spend more nights than I'd like to admit trolling through friends' friends' friends, looking for anyone I kinda-sorta knew, so I could add them. When I stopped going on Facebook, because I could no longer recognize most of the people in my newsfeed, I self-imposed a cleanse.

If you want to do one of these yourself, here are some potentially unfriendable personalities to consider:

The person you don't actually know anymore: If you're still friends with your ex-boyfriend-from-college's high school buddies or some girl you met at a party five years ago, you may want to consider unfriending. Scroll through your friend list to make sure you want everyone on it to know everything that's on your Facebook page. If you don't, unfriend.

The serial "liker": Having someone who “likes” everything you do isn't always as cool as it sounds (unless, of course, this person is your husband, boyfriend, best friend or mom). Likers are fairly harmless — heck, they can make you feel kinda special — unless they start to weird you out.

The actual stalker: Don't get me wrong, the harmless variety of Facebook stalking (browsing random friends' pages and photos) is one of my favorite pastimes, not to mention a good way to virtually catch up with someone. But, I've had many a female friend gripe about guys from their past bombarding them with unsolicited messages, comments and (eesh) pokes; then continuing said bombardment, even when the women don't respond. Facebook should be fun: Anyone who makes you dread logging in gets the ax.

The status-update abuser: I love status updates — both reading other people's and posting them myself. But there is a line. Updating ten times a day about the minutiae of one's daily life, one's baby's daily life or, yes, one's dog's daily life, can be downright annoying. If you're not sure whether to unfriend someone based on sheer irritation, try this litmus test: Do you get the urge to “hide” someone from your newsfeed? If the answer is "yes," unfriend them instead. The person is likely too wrapped up in his or her own life to notice, anyway.

The perpetual promoter: Pre-cleanse, I had a few friends who Facebook invite-blasted their networks almost daily to get people to come to their gallery openings, club-promotion events, etc. Sure, having to decline these constant invites (because they were largely from people I'd long lost face-to-face touch with) was a good way to practice saying "no," but the friends who use Facebook solely for self-promotion, don't necessarily need to be yours.

The bad photo tagger. Some pictures are better left offline. You know, the ones you thought were safe in your non-digital yearbook, until a “friend” did the old scan-and-tag to reveal that you rocked brown lipstick and khakis from Costco in middle school. These photos, while not good for one's pride, are no biggie. However, anyone who posts photos of you (past or present) that are obscenely embarrassing and could cause problems for you at work, or with your family, is really not your friend. Hit that "remove" button.

The awkward commentator: When you and your best pal swap inside jokes on each other's walls, this person randomly (and continually) writes things like “I don't get it” or “Please explain” underneath. This can be a little odd (and somewhat creepy). However, if the person is actually a friend, not just a Facebook friend, he or she may just feel neglected. Try paying some attention to their wall, so they feel more in the loop.

To avoid being unfriended yourself, try these tips: Apply the Golden Rule and don't tag people in photos who you wouldn't want to tag you. Also, think twice before status-updating about how sad you are that your cat died; call your best friend to talk about it instead. And do try to keep your ex-boyfriend-stalking under wraps. Always remember — everyone can see what you do on Facebook, even though it may feel like it's just you, your pjs and your laptop.

Who would you un-friend?

  • Facebooking should be fun, not stressful.

Facebook Faux Pas
When to Implement a Social Network Cleanse
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