I have 761 friends on Facebook right now. And whenever I open Facebook, I can see their posts on my timeline. Status updates, pictures, funny videos, interesting articles – whatever they decide to share reaches me. Furthermore, those friends of mine are scattered all over the world, on literally every continent there is. I crossed paths with them at one of the eight different cities I lived in during the last 5 years and we had fun together, but then we moved on and are now only connected through Facebook.
I like all these people, otherwise I wouldn’t be friends with them, and many of them I would love to see again one day, but at the same time they are not that relevant to my daily life right now. But nonetheless I get updates about their lives, daily!
That’s why recently I started unfollowing people on Facebook. This way we are still friends, but I don’t get to see every detail of their life anymore.
This is rather harsh, you might say. After all, don’t you want to know about what your friends are up to? Don’t you want to be informed and stay connected? Don’t you care?
Well, let me explain it this way: I am awake approximately 16 hours a day. I have certain things in mind every day that I want to get done. A daily To Do- list, if you will. Usually these things that I want to do are things I want to do because they bring me closer to a long-term goal that I have in mind for the future. For example: I write applications in order to get a job in the future. I read in order to get smarter. I do sports in order to stay fit and healthy. And so on…
But every day, during those 16 hours, while trying to accomplish something, all of us are also exposed to a lot of bullshit. Things that entertain us, but don’t get us anywhere. Things that are just distracting. This can be for example TV, advertising, computer games, and, of course, most of the stuff online.
Check your Facebook news feed right now. How much truly valuable information is on there? How much of the stuff you see is actually helping you and your life in any way? How much of it is inspiring?
And how much is one of the following:
- Party pics of drunk people
- Status updates mentioning people that you don’t know
- Status updates in a language you don’t speak
- Pictures of food
- Links to funny/disturbing/shocking videos
At the end of the day, you are awake 16 hours and you decide what you do with it. So I decided to take action and get rid of everything that wastes my time. I started by blocking everything from popular bullshit sites like Buzzfeed, 9gag, distractify, bored panda or the LAD Bible.
But then I moved on and unfollowed everyone on my news feed that I hadn’t talked to in a while, who doesn’t live close by and who doesn’t post anything of real value to me. I kept unfollowing people that fall into that category and after a short while I had unfollowed 150 people. 150! That means that before, I was reading essentially spam from a 150 people daily! Voluntarily! Probably for hours each day!
No one could ever convince me that he has more than 50 friends he is close with. No way. Yet, many people have more than a 1000 Facebook friends and, what’s worse, take part in their lives every day. Why?
Let’s face it, most of it is distraction and entertainment. There is only a small fraction of people on Facebook that you truly care about, and a very large fraction that you allow to consume your time.
In the end it is a decision that everyone has to make for himself. Of course we can waste time. Of course we can watch useless Youtube videos. Of course we can click on every meme we see. Of course we can read articles like “These proposal flipbooks are the sweetest thing ever” (today on Buzzfeed). But do we have to? Are we that unselective about what we spend our time with? Do we really have nothing better to do? Well, being a spectator in the lives of hundreds of people on Facebook, just because it so happens that you crossed paths with them years ago is just as much a waste of time.