Recently I completed a purge of my Facebook friends.
It was pretty big, by my standards.
At the start of the day I had 567 "friends." At the end, I had 460. Now 460 is still a pretty big number, but this is a change I made and the friends I am keeping are people whose stories matter to me.
That's a statement that bothers me a little. As an actor and a writer, I believe all people have a story and I believe that all stories are important. But the people I was friends with on Facebook? I wasn't even paying attention. I didn't even remember where I knew some of them from.
I use Facebook as a networking tool and an expressive platform. I share parts of my life that feel important. I share my Odyssey articles.
Having grown up in the digital age, I love the internet and the connections it allows me to create and keep. But I read an article recently that changed how I am viewing my media platforms.
Did you know that excessive social media use is linked to depression?
But it makes sense. The lack of human connection, the always trying to get "likes" and "reactions"? That's not healthy. That's not what human beings were built for.
Being a 19 year old student with clinical depression and a massive anxiety disorder, I do not need any more stressors or contributors to my illness. I have a biological factor, which means that I'd probably be struggling with my mental health regardless of social media or not...but why make it worse?
I was friends with people on Facebook that I didn't even like because I thought I needed to be.
I was friends with people I hadn't spoken to in years.
I had friends on Facebook that I had blocked but not unfriended because I wanted to be able to let them see how well I was doing. How twisted is that?
I was friends on Facebook with people that it hurt me to see or think about.
This social media clean out was a wakeup call for me. The people I am friends with now are the people I want to build connections with. I want to interact with them through their posts and in real life. I want to know these people.
I want to build real authentic relationships.
Real relationships are harder than social media "friendships." They often take more courage, vulnerability, and effort. But they're worth it.
I want to put my energy into friendships that matter.
So, if you unfriend me after reading this, I will understand. There will be no hard feelings.
Thank you for your friendship.