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Facebook: the importance of unfriending

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If recent events have taught me anything it's this shocking revelation: not everyone in the world wants to know me.

A week ago I decided I'd had enough with a friend list that increased higher than economic inflation, so I went and messaged all my Facebook friends to see who still cared.

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Aware that "hello, how are you?" would get me as far as a soggy sandwich, each message was carefully constructed, based on that shared connection that got us on each other's social media pages. 

Why do this, I hear you ask?

Well, let's take a brief flashback in history. Launched in 2004, Facebook marked a new age of communication technology. Building on the work of its predecessors, Zuckerburg's digital baby rapidly grew from strength to strength at the cost of those who stood in its way.

Live video streaming, online messaging, even the notion of "likes" is arguably based on old-school Bebo's "share the love" function.

I take personal frustration at the Facebook notion of "friends". Whilst in the early days of social media the term was self-explanatory, now the definition of a digital friendship is at best broad, but at worst pure baloney.

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You start off wanting to get as many digital friends as possible (because in Secondary School friend numbers were a legit ranking of coolness), but then you hit university and the number rapidly escalates. Next thing you know that kid who used to lick tables likes a bikini snap at 2 am and shizz gets very creepy.

Back to my social experiment then. Of those I reached out to, about half responded. Turns out these people wanted to know what I was up to as well (because Facebook is 98% fake).

It was fun, I was using social media for what it was designed for, even though maintaining 100 different conversations was a bit intense (for all of two days I felt like Beyoncé).

On the flip side, there were also those who didn't respond. A sizeable chunk of the no replies I expected, but for some, there was no rhyme or reason.

Did their silence bother me? Nah. In fact, many of these people were swiftly deleted.

I didn't blame them, we'd met once in Freshers and hadn't spoken since. There was one person I'd walked past multiple times on campus without ever exchanging a word. Well here's a word for them now: delete.

Former course mates also felt the swift blade of my cursor. So what, we wrote a group essay together in second year? That's not friendship, that's me wanting to chase you for references at 2 am. You can take your hundreds of nothing statuses and millions of heavy filter selfies and leave my life.

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I'm not guilt ridden over deleting Miss Barbie with her 5000 friends or Mr Perfect with his perfect partner and his perfect suit (photos of which totally weren't taken in the changing room of Moss Bros). They certainly won't be crying over me tonight.

The people I have kept deserve to be there. They're the people who interest me, who make me laugh, who make me, well, me. (They're also the people I'm on the fence with and don't want to have to re-friend later on, but let's leave that for another culling day.) 

After I cleared my friend list I arranged to have coffee with one of my local friends. It was great, as if we evolved apes were meant to go out and be social in the real world.

I burnt my tongue on hot coffee, we both laughed, it was great (it was #ClassicAlice). And that's the thing, there are just some topics one-line statuses can never fully justify, in the same way, that there are many human feelings which emojis cannot convey.

On a daily basis, I see society increasingly slipping into a world in which fakery is deemed normality. Uncommunicative friend groups watching Kardashian clips, parents more interested in Facebook chat than their own child. I wish I could say I was a saint but we are all perpetrators of supporting the fifth world, the fake one. 

I suppose if there's any good to be had in this whole piece, it is to those still sat on my Facebook friend list. Congratulations! I have determined that we can at least make semi-awkward small talk together. Tell you what, let's catch up soon. I promise to bring the cheap coffee if you bring the cheap jokes. 

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