By: Syd Bickers
It’s the moment the cursor hovers over the unfriend toggle on the computer screen. Is it right to unfriend that backstabbing girl, annoying commenter, constant status updater or out-of-touch acquaintance?
“Everyone is obsessed with Facebook,” said junior Lauren Austin, and she’s correct. All you have to do is walk down the hallway of a residence building and look in the open doors to see that the majority of college students are absorbed in the ever-encroaching world of Facebook. They are constantly scrolling their news feed, uploading their latest photos and racking up their total “Friends.” But occasionally, they are removing someone from their list.
This is a rarity, considering many users add people they may have been introduced to only that day. The practice of accepting acquaintances as friends on social networks has spurred dictionary.com to add this definition for friend: “to add (a person) to one’s list of contacts on a social-networking web site.” A friend has become simply a name on your Facebook list — one more number.
Freshman Adam Derrick said, “When I first got Facebook, I would accept anyone who friended me.”
Derrick became more selective when many of his younger brother’s friends began pestering him online.
Ally Ayers, junior and Hart Hall R.A., also learned the art of Facebook discernment her freshman year. Before the fall semester, she joined her class’ Facebook group, and through that she added and accepted friend requests of her future peers.
“Some of them I never had classes with,” she said. “We talked on Facebook, but talking in person is just so different.”
Eventually, she removed some of the new additions from her list.
Many incoming freshman delete old high school friends they don’t plan to stay in touch with.
“I didn’t talk to them much before, and I will probably never talk to them again,” freshman Amanda Eversole explained.
This seems to be the reason many people consider unfriending someone, but a better question is: Were they really ever friends?
Yes, it was a Facebook official friendship, but was it a friendship in the normal sense of the word? Eversole hit the nail on the head when she said Facebook users “want more friends.” The reason many people accept and request others is to grow their friends total, not to cultivate relationships.
Thus, hangs the unfriend toggle in the paradoxical sky of social networking. Yes, it may mean one friend is gone. Don’t feel guilty when you make the click, however, because chances are there was never a friendship to begin with.