Why You May Regret Culling

by Write Edit Print.

Most of us have conducted what is known as a Facebook ‘cull’. I regularly embark on such activity though I hasten to add that ‘cull’ in a social networking sense refers only to the removal of someone from your contacts rather than to genuine selective slaughter (much as you might wish it). Culling makes me feel powerful. At no other point in my life, except in the midst of a culling frenzy does my right forefinger feel as potent as when it hits the ‘unfriend‘ button. However, I have recently begun to regret the culls I implemented over the past years as, rather than a source of great annoyance, I now regard those selected for online slaughter as free comedy. An opportunity to indulge in the most base of british comforts – laughing at other people’s expense – is not to be missed. Had I not been so rash in my culling days, I might now have a larger supply of daily entertainment. Alas, I cannot re-friend these people.

Some statuses often remind me of the story of Narcissus, a man so in love with his own reflection that he was unable to draw himself away from it. I imagine that people who constantly publish updates on such banal topics as what they are eating, reading or buying, sit staring at their computer screens, just as Narcissus stared into the water, waiting for the validating ‘likes’ and comments to pour in. As a recent video on the connection between loneliness and digital interaction succinctly puts it, the feeling that ‘I share therefore I am’ appears to permeate many people’s psychologies. No event is complete without online evidence of its having taken place. I think the reworking of Descartes’ famous proposition could be altered even further; ‘I share therefore I am a moron’ seems closer to the truth.

Image Narcissus updates his status

Facebook news feeds are littered with vacuous expressions of quotidian activity and I thought I’d share some. But let me defend myself before I’m accused of evident hypocrisy. I share, not because I’m a moron, but because I need to practice my writing and I have a cruel sense of humour. The following unedited excerpts are taken from my own news feed. I realise that I may well get a taste of my own culling medicine once this is published which is a shame as I’d hate to lose these useful repositories of inspiration.

I’m so happy with myself at the moment. Everything I do is one step closer to my goal to be a better person.

I’m pretty sure grammargirl.com would have something to say about this. I’m finding it difficult to put what I have to say into words as I seem to have thrown up in my mouth a little bit.

I hate mondays

How unusual. Truly informative.

Lush day today with ami and Kate 

Well that’s interesting…for no one. Not even for ‘ami’ or ‘Kate’ who presumably don’t need to be reminded of how their day went, considering it must have occurred a mere two to three hours ago. Unless of course either of the two has severe memory loss, in which case the status could be described as particularly thoughtful.

Feeling very needy and emotional #wreck

You don’t say? Though they say a problem shared is a problem halved, a problem shared on twitter is most likely just a problem read and ignored.

Perhaps it would be useful to know that when the Facebook status bar asks you ‘what’s on your mind?’ it may simply be a civility in the same way we often ask people how they are with no interest in the answer. If what’s on your mind is self-pitying, unfunny or of interest to less than fifty per cent of your followers it might be best to treat the question as a courtesy rather than a genuine request for information.