Facebook Jenga: Destroying Digital Friendships For Fun

It’s quite obvious we’ve become too obsessed with too many social networks. I just signed up for a site called This is My Jam, which if you visit, has a link to the video I’ve selected as my jam. (Right now it’s a track by Vic Mensa featuring Chance the Rapper. It’s awesome. That should be obvious. It is my jam, after all.) Is this necessary? No. Not at all. Is it awesome? Yes. Hell yes it is. I want to address the absurdity that I am discussing social media on a social media platform. For this to take an even more meta form, I could make youtube video of me writing this post and tweet it at Medium instead of posting this. But that would be terrible. And stupid. I apologize for even bringing it up.

I have always enjoyed social media in odd ways. For example, once while eating a banana I noticed the sticker had the number 4011 on it. I searched “bananas 4011″on Twitter, and was amazed to see that people were talking about this. Mind you, only six or so out of the millions that use the site, but I was still impressed. We had that in common. I had no interest in reaching out to these folks to say, “I noticed you’ve also eaten a banana before,” but I’d like to think if I did, it would have gone over fine. This did not yield some deep, self-affirming moment where I realized I was not alone in the universe. But it didn’t hurt.

Facebook, a site that I no longer frequently frequent, but frequent less frequently, is another platform for my odd experiments. Sometime in 2011, I floated the idea of Facebook Jenga to a friend. The idea was, like with Jenga blocks, you remove Facebook friends (or unfriend), until someone notices. Obviously, as you’re realizing, no one really notices. You can just knock out 30 people from your Facebook friends and nothing happens. You could say this is commentary on the devaluation of the term “friendship” by digital age, to the point where it’s lost any significance. Or, you could say it’s a fun game. I think it’s a fun game. I’ve just about cleared out my profile to include my 700 or so closest friends. We’re a tight-knit group, and hang out all the time. While it’s difficult to go to the movies without booking in advance, and near impossible to get reservations for dinner, we make it work.

After the Jenga phase, in 2011 I also thought it would be great if I actually optimized my News Feed. Slowly, I started filtering stories and people.

Posts from FourSquare: Hidden

Posted from Instagram: Hidden

Posts from Annoying Girl You Shared One Class but Nothing Else In Common: Hidden

Slowly I realized I had the potential. I could make my News Feed, into an actual…Newsfeed.

This process took about 2.5 years to complete, as work was done on a very sporadic basis. I’d be reminded of this project during times like the presidential election, as my Facebook News Feed became a hotbed for intellectual, well-researched, and non-biased political discourse.

My newsfeed is now devoid of any activity from friends. The three most recents posts I’ve seen are from SPIN magazine, the Workaholics TV show, and Mayhem, the character from the Progressive Auto Insurance commercials (that guy is hilarious). While my Newsfeed is not exactly my go-to venue for current and breaking global news, my unfriending and hiding has yielded an unexpected benefit. I no longer find myself knowing way too much about people I should not. I don’t have to pretend I didn’t know something because I already saw it on Facebook. While being an unfriender may seem selfish, I think you are greatly helping the unfriendees as well. Someone I knew in third grade but then moved away is probably not interested in the fact I went to the Kanye West show last night, even though it was totally awesome.

My point is this: unfriend as many people as possible. De-clutter your life. Thank me later. And don’t add me on Facebook. TC mark

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