what hap­pens when you halve your face­book friends?

Harper's Bazaar (India) - - FRONT PAGE -

ace­book is mak­ing us weaker hu­man be­ings. I read this in an ar­ti­cle early last Septem­ber. And after read­ing about such ef­fects of so­cial me­dia in gen­eral and Face­book in par­tic­u­lar, I de­cided to chal­lenge my­self. At 30, the age by when they say you’ve (ide­ally) sur­rounded your­self with peo­ple who will re­main by your side for the rest of your life, I de­cided to edit my Face­book ‘friends’ list from 1970 peo­ple down to 985. Ex­actly half. I even put up a sta­tus up­date say­ing as much (which im­me­di­ately got over 200 ‘likes’, now down to 70 since many of those who liked it are no longer on my list, cue evil laugh­ter). I called it my act of peace­ful dis­as­so­ci­a­tion. I felt very brave, but had no idea where it would lead. I had no clue that it would bring me clar­ity upon rev­e­la­tion upon epiphany. All I was look­ing for was just a more man­age­able friends list, and an on­line ex­is­tence with less per­for­mance anx­i­ety.

In his master­piece Walden; or, Life in the Woods, 19th-cen­tury Amer­i­can en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and au­thor Henry David Thoreau rants about the need for “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” That was my premise. I wanted first to rid my­self of the peo­ple whom I didn’t know at all. Th­ese were the strangers who had added me be­cause I be­long to their sphere of work. Or those who at one point had jour­neyed through my life. An ex of a once-close friend who had wanted to be­come a part of her in­ner cir­cle. Or mod­els who hoped to be in closer touch with me so as to have a bet­ter chance at shoot­ing for Harper’s Bazaar. But my im­me­di­ate con­cern was this: How would I delete those who had ‘liked’ my sta­tus? How do you negate those who have agreed with you? Some­how, it felt wrong. But I would face worse.

So for a while, I tip­toed around those who had liked my sta­tus up­date, and went on delet­ing the strangers and mod­els (ex­cept­ing mod­els who were also friends). And most sur­pris­ingly—and with the great­est ease—my fam­ily. Off went my aunts and un­cles, and cousins whom I didn’t par­tic­u­larly like

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