Written by: Gene Cole, Opinions Editor
Primary and secondary school can be socially painful. You’re growing, learning, and — most importantly — spending almost every day surrounded by peers going through the shared social experiences of school and youth. Unless you’re somehow popular with every circle, there’s always going to be problem people regularly seated with you, disrupting your day like clockwork.
So why would you make the same kind of environment on your social media?
Our online world is a very personal space that a lot of people are often afraid to clean and tidy. Even though we’re spending more time with people online than in-person, there’s this taboo around unfriending or blocking people they don’t want to talk with. When people find themselves left with online “friends” who they don’t actually like, they will often just mute their posts or keep them in their timelines without thinking about it.
I get the idea that you never want to burn bridges or make someone offended by detaching from them online, but it surprises me just how quick people are to hoard followers and Facebook-friend everyone they encounter. This could be a random person at a party, a classmate from a first-year group project, someone you had a single conversation with in high school, or even just someone who left a positive comment on the photo you posted.
But these people aren’t important when you put them next to the family and close friends you open these apps to see! They take up space on apps and websites that should bring you joy, and they contribute nothing but a chunkier, more complicated timeline. Even if they post things you like to see, like interesting news articles or high tier-cat memes, there’s always somewhere better to get those things than these minor connections.
Plus, when you don’t tend to your garden of followers, it’s easy to get complacent even while those you keep around become troubling or toxic. You might be keeping people on your list to seem polite, but when they start sharing offensive jokes or unpleasant content, there should never be a question of whether to hold on to that person.
Be selective. Be picky. If you spend time on social media, you should be choosing the places and people that bring pleasure. You have the options to curate your online content, so use those features to your will! Life’s too short to spend your free time among people you have no obligations to keep up with.