Leading up to Christmas, I did a lot of shopping online. We sent many, many gifts to our family on the East Coast, and the thought of fighting for parking at the mall and standing in line at the post office drove me, and my credit card, to the comfort of my desktop. It was a dream.
But the ensuing onslaught of marketing emails I unintentionally signed up for was the thing of nightmares. At first they were merely bothersome, but then I started receiving up to three emails a day from the same stores, reminding me that their BOXING DAY SALE has been extended until MARCH and here’s a COUPON CODE to save you $$$ on fleece! I was annoyed, and eventually compelled to act. (Also, my credit card is on hiatus until June.)
So, I began the New Year with a resolution to unsubscribe. Instead of dragging these unopened emails directly to my trash folder, I opened them, scrolled all the way to the bottom and gladly clicked ‘unsubscribe.’ (There were a few passive aggressive, “We’re sorry to see you go” messages but overall, it was easy. Bing, bang, boom.)
My inbox was my own again. Emails were fewer, but they were meaningful, relevant, and (for the most part) scribed by actual human beings! I was no longer missing the important stuff buried deeply among the spam, and I started getting excited about email again. Every new message brought with it its own little joy. It was 1999 all over again! (I wonder if I can still recover the password for my old Hotmail account, lipsmackers32…)
That got things rolling. I thought, “What else is sucking all the air out of my virtual well-being?”
Naturally, this led me to Facebook. I left old groups, un-followed pages and turned off any unnecessary notifications that had just become part of my over-stimulating, underwhelming Facebook experience. It was liberating.
Then I had another thought. What if I… unsubscribed… to people?
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a little gun shy when it comes to deleting people from Facebook. For the most part, I enjoy all the updates and announcements and birthday reminders, and there are so many people in other parts of the country and the world with whom I never want to lose touch. Also, the few times I did try to delete ‘friends’, it didn’t go so well. (I myself have also been deleted, and ouch, it can sting.)
So, I took the easy way out and instead of un-friending, I chose to ‘unsubscribe.’ That way, my newsfeed is a little more meaningful, nobody gets hurt and I don’t receive any frantic messages from old acquaintances who I had NO IDEA were following my profile. (“Did you delete me?!!”)
You may be wondering on what grounds I based my decisions. Well, it wasn’t political, or petty, or even personal. And it’s not that I disliked anyone. I just had to decide how I wanted my Facebook account to function. And just like my inbox, my newsfeed was filled with a few incessant, repetitive, (and mostly useless) messages that were drowning out what was actually important to me, like cookie recipes and cat videos. I feel lighter already.
(Don’t worry, I still follow you. You’re great. Really!)