I should really thank Facebook.
Every time I think I might be out of blog post ideas, they go and change their format just in time to give me something new to talk about (see: friendship history feature).
And thanks, too, to Huffington Post, who alerted me to what, in my opinion, is the most scandalous Facebook change in recent history.
Apparently, on the new Facebook, the timeline feature allows you to see who has unfriended you.
Back in the day (as in, a week ago) if you couldn’t stand someone’s status updates, or you broke up with your boyfriend, or you and a friend had a falling out and you didn’t want to see the vacation pics with the boyfriend who came between you two, you could unfriend her without much fanfare. She got no notification. Sure, she could click on your profile and notice she had less access than before, but that required a fair amount of work. There was no easy way to conclusively verify that she’d been dropped, so you could extricate her from your virtual life smoothly, even if the real-life break up was a bit more rocky.
Well that day is gone my friends.
With the new Facebook timeline, you can peruse your friendship history by year. If you click on, say, 2008, you’ll see all the friends that were added during that 12-month span. If one of those people is no longer your Facebook friend, there will be an “Add Friend” button. It won’t say who dumped who, but if you didn’t dump her… well then, I think you have your answer.
This sleuthing method still takes a bit of click-work. You need to first find the year the “friendship” was established. Then you need to scroll through the who-kn0ws-how-many friends you made that year, in search of a button. And then you need to rack your brain to remember if you unfriended them. It’s not nothing.
But it’s easier than before, and easy enough that it might make me think twice before I did it.
Unfriending has always felt like an option (though I admit I’ve never done it) because it was so quiet. It didn’t involve the confrontation of a friend breakup. It seemed like no biggie, likely completely unnoticed by the other party. If there ever came a day when unfriend notifications were sent? Well that would completely nullify the option. The guilt of unfriending would start to equal the guilt of breakups, and honestly, just the thought makes my head hurt.
What do you think of this Facebook “enhancement” (for more details about how to ID an unfriender, check out this Huffington Post recap)? Would it make you less likely to unfriend someone? More likely to not friend someone in the first place? Or does it make no difference? And how would you feel about a straight “unfriend” notification?