Deleting People Online: Liberating and Conflicting

3 May 2024

The urge to delete

Social media and messaging apps have created new avenues for people to enter our lives. You might feel the urge to delete someone for various reasons – annoyance, personal growth, or just a shift in content preferences. In a world where change is constant, the desire to curate our online circles reflects this innate need for control and authenticity.

Personally, I’ll admit this urge is like an automatic response. Most of the time, it feels cathartic, a satisfying release, and a digital refresh. Other times, it’s how my fear expresses itself, and it helps me feel protected from a perceived threat.

Our patterns of behaviour

Research into deleting phenomena unveils a tapestry of human behaviour. Deleting certain individuals may lead to the emergence of hidden aspects of ourselves while fostering deeper connections with others.

Though deleting generally refers to removing someone from your friends list or connections, it varies depending on the platform. Subtle differences between notifications and accessibility reflect how we engage with each other on these platforms.

For example, Facebook carries more emotional weight due to stronger personal connections, while LinkedIn is a professional disconnect. Instagram is more towards social exclusion, while Twitter ranges from negligible to significant, sometimes leading to being silenced within an online community.

Over time we’ve learned to sculpt a more intricate inner world, rich with nuance and layers. This creates a maze around our identity where fragments are selectively revealed — a new freedom that also questions our accountability.

The power of perception

Attention is currency, so the act of deleting carries weight beyond the digital realm. The energy behind our gaze and thoughts can shape the way we perceive and interact with others online. Deleting someone from our virtual sphere doesn’t diminish the impact of our attention, it redirects it.

As connections add up over time they weave a complex web of relationships. Being perceived by this network is a novel phenomenon, expanding beyond our immediate physical surroundings to include individuals from anywhere. Engaging with this vast array of minds, each with their own belief systems presents a challenge that transcends our ability to fully comprehend.

Tip: Try to visualise your network, what kind of groups are there? What shapes emerge? Express this in a way that feels natural to you, draw it out or write about it.

Navigating conflicting emotions

Deleting can stir a mix of conflicting emotions – jealousy, loneliness, and misunderstanding. Leaning into these feelings can help you learn about yourself. Perhaps jealousy points you to something you want to do in your life. Feeling misunderstood by your current group of friends might motivate you to take the leap into new groups.

Then there’s the possibility of the deleted individual finding out, would they care? Would you care? Try to simulate meeting them in real life, how would you feel and what would you say to them? I’ve found it quite freeing to admit to people about deleting. It takes courage and humor, but it also opens up an opportunity to talk about digital spaces and our personal needs.

Remember: digital etiquette is different for everyone, and by acknowledging the complexities of human interaction we can make it more enjoyable.

Exploring your digital maze

The act of deleting people is both a reflection of our evolving selves and a tool for self-preservation. Growth and change are normal for us, yet our need to hold on accumulates an unnatural web of connections.

By embracing the nuance of digital relationships and remaining mindful of our intentions, we can navigate the intricate maze of human connection with a bit more clarity and compassion.

Stay tuned for more posts and future webinars, shedding light on the intimate quirks of our digital existence.

Much love ₊˚⊹♡