Liberation from the Facebook Friend

Just a quick post tonight about Facebook. Over the last two nights I’ve spend an hour or so culling approximately 300 ‘friends’ from my modestly sized Facebook list. I know it’s a complete #firstworldproblem but I think it’s something I will do once a year to keep control of my own stream. It is possible to use friend lists to control the volume of information, but I find I’m just no good at list making (even on Twitter I’m basically a failure at it).

I enjoy the interactions I have on Facebook. There is a circle of about 20 – 30 contacts (some of whom I’ve never met in real life) with whom I can have great conversations with. Then there are my immediate family, who, before I started getting friend requests from complete strangers, I used to share ordinary family tidbits with (now I share links only). The rest? Well I’m not sure why they want to be friends with me either. I used to think that if we knew each other in real life, that was enough of a reason to become Facebook friends. But I’ve slowly evolved my thinking here – for me Facebook is a place to interact and to engage. If you don’t want to engage with me, that’s cool by me, but please defriend me.

I didn’t warn people of what I was doing, so I thought I’d list the reasons I may have culled people, even just for the sake of remembering my own criteria. I possibly was a bit harsh – culling some close friends, family and colleagues too…

You’ve been culled if:

  • you’re an internet marketer
  • you want to be an internet marketer
  • I don’t know you in real life, you have a profile but haven’t posted anything meaningful in about two months
  • I do know you in real life (in fact you’re a good or old friend), you have a profile but haven’t posted anything meaningful in about two months => why are you on Facebook again?
  • you’re actually a business or organisation – get a page & I’ll be happy to ‘like’ you
  • just because we have the same surname, and yes, we’re related, you’ve never talked to me and I’ve never talked to you apart maybe from Hi, How are we related again?
  • You live somewhere in Europe, are a professional didgeridoo player, and have lots of friends who happen to wear bikinis in their profile pictures (not that there is anything wrong with that)
  • You don’t seem to yarn with me, and I don’t yarn with you
  • You’ve requested I join your application too many times
  • I suspected you friended me because you know my well-known husband

Now there may be people that I’ve defriended who enjoyed reading my links, if that’s the case, please let me know and I’ll put you back on the list. The occasional ‘like’ here and there, usually let’s me know that you’re listening (which is part of engaging). I may also have accidentally defriended people accidentally – sorry – it’s one o’clock in the morning – my bad.

I have been thinking creating a public page, and leave my profile for just my close family and friends. But I have to think about that one a bit more before I jump into that.

It’s eofy, so maybe that’s a memorable anniversary for an annual Facebook clean-up …

What about you? Do you have too many friends? Do you get concerned about how much you share? Have your sharing habits changed over the time you’ve been on Facebook?

20 April 2012 Update: I guess the good part about being human is that I’m allowed to change my mind. I’m eating humble pie, cause I’ve changed my mind. You know what? I realised I LOVED my busy crazy Facebook stream. So I’m re-friending, BUT going to use lists and privacy settings a lot more effectively. Sorry for de-friending you (and I find it hilarious how many people had no idea I had de-friended them DOH!). It was never ever about you. It was about me and my feelings of self-worth, niggling feelings of occasional unease. It may happen again. Let’s see what they future brings hey.

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