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Live with 75 Facebook friends

Live with 75 Facebook friends

Who do you share information with, who do you follow-up with, and how much of your time do you spend on social networking sites?

Inspired by Funkseena’s Live with 15 items of clothing and Raggedy Anarchy’s The wisdom of not going I started thinking about things and events that take up time in a non-desirable way.

What happens when you think critically about your connections?

I usually do a Facebook friend clean-up about twice a year. It sounds awful to say, but like clothes, there are just some friends that worth keeping, and others not. Think about it: Which friends do you actually talk to (and I mean whose voice you hear every now and then)? Whose wall do you post back on, send messages to, or receive messages from?

Scientific research places a human’s actual social network capacity at around 150 people with whom they can maintain a genuine social relationship. This number is pretty much dictated by the size of our neocortex.

So why did I have over 350 Facebook connections? Do I have a huge brain? No. I have a clutter of friends (more like acquaintances, really) that need to be purged. I’ve started this clean-up just today and have already gotten rid of 200 people I don’t really care about, and in an effort to be critical about whom I chose to surround myself with, I will attempt to make it down to 75.

illustration by oversocialized - flickr.com/43993720@N02/

Too Much of a Good Thing? Facebook friendships, just like material possessions, are a means of comparison to other people in our networks, so much so that in scholar articles they are referred to as social capital. How many friends do you need to keep up with the Joneses? Plenty of Facebook users get obsessed with how many people comment on their statuses, reply to their comments, and over post some kind of acknowledgement of their social capital. In a minimalist initiative, I am inviting you to remove your Facebook alter-ego’s false friends from your profile and rediscover your true network.

Are you a social capitalist?

How many of your Facebook connections do you actually care about?

18 Comments

  • Oh inspiring! I did a mini-fb friend purge a little while ago, but only did a quick trim, nowhere close to whittling it down to 75. Yes, I was afraid of offending people. But really, it’s silly to think like that. I think I’m going to go purge now… Thanks!

    • that felt great!! i got rid of 200 ppl. who knew it was such a burden to keep everyone around.

    • !!! That was FAST!

    • lol yea its something i’ve been wanting to do anyway. what better time than now? goes to show how many excess people are in my fb life.

  • I learned this lesson on Buzznet, the hard way. (Not that I’m not grateful, mind.) I have over 1,000 “followers” and a couple hundred friend requests sitting in my inbox. It’s too hard. I stopped approving people.

    I used to keep my fb list under 100, but I’ve gone up to close to 150 lately. And I like to think I choose carefully.

    • What Funksteena said.

  • Thanks for the shout-out! Let me tell you about another little blog some friends and I once started called DeSocialized……..

    “a manifesto on social networking, not a boycott…

    #8 of the manifesto:
    Quit asking me how old I am, how much I weigh, how tall I am, whether I spit or swallow, if I’ve found God, or how drunk I get in real life. That’s creepy. It’s like the guy in court-ordered group therapy who keeps asking for everyone’s real names. If I want to write about it, I will. I don’t take requests.”
    Share

    • :)

      The crazy part is that DeSocialized generated some downright weird hate mail.

  • That’s such a great idea Montreal!
    I have been employing the rule that I do not accept anyone’s friend request that I don’t know and/or haven’t had a significant conversation with. Even that has left me with about 630 friends.
    I think I must go weed my list now.

  • I have no facebook and no friends. I win.

  • for me its a matter of not really caring.
    Its FB.
    The people I spend time with are the ones that matter and how many friends I have on FB is completely inconsequential.
    I have reconnected with some people that I am super happy about having done so. I will almost always accept a friend request and if i realize that they are just stalking or just wanted to see what i look like 20 years later they get dumped.
    For my purposes, I want the process to be participatory. Its not about the small group of people who i see or talk to all the time. I know what they think about things. FB gets me out of my own safe little microcosm to see whats going on with other people. It is also an amazing way to share information about important stuff outside of your own food chain, someone needs an apartment, someone has an apt for rent… there you go.
    The way i always thought about it was: my really good friends, the ones i spent time with, i actually didnt even need them on FB.
    Thats changed a little since I moved out of the country. FB makes me feel less out of the loop with people I used to spend tons of time with so i *do* need them on FB now :)

    as @theloveartist says there is plenty more room for love.

    • i’m not advocating to remove your facebook page. you can ignore the ways new technologies allow us to network or you can embrace them. what i’d like to see is people thinking critically about who they network with.

      i understand the the moving away angle, i feel like i have four networks of friends: my world friends (met through traveling), my san francisco friends (i’ve recently spent a while out there), my montreal friends (i’ve lived here most of my life), my burningman/dpw friends , still i think it’s important to go through your connection network and ask yourself how you relate to these people now.

    • totally agree. i think mostly my purges come from non-participation. if you dont add anything to the conversation then whats the point.
      thanks for reminding me.

  • This is an ongoing tension for me.

    I have way to many friends on Facebook. I don’t pay attention to 90% of them. But it is nice to be able to check in on friends from time to time — even if I don’t pay attention to everything they say.

    I have a huge list of people who have friended me for various reasons but I almost always hide their updates.

    To me it’s like having a huge contact list, with added info like recent photos, what’s going on in their life etc.

    I don’t usually purge my contact list, because that information is valuable to me from time to time — so why purge all my Facebook friends? Just hide their updates and move on.

    Twitter — another story. I’ve been pruning my Twitter follow list more and more, getting rid of the voices I don’t want to/need to hear from. And they can still follow me, but that doesn’t mean I have to follow them back.

    • I agree about Twitter. I am much more bothered by the fact that anyone can follow me. and i hold that to a tighter group of people. I dont want it to turn into FB. mostly it is people who i have a current relationship with and interact with frequently and with some psychic intimacy.
      One thing i have found is that the people who i know and am not interested in interacting with on Twitter give up twitter very shortly after they join so it ends up being no biggie.

    • Interesting… I have a lot of dear friends who aren’t on Twitter — but I have (and have made) a lot of dear friends on Twitter as well. So I’d hate to lose those connections. I keep saying I’m going to quit Facebook any day now but I guess I keep holding on because of the various pages I manage for different projects.

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