February 13, 2012
social networking

I Unfriended You On Facebook. Are We Still Friends?


Love it, loathe it, like it, lambaste it … whatever your fancy, almost one billion of us are attached to it one way or another.

My social media journey, like many of you, included Facebook at a time when most of us had no idea where social networking was heading.




These and many other social networking sites and applications were merely pixels of imagination back when Facebook launched.

But Facebook was one of the early social networking pioneers, and as a consequence, no one originally knew what the hell they were doing with their actual social network procurement.

  • Do I friend anyone I know?
  • Do I accept every request that comes into my inbox?
  • What about colleagues? Are they considered ‘friends’?
  • I don’t want my Mom ‘friending’ me, what the hell do I do?

LinkedIn caused havoc as well. Although it launched a year earlier than Facebook in 2003, it was billed as a professional social networking site (an electronic business card venture of sorts) and this positioning caused a demarcation between it and Facebook.

By 2006, Twitter had launched and all bets were off on how to distinguish contacts, from friends, to celebrities, to lurkers, to social learners.

Which brings me to my point.

For all my self proclaimed social savviness, I don’t really know what I’m doing with Facebook right now because I can’t figure out who should be in my particular list of ‘friends’. Those friends came fast and furious between 2006-2009 but the past three years has seen only a handful of additions.

And what exactly am I doing with those 550 odd friends?

In LinkedIn, it’s easy; if I’ve met you (in person or virtually) instead of a business card, I want you in my LinkedIn list. (Currently I’m at about 1200 contacts) On occasion, I also accept LinkedIn requests from those who say nice things about me although we may not ever have met.

In Twitter, that’s easy too; although I enjoy the camaraderie of those who follow me and who also engage in a dialogue with me, the people I personally choose to follow are helping me build my own intellect, acumen and thus I treat it as a social learning tool. I like to share, sure … but it’s really a selfish learning & exchange tool for me.

In Google+ … well, the jury is still out on that one for me despite its 25+ million users now and my 500 odd followers.

As for Facebook, I’m conflicted. I don’t exactly know what Facebook is about.

I’m as conflicted as a harvest moon in winter.

As an intermediate step, over the Christmas break, I made a pact to myself that the first action I’d take would be to whittle down my ‘friends’ from 550 to 400.

Why 400?

I have no idea, but it’s a real-time experiment, so work with me.

What was the rationale to pick off 150 people?

  • If you didn’t have a profile picture, I’ll take that as a sign you really don’t give a rats ass about Facebook
  • If we’ve never actually once met face-to-face, talked live on the phone, or even exchanged an email, DM, text or IM … I’m guessing you don’t really know anything about me
  • If you ever said mean things about my kids or better half, good-bye
  • If I have no idea who you are, I had to call time-out
  • If over the past 6 years, even though we had a previous relationship, you haven’t once engaged with me on Facebook or another medium, I had to cull our FB friendship
  • If you’re dead, sorry about that, but I felt it safe to remove you
  • If you clearly should have been a LinkedIn only acquaintance, I’m looking forward to seeing you over there
  • If you’re an idiot relative, thanks for the annual Christmas card … that’s enough for me
  • If I’ve walked past you on the street recently, and you didn’t know who I was, that was a sign
  • If I found out you were in town, and we hadn’t seen each other for 6 years, yet you didn’t feel the need to engage face-to-face … we’re probably LinkedIn buddies now
  • If I was in your town, and you ignored my request to meet in person, the stars are definitely not aligned
  • If you owed me money, I’m guessing I’ll never see it again

I actually got down to 350.

To the 200 odd people that are no longer in my Facebook network list: I am sorry, but it’s nothing personal. (ok, in some cases it was)

The questions that remain:

  • Will they notice?
  • Do they care?
  • If either of those two questions are answered ‘yes’, will they engage with me to remedy the situation?

Also, will I miss them?

Several of my LinkedIn and Twitter network ‘friends’ abandoned Facebook long ago. I seem to carry on well with them without Facebook.

To those that have been extracted, maybe the book hasn’t been written on their face yet.

We’ll see.

And yes, I’m open to new friends on Facebook … but I’d rather have interlocutors in my life.


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