Unfriending, an experiment
Too many friends. This in not a problem that most of us would have considered before the phenomenon of social networking, but it is real enough that “unfriend” and the gerund form “unfriending” have not only made it into the New Oxford American Dictionary this year, “unfriend” was named the 2009 Word of the Year.
As my facebook network mushroomed to over 300 friends I realized that the breadth of my facebook network was limiting its depth. There were things I would like to update my friends about, but did not feel like sharing with all of my fbf’s (facebook friends, not to be confused with bff’s). Thus began the unfriending experiment, or RIF (reduction in friends) if you prefer.
My first approach was to unfriend everyone who I believed also had too many friends. Anyone with 800 fbf’s is simply not discerning enough for my liking, and I did not consider the fact that this lack of discernment may have been the only reason they were friends with me to be particularly redeeming. The first wave of unfriending was satisfying, but it left me wanting more (well less actually).
Next to go were professional acquaintances who did not seem to use facebook very much. Still too many friends, hard choices would need to be made. I unfriended several people that I genuinely like in the real world, but who use facebook in ways I don’t care for – the main one being to post links to their twitter feeds or blog posts.
By this stage I was down under 200 and I realized that if I nixed all of the spouses of friends I would be able to streamline even further. Old school acquaintances who I had never much cared for were the next victims of this online massacre. They probably should have been the first, but I was in a sentimental mood when I began. My unfriending mania reached its peak when I realized that I was in shooting distance of 100. Some arbitrary choices were made and all of a sudden I was down to a manageable 99 friends. Mission accomplished.
None of my unfriended friends have complained, I expect few have even noticed. I post more regularly to facebook now and read my remaining friend’s posts with more interest. In fact, I am so happy with my small circle of facebook friends that I am thinking of adding a few more.