My Cold-Hearted Facebook Journey: (If I haven’t unfriended you by now, you’re probably safe)
This February I wrote my first blog post, “My mission To Make Facebook Useful Again” in which I outlined my intent to unfriend anybody whose name I didn’t recognize on their birthday. My hypothesis was that if I were no longer Facebook friends with “randos,” Facebook would become a more useful social networking tool for me.
Three months later I’ve realized two things: First, Facebook IS useful. And second, unfriending lots of people is pretty dumb.
Butefore I get into all that, here are some stats:
- On February 14th I had 887 Friends
- I now (on May 16th) have 868 Friends
- Since February 14th I’ve added 8 Friends
- Therefore to date I’ve unfriended 27 People
So at this pace, on Feb 14th 2013…
- I will have 811 friends
- …having added 32 friends
- …and having unfriended 108 people
But I’m not going to unfriend that many people. Why? Three reasons:
- You don’t have to unfriend people to get a better newsfeed. It’s just as easy to make somebody an “acquaintance,” which stops their posts from coming in to your newsfeed. Plus given all the hilarious memes floating around these days, a lot of the content posted by my “rando” friends is just as good as what my “real” friends post.
- Facebook is my best option for sharing personal content. For some reason when I started blogging I thought that a lot of my blog hits would come from Twitter, partially because my Twitter feed is public and my FB profile is somewhat private. I was absolutely, 100%, dead wrong. The vast majority of my blog hits come from Facebook link clicks. This makes sense not only because I have 7x more Facebook friends than Twitter followers, but also because the majority of my facebook friends actually know me, unlike many of my twitter Followers. Knowing that my Facebook friends are pretty much the only people who read my blog makes it a lot harder to get rid of them.
- Trying to make Facebook “useful” is a pretty silly goal. Three months ago I was expecting Facebook to do something it’s not really meant to do—i.e. be a contact management and networking tool. I now find that Facebook is in fact VERY useful… for things like killing time at work or sharing blog posts or chatting with friends. I don’t need Facebook to help me maintain relationships. I already have a dozen other better tools for that.
So to sum up, I guess you could say that my mission to make facebook useful was a success… but not in the way I had expected. Unfriending 27 people hasn’t made my Facebook experience significantly better—understanding what the hell Facebook is actually good for has. Will I continue to unfriend people? Yup. But not as aggressively—just the few people who I truly don’t know. Cause at the end of the day burning a bridge (even a superficial bridge that both parties are hardly aware of) is rarely beneficial.