Sunday, January 30, 2011

Today's the Day

Today is the day to cleanse my Facebook friend list. Out of 775 of my “friends”, how many of them are actually my friends? Why did I even have that many friends in the first place? It’s not like I keep in touch with most of those people and some of them I’ve only met once!

Usually all it takes for me to add someone on Facebook is to recognize who he or she is. I’ve always had tons of “friends” because of that, but the majority of people who I’m connected with have absolutely no significance to me whatsoever. For example, high school classmates of mine and mutual members of clubs I had joined in the past take up a significant portion of my list. Just because I added them does not mean that I care at all what is going on in their lives.  Should I really be calling them my “friend”? Obviously not every single person I recognize is actually my friend, nor does that mean they even deserve the title of acquaintance. Without a doubt, anyone who I feel this way about should deserve to be a part of my Facebook cleanse.

Clearly I’m not the only person on Facebook that has this issue. Lots of people who use Facebook have several hundred or even thousands of friends. Many of the people on friend lists are probably classmates, acquaintances, friends of friends, maybe coworkers, but not many of them would truly be considered a friend.  Sometimes people add “friends” who they’ve never even met before!

Because of Facebook and social networking, many people have come to understand “friendship” with a false definition. Just think: of a thousand friends on Facebook, how many of them do you actually consider a friend in real life? Sure, social networking was made with the intent to keep people connected and in touch with each other, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every single person that adds you should be labeled as a friend, or even have access to your information.

Being a friend should mean so much more than just recognizing a person’s name or face. Anyone with the title of “friend” should be someone who you talk to, keep in touch with, and get along with. The term friendship should not be thrown around like it is on Facebook; the connections that are created online are very different from true friendship.

If you are one of the people who fit into the category of having too many “friends”, I would highly recommend cleansing your friend list as well. Doing so not only makes your Facebook experience safer, but it also makes it much more meaningful. Removing certain connections on Facebook may seem like a big deal, but why should it matter if the people you delete aren’t even important to you? So do what many people are doing these days and reconsider what exactly it means to be a friend. Don’t let social networking redefine the importance of true friendship!


  1. I have considered "cleansing" my Facebook friend list for sometime now, but I ultimately think deleting friends would change nothing. Although some may consider the title "friend" to mean your actual friends, I interpret the term on Facebook in a much looser manner. Yes, it would be nice to have a closely knit group of friends on Facebook, but I feel like there are no negative affects to keeping a larger list of friends, containing people you might not share a close relationship with. With Facebook's privacy settings you are able share things on Facebook with your true friends that you might not want to share with your other acquaintances. These settings allow you to keep weak ties with people you may only see a few times a year, while simultaneously sharing more personal things with your close set of friends. However I say all this with only 140ish friends, so my perception may be different from someone with over one thousand friends. If your friends list includes people you've only seen once, then it makes sense to remove them from your list.

  2. I have to agree with Sam. I think just because Facebook uses the word "Friend", doesn't mean we have to follow the contemporary definition of what it means.

    I think I have two types of "Friends" on Facebook. The ones that are very close to me, and the ones who I don't really know that well. I don't think I would ever purge my list because everyone on my Facebook page has the potential to be a close friend. They could post a status about a band I like, and this could easily strike up a conversation. In fact, I've ended up having the best times at concerts, with Facebook friends who I never had really spoken to before the day.

    I do think that tweaking your privacy settings makes a lot of sense though. I might not want a person who I went to elementary school with, seeing pictures of a family holidays. I also understand giving the axe to people you don't remember meeting; a conversation with them could be plain awkward. guess people who you never remember meeting, could be given the axe. Beyond that however, I think its important to be lenient with our Facebook "friends".

  3. I think the only ones who you might want to cut ties with are the random people such as highschoolers who just added you because you were the cool senior when they came in as freshmen, connections where you've never really even talked to the people, yet have as a connection on Facebook. Around once every two years I go through my long, long list of Facebook acquaintances and reevaluate who was actually important to me to keep in contact with. I know that there are plenty of times when I don't even know how I met the person because they probably added me after a pretty uneventful meeting and will probably never see me again. I actually prefer this reevaluation process as opposed to changing privacy settings because at the same time it allows me to potentially look at some of my old friend's Facebooks and catch up on what they are doing or to reminisce about old times with people that I haven't been in contact with much lately.

  4. I should definitely purge my friends list sometime soon. In my personal opinion, if they're not someone I would say hi to in passing, they shouldn't be my friend on Facebook. But at the same time, I'm concerned about meeting them again in real life and having that awkward run-in. There was a girl I went to middle school with who added me a few years back and then unfriended me sometime later (we really shouldn't have been friends in the first place) but then she came to Cal and joined a club I'm was a little weird. But I definitely support your deleting; mine was a chance happening and really, I would say 75% of my Facebook friends are useless.

  5. Not to be too much of a capitalist about it, but depending on your future plans, keeping 'friends' on Facebook may have some benefits. Job searches, househunting, marketing your latest book, all of these things can be helped along significantly by your network of 'friends.'

    I agree that a FB friend does not necessarily fit the typical definition of friend, but it doesn't mean that they should be completely discounted. Before the internet, it was just called 'networking.' And, it was much harder then.