Can I really have that many friends? Maybe. M-a-y-b-e. Anthropologist Robin Dunbar of Dunbar's number fame says the number of manageable social relationships is 150. I hear Dunbar is studying Facebook to see if this principle applies there. I kind of wish I had his answer now. But then again, I think I know.
Even if I could have 250 friends, it's debatable if all the people on my Facebook list are really friends. Of those 250, there are many I've never met and many that have friended me but never interact. That's hardly friendship. While some have apparently abandoned Facebook, there are those who post away but never interact, including me. Aren't we just taking up each others' space? I don't know that I'm learning much from them or that they're getting much from me.
So, I've kicked around the idea of simplifying my total Facebook stream. Here's what I'm thinking:
Leaving it like it is:
- I work in brand and marketing communications. Social media is clearly a strong, changing, growing communications channel. I need to stay on top of the ways that people use social media platforms to communicate.
- Some of my "friends" are people who could be connectors or even clients for my business. Facebook allows me to reinforce my personal brand (good or bad) in support of business development.
- Among my key Strengthsfinder themes are Connectedness and Input. No doubt about it, I like collecting, connecting and expanding. Purging, disconnecting and contracting aren't easy for me.
- I don't want to hurt any feelings. I mean, if they're in my friend's list, it's because I vetted them and determined they're good people. "Unfriending" sounds so ugly. This Wall Street Journal article didn't help me there.
- What if I miss something important or good by eliminating someone?
- I have set up lists that help me manage what I see. And I have the capability of hiding people.
- I'd simply like less noise in my Facebook stream. I'd like to read more from the people I really, really like. People who touch my heart and make me laugh. People who teach and inform me. People I actually would like to sit and chat with over tea.
- I crave authenticity in my life. I don't want a facade of popularity, of "more people must mean better quality."
- I'd like the people and things in my life to reflect my heart and be my true community.
- Yeah, they may be good people, but are we really enhancing each others' lives?