Jimmy Kimmel has named Wednesday, November 17, 2010 National Unfriend Day
NUD is a day where all Facebook users have the freedom to delete or “unfriend” people from their Facebook profiles that are not really their friends. We here at Schipul applaud Mr. Kimmel’s cause, and are here to help you get the most out of NUD this Wednesday.
For the purposes of this post, we’re going to use Dunbar’s Number, or 150, as a target for the number of friends you’ll have after participating in NUD. Although, we’ll let you go as high as 230 if you so wish. I will run through my own criteria for NUD, and give you an idea of how I will be dropping people from my own Facebook profile.
At the writing of this post, I have 408 friends on my Facebook profile. I have tried many times to keep this number below 300, but it would appear I have been remiss in my Facebook friend gardening. Before we go any further, It is important for you to be comfortable with the idea that you can and should regularly delete people from your Facebook profile.
We’re going to start out with a couple of groups of people that are sure to be easy targets for you to unfriend.
We all add people when we’re networking whether it be professionally or socially. Oftentimes, nothing comes from that initial meeting, and these people sit on our profiles. You’ll see them pop up on your profile from time to time, and you really have no idea who they are. It is entirely okay to delete them. If you run into them again, and they mention it, simply tell them you were weeding out your friends list recently, and cut them. You can always add them back. If they get snippy about the whole thing, ask yourself if this kind of person you want on your Facebook profile anyway. Think about it.
If you do not can’t remember where or when you met them, UNFRIEND THEM!
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Our next group to unfriend is pretty easy. These are the folks you’ve hidden from your Newsfeed. You may have done this when they went overboard with their political opinions during election season, you may have hidden them because they were going overboard with offensive, annoying or TMI updates. In any case, you’ve removed them from your Facebook kingdom, and you need to finish the job by deleting them altogether.
If you don’t see them,UNFRIEND THEM!
High School/College Friends
I don’t know about you, but I am not all that close with a lot of my high school friends. It’s not that I don’t like them, but I just don’t really keep in touch with many of them. However, this is one of the scariest group of people for Facebook users, old and new, to deal with. “I joined Facebook, and all these people from high school started adding me!” “We weren’t friends in high school, but now they want to be my Facebook friend.”
This needs to stop, and I’m telling you it’s okay to say NO. Ignore the requests when they come in, and go through and delete anyone from your school days you don’t want on your profile. You don’t owe these people anything. If anything, I would highly recommend creating a friends group of your high school friends, so you can keep track of and/or limit their access. Facebook can be a great tool for staying updated on your old school friends, but it’s not the sole reason for using Facebook, nor does it make a good reason to be friends with someone.
You’re not in high school anymore, UNFRIEND THEM!
That covers the basic groups of people where you’re likely to find a good number of NUD candidates. I must stress to you that unfriending anyone is perfectly normal, justified and healthy. People can always be added back later, and you can always claim it was an accident. If someone continues to push you, I shouldn’t have to convince you why that isn’t someone you want on your Facebook to begin with.
To close, I’m going to give you the simple criteria I generally use when weeding out my Facebook friends. If the answer is no to any of these questions, they get the boot.
- Do I talk to or see this person regularly?
- Do I share special memories with this person?
- Does this person frequently comment on my posts?
- Do I frequently comment on this person’s posts?
- Do I have a professional need to stay connected to this person?
- Do I have a social need to stay connected with to person?
- Is this person married to or dating a friend I am keeping?
- Does this person’s posts provide me with news and information that is important to me?
- Does this person have less than 1,000 friends?
Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for you to manage and communicate with the important people in your life, but it quickly loses its effectiveness if you have too many friends. And there is no special badge you win for having the most friends within your social circle.
I’ll return on Wednesday with the final tally of my Facebook pruning. If you tweet, we encourage you to share your National Unfriend Day number with the hashtag #NUD.
Spread the word of this great day when you’ll take back your Facebook profile! The time to unfriend is NOW!
And when you’re finished unfriending, let Biz Markie bring it home.
UPDATE: As promised, I am back to reveal the number of people I unfriended on this glorious day of unfriendingness.
Today I unfriended 41 people on Facebook. I am actually pleased to know that I have about a 90% legitimate friend quotient on Facebook. I did learn a few things after writing this post, and having conversations on this topic.
1. People are sensitive. While I feel they are sometimes TOO sensitive, you must expect some push back from people. In my case, I’d say there were probably about 5-10 people that I could possibly expect some kind of negative reaction and/or situation to arise down the road. So be it, life goes one, it’s not personal, it’s just Facebook.
2. Friends on Facebook do not equal friends in real life. The most shocking thing to me was how many of my friends seemed to fear that I was going to unfriend them. These were people that I wouldn’t EVER dream of unfriending, yet they made comments suggesting they were worried. This tells me we put too much and too little value on these online connections. Or, more importantly, we cannot rely solely on social media to maintain our closest relationships. It greatly bothers me that I would be connected to someone I don’t know or care about at the expense of my cherished relationships.
3. Unfriending feels good. Sure it might get messy, but tell me of a time you’ve cleaned something where you didn’t come out with a little dirt on you. Life goes on, it washes off, but you’re standing in the middle of a clean room that you know you’ve worked hard to look this way. Now, if only we could keep it clean ALL THE TIME.
I hope you take some time today to edit your Friends list on Facebook. In the end, I am certain there are a good number of people who you can delete for any number of valid reasons. Remember, if you don’t know or trust everyone on your friends list, they may leave you and your friends open to harm through scams and viruses.
In a way, unfriending people is a favor to your remaining friends. Think about it.