Social networking has changed the face of communication forever.
Before the internet landed with a thump on to our desks, we interacted with people a lot differently to the way we do now.
Instead of losing contact with vague colleagues who you wouldn’t usually pass the time of day with once you have moved on from a role, it’s now considered perfectly normal to ‘poke’ them on Facebook, share embarrassing photos of your kids or dog through Instagram, and read all about their latest holiday when they Tweet from Barbados.
You Have Far Too Many So-Called Friends
There’s an odd kind of kudos about racking up a huge number of ‘friends’ in social networking sites.
As soon as we join a site like Facebook, we’re encouraged to hook up and befriend people whom we haven’t seen for years who just happen to be linked to our real circle of friends. This means that before we know it, our status updates, photos and stories are getting shared not just with the people we care about, but also random semi-strangers whom we may have once seen across a crowded pub, or complete strangers who are getting linked up because they happen to share the same surname.
Lose Connection With Your Real Friends
There’s nothing wrong with this, in the fact that it lets us have a way of broadening our network online.
However, have you noticed how, the more friends you accept on sites like Facebook, the more the messages from people you really do want to hear from and keep in touch with get distilled?
For example, I may have to wade through eight or nine updates from people I haven’t ever met or don’t remember meeting these days, in order to get to a message from someone I’m really interested in.
It seems as if all of the things which sites such as Facebook and Twitter were originally meant for; a clear and quick way of communicating with people whom we know, is gradually lessening. Instead we’re part of a huge online community of near-strangers with whom we are sharing sometimes personal aspects of our life, and business.
I think it’s important to sit back from time to time and assess what we want from our social networking.
For me, sites such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter all serve a similar purpose. They have two important functions – to keep in touch with people I like, am interested in, and may be interested in me.
Secondly, they are all really valid ways of promoting my business, making connections with people I can learn from, and maintaining great communications channels with my customers.
Last week, I revisited my list of friends and removed most of the people I’ve fallen in to following by accident. People that I haven’t ever met, and aren’t likely to meet, are better off being unfollowed in favour of my customers, friends and peers in my industry.
That way, instead of going through my status updates and deleting messages about joining Farmville or seeing the latest update from Embarrassing Nightclub Photo of the Week, I’ll be much more likely to see and respond quickly to messages from my real social circle, and the customers I want to support.
This decision to cut down on my network is nothing personal at all – it’s just that I have a sneaking worry that if I don’t take action soon to make sure my social network is actually formed by people who form my social network, I’ll get so swamped in random updates that I won’t gain any value from my online community anymore!
It comes down to the nature of a ‘friend’.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a friend as ‘A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection’. For me, I like to think that as well as family and peers, it also includes my customers. The next time I’m invited to befriend someone that I have never heard of because we share a name, or link with someone who knew someone who knew someone that I may have known long ago but don’t remember, I’m going to revisit this definition and politely, but resolutely, decline!
What’s your view?
Do you only follow real friends or just about anyone?
Please share your views in the comments below.
Wow Andrew, this is good and I totally agree with you. Things have gotten out of hand. Just getting through the up dates on facebook is something that waste important time.
My twitter accont got hacked into last year. I have like 29,000 tweets that were made. For me to follow others now i need to get in and delete these. I don’t have time to do this, so there it sits and I am not going to loss any sleep over it.
Now they have this Pinterest account. I look at that and wonder why, Don’t people have better things to do with there time.
I also agree when it comes to friends, how can you look at a picture and say that is my friend. You have never talked to them or seen them before. Are we losing site of what friends really ar?
Thanks for the honesty, love it.
It did take a lot of time to remove all those I no longer wanted to follow.
I never bothered jumping on that band wagon.
Dear Andrew- An interesting viewpoint –
This is a scary thought. I agree with you on the idea but I wonder what people will think when they see you have so few friends.
(Don’t delete me)
Will people think you are new? I know I notice if someone wants to friend me and they have only 20 friends.
I will look forward to your report on how theis works. You will be our guinea pig.
If people don’t want to follow me because my numbers are low – it is their loss 😉
What is important (for me), is I feel in control now and will build stronger relationships with my friends.
Hmmmm. I am going to have to ponder this more. I do agree with cutting out the people on Facebook that you don’t really know. Twitter…I use it but I only interact a little. I don’t feel bad if I go a while without checking my feed. I don’t have enough time to do everything daily, so I just do my best and don’t worry if I haven’t seen everyone’s updates everywhere. I figure the important stuff will come to my attention on its own.
I understand what you mean and I felt the same way – hence the change in approach.
I now spend a few minutes each morning and at the end of the working day, going through Facebook and Twitter to see what is worth catching up on.
I have the same thought. The difference between you and me is, you have taken the action and I have not.
You going to take action?
Hi Andrew, I’m sorry to say, you’ve got entirely the wrong idea about Facebook and Twitter. The only reason why social networking sites exist is so that bloggers, online marketers and the network’s owners can try to make a fortune flogging stuff to people.
For people who sign up to FB, they can spruik either Content or products. But the real money in FB is made by FB itself: flogging personal data to advertising agencies and the big Product peddlers, like Apple, for more accurate targeting of ‘customers’.
It’s true that a lot of young people use FB to while away the hours of darkness chatting, and bullying their ‘friends’ – poor things, there’s never anything worth watching on the Tele. Homework? You’re kidding.
Bloggers and online marketers run around chasing each other for meaningless Likes because people seem to be impressed by big numbers. People can be so disappointing.
I do have a FB page for my blog because I was told I ‘had’ to for marketing reasons. Sadly, my poor attitude (Get with the program, Carol! – No, I just can’t) means I have almost zero Likes, almost zero ‘friends’ and FB brings me almost zero traffic.
Also, I cannot bring myself to ‘like’ others. And I definitely could never ask someone, “Will you be my friend?” I didn’t even do that in Kindergarten, and I’m not about to start doing it now.
I rest my case. I will be interested to see how this works out for you – if it has the same result as my approach.
P.S. I’m prepared to make an exception in your case – a fellow FB skeptic – and so, if you are prepared to ‘Like’ me, I’ll ‘Like’ you back – besides, I do like you anyway. 🙂 So there!
I like your approach (sort of!).
I suppose my approach is in the middle – I no longer follow anyone but I do follow people I like – i.e. real friends or clients.
We shall see how it goes!
Oops, now I’ve just seen my mug shot is already up in your ‘Likes’ gallery! How did that happen?
You must LIKE me!
I think that a “friend” request online is different from a real friend request in the real world.
With Facebook you click a button and you make a friend but would you open your house door and accept a request from a stranger?
I believe you are right about that social friend – relationship. Most people they want to add friends in their Facebook or Twitter lists just because they want to look they are popular or trusted, but this is wrong!
For example check Ferrari Magazine on Twitter. They have 30.000 followers and following only 10! Do they care? Do the followers care?
Even if I have almost 500 followers on Twitter, I interact with only 15-20 of them.
Thanks for sharing these thoughts!
I understand exactly what you are saying.
I just want to see and interact with people I want to be friends with.
It’s like following 1000 or more on twitter. What’s the point? Unless you watch twitter 24/7 there’s no possible way to keep up.
Exactly, Darren. Hence my approach change.
I’m honored to one of the ones you’re still following! I think it’s a great idea, I have nearly 500 Facebook friends nut hide 90% of all the activity. Though I do use Facebook a lot more these days because of some of the local groups I’m a member of. Hope it helps your networking!
Time will tell if it works, Joel.
At the moment, I just feel it’s the right thing to do.
Ironically, deleting followers and friends is improving things for me. I’m connecting more with the people I want to connect with and these people are engaged and active on my social world. Funny how out of the millions of blogs, you are one of the few people who realized this. Great post as always. -Pat
Thanks, Pat. Sounds like you are ahead of me. I hope it turns out just as well, for me.
I love both Twitter and Facebook and only keep to making real freinds. I hope things work out for you as it is a big change.
Sounds like you have the same approach to the one I now have.
sometimes it becomes a dilemma, when we we want to promote our products to the crowds and campaign effectiveness.
the appropriate steps to unfollow your friends who lack support our productivity.
Facebook has been a dungeon of marketers trying to push their products to their customers. I usually get 10 private messages a month about joining their group, checking out their products, and some insurance pitches. I mean com’n Facebook is not the place for all these.
These marketing tactics defies the purpose of facebook at all.
yes, exactly. Many people just promote, promote and promote everything on Facebook and Twitter.
hi Andrew – i agree with all of your points that you mentioned in this great post. Your post title is too attractive “Why I Deleted All Facebook and Twitter Friends” i must share this story with all of my friends. thanks
As I mention in my latest post, the headline is crucial.
nice article Andrew,
its my first time in your blog and i love the way you’ve presented your ideas, and creativity through this blog, i noticed many unnoticeable but impacting things. like in the home page ive seen
“Click here and read the full post (738 words, 1 image, estimated 2:57 mins reading time)”
it made me to read the article properly..
and another thing is that you reply to every comment in the article which is the good thing i’ve seen in your blog..
you’ve inspired me a lot Andrew..
I hope you come back time and time again.
Hey Andrew. I really understand what you are saying. Some of my friends on facebook have over 500 hundred friends. It seems that they friend everyone. So far on Facebook I have only connected with people that I knew or have some history with. If I received a random friend request, I would see how we were acquainted, and if they weren’t a friend, an old schoolmate, a client, or an old co-worker, I just didn’t accept the friendship. I think that approach is completely okay 🙂
As I say above…I now follow what you have been doing all along!
I much prefer to make interaction with people I know.
I find this topic really interesting because I’ve never really focused on increasing the amount of friends I have. When you say that you have more control over your social networking experience, I totally agree with it, not that I know how it feels to have an incredible amount of friends on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.
I really enjoyed reading this post!
I’m pleased you liked the post.
Facebook does not make things like this easy. I had to literally open everybody’s individual page and unfriend them there. But I did it. And I deleted the icon from my toolbar. And today? I forgot to look for Facebook already. The habit is already partly broken.
Took me about a week to delete all my FB contacts.
Nice post and Thanks for sharing this post with us. Yes, Social media sites are best way to make relations with known and unknown people but I prefer to make only real friends those are my friends and I know everything about them.
Sounds like you have the same approacah as to what I am taking now.
Never really thought about it this way but I guess social media really is killing us. Everyone is hooked on to their mobile phones. People are more interested in having an online chat rather than talking to the person standing besides them. Kids spend more time in front of their PC rather than with their family or friends. Something need to be done, but I’m afraid there’s no way out.
What ever the next big thing is will be the ‘way out’. I hear many kids are moving away from Facebook.
I’ve been doing what you suggest a little at a time for a long time. If someone sends me a friend request, if I don’t personally know them or interact with them elsewhere (like through our blogs), the first thing I do is check to see if we have any mutual contacts, and who they are. I decline all requests that don’t have a direct link with me somewhere else.
When I go through my feed these days, if all I get from someone is junk requests to play games and such, even if I know them in the real world, I unfriend them. If I get other things from them, too, fine, I’ll just block game requests.
Twitter is a bit different. I can follow people and get a digest of those I really want to hear from, and I can follow individuals through lists or RSS feeds. If I happen to run across someone who only markets to me, I unfollow them. I’ve connected with some people through Twitter I never would have thought I’d ever converse with, and it’s fun to have those connections. But in general, If it’s not a news person or organization or I wouldn’t @ contact them, I stop following them. A lot of others do that as well. From my own account, I keep the same number of followers, but I get new ones regularly so that means people also unfollow me regularly.
I blushingly admit I use Pinterest for access to great free photos.
Great article and worth the effort to act on your advice!
Sounds like we now have the same approach.
I also unfriend people who send me stupid games to play or any rubbish like that!
yes you right. I have joined facebook from 2010. now i have 120 friends on facebook and 2 friends in my real life. Facebook just produced a very much gap between the real life and the virtual life. I sometime do not understand facebook profles having 5k friends, how they could manage that a huge number of friends.
I am trying much to concentrate on real life instead of facebook virtual life. Recently I just heard a news that facebook is creating Facebook Chatting robots. Oh God, its getting complicated day by day.