Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Keep/Cut: 100 Friend Facebook Spring Cleanup

A recent glitch in my Facebook news feed settings -- people/businesses that I had specifically chosen to 'hide' for a number of reasons, made their way back into my feed this weekend, uninvited -- caused me to re-evaluate the unspoken Fb rule that you must keep all the people you 'friend' and the game that the more friends you acquire = you win.

Remember the old days when everyone and their mothers (literally) weren't on Fb? When you could talk to the people you wanted to talk to without the world watching? When you could post a rant or tongue-in-cheek blurb and people that you haven't seen in 10+ years (who wouldn't know your sarcasm and cynicism has aged along with you) weren't there to scold, correct, worry about you or otherwise 'mom' you via the comments?  I kinda miss those good old days...

Facebook has been around long enough that most of us have been using it for years -- I think that it's time for a little countercultural backlash. Hmm... maybe that's too strong of a phrase. It's more of a natural life cycle occurance of any new device or fad/trend -- everyone jumps on board and then there's either: a) leveling out period; or b) the thing becomes so big that it fails and off to the next bandwagon everyone goes.

There's been a lot of backlash to Fb via the privacy changes and increased advertising, but what I propose is a little less high level and more of a introspective look to take back the control of ones own virtual account/life (and maybe your mental health, too).

Spring is the time to go through your house/apt and clean out all your closets of clothes and other things collecting dust that you haven't seen or worn in a year or so. I'm going to apply the same principle to the cleanup (or in Pittsburghese, 'red-up') of my friend list. The following is the checklist of criteria that I will be applying to this slim down... the end goal; 2/3 cut down to 100 friends or less:

Keep friends or businesses if:
  • you enjoy their witty or pithy posts; wish they would post more often; virtually stock them to find their humorous allegories on other posts and pages

  • they post interesting articles or videos -- industry specific or totally random/entertaining

  • they've got their finger on the pulse of the local social scene -- the only reason you find out about 1/2 the local happenings is because a post in your news feed alerts you that they are attending a Fb event... you immediately check it out and maybe attend:)

  • they are great photographers and their compositions inspire you

  • you're building your professional network of clients, business partners, colleagues and peers -- you'll actually get to know them better through their fb posts and have something meaningful to chat about at the next happy hour or next business meeting

Cut friends/businesses if:
  • you have hidden them from your news feed (for any reason... most of which follow)

  • you forgot that they were friends because you accepted their request and never heard from them again

  • you only met them once at some event, long, long ago, and cannot (for the life of you) remember who they are or how you know them

  • on a daily basis, you have to hide more than one application that they subscribe to; when you check out their wall... all their activity involves fb applications

  • for sales prospecting purposes, they are constantly hounding you to become a fan of their business page... even after you've responded with an ignore on their past 5 page suggestions

  • their frequent posts are an ongoing matter-of-fact narrative of what they are doing right now and that they mistakenly think the world should know about every detail
    * disclaimer: I use fb as an entertaining escape and do not care to be reminded of the trite everyday; I live in it, too... it's boring and usually uneventful, that's why I'm monitoring Fb

  • they are those parents that photo-documenting every single movement of their little ones lives, AND they are not good photographers
    * disclaimer #2: I'm not a parent and I'm sure I'll do the same thing if I ever become one... many, many years from now. However, some of you could have single-handedly kept the Kodak plant in Rochester, NY pumping out the goods, had not digital killed the film. 

  • you find yourself constantly rolling your eyes when their posts pop up on your news feed; there's a whole group established around this, Reading someone's status and thinking 'oh shut the hell up;' if it's a consistent occurrence, please stop complaining about it and just unfriend

  • you discover that you share almost nothing in common anymore with the people that you knew at one specific point in your life. It's known as situational friends... it's okay that after the situation ends, your friendship comes to a close as well; some friendships don't last forever (online or otherwise)

  • you find that your views on many personally important issues and values are in direct/complete opposition AND you get really fired up when you read their frequent posts about it... just unfriend, it's not worth the time/energy to debate the issues, nothing good becomes of it

  • you're friends with a business; there was a weird early period of fb business pages where you became friends with an inanimate object. All of them now have a 'like' button. Delete the friendship and like them instead... this alone will cleanup about 100 of your friends.
    *PS:'Like' On The Vine on Fb
Of course, I'm going to have special circumstance exceptions to every point I've listed. There's going to be some friends and family members that will make the cut -- even if they shouldn't:) Though, their status updates will be hidden... oh, yes, they will be hidden.

Also note, this does not apply to On The Vine's business page... keep all your biz friends and contacts, but do act as a wall moderator and censor the posts that are negative or unbecoming to your biz's identity and continued success.

Feel free to post in the comments 1) any other checklist items; and 2) the results of your own Fb spring cleaning. I'll be cutting in the next few days... results TBC.

Note: see the update in this article.

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