(dusts off Midnight Marauders over a cup of coffee)
As some of you might know, the other day I decided that I was going to start purging my "friends" list on Facebook simply because I didn't see much sense in never really having more than about 15 friends in real life but having over 200 online. Plus, I'm a tightwad by nature and I feel that having more than 200 friends online is like overspending my attention. For that reason, I made some cuts to get me back at 200. And, honestly, it wasn't really that hard. As I viewed my friend-scape, it appeared to me that I let a few too many in the sidedoor in the early going as I was trying to increase my stock value. I see some of my friends have nearly a thousand friends on Facebook and I can't make any sense of letting that many people see all that throw up about yourself on a daily basis. I feel that when I get above 200, it's like there's a leak somewhere or a crack where my privacy is quickly leaking outward. So, in an attempt to keep it local and make sure my "circle of friends" isn't the size of Asia, I decided to make some cuts. I need a Dream Team of Friends. There's a standard that needs to be upheld. Quality not quantity. I mean, I like to think that I'm a pretty good friend to people online. I like to be insightful. Intriguing. Challenging yet polite, respectful. I'm not lazy. I work hard at what I post. I don't assume greatness as a friend. I work for it. Sometimes I achieve it. Sometimes not. Some of my "friends" are the worst ever.
Quality over quantity. I have to envision and enforce a commitment to excellence.
So, after lunch with my "friend" (in real life too) Denis, I started thinking about about making the cuts. I needed some sort of Guide to Unfriending...some criteria. Because as easy as it is to make someone your friend, firing them is a little dicier. When, how or where do you determine that a friend of yours isn't cutting it anymore? Well, while there's still no science to it, there certainly is an ART TO UNFRIENDING. Here's the lowdown.
I've never been the popular cat. Mostly on my own account. I lean to the road less traveled. I like my quiet time. I like quiet evenings at home with my lovely wife and two dogs. I hate crowds. I stick to a mission that sometimes means I'm out less to please others. I don't like being a jerk, but I don't mind being one in an attempt to achieve something I see as valuable. I believe in goodwill. I believe in helping others. I believe a higher cause. But, friends, well, that's something I've never been too good at. Keeping friends, however, I've had some good luck with. I think I've always had a threshold for friendships. It was about twelve to fifteen. After that, I just really didn't see much point. I wasn't going to extend myself to a level I couldn't maintain. If I called you a friend, I meant it. Some came and went over the years. But it my closest friends, I've had for almost my whole life. Danny...since third grade. Dale...since pre-school. Chris and Steve...my whole life. There are others. Some come and go. But it's like I went out and gathered as many friends as I could at a young age and just kinda "topped out." You'll notice one thing about me and it's that I don't have a lotta "new friends." Try as a may, they just don't stick like my first friends.
With that being said, it wouldn't make much sense that my online friends would be growing exponentially day-on-day. The payroll got too high. I can't afford these relationships. It's tasking on me in time, attention and ultimately energy.
I devised a method to cutting based on the following criteria in this order. As I cut below the 200-friend level, I can then add as I see fit. Right now, I have no room for anymore friends because I'm sitting precisely at 200. If I see someone that I really want to be friends with, I'll make a cut and I'll start with number one here.
This ain't no peepshow, son. You gotta dance too. And it's probably less the people that don't post as much as it is the people that don't even have a profile picture. Like they got on there one night, decided to join Facebook, you were among the twenty names they first searched for some reason and they haven't logged on since. You're out, kid. I'm not gonna be your one night stand. And, you ain't gonna have everyday access to me if you don't budge a little and give me something to look at too. And, no, just clicking the "like" button every so often does not qualify as "recent activity."
Let's be real, here. It's abuse when you post about everything that happens in your life. I want insight. I want commentary. I want opinion. I want perspective. People that get up on there and post "good morning!" or "good night!" are a waste of my index finger's strength to scroll past you. One day, I'm gonna develop carpal tunnel and it's gonna be because I had three friends who simply couldn't resist posting something everytime they farted or laughed. Just save it. I want complete sentences and thoughts. Get up on there and say, "It's a good morning because I pulled someone out of a burning car and then high-fived a cop" or "after wrestling a bear to the ground and then getting him to join me for a game of Yahtzee, all I gotta say is good night."
Additionally, when you post over five times a day, it's time to get up and leave your computer, go outside and take a walk. Yes, that coming from the author of the Root Down who has devoted months of his life to this thing since starting over four years ago. There's nothing that important in your life that it warrants five posts in one day. That includes the "ha," the "ROFL," the "totally!", the "I still love you!", and the "call me!" Just stop posting. Message them so the rest of us don't have to see it.
If you had a baby, just put in one post, "went to the hospital today after my water broke and had a baby."
I don't need:
"on the way to the hospital"
"waiting in room for doctor"
"I love my husband. he's the best!"
"baby's on it's way."
"we'll call him 'corbin'"
Not that I don't care about your baby, but, c'mon, I got 200 friends. Spend your comments wisely. One update will do and then put some pictures up later. There's also the folks that update their status after every home run, controversial call or just every quarter, period or inning of a sporting event. I understand your watching it. I don't need the play-by-play. Just post once at the beginning or the end of it. That'll suffice.
THE OPEN-ENDED COMMENT
To me, it's one of the most aggravating behaviors on Facebook. You'll know it when you see it. Or, at least, I hope you know it when you see it. It's so annoying. I'll give you an example. Someone posts:
"Today's the day!"
Why is today the day? Is it too hard to expand on that by adding a "because" to it? I don't play this game, at all. In fact, I've been known to call people out on it. I ain't no sucka. I don't respond to these types of posts. In fact, I'm hoping no one else does until that one moron gets on there and will, inevitably, post "What's happening today? Tell me!" Happens everytime. I'll give you another example.
..."is sad because someone really close to me hurt me."
Okay, firstly, get over it. Posting about it on Facebook ain't gonna make it any better. Especially if you don't give us any more information. I ain't gonna help you. You're on your own, kid. Secondly, this is behavior that kids in elementary school normally display. The kid who sits in the corner and pouts until people notice and then he's fine for the rest of the day. That's what we're dealing with here. Saw one of my friends post the other day:
..."has the worst friends ever!"
I don't care. Unless you have the nerve to expand on that and let your friends know what they did to you (on Facebook, which is really pretty passive aggressive, don't you think?), I really could care less. Another example:
..."I'm so blessed and I love my life!"
Okay, I understand that. But tell me why. Otherwise, I'm gonna call foul on you. And, just so you know, if it's a status update, it should be "is so blessed and loves his/her life." There's a format here. Then there's this one:
I wish Facebook had an application that would dummysmack cats for trying to post this stuff. Like it would say something like "not valid status update" or "no one needs friends like you" or "no one cares, get a life." I don't need the unabridged version, but the Readers' Digest version, but dude, don't give me headlines. Life is challenging enough that I don't wanna have to play Sherlock with everyone of my "friends" who decides that, instead of working and typing complete thoughts, they're gonna put leading comments in their status updates. This ain't no scavenger hunt, bro.
JOIN MY CAUSE
Look, solely joining a cause on Facebook has yet to achieve anything. I mean, it's a network of people who believe in a certain cause, but I've yet to see it do anything except work as another social bucket. For that reason, I don't join causes. I just do stuff. And encourage others to do the same. I'm annoyed by people who are so passionate about a cause, but it's just ends up being another email in the inbox. I won't join your cause. Tell me you're building a house, I'm in. Tell me you're going to feed the hungry, I'm there. Tell me that you want me to join your cause to "feed the hungry." I need a place and time. Otherwise, save it. In fact, if you don't save it. I'll help you and just unfriend you. When charity becomes a button on Facebook, is it really charity? It's not that I haven't been affected by cancer or experienced the impact of poverty so be careful about throwing the "insensitive" card. It's action I'm looking for. Not social networking.
YOU JUST EARNED A BILLY CLUB
Given my stance on "join my cause," it goes without saying that I'm annoyed by Mafia Wars and FarmVille. I don't want a flower that I can't put in the garden. I don't want three heads of fake cattle. I don't want a cinammon roll that I can't eat. Don't give me a high-five, a jack-o-latern, a wreath, a teddy bear. I blocked those applications a long time ago and I've even dropped friends because of them. I liken those to forwarded emails. I delete upon receipt. Call me. Inbox me. Come to my house. But the box of chocolates that I can't eat is simply stupid so spare yourself the trouble.
It's Monday. Runday is in t-minus six days. Holla atcha boy.