If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen some recent posts about the Facebook friend audit I’ve been doing. You see, as I found myself nearing the 5,000 friend mark, which is the limit for a Facebook profile, I began to think … in no way are there that many people interacting with me, and I know I am definitely not seeing status updates from that many people.
I think for a long time there have been two main groups of users on Facebook.
- People that use Facebook for personal communication, who only accept friend requests from family, co-workers, and real-life friends.
- People that use Facebook for business communications and marketing, who accept friend requests from pretty much anyone because it expands the reach of their business message.
Recently, however, a new type of Facebook user has emerged. A more savvy and discerning Facebook user who is focused on a quality network of engaged individuals, instead of a big network of virtual strangers.
With quality in mind, and better relationships at heart, I started my friend audit. One by one I have been checking out each one of my friends. I am looking at who they are, who we know in common, what business they are in, what types of posts they make, where they live, what they like to do, etc.
And not all of my friends have made the cut. Yep. I am admitting it. I am unfriending people. In fact, I’ve unfriended more than 200 profiles (not all were people, some were businesses who should be using fan pages).
Just last week I was talking to some friends about my audit, of which I am part-way through, and the responses included comments like:
- “Oh my gosh, why on earth would you do that? You’re cutting people off from your marketing message!”
- “But you could lose sales and new business.”
- “That’s crazy. The more people exposed to your message the better.”
But, there were just as many with the opposite opinion, who responded with comments like:
- “You shouldn’t have accepted their friend requests in the first place.”
- “Fake friends are just that. If they don’t engage why have them as a friend?”
- “Facebook is full of lurkers who just spy, watch, and steal other people’s information. I would have been more careful from the start.”
When I first joined Facebook I probably would have agreed with the first set of responses. But after using it successfully to generate leads and new business, I have to admit my answer today is much different.
A big friend count doesn’t matter to me. I want to be friends with people who add value to the community, who participate, and engage.
So just who am I unfriending? Let me share a quick story with you…
I had an amazing friend, one I would actually call my best friend. I would have done anything for her and I wanted her to achieve the success she dreamed of just as much as she did. Every opportunity I heard of, I let her know about. I invited her to networking events, introduced her to everyone I came across who would be a good fit for her business, and consulted with her about her business over many lunches. And, I was so happy to do so.
But then we’d talk and she’d tell me about cool events she went to, or business networking opportunities she attended, many of which were perfect for my business… but she never once reached out to me. Similar things happened over and over, and soon I realized it was time to let go.
When I was reflecting on my struggling friendship, I started to see the similarities of social networking and with Facebook in particular.
You sign up and are so excited to be networking and making friends. So, you accept every friend request that comes your way. At first it’s great – you’re on your social networking honeymoon. But then you start to notice that some people never interact or converse with you. They take and never give and you mindset starts to shift.
If you’re always the one doing the calling, the planning, and the inviting, and your “friend” never reciprocates, as I found out, eventually the friendship withers. Turns out, Facebook works the same way.
Once the honeymoon is over, you unfriend people who:
- Use their pet as their avatar
- Use a body part as their avatar
- Don’t appear to be a real person
- Appear to be a spammer, harvesting contact info
- Don’t post anything in the language you speak
- Have never appeared in your status updates stream even once
- Will not stop posting Blingee crap on your wall
Some people I have chatted with about this are surprised by my actions, but I’m not. Normal friendships change and evolve (and hopefully grow back), so why shouldn’t your online friendships?
What do you think?
- Are Your Social Media Choices Making You Look Like A Jerk?
- When Linking Your Website To Social Media Sites Is Bad
- 11 Facebook Friend Requests To Avoid
- Five Ways To Use Social Media For Email Marketing
- How To Add The Facebook Like Box To Your WordPress Site
- Why Your List of Top People to Follow on Twitter Stinks (And How to Fix It)