There comes a time in everyone’s social media lives when they become concerned with the amount of friends they have. “Do I have too many?” and “Do I have too few?” are questions I’ve asked myself, so I’m pretty positive you have, too.
In a recent ReadWriteWeb article, Alicia Eler writes about how the amount of friends someone has on Facebook can affect them outside of the digital realm. It’s not surprising that she states that while you specifically don’t care how many friends you have, other people online do. She states, “… Having more or less friends than the average Facebook user may affect how other users view you, and how you feel about yourself. Too many Facebook friends might indicate that you’re participating in a certain Facebook culture of adolescence hat focuses more on popularity (hello, junior high!) and less on authentic, trusting friendships.”
The issue of what other people think about us often feels like something we should grow out of as adults, but that is never truly the case. No matter how old or mature we are, part of us always wonders what impressions others have of us. With social networking, that impression can often be tainted by something as small as a mundane status update or a friend count of over 1,000. (I personally find it ludicrous when someone is friends with that many people.)
Yes, social media is about making connections. But often times, these connections are centered around one thing: a class you shared, a band you and someone both liked or perhaps you thought they were hot at a college party. All of these are very legitimate reasons to “friend” someone on Facebook. But they are not legitimate reasons to maintain a long digital relationship with that person. The point of Facebook, in my opinion, is to create and cultivate relationships with people. But when that initial feeling of, “Oh man! This person’s so awesome because they love “Star Wars”as much as me!” wears off, what’s left?
But this is how people (like me) accumulate hundreds and hundreds–sometimes thousands–of friends over time. I have found that with any social network, whether it’s Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. it’s all about quality content. In a previous post I talked about my least favorite things in social media and wrote: “I know it’s completely unrealistic for every status, tweet, check-in, etc. to contain meaningful content. There are things I’ll post that’ll violate my own rules from time to time, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive toward a future that has smarter social media.” But in all seriousness, that is what I base my digital friendship on. If you give me good content, you’ll make the cut. If not, you’ll be cut. It’s just the way it is.
Having too many social networking friends is literally exhausting. My recommendation to you, dear readers, is to weed through your Facebook news feed and clean it up. Sometimes you’ll find someone you totally forgot about, sometimes you’ll realize that hot girl from the party is literally just a hot girl. That happens, life moves on, and so will they.