“Friends” is a term that has already been bastardized by social networking services such as Facebook. Before, the people we call friends usually consisted of a small group of persons with whom we have shared meaningful experiences with. Now, however, our friend lists are saturated with the names of people we don’t even talk to on a daily basis and sometimes even people we’ve never met before.
According to statistics, the average American has over 120 friends on Facebook but only has an average of 4 strong ties. The situation is much worse for the young adult age group, as they sometimes keep thousands of friends – and let’s face it, having a 120 real friends is already impossible, let alone having a thousand.
Most of our Facebook “Friends” are acquaintances at best. Some of us even add people who we know vaguely from college, or people whom we have only talked to once or twice. At times, it’s these people who add us up as friends and we’re too polite to reject them. Either way, the result is a cluttered, superficial network that sometimes causes more problems than it does benefits.
Of course, there are times when such connections give birth to some real friendships and enhance people’s closeness. However, most of the time, what you’ll get are spammy updates on what people had for lunch and gossipy pieces of drama. And if we were honest, we simply aren’t that interested in half the things we see on our newsfeed.
If you’re of the same opinion, then today happens to be the day when we can all do a bit of ‘spring cleaning’ on our Facebook accounts and purge it of anyone who isn’t really a friend. November 17 is the second annual NUD or National UnFriend Day.
If you’ve been watching Jimmy Kimmel Live, you might have heard him speak about this event. He basically summed up the matter by telling people to unfriend those who aren’t really friends. You’d be lessening the amount of spam on your page considerably and, most importantly, you’d be making your network quite a bit more secure.
If ‘unfriending’ is too extreme, or if you have acquaintances or gaming buddies you want to stay in contact with, then at least use Facebook Lists to appropriately control access to your private information, status updates, personal photos, etc.
You might have already seen the recent onslaught of porn and gore on Facebook. Those who have a thousand friends might even have trouble differentiating their facebook newsfeeds from porn sites. If you limit your friends to those you are really close to in real life, then you’re likely to have a much safer and much more meaningful Facebook experience.