Can you have too many friends?

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Stephanie Slade 8 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #134480

    Jay Krasnow


    Does anyone find the Social Networking numbers game troubling? The below link reports on the impact (or lact thereof) of having a million Facebook friends. Do any of you have strategies for accepting and managing friends on Facebook or other social networks? What works for you?


  • #134512

    Stephanie Slade

    I’d say not accepting friend requests from people you don’t know is a good start! (I’ve been getting more and more requests and messages from strangers lately.)

  • #134510

    Jeff Ribeira

    My strategy is quite simple really (and similar to Stephanie’s): Don’t accept friends who you have never met, and every couple of months or so, go through your friends, and trim the fat. Delete anyone you do not know, or no longer care to associate with (i.e. “your best friend’s, mom’s cousin” or “that one guy who was in my biology study group 5 years ago”). It’s really quite liberating and even therepeutic!

  • #134508

    Anne R. Urbanski

    One thing I know I need to do, on Facebook, is to delete people I met once, or who are the friend of a friend, but who I’m pretty sure have never commented on my updates. Someone who doesn’t bother to respond to anything you have to say probably isn’t really interested in what you’re saying or doing.

  • #134506

    Lauren Modeen

    I think people use Facebook, for example, in different ways. So, I don’t really think it matters how many friends you have, as long as you don’t brag about it for the sole purpose of claiming you are awesome. I have 3500 friends. I am clearly amazing.

  • #134504

    Phil Sammon

    Short story for all on too many “Friends”: I noticed one week that I had not seen a single post from a former military colleague of mine on facebook. He had Friends in the hundreds, and posted several times each day. I checked back and found he had not posted in almost three weeks. Didn’t give it much thought until the next day I saw a Vacancy Announcement for what looked like his position in his office. Now I was concerned so I called his office. The receptionist assured me he was alive and well and at his desk, so I talked to him. His Smartphone had been hacked at a social event weeks before and the hacker had taken over all of his accounts. But what surprised me most was his comment to me: “You mean you called because you didn’t see my posts? You are the only person who has done that!”

    You have to ask yourself, “Would I be Friends with this person ‘in person’ as well?”

  • #134502

    Denise Petet

    I don’t use face book. As some say, facebook is for keeping in contact with your family…well the parts of my family that are on there I’m happy to keep my distance from 🙂

    My social media is LiveJournal, which is nicely small and not popular enough to be well known, and I’m fine with that. In the last year or so, I made my journal’s default to friends only…and I only friend people I know or have met. If i want to post something to the public at large, I can do that…but it’s the exception rather than the rule.

    Twitter is the same way. I ‘twalk’ a few celebrities, but most of the people I follow are friends. And if people start to follow me, I check them out. If they’re a real person, fine. But if all their tweets are spam, they get blocked and reported.

    I dont’ mind playing online, but I don’t want to have everything out there. I don’t see how the world cares what I ate for lunch or how my day was (not even going to go into how fraught with danger venting about work can be).

    I don’t ‘friend collect’ and can’t quite get into the phenemnon. I’d rather follow people I care about and be followed by people that care about me, than be surrounded with strangers.

  • #134500

    Curt Canada

    I would say that quality stands out over quantity and true friends are perhaps few in number.

    Facebook friends is simply a marketing ploy! However its’ time consuming . social networking


  • #134498

    Deborah Johnson

    My city has some “council watcher” types who are…well, there’s really no nice way to say it: on the ragged edge of creepy. As my city began to venture into social media, it quickly became obvious to me that in order to protect my privacy, I did not want my personal FB account in any way connected to the city’s- I did not want there to be any possibility that certain individuals could access it. However, since I’m involved in administering the city’s page, I needed access. I solved this by scaling back my privacy settings & disconnecting from those related to work, then setting up a separate work profile linked to my work e-address. It has only my “official” city photo & is set up so as not to allow the posting of comments. I use it exclusively to push out urban planning-related articles (no original content) & as a platform for contributing to the city’s official FB page. I’ve friended almost anyone who asks &, so far, have had no problems.

    As for my “real” personna, I’m “friended” with numerous people I don’t actually know: authors, performers, politicoes, etc., & the occasional wit I’ve run across on someone else’s page. (I’ve also met & become friends IRL with a few of them.) Occasionally, this has not worked out so well- typically, political or religious leanings have clashed- & I’ve selectively defriended folks or been defriended. I have learned to keep an eye out for fake profiles, though. These are the friend requests I receive who claim to be what they’re not. The most recent one, for instance, used a photo of a middle-aged white male claiming to be the CEO of a company in Seattle (non-existent, with name misspelled) & had only a handful of friends, all with foreign names. Typically, their initial contact is a brief note with the friend request that’s a veiled form of “hey, baby, let’s hook up.” Those get reported as fake profiles & blocked.

  • #134496

    Deborah Johnson

    While I agree that true friends are best kept close & personal, Curt, I must respectfully disagree that FB is simply for marketing. I’ve used it to reconnect with old friends- it was a major platform for class reunion planning, which was how I got involved in the 1st place- & make new ones; extend my professional relationships; & connect with individuals who, by virtue of their fame or position, I would never have access to otherwise.

  • #134494

    Deborah Johnson

    If this was FB, your story as well as the question at the end would get a “like” from me! 🙂

  • #134492

    Stacy Rapp

    Funny you should mention this because I commonly ask why people want to be friends on facebook, when you haven’t seen or talked to them in over a decade. I don’t know if it is the coolness factor or what, but it’s interesting. For me, there are some people that I once studied with, etc., that I may not keep in contact with, but that does not mean that I want to delete them from my friends list. I would never be able to find them again if I remembered, oh…I knew this one person who knows so much about this and I am interested in it now but I don’t have their contact information anymore. I would rather have a whole bunch of friends that I hardly talk to then to try to track down one.

    The trick I do is what my 70 something year old grandma taught me. Just hide there posts on facebook. I can’t believe my grams taught me this, but she was randomly talking one day about how she was going to hide posts from such and such because he was going a bit looney with social media and I thought wait a second…you do what? That’s when I uncovered my favorite facebook tool, and yes, my grandma taught me. Now, I try to just see what my closest friends and family are posting daily by hiding other acquaintaince posts.

  • #134490

    Carol Davison

    No you can’t. Calling people on Facebook (or in other instances) friends doesn’t make them so. I say no to people who are rude, those I consider unfriendly, those who troll and the ones who are always right in their prejudices.

  • #134488

    Greg Munno

    Very interesting discussion!

    I think that I take a slightly different tact then others here, and certainly different from the one advocated for in the Information Week article.

    Generally, I take a “why not” as opposed to a “why” approach in deciding who to follow back and who to accept a friend invite from.

    First, why would it be good to have a big network?

    1. Information and resources are broadly distributed. Few people know in advance exactly what expertise or resources they’ll need to draw on in a specific situation. A broad network gives you better chance of finding someone with the right skills and expertise you need.

    Or maybe you need to find someone who has had a specific experience or requires specific info: In Japan for the quake? Have you seen this missing child? Warning – the Metro is late today. Should I get the iPhone or the Droid?

    All of those messages/questions have a specific target audience — either the people that need to know or people who are in the know — but you don’t know in advance who those people are.

    2. Sometimes, it’s about the eyeballs. I am looking at this as a former journalist, which surely influences my perspective. In the newsroom, it would be a truly odd thing to utter, “you know what we need, a few less readers.” Not all readers are created equal – some are more apealing to advertisers, some act as sources, some aggregate your material and spread it farther, some add value to your content by posting comments and questions and, ideally, sparking a real dialog.

    But (back to point No. 1) even among the people we know, we’re not sure who those people will be on any given topic. Therefore, whether I am soliciting comments, directing people to a survey, recruiting people for an event, or trying to gain followers for a client’s fan page, I take comfort in having a large personal network that I can leverage.

    3. A big, diverse network keeps me honest. I want to see a diversity of opinions that I will not be able to get from my close circle of friends, and I want to imagine a diverse network when I post to help me come to terms with the absence of a public/private divide in social media. If I can communicate something of value to 1400 Facebook friends without offending or annoying any of them, I’ve had a good day on social media!

    4. Accepting a friend request might be the first step in building a meaningful relationship. I agree wholeheartedly that it’s better to have a meaningful relationship with folks rather than simply collecting numbers of friends. If I need someone to kick off a digital conversation in a productive way, it’s nice to have go-to commentators as opposed to a shot-gun approach. Yet I think those relationships can be initiated on social media. But you have to let people in first.

    None of this is to say that I accept every friend request. My basic parameters are: (1) You must be a real person who is disclosing real information about yourself; (2) Ideally, I like to see posts (tweets are easier in this regard) that indicate you are fairly active (not necessarily posting every day, but also someone who is not purely a social media spectator) and that your posts are not overly commercial (certainly no spammers allowed.)

  • #134486

    Jay Krasnow

    These are some really good points Greg. Thank you for your insight! I’m a former journalist as well!


  • #134484

    Jay Krasnow

    Interesting point Deborah — I had heard of people with “dual” profiles.


  • #134482

    Deborah Johnson

    I just sent you a friend request. 🙂

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