Something happened today that's making me re-think how I use Social Media, if at all. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy hearing from my friends, but this event made me take stock of who my friends really are. I heard a researcher recently quoted saying that people can have, I think, between 80-110 friends and really know them.
Anyhow, as I looked at it, there were 436 on Facebook and 76 on Twitter, without a lot of overlap. Were they all friends that I genuinely knew? No. I began slashing. And then I slashed some more. In the end, I had 233 friends on Facebook and 38 on Twitter. (And that was after adding two on Twitter.)
Does my new list represent people I know intimately? Not entirely, but they are people I know. Some are people I want to follow the online lives of, some are people with sage professional and/or technological wisdom I find interesting. And to be honest, some are people who regularly tell me that they enjoy my posts, and so it may be vanity, but who am I deprive people?
And, to be honest, I also dropped some friends, professional contacts and present-day colleagues, a number of whom I've even describe as friends-in-real-life. In some cases, they were cybersquatters who created accounts but didn't use them, others were people whose lives have diverged so far from me that I'm not getting any benefit from their social media lives -- and as such, every post they make prevents me from seeing one of someone else I care more about hearing from.
But now, with my newfound trimmer friends list, how do I keep on the diet. And that's where I came up with a weird idea that would never work, and it's this... every time I get a friend request, I send my new friend-to-be a list of all of my current social media friends and they tell me who they think I should replace. This also assures that they know my friends. And then I let the two of them decide who gets to go on my list.
Of course, this will never work. While nice for my ego, there are very few people who would go to those links. The rest would tell me off in some probably insulting and discouraging language that would leave me off-kilter for the rest of the day, like I am now. (But I've been off-kilter all day, thinking about the deaths of two friends, plus the aforementioned undescribed incident.)
Now, I have a hunger for more purging. I wish I had the time and courage to just throw out so much stuff in this house. But it's too much work and I don't have a great mechanism for it and so many things have a future use, like the giant stack of Entertainment Weekly's of Lori's that I need to go through the book section of and add to my "to read" list, or all the Architectural Digests that I want to cut out things I like from for later use.
So the clutter builds up. Also, while I was off licking my wounds I neglected a friend who's guesting with us yesterday and today. Doesn't help my funk any more.
I'll get to watch last Thursday's The Office tonight and it had better be funny. I think I'd rather be watching FlashForward, but I'm not sure because at least The Office is a known and FlashForward is still a little bit of an unknown.