When I set out to plan something for my 30th birthday last month, I took to Facebook to see who would be able to make it. As I sat starring at my 255 friends, I realized I only want to see about ten or 20 of them.
Today is National Un-Friend Day for Facebook. Facebook does not sponsor it in anyway. The idea came from Jimmy Kimmel on his late night talk show. Jimmy suggests that we make these many connections on Facebook and they are hardly real connections. Are these people really your friends? As Jimmy says, would you give them your phone number? Would you be comfortable if they called you? Would you take their call? All good questions, his goal for today is to get you closer to the people who really are your friends and weed out the people you don’t even know.
I have sat on both sides of this topic. I have “un-friended” people and have been “un-friended.” Over the summer I found that had about ten “friends” on Facebook dropped me. For the most part it was random. I couldn’t speak to why they disconnected me from their lives.
Only one of the “friend’s” who dropped me made me stop and think. She was from my elementary school days. My school was very small. The class had about seven kids. In the first grade I met Meghann, who moved to my school from Canada. She sat in front of me and I terrorized her throughout most of the year. We became good friends. As I grew up, I decided in the third grade she would be the love of my life. A major decision for my third grade self. She was the only girl in the world for me. That puppy love crush lasted well into high school. While she made her feelings very clear over the years, moving away really cemented the fact that it would never happen for us.
Fast forward to 2008, I saw her pop up on Facebook. I decided to take the plunge and ask to be her friend, she accepted. We only really spoke once. Each exchanging polite comments on how well the other’s life was going. That was it. I followed her life as she posted updates and I assume she followed mine.
I was curious about how her life turned out. Facebook gives us that guilty pleasure. We get to be noisy about someone else’s life without asking them directly. If she and I met for the first time in 2010, we would have nothing to do with one another. We would not be friends today. She lives a very different life from me. I was curious, found out, and moved on.
When she “un-friended” me I was a little hurt. I thought; we’ve known each other since the first grade, why would you do that? Because I don’t really know her and she really doesn’t know me. We have no connection anymore. We are fading photographs of a different time. I would not have wanted her at my 30th birthday party and I know I would not have had a good time at hers. So I wish her well and focus on the friends that I do have a connection with.
I only friend people on Facebook I actually know. I need to have met you in real life to connect with you on Facebook. I often get requests from folks who I don’t know. To them I say, follow me on Twitter.