If you’re like me, you need to see a psychiatric professional. But if you share the same experience I do on Facebook, you see a lot of people in your stream posting items you don’t care about. For me, if it’s not sports, digital marketing or Elizabeth Shue, I wonder who you are and why we are friends? The noise makes Facebook seem impersonal and prompts me to do some culling. I perform this seek and destroy process about twice a year.
Yes, this is incredibly two-faced of me. I am an open-sharer, all out there, balls-to-the-wall kind of guy. Virtually everything I think or experience is open season on Facebook, except for close friends or family. I save that for Path, which is an intensely private social network. Over the years, I’ve assumed that if someone wants to be friends with me on Facebook, it’s okay and possibly beneficial. And because, well, I’m awesome.
But now that Facebook is so crowded, I’m not finding it to be that way, particularly since the site culls my feed for me and shows things it thinks I want to see. Facebook is seriously bad at this.
There is a lot to be gained by cutting down your friends list. A recent weeding proved to me that Facebook is purposefully suppressing the posts of certain people. Maybe its friends I seldom interact with or that it thinks I’m not close to, but after weeding out 350 or so connections, my feed suddenly became more relevant. Several friends from high school or college I’d forgotten I was connected to suddenly showed back up. The noisy marketing folk that drowned their content out was gone, making room for them.
Sure, you can go to their page and change the setting for their profile to Close Friends so they’ll show up more often in your feed. And you can unsubscribe from those who are cluttering up your feed with useless sales pitches for shit you’re not ever going to buy.
But sometimes, you just need to do some gardening to that friend list. To offer some assistance for you, here’s my litmus test. See if you can tell which ones are real and which are, well, fun for you to consider:
- If I can’t immediately place who you are or where I know you from, you’re likely gone, unless we have 75 or more friends in common. In those cases, we probably travel in the same circles and could potentially serve as mutual alibis. We might even do business together one day.
- If it’s less than 75, I click through to their profile. I look at our mutual friends, and check for location. For instance, if you live in Pewee Valley, Ky., but do not appear filthy rich, I know you probably live here. In that case, I’ll Google your name, figure out what screwed up shit you did and make a call. If you have killed less than two people, you can stay. But a man has standards, so more than that … you gots to go.
- If your profile picture contains more cleavage than shirt, I’m sorry. Nothing good can come of this connection. Buh-bye.
- If you spell your name in a way that is difficult for me to remember, you’re gone. Especially if your name is Michael but you have extra vowels, a random “Y” or a silent “S.”
- Anyone whose profile picture is them holding their crotch or pointing directly at the camera — gone. If they’re doing both, that’s talent. They can stay.
- If you live in a foreign country, it’s not one I want to visit, and I haven’t had contact with you in at least six months? Gone.
- If you reference cocktails anywhere in your profile, or your profile photo showcases a cocktail, you’re in. If the cocktail happens to be bourbon, we’re besties. That’s a Close Friend, if I ever saw one.
- If I cannot pronounce your name, you probably fall under the first round of omissions, but you’re not likely to stay. Keep in mind this isn’t a racial or national origin thing. I have high school friends whose names I can’t pronounce. Example: Clintanya, who, fortunately for all of us, went by “Skeeter.”
- Finally, if you have a blue checkmark icon — meaning you have a “verified” account — they automatically go unless I decide I can tolerate your gratuitous ego. (That one is for Peter Shankman, Brian Carter, Robert Scoble and Jeremiah Owyang, whom I have on a special filtered list called “Douchebaggery Suspects.” And yes, they’ll see this. They have vanity search alerts set for their names. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have verified accounts. Heh.)
The bottom line is that I treat Facebook like a landline telephone from 15-20 years ago. You should, too. Your Facebook is for you. You use it however you want – it’s not for the convenience of others. Just be advised — really, really advised — that if you unfriend your in-laws, they WILL take offense. They WILL bring it up on the holidays. And it won’t be pretty. People see unfriending as a slap in the face.
Of course, there are certain relatives we’ll all tolerate some holiday pettiness from in order to not have to deal with their issues throughout the year. You be the judge of who this is for you. I’ll enjoy this week having several of mine wonder if I’m talking about them.
Try this refresh on Facebook and see if it doesn’t help improve your experience. See what Facebook brings you in that home feed now, and if you’re getting more of what you want – and less of what you don’t. If you find you miss the douchebags, go add them back and blame it on a hacker. They’ll buy it, and then you can have all the ass-grabbing photos and self-blovating pats on the back you want in your feed.
And whatever your influence, persuasion or belief, I hope you enjoy this time of year with people you love and kick ass in 2015.