Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Digital Friends, Volume II

Two days in a row. Yeah, I know. I'm awesome. So here's Volume II of our three (or more) part series on my digital friends. This one is about my facebook friends.

If this topic seems familiar to some of you, then you've been reading this blog for way too long. I did something on 'Social Networking Rules of Engagement' way back in the day. Like back when I had a blogmate. But this is a little bit different. This one is about evaluating your current friend list and making difficult cuts. Sort of like trying to cut the budget deficit (yeah, I'm watching the president's press conference right now). 

So Burger King ran some kind of contest a few weeks ago when they'd give you a free cheeseburger if you defriended 10 people. I didn't go for that for a couple of reasons: 1. I wasn't really hungry for a cheeseburger, and 2. I like to avoid conflict at all costs. But it got me thinking about my friend list, and who I would cut if I had to cut people off. Like if Burger King offered me one of those creepy oversized 'King' masks and suits for cutting friends, who would I choose?Here's the math:

Starting Number: 387. This is the total number of facebook 'friends' that I have. To someone new to facebook, this might seem like a lot. To someone who just graduated college, this is nothing. To someone who doesn't use facebook, I'm surprised you made it this far. Anyway, I don't think I have 387 actual friends. That seems like too many. I don't get 387 birthday cards and there certainly aren't 387 people who I could call to help me move or bail me out of jail. 200 sounds better, so that's our goal. In my make believe world, Burger King will give me the creepy King head if I get down under 200 friends. So let's start cutting...

Subtract People Who I don't Know (14). So I have to admit that I'm a huge nerd. I started this exercise by going through my entire friend list and typing every name into an excel file. This list of 14 people is basically the list of people that led me to say "who the hell is that" when I typed their name. So those people are gone. I'm not really sure how I became friends with these people. Maybe they were former coworkers who friended me during new employee orientation and then didn't make it to week two. Or maybe I went to college or high school with them and they got married and I don't recognize their married name. Whatever. They're gone now. We're down to 372.

Subtract People Who I haven't talked to in at least three years (212). Whoa. that's a lot. And to clarify, talking on facebook doesn't count. So this means phone, in person, or email communication. So we could be done (we'd be down to 160 friends), but that wouldn't be much fun, so let's add some people back in.

Add in People who I haven't talked to in three years, BUT I have had some facebook communication with them in the past year (45). Try fitting that column heading on an excel file. So these are your facebook success stories. They write funny status updates or post inappropriate pictures.  They are your no strings, facebook friends. So we have to add them back. Damn, now we're up to 205.   

Add back people who meet previous subtraction criteria but are somehow related to you (2). So if you're following, these are family members that I haven't talked to in over three years. I know, I'm a bad cousin. But of the 16 total family members among my friends, I have talked to 14 of them, which isn't bad. But we've got to add these two back to avoid family reunion drama. So now we're back to 207.

Add back people who meet previous subtraction criteria but have the ability to get you fired if they wanted to (1). Of my 387 current friends, I came up with 20 who could probably get me fired if they wanted to (without trying too hard). So these twenty represent current clients and people who have rectangles above my rectangle on the org chart. Note: there are lots of rectangles above my rectangle. But I talk to most of these people pretty often, so most did not meet the aforementioned exclusion criteria. Only one person to add back in. So now we're at 208

Subtract your potential liability list (10). So these are people that are on your list. Your list that you'd hand your PR person if you were ever running for office. Not people that you need to disappear, but people that could cause issues in the future, either because 1. you've done ridiculous things around them or 2. they tend to say ridiculous things. So these are people that would respond to your facebook status with some hilarious inside joke that is just blatantly offensive to people who don't know this person. Yeah, they shouldn't be your facebook friends, even though they are probably your best friends in real life. Keep in mind that you have people in the 'could get you fired' category above. They don't get along well with the personal liability group. So these actual friends are off the list. We're down to 198. Give me my creepy looking King head now. 

Editor's Note - There are a couple of other groups that I started counting, but left out of this post:

1. People who have seen me naked. This list was way too long. No, not because of that. Get your mind out of the gutter. You try playing high school sports or living in a fraternity. Would it really cost that much more to put in individual shower stalls? If I ever donate money to my high school or college, I'm going to have individual shower stalls put in with doors or curtains. Some freshman will thank me. 

2. Stay at home moms. I love you all, but your facebook status updates just aren't very exciting. I could go on here, but instead stay tuned for a full post on this. Something like "The Real Housewives of Facebook." Maybe Thursday-ish, if 'yall are free.

Alright, that's all for tonight. Volume III tomorrow night.


Kelsey said...

again.. hilarious.. + I would like to have the stalls taken out of the womens locker room.. not because I like women, but because of overwhelming self esteem issues. My favorite dressing room on earth is in NYC + there are no doors.. just mirrors.. It really could go either way-- heightened levels of self esteem problems.. OR heightened levels of motivation to take the stairs... hmmmm..

Al Iverson said...

My nixing criteria started out a bit simpler.

1. Have I met you in person more than once? +1
2. Have we had more than one drink together, more than once? +1
3. Are you some random email industry frat boy-slash-wiener who is going to going to reply to every FB status update with some variation of "WHOOOO!"? -2

Fucking industry people on Facebook. Bane of my existence. I just went through and weeded a bunch of them out, and you just reminded me to go back and do some more pruning.

Amanda said...

I'm a little more open to Facebook friends -- but my recent thing is to set up filters. Only my 'real' friends can see everything -- and I have work filters and such.

There is a pretty interesting NYT article about the generational gap on Facebook: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/magazine/15wwln-lede-t.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=growing%20up%20on%20facebook&st=cse

Kath said...

LOL. You are a nerd.

Anne P said...

i love this. i was just looking the other day at my facebook wall, and there were like 2 people that i had no freakin clue who they are. i was going to defriend them... but then i got lazy.