Rethinking Social: From 300 To 30 Facebook Friends

Rethinking Social: From 300 To 30 Facebook Friends


Last week over a period of two days I unfriended most of my Facebook people.

I went from 300 people I know the names of to 30 people I know. Immediate family, friends. A handful of online people I know from the pre-social web days.

Easier To Share

  • Sharing with the core is easier when there’s nothing but the core.
  • I wanted to go from having to filter whom I post to, to sharing family news and photos without a second thought.
  • While I can share and exchange anywhere else with any setup, for many sharing == Facebook. I have to be here for and with them.


Relations consume time, attention, affection. Of each I have a finite amount. Where should I best invest it?

Besides the question What’s the return of a Like on status update of someone I only know by name I increasingly realized; who cares?

There’s a difference between the reaction of my mother and you when I show you both a photo of me holding a baby.

There is a level of caring for that directly influences the level of caring about.

Lifetime is really precious and I need to use it as genuine, relaxed, and joyful as I can; the relationships I live need to be real.

It Was Strangely Difficult

Weird but true.

Sometimes I clicked away a name and it was a Name, you know? Someone who is someone in the industry. And for a moment it made me feel like "there goes a valuable contact" or "I could be considered important merely by association, merely by the fact that this Person has friended me back".

I don’t want to be that guy, want to be way beyond all that, super mature and such, but there it was; a pang of oi…

Other names were hard to click away because it felt like ending an era, ending a period in my life.

But The Result

For the first time in a long time I go with real fun and joy to Facebook where I know I’m meeting with my clan. It’s a smaller place but it will do.


Elsewhere my social web is different.

Twitter is my public network although there too I trim. I share differently there too.

I’m rearranging my abode at Google+ Plus, liking the place quite a lot. Less of a water cooler than Twitter it’s a place where I look far beyond the SEO industry I work in.

4 Replies to “Rethinking Social: From 300 To 30 Facebook Friends”

  1. Ruud, I’ve been doing the same thing, though not all at once. I decided, same as you, to reduce my Facebook friends to people I’ve physically met, mainly my family and a few close friends. I know the feeling when you remove someone who you know online and wondering what they might think. Did I lose a connection? Did I leave someone wondering what they did for me to remove them.

    Ultimately I think this could get me to use Facebook more since now I don’t post because of the effort of having to filter things.

  2. I enjoy Facebook again for the first time in a long while. I see posts from family members while before my timeline was … well, nonsense, really. I’m very satisfied with it and Facebook has become really useful this way.

  3. Bravo for doing this Ruud! I am curious 8 years later what else has shown up?
    I’ve been wanting to do this for a very very long time. I have the dilemma of having built a dance community that is part my work, part my hobby, and part my source of friends. I’ve also considered building a social network for dancers :)
    I am curious, did you just start removing friends or did you post an update with your intent and perhaps saying “it’s not personal”?

  4. Facebook is a one-time a day deal for me, when I leave a love note on the wall of my wife. Sometimes see if my friends from abroad bring in anything. To me, the place is as useless as LinkedIn is, for me, as a social network.

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