Focusing on Friends (vs. unfriending)

The New York Times (yes, I enjoy reading a paper newspaper in the morning over coffee) has an interesting article today, Friends, Until I Delete You. It was about protocols, or the lack thereof, regarding dropping / unfriending / blocking / unfollowing / defriending people on Facebook (and by default even on Twitter, my primary networking hub, as well as rss feeds and blogrolls). Getting a free Whopper from Burger King aside, this issue will only grow in discussion as the general trend toward Managing Multimembership increases.

I used to accept all invitations, though find it increasingly difficult to keep up and communicate with the people who I am really interested in following and engaging in ongoing discussions. Currently, I do not accept all invitations in Facebook or even return following in Twitter. Let’s face it, if I have not spoken to somebody since high school or college or for ten years, is there much evidence I really want to suddenly start now? There are often reasons why we lose touch (as well as some good reasons for begining again, I suppose).

I often do accept if the person appears interesting, but tastes and needs and wants do change and develop over time. 

Don’t get me wrong, this issue is not necessarily a personal one; it is more a recognition that I have limited time and resources. I am simply not able or interested in following or reading people who, ultimately, do not meet the WIIFM? (What’s In It For Me?) factor.  Very subjective, but then again what isn’t? (Ahh, I love qualitative research!)

I wish I have more time and energy, but there is a limit. Thus, instead of my own focusing on particulars about unfriending, I prefer to focus on following those who really make a difference in my life, work,  and research.

8 thoughts on “Focusing on Friends (vs. unfriending)

  1. I agree 100% with what you have written here. It is a hard choice to make as far as defriending people but sometimes it has to be done.

    I used to follow people that have hundreds of followers on Twitter and only followed back less than 100. I finally stopped following them when I noticed that the number of people they were following had not changed in the last 4 or 5 months. To me, this meant that they had no intention of following any new people so I stopped wasting my time on them.

    Now I have more time to develop new relationships with people whom are still interested in getting new followers and deepen my relationship with people that I currently follow.

    On that note, thanks for your friendship and for the follow on Twitter.

  2. @nycrican2

    Great points here; reminds me of why we make friends or listen to others at all.

    Question — why is is a hard choice defriending people, as you mentioned?

  3. Well, in some cases, I find it hard to defriend someone if I know that the person will notice and feel hurt and rejected.

    However, I do feel that most of the people that I have stopped following on Twitter, have so many followers that they probably have not even noticed that I have defriended them. Therefore, defriending this other group is not hard at all.

  4. @nycrican2

    Considering this a little further, does this mean people you no longer want to follow but who you know well enough to not want to hurt their feelings? Ironic that you do not want to hurt feelings, but the daily clutter you get from them only gets in the way and (perhaps?) makes you resent them more for having nothing of value (to you, that is) to say.

    To your second point, do you track how many people follow you on a regular basis?

    Makes me think how this may tie into the larger issue of why we communicate using these media in the first place . . .

  5. I see/hear what you’re saying about the time factor and the “what’s in it for me” issue regarding accepting friends/followers on Facebook, Twitter, etc. But my perspective, being a high school student is a bit different. My social circles in school are pretty limited. The social networks on the web allow me to connect with hundreds of people from all over the place. To me, that’s a good thing and it’s something I personally need in my life. So, at least for now, I continue to accept all invites, etc. because of the personal boost it gives me.

    Thanks for allowing me to say my piece on this.


  6. @Sally

    I have been thinking about your response for some time now, and am wondering how you are able to keep up with all the comments, while cutting through all the “junk,” in order to feel you know somebody well enough to consider it a relationship?


Comments are closed.