Can You Unfriend Virtual Acquaintances?

Caught up by the spirit of purging, I trimmed about 70 or so “friends” from my Facebook list. If you discover you were one of them, don’t take it personally. I am just trying to streamline my virtual social circle to make it truly social based on whether or not we actually interact.

Many of the people I deleted (such a harsh word, don’t you think?) were business associates from the SVM network whose interaction with me never extended beyond accepting a “friend” request. I never exchanged messages, note mentions or even acknowledgment of comments on links or status updates. We just “work” for the same “company”, and I can contact any one of them through the Big Tent message board that constitutes our virtual corporate offices if I need to.

I kept a few of the publishing houses. Interestingly, they do respond and message and I find the information useful enough to keep them on for a while longer.

My fiction writing peeps and a few authors survived for the same reason. There is interaction.

Naturally family and friends remain; even the latter whom I have never met in person but of whom I am fond and with whom I love to engage.

Rob wondered about my Twitter feed. Would I clean house there too? So far it remains intact but it will be whittled to just friends, writers, editors and agents in the near future. I don’t have time to entertain anyone else.

Is it ruthless to use Twitter as a business tool only?  I don’t think Facebook can be used unless interaction is the aim, but Twitter is more of an information exchange and networking device.

I hope no one ends up feeling bad about my “unfriending”, though if we were never friends it can’t really be seen as personal or “unfriendly”. I know that I have always felt slightly bad about myself when I have been dumped from a friends’ list or blogroll although I acknowledge that it was something I felt without cause. I can think of only a few people who have done this with intent and they are not people whose good opinion was really all that great to begin with.

5 responses to “Can You Unfriend Virtual Acquaintances?

  1. I had to do the same thing not very long ago with both Facebook and Twitter. I followed a lot of people who were posting a lot of stuff, but none of it stuff I really cared about; I had no direct interaction with them; and when I looked they had hundreds or even thousands of followers. Odds are, they didn’t even notice I’d left.

    Cleaning house is generally a good thing. If people that sort of thing personally, or don’t bother to find out what the reason might be, they’re probably too immature to get it anyway.

  2. Hmm. I had never thought of purging my list of friends. I have only ever purged one, an old high school class mate who scared me a little then and who openly admitted on his FB profile that he suffered from schizophrenia and depression. But I do admit is is weird getting updates from people you don’t really know very well.

  3. i like your criteria – “interaction”. that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? if someone is on the friend list, never posts/comments… there are one of two options in my mind. they are either not engaged, not reading and just did it for a bit to try it and gave up. or they are ‘stalking’, and that creeps me out a little…

    may do a bit more pruning on my list as well. it’s for fun. it’s not life or death. and if someone gets offended because of a ‘deleted friendship’? ummm…. whatever!

  4. beyond blogging, I don’t do any social networking online. But I have dropped feeds and stopped replying to people who reach out to me on my blog. I just can’t take it.

    Keeping a reader isn’t as important as my ultimate happiness.

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