Saturday, February 16, 2019

Right-sizing My Social Networks

by sanjanakumar (writer), New York City, May 25, 2009


Sometimes it is better to have a social network that consists of quality instead of quantity.

About a week ago I was at an event that we had held for our customers where we were discussing new technology that we will be releasing in the near future. During lunch, the topic at my table was social networking sites. One of my customers suggested that we create a group on Facebook. I then turned to him and said oh, you are on facebook? (being entrenched in technology, I am not sure why I was surprised). We mentioned something about linking to each other and then the topic turned to the fact that you need to be careful who you link to and what you post on your wall, etc. Someone else brought up Twitter and everyone at the table unanimously stated that none of us Twittered or Tweeted or whatever the proper verb is for Twitter.

I used to want to build my Facebook and Linked In network empires. I was a social networking site whore, I admit it. I accepted everyone who wanted to link to me. I wanted to see how many people I could actually connect to. When meeting new people, one of the first things I would ask them is if they are on Facebook or Linked In. By the end of the social engagement I would say goodbye to the person I had just met, saying we MUST link to each other on FB or whatever site we both had in common. I would go home later that night or the next day, log into my precious social sites and immediately try to find this person to connect to. I really wanted to create some amazingly huge social networking circle.

I think part of my undiscriminatory decisions for linking to particular people on Facebook was mere curiosity. Especially with people from high school. Ok , the truth be told, I am nosey. I want to know what these people from high school are doing, what they have been up to, how many friends they are have or who they are still in contact with, and even more importantly---what they look like now. I would scour the walls and photo albums of these new connections learning what my new social connections have been doing with their lives for the past 20 years.

Then about a month ago, a girl from high school tried to friend me. This person made my life and my mother's life pure hell my junior year of high school. Not only did my first boyfriend cheat on me with her but she actually jumped me in the hall during lunch in high school.  Why would I EVER want to be connected to this person on FB?? Honestly.

So when I received the email stating that so and so wanted to be friends with me, I immediately logged into the site. I saw someone she knew online so I sent a message asking why so and so wanted to connect to me. Apparently as I was asking this question, so and so was on the phone to the person I was asking my questions to. So and so then started sending me emails informing me or answering the questions that I had been asking to the 3rd party of this conversation. It was a scene straight out of high school-- all of the gossiping and talking about people behind their backs as well as the manipulation of conversation to obtain information. I could care less what so and so is up to. The 3rd party had already sent me an email the first time we connected on FB tellling me ALL the sordid, juicy secrets of so and so's life. I didn't solicit this information, it came quite freely. The best part of the conversation, is that the 3rd party was telling me how lucky I was I didn't have to be friends with so and so and how she has to be friends with her because they are now related by marriage. Again, classic high school conversation. Permission to be friends on Facebook--DENIED.

It has been a couple of weeks since my customer's comment but it has really got me thinking about right sizing my social networks. Companies all across the world are going through re-orgs so I have decided to apply this my own life. I mentioned this to my friend Jayne yesterday and we were discussing the whole "unfriending" someone on FB.

Jayne had unfriended someone and the person who was unfriended tells everyone she meets how Jayne unfriended her. A year ago, it did sound kind of stupid and lame to unfriend someone but what Jayne told me yesterday was, "hey, I wasn't friends with her anymore, I didn't need her in my friends list."  Plain and simple.

I had unfriended the boy from Boston after things didn't work out. He then went so far as to DELETE and BLOCK me. I had to laugh. Unfriending someone is one thing but to actually take the step of blocking me??? As far as I am concerned, blocking someone from FB has a vindictive tone to it. The best thing is a month later, he tried to friend me again on FB. Really???? You BLOCK and DELETE me and NOW all of a sudden you want to be friends again. HA. Once again, permissions to link DENIED.

Right now, I have something like 375 friends on FB. To be honest, I have no idea if someone has unfriended me until one random day that person pops into my head and I go to look them up on FB and they are no longer listed. Oh well, guess they unfriended me.

Apparently there was an article in the NY Times about this a while back from what Jayne told me.

As of June 1st, I will have right-sized my social networking connections. I will merely be deleting connections not blocking them as I just don't see the point in blocking someone. It's kind of mean and immature (well unless the person is harrassing you then by all means BLOCK.)  I wonder if any of the people I have "defriended" will even notice.  Perhaps they will try to friend me again?  Only time will tell.  I think I will use the cleaning out the closets criteria as a new standard for my social networks.   When adding one item (or in this case friend) you must get rid of one item (friend) so that there is a complete balance and you don't end up with clutter.

About the Writer

sanjanakumar is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on Right-sizing My Social Networks

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By D. E. Carson on May 25, 2009 at 03:39 pm

Nice story.  I'm thinking I need to forward it to a friend of mine.  He relayed this story to me about FB in a conversation we were having on social networks (funny how those tend to crop up in conversations from time to time).  Here's basically how our conversation went:

DEC: so just how long have you been on Facebook?

My Friend (MF): I dunno.

DEC: You have many friends?

MF: A few.  A lot are from high school.  I guess they want to keep tabs on me.  I really only approve the ones that seemed to give a damn about me back then.  But it was funny, this one guy I went to high school with, sent me a friend request then after I approved the request the asshole dropped me from his friends list!  It's nice to know that some people don't change.

DEC: Whaddya mean?

MF: He was a jerk then and it looks like the Navy didn't straighten him out.  Either that or it made him more of a jerk.  Either way, I'm kind of glad he dropped me.  A couple of my friends on Facebook are people I wasn't sure wanted to ever have anything to do with me again, but it seems that they still somewhat care.  We chat sometimes when there's time to do that.

DEC: Eh, you're probably better off without that one friend.

MF: I got along all through high school without having him as  a friend in real life, I think I can manage not having him as a friend on Facebook.

Thanks for the advice...!

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By sanjanakumar on May 25, 2009 at 04:57 pm

Haha.  Good post.  I love the people that friend you on FB to check you out and then remove you as a friend once their curiosity has been satisfied. 

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By Christopher Wager on May 25, 2009 at 06:53 pm

I have to say ,I don't care for facebook. Even in the fact that everyone I know ia on it.

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By Edward on May 31, 2009 at 06:58 pm

Good info about a medium I know very little about.

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By sanjanakumar on June 02, 2009 at 06:19 pm

Well...apparently somone noticed that I de-friended them on FB.  This is an email I received on 5/29

DROPPED TO THE CURB! Between You and Brian

I can't believe I didn't make the cut!!!!!!! That's cold Ms Kumar! Cold! Why does Andy make the cut!?!? And Jill S.! I don't even know who that girls is! I am friends with her, but I still don't remember her! HMMPHHHH... I was having such a good day until this!!!! Seriously though, who is Jill S?

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By TonyBerkman on October 07, 2011 at 07:06 pm

Your article is even more relevant now.

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