Jun 24, 2009

How to cull Facebook friends

Do it at your own risk, as the Flashpacker found out…

Love it or hate it, Facebook indulges our voyeuristic fascination in the lives of others. Thanks to up to the minute photos, birthday reminders and pointless status updates we can keep involved in our friends lives with minimal effort. ‘Damien never forgets a birthday…’ seems an apt next update.

Four friends went into this Whopper

Recently in the US, Burger King had a special offer of one free whopper for every 10 friends you burn. Keeping with the theme of grilling, burning and flaming your friends (mmm…Whopper) it was a brilliant piece of marketing, and in only a few days thousands of users where friendless. Even if Burger King wasnt serious about honouring the deal, the notion seriously threatened to undermine Facebooks' social networking iron grip, so they shut it down.

The Whopper deal is long gone, but it got me thinking about which friends I would gleefully cull in the pursuit of a free Whopper? This got me skipping through my friends list adding tentative red crosses for possible Whopper points. What I found was a basket case of people I didn’t really know and shouldn’t continue to know either.

After enough time your friends list begins to clutter with people from random meetings in strange places to agreeing to be friends with the neighbour’s cat (it felt like a great idea at the time).

And after years of being subjected to vampire attacks, ‘which hair straightener are you?’ surveys and offers to join groups ‘against using live dogs as shark bait’ by people you don’t know or shouldn’t know, most users arrive at the same point: should I cull my friends list?

A typical Vampire attacker

For the most part FB friends are genuine bunch from all walks of life, some new, some old and some that you never thought you would see again. They don’t deserve to be traded for a burger. But if FB disintegrated tomorrow would you bother to stay in touch with all the friends on your list?

Culling the friend list is a coming of age for any Facebook user. But to cull successfully you have to want to do it, don’t do it if you haven’t got the nerve for the impending backlash. Dejected friends will write to you and complain, some will whine to shared friends (which makes it awkward when you all meet), others will simply never talk to you again.

But lets get real, its your life… Seinfeld screaming ‘ive got enough friends’ springs to mind here. Put on a brave face and get ready to burn that whopper..I mean friends list.

First on the firing line are ex’s, their friends and family. We all have a romantic notion that ex’s will be friends for life, but there's something terrifying about seeing them tagged in a wedding dress/suit years on. Your ex would never send you that photo, you just happen upon it one night with a belly full of booze and its like going back in time. That goes for their Mother and their friends too…best to avoid them.

A picture of the ex you should never see

My first cull was my ex’s and their inner circles. An ex of 5 years wrote to me saying how disappointed she was. Another ex from high school called me ‘weak’. It was like breaking up all over again.

Probably the worst friends to keep are your workmates. The workplace thrives on gossip and innuendo and arriving home drunk at 4am to post links of monkeys peeing into other monkey’s mouths offers others intimate access to your dark side. Your real friends loved that video too, but it does'nt bode well for professional self esteem come business time.

Tuesday 4AM: Damien was tagged in an album

There are plenty of known examples of why work mates shouldn’t mix on FB, but one that stands out for me is a friend from work who accidentally invited half the office to a rave he had organised and on the general invite he wrote that he didn’t want anyone from work to know he organises raves. This is just the sort of thing that can come back to bite your ass.

Then comes the randoms, people who are friends of friends, semi-love interests and people who meet you once and they track you down. A friend of a friend I deleted called our shared friends and said I was an ‘arrogant fuck’. Ouch.

Whataya mean you dont wanna be my friend?

Try not to get too over excited on the cull, its nice to keep some random types around just to keep it real. I’m friends with a plant that posts pictures of itself photoshopped in front of the world’s greatest tourist attractions. The plant wears different bows in each photo and regularly ask its friends for feedback and comments about its latest look. Genius.

The blue bow really suits your leaves

The benefits of a refreshed friends list are many and numerous. Its like cleaning out the fridge. No more ex’s sitting in the hard to reach part. This means you have finally put that behind you. No more randoms sending you banal surveys and pointless status updates. And finally no work mates to hassle you when you stumble in on Monday after the weekend-long rave you organised.

Facebook has become a part of our lives. Without it many of us wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves (not me obviously). So its important to treat it like life in some respects and friends are a big part of that.

True friends: cant live with em...

You will relish in the new and improved you, confident that you truly know your friends. And if like me you can count a plant as one of those you choose to keep, you can look forward to many years of colourful bows.

So after all this consideration my pre-cull figure was 627, post-cull was 398. 229 friends bit the dust. The worst thing about this dramatic decline in numbers was that 229 less people would read this blog…


Katie said...

So I guess if I've read this it means we are still friends? I hope so - I enjoy reading your blogs and I enjoy being your friend - even if it is only on FB (for now). x

Alice said...

Katie took the words right out of my mouth. Surprised/relieved/honoured to have made the cut...this time ;)

Hilarious writing as always, Damo. Nicely done.

The Flashpacker said...

You're both perma mates

mish said...

I'm not your friend, I've never met you, but I stumbled across your blog and found it most amusing. I'd like to make friends with the plant pot. Is there anyway you could facilitate this?

vanya J said...

Ruthless... Doobs i like it !

Michael "Sammy Snail" Cole said...

There was an app for iphone and twitter called chumpdump


Maybe you should check it out.

Blogger said...

Anybody here wants a FREE BURGER KING GIFTCARD?