So, how many friends do you have on Facebook? Do you really know them or were they just a passing acquaintance? When was the last time you had interactions with every single one of them?
If you are anything like me – you probably can’t remember all the details of the interactions BUT I am confident that I know all of them. Although there maybe a few I haven’t spoken to in person for over 20 years!!!
Sometimes, online friends just creep on us. You may have ‘friended’ someone you met briefly at a conference, a parent of another child who you no longer see, or maybe an old neighbour who moved away years ago. And like all good bedrooms and sock drawers, a regular clean-up is a very healthy idea.
British University lecturer, Brian Lobel, is currently touring the world teaching interested parties the most conflict-free way of culling digital contacts. In his part game show/part lovestory/part lecture, entitled Purge, he explores the concept of modern friendships and how to cull with dignity. His workshop/performance is based on a personal project he underwent in 2011 to delete a large number of his Facebook friends after considering the impact his online friends were having on his real life.
‘I believe people focus on their relationship with a given person, what it adds and what it takes away. If the negatives outweigh the positives, it might be time to delete,’ he comments.
And while culling friends will eliminate ‘bloating’ in your news feed and make the Facebook interactions you do have more purposeful, it will, most importantly, also help protect your online profile. And here’s why?
Limiting the exposure of your information, photos and updates to online friends you genuinely know and trust will minimise the chance of your identity being stolen. Unfortunately, identity theft is one of the very real casualties of oversharing online. So exposing your life to ‘online friends’ you really don’t know or no longer trust could lead to issues.
Cybercriminals are very clever and well constructed, fake Facebook profiles are one of the key ways they can get access to your private information with the aim of stealing your identity. It could be a mirror profile of an existing friend or a completely fake profile created to emulate the genre of person who has children at the same school or who lives in the same area. If you are a ‘gung-ho type’ and accept friend requests regularly, you may just be letting a cybercrime into your world with the ability to access your personal information.
So, why not set aside sometime to review your online friends. Or better still, why not use the daily Facebook birthday reminders as a way of deciding whether you’ll delete someone or not. If you’re not comfortable wishing them ‘happy birthday’ then I’d press delete!
Till next time