On Why You Got Un-friended

So I have been reading a lot about social networking these days and the latest research shows that it’s more important to have friends who are active with you on social networking rather than just a sheer number of friends.

So last night while listening to radio reports on Hurricane Sandy, I began to look more deeply at my 1800 or so Facebook friends. A student in my UB 101 class glanced at my computer and said “How do you have so many notifications?” When I told her that I had over 1800 friends she suggested being more selective.

I replied, “No, I have a bunch of circles (to use a Google plus term) from different times in my life.”

But then I decided to get critical and really look at the number of facebook friends I have. I came up with some criteria to determine whether I would un-friend someone. And so here it is: Why you got Un-friended.

1) Who the Hell Are You? – If I couldn’t look at your name and say “Oh I know her! She’s from X and we spent time together at Y,” then I sent you to the “dump list” for further review. After looking deeply at your profile, if I couldn’t place you then you definitely got un-friended. If we hadn’t had a conversation together that I could recall, then you also got un-friended.

2) We Went to High School Together: Now this wasn’t an automatic dismissal. I have plenty of high school friends who I adore. But there were some who I didn’t even talk to at the reunion. And come to think of it, we didn’t talk much in high school either. So if you were a high school “face” to me, then you got un-friended.

3) You’re a Fan of Busted Halo, but we’ve never met: I can appreciate Busted Halo fans reaching out to me. But if you do that, than a comment here or there on something I have written might give you a fighting chance of staying on my list. There were a few people who have become good friends who I simply met online, but we have a relationship now, albeit a virtual one. Some folks were just anonymous to me other than their fandom from th’ halo. So they had to be purged.

4) Your a Friend of a Friend: Maybe we met at a party once, or maybe we’ve hung out a time or two, but in general you’re not my friend your so and sos friend. So I had to let you go.

5) You Never Comment: So I’m pretty active on Facebook and really believe in online community as being a great free exchange of ideas. I often say that people comment when they care enough about what you think to bother. If you never comment on something I write, there’s not a need for me to keep you around because you’re voting to not be part of the community.

6) You comment, but you’re snotty: This is a rare deletion and I think I only used it for one person. As stated above, I welcome a free exchange of ideas. David Dawson and I agree sometimes and we disagree often on any variety of issues. But when I hit the ground in Louisiana, I’m going to visit his scotch-swilling, LSU-loving, cajun-eating ass. James Hamilton and I are old friends as is Paul Daly and we’re about as opposite as we can be some days. But we always look for middle ground to agree on and always try not to take a cheap shot at each other. If you attacked a person instead of an issue, I chucked you.

7) You don’t even bother to pray for others: This was huge. If I or other friends post something and ask for prayers, one of the great things about Facebook is the way people respond to that kind of call. I know some serious-minded atheists who have “kept a good thought” or at least bothered to let me and others know that they care. And again, there may be people who are just not active on Facebook and it’s nothing personal when they don’t respond–but in those instances, I let you go because you’re just choosing to intentionally be part of the community. You can email me or send me a message.

8) You clutter my newsfeed with nonsense: Actually, this doesn’t get you un-friended, but it got you deleted from my newsfeed. A feature I now use often. So if you only play farmville, or post memes and I don’t really know you or interact with you on Facebook, then I de-friended. If I knew who you were then you were cut off of the newsfeed.

9) You’ve abused the privilege: So I had a situation where I posted something once and someone called another person that they thought the post was about and asked them what was going on between us. It ruined the relationship with that other person and the post wasn’t even referring to them. I un-friended the person who called immediately. It’s one of those “be who you are in light as you are in the darkness” kind of things.

10) I’ve Never Been to Your House or Shared a Meal with You: If you passed the above criteria, this was a final check. If you couldn’t say either, you got bounced.

11) You made fun of my dog: Immediate explosion under rule # 604.08 subsection 3. “Thou shalt not be mean to the Haze Dog.”

Most of the folks fell under the first category and the fifth category. I’ve never met you, but you like BustedHalo.com or we’ve met but we never converse.

Now here’s something further. While I was able to delete 350 or so folks from my feed, I still have 1442 facebook friends! There’s nobody there now that I couldn’t place immediately or without a minimum of reflection. These people come from the following places in my life: Family (mine and Marion’s), Close Friends, Ministry Colleagues, High School friends, College friends, former radio colleagues and students or young adults to whom I have been a minister. Over 1400 people were still unable to be deleted. Tonight I’m going to play a game with Marion—name a person that she doesn’t know and I have to tell her how I know them.

So for those who have been unfriended…if you simply lurk on this blog, I would suggest liking my Googling God page on Facebook. This blog auto-posts there. Or you can subscribe to my personal feed which will give you a bit more.

And despite the fact that you may have gotten un-friended, know that I still pray for you. This was not something I took lightly and I waited for a long time to do this. Each time we gather around the table of the Lord we are closer than any social network or even an in-person meeting! So know that you remain in my prayers.