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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Why you should break up your Facebook friends

I have a lot of "Friends" on Facebook.  Some of them, I even actually know.

Okay, that's a bit snarky but also somewhat true.  A lot of my "Friends" are actual friends, people I know.  Some are people I knew (more or less, from case to case) in high school and have only just reconnected with.  Some are friends I met through college, or through work.  Several are friends I've met online, and in some cases have gone on to meet in the bricks-and-mortar world.  A surprisingly large number of them are people I've met through the Sideshow Gathering.

When I was first starting out on Facebook things were simple.  Fire up the computer, grab a cup of coffee, check my email, open up Facebook.  Scroll the updates my friends had posted since the last time I was on.  Move along.

Now, even just scrolling through the updates my friends have posted in the last hour or two can be overwhelming.  Hundreds of people, all posting, some stuff I want to see, some that I don't really care to know about.  Important news gets lost in the crush.  Oh, and it seems that Facebook occasionally arbitrarily decides that I'm not interested in what one or another of my friends has to say. What to do?

A few revisions ago Facebook provided the opportunity to group your friends into lists.  Using this feature, you could elect to only view updates from friends on a given list.  So I created a sort of inner circle of friends, the people I really knew and wanted to know about.  But this list quickly grew unwieldy, too large to read through.  So next I created smaller lists:  "Family," "High School," "Work," "Sideshow." Now if I wanted to just know what members of my extended family were up to, I could click on that.  If I wanted to see what the chatter was among my high school friends, I could do that.  If I wanted to see what my sideshow friends were doing and saying, I could do that, too.

Another nice feature of these lists was that you could use them as email lists.  So when, for example, a situation like the one that happened yesterday comes about, I could just email all of my friends on my sideshow list.

...in theory, at least. Turns out Facebook has an arbitrary limit on their email system: a message can be addressed to only twenty people at a time.

So now I'm faced with the need to create sub-lists of my lists in convenient twenty-name packages.  But who should be grouped with whom?  Should I make the lists hierarchical, with an inner circle of twenty, and then a first ring of twenty more, and so on? Should I make the lists functional, with the swordswallowers here, the talkers here, the fellow fans here?  Ehhh, maybe I'll just make them alphabetical, with the first twenty names here, the next twenty here, and any new additions getting added to the last group until it fills up.

And then after that, I'll have to do the same with family, and high school friends, and former co-workers.  This is starting to sound like a lot of work...

1 comment:

Michelle D said...

I feel like Gort, Jen, Mark and I should all be grouped together.