I love Facebook. Like, I love it.

I also hate Facebook. Like, seriously, hate it.

Facebook keeps me in contact with so many people – people I went to high school with, people I went to college with, people I knew from way back in the south Alabama days, people I worked with, people I had crushes on, family. . . .

It’s wonderful. Exchanging jokes, photos, comments, catch-ups with people I’ll probably never see again but still very much care about.

I love it.

When I first ‘got going’ with Facebook (and, trust me, I was not an early adopter), I thought it was fabulous to reconnect with all these people. My ‘friends’ number skyrocketed.

Ah, so, so many friends. . . .

Then, I started paying attention to what some of these people were writing and posting and re-posting.

Hmmmm. . . .

Not the kind of stuff I’d accept coming out of the mouth of a ‘friend’.

Maybe, just maybe, there were reasons these people had disappeared from my life. Maybe, just maybe, these were not my ‘friends’.

Now, I am not suggesting that one must agree with everything I say to be my friend (though it helps . . . 😉 ).

I am saying that if you’re racist, if you’re homophobic, if you’re sexist, if you’re just flat out mean, I really don’t want to call you my friend.

Even on Facebook.

Maybe especially on Facebook, where the public nature of our relationship might suggest to someone I don’t know – someone to whom I will be unable to defend myself – that I share your views.

And, interestingly, a study from Nottingham Trent University has suggested that on this occasion, I might actually be right!

It seems that when you have a large number of ‘friends’, your risk of psychological and/or reputational damage is higher.

Makes sense to me. I’ve never understood how someone with 700 friends could possibly keep track of things. . . .

Apparently up to 150 connections is most manageable.

Unfortunately, the study does not give guidance for eliminating those pesky, embarrassing family members. . . .