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. . . .