The Facebook world is not the real world.
I remember when I first joined Facebook. It was fascinating to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. Then I started writing. My friends supported me. So what if I made more friends? I’d get more support, right? Not so fast. In the end, I slashed my Facebook friends.
Facebook is a false construct. It tricks us into thinking we have more friends than we could ever really have. The same goes for all social media. And I bought the lie: hook, line, and sinker.
Once I saw that I could reach people to sell books using Facebook, I started adding more and more people to my friends’ list. I thought that would be good way to gain a larger audience and sell more product. It might have worked for awhile. But it quickly became a bad strategy to rely on Facebook friends.
Essentially, I Was Using People
It reminds me of a pyramid-based business. You try to convince all your friends to join and sell the product so you make more money. It feels like you’re using people. By increasing my Facebook friends, solely to try to sell them my writing, I was being selfish and probably annoying.
Then I read Michael Hyatt’s book: Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World. Michael had done the exact same thing as I was doing. But he realized the mistake and asked Facebook to move his 5000 friends to a Fan Page. Then he limited his personal Facebook friends to people he really knows, about 100.
At that time, I didn’t have 5000 friends to transfer to a Fan Page. I only had a few hundred friends. But I took Michael’s advice and started a Fan Page. Guess what I discovered? Getting people to like your Fan Page is challenging. So what did I do? I kept adding friends to my personal page just to invite them to like my Fan Page. It’s a slippery slope.
Turning The Tables
In time, I found ways of getting true fans to discover Hip Diggs’ Fan Page. (I won’t go into the details here.) But they were people who liked the topic of minimalism and simple living. They like my page because they honestly appreciate the content of the blog. And they were beginning to like the page at a much higher rate than adding friends and then inviting them to like the page.
The tables were turning. All the while, I was still feeling sleazy about adding friends just to get more likes on my Fan Page. So I took Michael Hyatt’s strategy to heart. But I will forewarn you, it’s been a long and slow process.
Too Many Friends And Follows Are A Form Of Clutter
I started with Twitter. My feed was a mess of crap I cared little about. So I unfollowed 1800 people. I still try to keep my “following” list at a few hundred or less. I don’t really care if it limits the number who follow me back. In time, I’ll gain more follows based on the quality of my content. It’s about carving your own territory, not competing as if it’s a hierarchy.
I was slower to slash Facebook friends. After all, about 50% of my blog traffic was coming from Facebook. If I cut back my friends’ list I might be cutting my own audience off. And by this time I had nearly 3000 friends on my list.
How To Slash Your Facebook Friends
I know, it sounds horrible, to slash your friends. But most of them are not really your friends. And by eliminating those who you don’t really know, you will actually wind up with a much better Facebook feed. Here’s what I did:
- I got rid of the inactive: The first step was to go through the list and get rid of anyone who never commented or liked my posts. Chances are they rarely even saw them and would never miss me anyway. This probably amounted to 70% of my list.
- I got rid of the obnoxious: This included people who constantly cursed, argued for the sake of arguing, and those who posted false stories.
- I got rid of those I didn’t really know: If I’d never met someone in person, I slashed them. There were a few exceptions to this rule. As a blogger, I’ve met some people on Facebook who I have gotten to know through networking. So I kept a select few of these folks as Facebook friends.
It’s A Slow Process Of Review And Repeat
The process of reducing your friends and follows takes time. You have to continually review and then repeat the process. Each time you’ll discover more people who you don’t really know or interact with.
As a blogger, it makes little sense to friend everyone who likes my content. I appreciate that you enjoy my writing, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be buddies. After all, I’m not friends with Michael Hyatt. I simply follow his page.
I still go back to my list every couple months and eliminate more people who no longer interact on my feed. And I rarely add new friends. You can always go to the Hip Diggs’ Fan Page and like my work there.