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Dear FaceBook Friends, I’m De-Friending Most of You [It's Not You, It's Me]

Dear Facebook Friends,

I’ve been wondering when and how to do this for a while now but the time has come for me to bite the bullet and clean up what I’m doing on Facebook.

For 99% of you – this means that I’m about to de-friend you from my personal account on Facebook.

It is nothing personal – in fact…. that is what this is all about…. my personal account on Facebook does need to be personal and its not.

To use a phrase Ed Dale used in doing this same thing – It’s not You It’s Me.

I hope you’ll allow me to explain why I’m doing this and and provide those of you who wish to remain connected with some alternatives.

What I’m Doing

In the next 48 hours I’m returning my Facebook account to a personal account (in fact the process has already begun). This means a number of things:

  1. I’ll be pulling my all talk about my blogs out of my Facebook account
  2. There will be no more auto Tweets pulled into my status updates
  3. My videos about blogging, updates from my blogs etc will all be removed from my Facebook account
  4. I’ll be de-friending almost everyone – all that will remain will be real life family and friends who I regular catch up with (or those who I want to keep in touch with).

Why Am I Doing This?

When I started using Facebook it was largely something that I used for real friends to share updates of what I was doing.

However in time, as Facebook grew, I began to see how it connected as an opportunity with the work that I do with my blogs. I saw the opportunity to use Facebook to create secondary points of connection with my readers, build a brand and even drive some traffic to my blogs.

As a result my Facebook account became more and more focused around my blogging. As it did so it became less and less relevant to my real life friends and family.

I began to promote this account on my blogs and it quickly got to the point where I had 5000 friends (99% of whom I don’t actually know in real life).

5000 is the limit Facebook allows so I was then at a point where I was rejecting peoples friendship on Facebook – it suddenly became quite exclusive. In the last few months alone I’ve rejected thousands of friend requests – it’s even started to become a little nasty with a number of people thinking I’ve snubbed them.

A while back Facebook started to offer the opportunity for its users to create pages. I started a couple up – one for each of my two main blogs – one for ProBlogger and one for Digital Photography School.

Pages don’t have a limit of how many people can follow them yet they have many of the same features as a personal profile.

Now that I have pages set up and working my personal account on Facebook has become a little redundant for talking about those topics – in fact much of what happens is duplicated and it means my attention is split between updating three accounts.

Since setting up the pages I’ve just felt plain weird about using my personal Facebook page. I’m updating friends on my blogging stuff which doesn’t have any relevance to them (in fact last week I told my parents who are new to Facebook that I didn’t want to friend them because I didn’t want them to have to wade through all my blogging related updates) and I feel like I’m just sending out the same stuff multiple times to others who do want my blogging related stuff. I don’t feel like I’m really achieving anything for anyone with the account.

As a Result – I’ve decided to move all my blogging related updates purely over to my Facebook pages and return my personal account to being a purely personal one – a place where I connect with real life friends and family.

So I’m going to remove all people that are not either friends and family who I see regularly and want to stay in touch with.

My hope in doing this is:

  1. anyone who want to keep connecting with me on the topics of my blogs will still have a place to do so (not limited by the 5000 number)
  2. friends and family will have a more relevant place to connect with me
  3. I will feel slightly less torn each day about what to post (and what not to post) on my personal page

I’m also looking forward to have a private place to just be me – living so openly on the web for so long has been great but a guy needs a place to let what little hair he has down.

If You Do Want to Stay Connected

If you’d like to connect with me around one or both of the topics I blog about I would encourage you to become a fan (I wish they didn’t use that term) of one of my Facebook pages:

Alternatively – much of the Facebook updates that have previously been here on this Facebook account have been pulled in from Twitter. You can get those updates directly from twitter at http://www.twitter.com/problogger – my Twitter stream at @problogger will continue to pull in both blogging related stuff as well as some more personal stuff from time to time also.

I hope this sheds some light on what is about to happen on this Facebook Account.

In terms of WHEN it’ll happen – I’ve already started to pull out some of the blogging stuff from my Facebook page – but I’ll be starting to de-friend people later today. It will take me a while though to de-friend close to 5000 people!

If you’re a real life friend and I do de-friend you – my apologies. I’m sure I’ll mistakenly do that with a few as I go through everyone – I’m certain that going through 5000 people is going to be a process with a few mistakes! Please friend me again if this is you so I can fix it up!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. JohniLouise says:

    Darren, I did this too. My Friends and Family are much happier w/ out all the Biz people trying to Friend them too. LoL

    Also I learned how to create a Welcome Landing page and showed my other “friends” who were building pages to do the same. It beats having people land on “your wall” for a first impression.

    Pages have several cool features that we are really enjoying! I’m popping into Facebook to add your pages now so I can keep up with you in an enviro where the convo can be more in depth!

    Thanks Darren!
    @JohniLouise

  2. Doing a great thing defriending 99% of FB friends.Facebook is usually for close friends and family

  3. AAWF says:

    How funny! I just did the same to my facebook account last week! So I unfriended you first!

    Glad you’re getting it back to the basics on that account. It’s got to be done. See you elsewhere in the online world!

  4. elizof says:

    Facebook has been an amazing resource for helping me find long lost friends…
    Like you, I pondered the public/private divide and decided to keep my FB strictly for family and friends; kudos on your move!

  5. uzoma says:

    Good for what you are doing remember Bill Gates once complained he didn’t know the people he was having as friends on facebook, it also affected me ever since I got involved in the IM world, so many folks have been asking me to add them don’t know what to do with them.. ohh well it will be great for a fan page

  6. Tola F. says:

    Yeah I totally agree with you on this.

    For me Facebook = Personal Friends/Family
    Twitter = Networking, Business Partners and Acquaintances and all…
    After all, you know what they say about mixing business with pleasure, lol.. Although since you have a facebook page I guess you get to continue with your networking on facebook so good for you!

    Nice one!

  7. That is great choice that to make our facebook become personal again.

  8. Jody says:

    I agree completely. I don’t friend people on facebook that I don’t actually know. It keeps my numbers low and manageable. Bravo.

  9. Amber says:

    I just did this very thing this morning! Of course I only had a handful so it was done in a flash, but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one reclaiming my personal life on Facebook!

  10. Jaszy says:

    Kudos to you Darren! I did this a couple months ago and though it took me a few days to get through all of my “friends”, I know it was well worth it. I determined that my personal FB account would be for maintaining REAL connections with my family and friends.

    Really, if you haven’t had a conversation, text, email, cup of Joe or anything else with someone in say…a year, are they really your friend?

    I have two business fan pages and use LinkedIn for business networking.

  11. Ebony Jones says:

    Unfortunately this is a necessary tedious task.

    The personal profile is so much more flexible than a page, I wish Facebook would lift or up the limit.

    Oh well, happy unfriending.

  12. Its a good choice really, at the end of the day friends want to add things to your facebook and there some things that you cant add onto a business page, which in essence is what our online profiles have become. I’m having second thoughts about things that are on my profile, i have clients that have added me as well my grandmother and i just dont want either to see me looking really out of the weather and “sleepy”.

    I also like to maintain boundaries between my personal life and what i present forward to the world. my website is very niche orientated and specific and i dont want non-related information cluttering it.

    All in all its a good move and de-friending all those people is going to be a nightmare.

  13. Aaron says:

    Seems like a fairly decent response to running out of ‘room’ for new friends.

    A. You’ve plugged your ‘business’ side for a couple of years using the personal side…

    B . You’ve found a limit

    C. And now, you’ve come up with a cheeky way to convince people to become “fans” not “friends” to exceed that limit and appear as though all of a sudden you care about “family” vs. “business”

    Of course, in the meantime, you’ve leveraged the heck out of ‘friends and family’ to get your content out and readership built up.

  14. Thank you for sharing…:).

    I predict Facebook will be done within the year. Too many restrictions, other social networks are catching up and passing FB as ‘user-friendly’ and visually appealing. Linkedin is a perfect example.

    My regular FB page has hit 5,000 followers last week. Since then, no matter what announcement I make, there are hundreds of requests waiting to be brought on board. I cannot even message them (FB sees this as spamming).

    I agree with everything you say…and support your decision completely. Perhaps this will give me the courage to do something about FB.

    Blessings;

    Jo-Anne Vandermeulen
    Premium Promotional Services

  15. Scott says:

    I’m digging the tips!

    Keep up the good work!

    My website is starting to look good because of you!

    http://www.sbiaffiliate.com

  16. Having many unknown friends is suck, but sometimes those unknown friends can be your good friends at all.

  17. Darren,
    I think this is a good move, BUT would you actually be doing it if there wasn’t a 5,000 person limit?
    I know what you mean though……I have 250 slots left and 58 people holding guitars waiting to be “accepted”……..most of them I will never meet, or hear from……….so, I made a rule that if they are holding a guitar in their profile pic that I won’t add them.
    Anyway, I think it could be a good move.
    Kevin

  18. Good for you. It’s called boundary setting and is very healthy. Bill Sterling

  19. nokia tema says:

    good move Darren ;)

  20. ZenDarb says:

    I just did the same thing – de-friended all “friends” that had anything to do with my job and made Facebook much more personal.

    Work can be like Kudzu and overtake your life. Hit it with napalm!

  21. Gillian says:

    I feel your pain! I had to make a similar move when I was managing a Facebook account for a media personality. At first, she wanted to accept friend requests from her fans. It soon got out of control, and I had to go unfriend everyone she didn’t know. It was a nightmare! I think most people will understand why you had to do what you did. You might want to funnel people to your Fan page instead and change your privacy settings so that you are invisible. Then you can friend people you know without having to reject people you don’t, and you have total control. That’s what those tools are there for.

  22. Facebook is great. But i dont use it right now. Use facebook groups for random people, and for people who are your friends should be in your inner circle. Facebook is great for getting links, and traffic.

  23. IPBrian says:

    I figure twitter and Facebook fan pages are for business and Facebook proper is for your close friends, family, high school chums, etc. Good that you were transparent about the whole thing, but I cant say anyone will really blame you for the change.

  24. Liss says:

    I completely understand and it is something I’ve been torn about for awhile, whether to accept blogging friends who I dont know in real life as facebook friends or make a page. Also I dont want to spam my real life friends who dont read blogs with my blog updates….

  25. Rob Gokee says:

    I’m doing the same thing this afternoon. It’s time for a purge.

  26. Darren,

    Funny to read this – Sascha Lobo, a more or less famous guy in German did the same just recently when he reached the 5.000 friends mark.

    He offered his friends to become his “fan” which he translated to “Friend auf Netzwerk” which is (obviously ;)) German for “Friend on Network”.

    I liked this approach. He startet a dialogue on his blog, announcing this decision thereby facilitating the transition for his friends aka fans.

    Another, very important thing, that lots and lots of people seem to forget:

    There are excellent privacy settings on Facebook!

    Sounds weird huh?

    But:

    You can actually control which of your friends can SEE your status updates, etc.

    Just to give an example:

    I put everyone of my friends into lists. I got around 250 friends and put something like 20 of them to my “close friends” list. If I wanna share something personal I just send it to them. 20 is probably not the number of really close friends as defined by real life, but it really helps!

    What do you think of the list workaround?

    Cheers,
    Stefan

  27. Bobbi Newman says:

    I’ve been toying with this idea for about a year. I keep running into this snag, what about my online friends? The ones I really do interact with and would probably have dinner or beer with if we were in the same town? If I make those cuts based strictly on feelings some will stay & some will go & I worry about hurt feelings. How did you decide who made the cut? Was there backlash?

  28. Pamela Price says:

    I’ve shared this post with others because I think it’s the start of a BIG trend, especially now that the pages appear in the news feed. Having made a similar switch myself–though I didn’t so much “de-friend” as stop accepting friend requests from unknown folks, it’s a big relief to know the boundaries are set.

    @redwhiteandgrew

  29. Krista says:

    Your post struck a chord and Facebook has been much more tolerable & enjoyable after removing almost 400 people I didn’t know. I think FB fan pages & Twitter are the perfect meeting places for those contacts. Love them, but everyone in one place can be plain overwhelming. Thanks for posting.

  30. Thanks Darren – you’ve pointed out a solution for me – I am nowhere near 5000 friends but I do have an unholy mixture of real world friends – who are usually more into dancing than making online and my evil friends in the MMO online – this is a cool solution and I am going to implement it – thanks!

  31. Guillaume says:

    As I see on facebook, you could create a Fan Page separate of your personnal account. The WordPress page has 56881 fans. This could be a solution, having personnal contacts on you own page, and create a Problogger one.

  32. Jules says:

    I am so glad to read this. I have never made my facebook page public for the very reasons you have shared. I just finished a course and have read several posts and books where the opposite is encouraged (make it all public) and it never sat well with me. I’m glad I followed my instincts on this one.

    Best of luck with your more personal FB account. I’m sure you will much prefer it over the previous one.

  33. Anna Savoy says:

    I’ve been vacillating back and forth on this. I need a more professional page, and a separate personal page. I don’t need my college age kids asking for money in the same thread as associates and I are discussing industry issues, you know? I’ve been wondering how to…handle the announcement. Whew! Thanks for this. I’m glad there are others.

  34. Layne says:

    Hi Darren,
    Very good idea. After all, you have already created pages exclusively for your blogs, why not have one that is exclusive to your actual friends and family. When I come home from work, that’s it, I leave work at work. What you would express to close friends and family wouldn’t be the same as what you would want your general readers to be privy about. So good for you. Now you will have your own private space to keep up with your personal relationships. Those are the most important relationships.

    Kudos.
    -Layne

  35. Mary says:

    Very sensible idea. It’s particularly so now that Facebook has made the idiotic decision that all ‘friends’ can see each other’s friends list. They talk about FB being a platform for social networking but never seem to consider that online relationships, just like those in real life, have different levels, and people run their lives in different compartments. It’s now got to the point that I will be having different accounts for business, personal acquaintances, and close friends. Of course, I wouldn’t have to do that if the people behind FB would stop digging their heels in and let us allow people to see exactly what we want them to see and no more, either by themselves or via other people whose relationship is closer to us.

  36. Joe Jonson says:

    Interesting post reminds me of another gem. – Always do right – this will gratify some and astonish the rest. – Mark Twain 1835 – 1910

  37. ZAREMA says:

    Thanks the author for article. The main thing do not forget about users, and continue in the same spirit.