Less than friends

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Facebook allows us to reconnect with old friends, maintain long-distance relationships and post ridiculous comments on our roommates’ walls — even if they’re sitting only two feet away. It’s also a place where endless hours are wasted sifting through album after album of friends’ photos.

When you think about it, this behaviour is genuinely creepy, illustrating Facebook’s greatest flaw. It allows us to spend hours ogling the photos of people we hardly know.

It’s for this reason that we need to better qualify our friends.

In my eyes, there are two types of friends in this world: the kind you meet up with in real-world time to have real-world conversations with, and Facebook friends. Surprisingly few people fall into both categories.

According to Facebook, I have 594 friends. While I could flatter myself and accept this as true, my good sense says otherwise.

In reality, I talk to a fraction of those people regularly. I’m not even aware of the identities of many of my Facebook friends. It’s not necessary to have access to the photos of random acquaintances and even strangers.

There are several species of the Facebook friend, but this list isn’t exhaustive: there are the aforementioned real-world friends, the friends you met once at a party and bonded with as a side effect of alcohol and, my personal favourite, the random friends whose requests you accepted for no reason.

It’s puzzling when someone, who I’ve never talked to before but with whom I have some mutual friends, decides to add me on Facebook.

What sparked their interest? Why me? Why now?

Maybe they heard about me and thought I sounded pretty great, or maybe they just wanted to creep my pictures. What’s unsettling is that more often than not, I think it’s the latter.

People’s popularity shouldn’t be measured according to the number of their Facebook friends, but in reality this is often the case. I’ll admit that upon noticing someone’s friend count resting in the 50 to 100 range I’ve cast some unreasonable judgements. You may not want to admit it, but you probably have too.

Taking action on this issue, I’ve decided to go through and purge my Facebook friends list. If you don’t make the cut, please don’t take it personally, you probably won’t even notice anyways.

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