How many online friends do you have?
Now cut that in half, and again and once more for luck! Now do you have that many contacts in your phone book?
It always astonishes me how many Facebook friends some people have in my online domain, from old school and university friends to family, distant family and even friends pets pages. With increasing importance placed upon people’s online networks, it seems anyone and everyone is desperate to flaunt their networking prowess. I currently have around 160 friends on Facebook, but at one point it topped 360! Around a year ago I decided that I no longer wanted an old school classmate to see my status updates, as I wanted more privacy (ironic I know). So I adopted the mantra of, ‘if you wouldn’t say hello to them in the street, then delete!’ Turns out I wouldn’t say hi to a lot of people so I swiftly deleted around 200 contacts.
How much value do these people really add?
Now I am not just talking about your online presence and marketing yourself in a positive way, but to your own social life and psychological wellbeing, they say that the more Facebook friends you have, the greater prominence of anxiety and unhappiness. The reason I also mention marketing you, as a brand is that we are all guilty of posting only the most positive aspects of our lives at any given moment. Although there are always the pessimists, people like to have others admire their lives and the enriched form they take. I believe that this is not always supremely positive and may make you feel more down about a variety of things. However if you have a selection of true friends with whom you aren’t in fierce competition with, then it allows you to be freer and more relaxed in an online environment.
Social media as a whole.
With Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to name just a few, social media platforms are allowing us to put every aspect of our lives online for the world to see. I think it is difficult to judge whether in 10 years it will have had a positive or detrimental affect on our lives. On the one hand it allows us instantaneous access to information on everything from fashion to politics to our friends favourite music. Ultimately there is no realistic chance that our lives will ever be like they were before Facebook and therefore it is inevitable that social media will continue to develop and innovate different ways for people to share and connect. This was fundamentally impossible before social media and in particular Facebook and can definitely be seen as a positive aspect of having a large number of ‘friends’ on this platform, whether just acquaintances or not.