Less Friends, More F.r.i.e.n.d.s | 2011-10-12

I resist the urge daily to quit Facebook for good. I read my news feed and think, "I don't care about any of these people." Mind you, I'm not friending random strangers, these are people I used to know. They are friends from high school, previous employers, distant family, current and ex-girlfriends, and friends of friends.

But how did all these people end up being my "friend" on Facebook? That's just Facebook's MO. There is a sidebar recommending friends of friends. Facebook will, if you allow it, scour your email address book and cross check it with every person in their database. Having more friends on Facebook means you're more likely to use their service, and more and more conversations will happen ON Facebook. Whatever the reason, be it ad revenue or selling your posted information for market research, Facebook wants to be the middleman in your conversations.

I realized recently that Facebook has it all wrong. Like most people who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I want my life to resemble a tv show (even possibly like anyone who grew up in a decade since tv was invented). When I think of how relationships work in tv shows I realize there aren't hundreds of old acquaintances hanging around the cast of F.r.e.i.n.d.s; there are six people who know each other really well. Sometimes they meet an old friend, but just for one episode. This is what I want. I want a core group of friends that I hang out with and we have adventures in meeting and communicating with "the outsiders." After our adventures alone or with a subset of the core group, we come back and tell the rest of the group.

I want to build a family structure out of my friends, but Facebook isn't set up for that. Facebook is networking with all the people you know, people you met through them, casual friends, bosses, and anyone you might see occasionally. I simply cannot communicate with everyone I've ever met on a daily basis. That is not how I want my friend group to be.