Facebook has completely diluted the meaning of what a friend is and turned the idea of having friends into an arms race. When MySpace was still relevant, the big competition was to see how many friends you could get for your page. People would brag that they had thousands of friends, and yet they could never find anyone to hang out with on the weekends.
Do you really know 1,290 people well enough to call them friends?
The idea of collecting a long list of likes on Facebook makes sense if you are a business, a rock band, or Charlie Sheen. But is it really a good idea for you, the average Facebook user, to strive to have thousands of friends you don’t really know?
A Cluttered News Feed
When you have 2,000 friends, you are making it really difficult for Facebook to decide what gets on your news feed and what does not.
Facebook allows you to categorize people as either acquaintances, close friends, or restricted. You can control who sees the things you post, but you cannot completely control what shows up on your news feed until it actually gets posted.
For example, you can categorize someone as an acquaintance and rarely see their public posts, but 2,000 acquaintances makes for a pretty cluttered news feed.
If you decide to show some restraint and only make 100 or 200 of your acquaintances into close friends, then the posts from those friends will show up even more often in your news feed and make a huge mess.
Even restricted friends can show up in your news feed from time to time and that will just make things worse.
In the end, a long list of friends on Facebook means that you could very well miss important posts and messages from people who really matter, no matter how you categorize those friends.
Event And Game Invitations
The only effective way to block event and game invitations on Facebook is one friend or app at a time. That means that if you have a ton of Facebook friends, you could spend more time managing your news feed than actually using it for social networking.
But what’s the big deal with invites anyways? You can just ignore them, right?
If you have a lot of Facebook friends who play games, your news feed will get filled with their game posts and your inbox will be choked with invites and requests.
The problem is that you probably have friends who offer event invites that you consider to be worthwhile, but they get buried in the deluge of invites that you could care less about.
Unwanted Intervention In Your Life
Sometimes it is helpful to get an outside perspective on an issue you are having, and other times you just want to vent and only let your closest friends see what you are posting. OK, Facebook allows you decide which groups see your wall posts. No problem, right? Not exactly.
The world is filled with all kinds of people and it is not unusual to put up a Facebook update looking for the name of a good plumber and have some person from another country question your politics.
Sounds crazy, right? Why would a person who you barely know feel qualified to turn your simple request into a battle to defend your honor? The answer is because you gave that person the ability to intervene in your life when you added them as a Facebook friend.
Remember that friends of your friends can see their news feed items as well. Even if you choose to keep something private, it is inevitable that someone is going to see it who you do not know.
That is a good reason to keep all of your real dirty secrets off Facebook. It is also a good reason to avoid adding more Facebook friends than you can handle. At some point, someone is going to ruin your day by making an off-hand comment about something completely innocent and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.
Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam
When you have a lot of Facebook friends, you also tend to get a lot of spam from those friends. Your Facebook friends have the same wall post controls that you do.
They can restrict, or open up, their wall posts to your news feed however they want. So when you take on that new friend who you don’t know and limit how much they see from your wall, that does not mean that they have given you the same limitations.
You may have just made friends with a person who makes $1,500 a day working from home and they want to show you how. So they send you posts every day to show you the way they did it. It happens constantly, and it’s not fun.
Facebook spam comes in many forms. It can be get rich quick schemes, movements to free someone from jail, political rants, or just about anything that you would normally have no interest in at all.
When you have a ton of friends on Facebook, your spam goes way up and it can clog your news feed while keeping the information you really want to see buried.
Keep Your Friends Close
How many of your Facebook friends do you really know? What is the practical reason for having many Facebook friends?
If you are just a regular person who is trying to enjoy the social networking capabilities of Facebook, think before you add friends. Just because you are taking the time to categorize your friends in a way that limits what they can see does not mean that they are extending the same courtesy.
After a while, having a lot of Facebook friends can become nothing but a pain.