How to Tell the Difference Between “Real Friends” and “Facebook Friends”

leaving-Facebook

I started using Facebook back in September 2005. In those days, Facebook had big brother in the logo and was only for college students. I remember when Facebook came to UMHB. There was a mad rush on the IT department of students doing password resets so that they could get access to their .edu email addresses. The school email accounts were pretty awful, but we had to have one to use Facebook.

Within weeks of Facebook launching, half the school had friended each other. One guy had friended the entire campus and had over 2000 friends. Facebook in those days was much simpler. There was actually very little to do. We had no wall and could only have one photo, the profile photo. So what many students did was rotate their profile photo on a daily basis to reflect their mood.

I loved Facebook in those days. What I saw on Facebook was a reflection of what was happening on campus and in my real life.

Welcome to Facebook. Are you here for business or pleasure?

Fast forward 8 years. Now I am a professional speaker who speaks all over the country. My “friends” list has swelled to nearly 3000 people. This is a bit shocking for an introvert with a handful of close friends. It takes me days to emotionally prep and recover from the conferences I speak at.

Facebook now more closely reflects those exhausting conferences than it does my actual circle friends.

The tragic thing is that important posts from my family are getting lost in the 5000+ daily posts that Facebook tries to prioritize for me.  I have tried sorting people into groups, I tried “muting” people I didn’t want to hear from, but to no avail. Facebook is just too overwhelming and growing faster than ever.

The end result is that I have turned off most email notifications because of the noise. This means I miss out on parties put on by my real friends. They have been lost in the noise of book launches and political rallies. I’ve been missing important family posts. My little brothers are growing up fast and I am missing watching that happen on Facebook.

Also, important business messages get sent to me through Facebook. These also get lost in the noise. I need to allow my staff to help handle these messages without giving them full access to my personal correspondence. I still dream of having a girlfriend to send Facebook messages to. I don’t want my staff in on those conversations. 🙂

The sad thing is I do want to interact with all 3000 people. I just don’t want to do it in the same way I interact with my close friends.

7 Tests I will Use to Sort “Real Life Friends” from “Facebook Friends”

At some point, I will create a new personal page. My plan is to keep it to around 150 family and real life friends. I will be using the following tests to help me determine who my real life friends are:

  1. Companion Test: Companion comes from the Latin. “Co” means “with” and “Pan” means “bread”. So, a Companion is someone you break bread with. So, have we shared a meal recently?
  2. Coffee & Cider Test: One of the things I do with my real life friends is get coffee at a coffee shop or Hard Cider at the UT Club. Have we gone out for coffee recently?
  3. Couch Test: Could I crash on your couch without it being awkward? Could you crash on my couch?
  4. Blood Test: Does the same blood through our veins? If you are an Umstattd (or Umstattd Affiliate or Subsidiary) then you are an automatic friend on Facebook. Blood is thicker than any social network.
  5. Cell Phone Test: Do you have my cell phone number? Do I have yours? Do we text each other?
  6. Skype Test: If you live far away, do we video chat on Google+ or Skype?
  7. Family Test: Do you know my family? Do I know your family?

Why I’m Moving to a Business Page

I will be converting my Personal Profile into a Business Page. This will allow me to continue to have conversations about marketing, politics and publishing, while also keeping in touch with my real-life friends and family. My plan is to record the process, so that others who would like to convert their pages can do so.

The business page will give me several key benefits:

  • Allow my staff to help with incoming correspondence – I get both sales leads and support tickets sent to my personal Facebook page. Moving to a business page will help this kind of communication get forwarded through the proper channels more efficiently.
  • Insights and Analytics – Business pages give much better insights as to where you connections live, how old they are etc. If I host an event, what towns would be the best place for that event? Facebook insights will help me answer questions like that.
  • Better scale – Personal pages are limited to 5000 “friends” By moving to a Business page I head off a problem that will only get worse.
  • Better Advertising – I have started promoting posts more often that are either political or business related. Business pages have better post promotion tools.

I’m Moving to Google+

I really like Google+ and will spend more time there and less on Facebook. Are you on Google+? Circle me!

 

 

Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the author of Courtship in Crisis, the former head of PracticalCourtship.com, and co-founder of the Austin Rhetoric Club, a homeschool speech and debate club in Austin, Texas. He is a professional speaker and CEO of Author Media. He sits on the board of directors for several nonprofits, including the Texas Alliance for Life.