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Dear FaceBook Friends, I’m De-Friending Most of You [It’s Not You, It’s Me]

Posted By Darren Rowse 23rd of February 2010 ProBlogger Site News 0 Comments

Dear Facebook Friends,

I’ve been wondering when and how to do this for a while now but the time has come for me to bite the bullet and clean up what I’m doing on Facebook.

For 99% of you – this means that I’m about to de-friend you from my personal account on Facebook.

It is nothing personal – in fact…. that is what this is all about…. my personal account on Facebook does need to be personal and its not.

To use a phrase Ed Dale used in doing this same thing – It’s not You It’s Me.

I hope you’ll allow me to explain why I’m doing this and and provide those of you who wish to remain connected with some alternatives.

What I’m Doing

In the next 48 hours I’m returning my Facebook account to a personal account (in fact the process has already begun). This means a number of things:

  1. I’ll be pulling my all talk about my blogs out of my Facebook account
  2. There will be no more auto Tweets pulled into my status updates
  3. My videos about blogging, updates from my blogs etc will all be removed from my Facebook account
  4. I’ll be de-friending almost everyone – all that will remain will be real life family and friends who I regular catch up with (or those who I want to keep in touch with).

Why Am I Doing This?

When I started using Facebook it was largely something that I used for real friends to share updates of what I was doing.

However in time, as Facebook grew, I began to see how it connected as an opportunity with the work that I do with my blogs. I saw the opportunity to use Facebook to create secondary points of connection with my readers, build a brand and even drive some traffic to my blogs.

As a result my Facebook account became more and more focused around my blogging. As it did so it became less and less relevant to my real life friends and family.

I began to promote this account on my blogs and it quickly got to the point where I had 5000 friends (99% of whom I don’t actually know in real life).

5000 is the limit Facebook allows so I was then at a point where I was rejecting peoples friendship on Facebook – it suddenly became quite exclusive. In the last few months alone I’ve rejected thousands of friend requests – it’s even started to become a little nasty with a number of people thinking I’ve snubbed them.

A while back Facebook started to offer the opportunity for its users to create pages. I started a couple up – one for each of my two main blogs – one for ProBlogger and one for Digital Photography School.

Pages don’t have a limit of how many people can follow them yet they have many of the same features as a personal profile.

Now that I have pages set up and working my personal account on Facebook has become a little redundant for talking about those topics – in fact much of what happens is duplicated and it means my attention is split between updating three accounts.

Since setting up the pages I’ve just felt plain weird about using my personal Facebook page. I’m updating friends on my blogging stuff which doesn’t have any relevance to them (in fact last week I told my parents who are new to Facebook that I didn’t want to friend them because I didn’t want them to have to wade through all my blogging related updates) and I feel like I’m just sending out the same stuff multiple times to others who do want my blogging related stuff. I don’t feel like I’m really achieving anything for anyone with the account.

As a Result – I’ve decided to move all my blogging related updates purely over to my Facebook pages and return my personal account to being a purely personal one – a place where I connect with real life friends and family.

So I’m going to remove all people that are not either friends and family who I see regularly and want to stay in touch with.

My hope in doing this is:

  1. anyone who want to keep connecting with me on the topics of my blogs will still have a place to do so (not limited by the 5000 number)
  2. friends and family will have a more relevant place to connect with me
  3. I will feel slightly less torn each day about what to post (and what not to post) on my personal page

I’m also looking forward to have a private place to just be me – living so openly on the web for so long has been great but a guy needs a place to let what little hair he has down.

If You Do Want to Stay Connected

If you’d like to connect with me around one or both of the topics I blog about I would encourage you to become a fan (I wish they didn’t use that term) of one of my Facebook pages:

Alternatively – much of the Facebook updates that have previously been here on this Facebook account have been pulled in from Twitter. You can get those updates directly from twitter at http://www.twitter.com/problogger – my Twitter stream at @problogger will continue to pull in both blogging related stuff as well as some more personal stuff from time to time also.

I hope this sheds some light on what is about to happen on this Facebook Account.

In terms of WHEN it’ll happen – I’ve already started to pull out some of the blogging stuff from my Facebook page – but I’ll be starting to de-friend people later today. It will take me a while though to de-friend close to 5000 people!

If you’re a real life friend and I do de-friend you – my apologies. I’m sure I’ll mistakenly do that with a few as I go through everyone – I’m certain that going through 5000 people is going to be a process with a few mistakes! Please friend me again if this is you so I can fix it up!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Great move on defriending 99% of FB – Twitter is for the world, FB is for close friends and family.

    I did the same thing a while back and now both are pleasurable.

  2. Fantastic idea actually and one I suspect will become more common, at least I hope so. It would be a shame for people to assume they have to connect with everyone out of some misguided version of online peer pressure. I think doing so will make Facebook more valuable to you and anyone who follows suit. Sometimes there is just too much noise…

  3. Great decision.

    And think, as an introvert, how good it will feel!

  4. ‘AlternatI’vely”

    These spelling “corrections” are fascinating me. What did you use to type this post?


    • Erica – actually I did a find and replace all to fix something and replaced it with a ‘ instead of a space….. basically a long story where I tried to cut a corner and ended up messing up more than I fixed… :-)

  5. Good for you. It makes sense to keep your family and friends separate from your blog followers. Thanks for the update.

  6. I think what you’re doing is totally understandable, and I wish you the best. Everyone deserves a corner to kick off their shoes, chat with close friends and family, and just relax – even if it’s just a cyber corner! ;-)

  7. Appreciate the transparency Darren

  8. Bravo Darren, good move!

  9. I use my Facebook account in this way, and it makes my life much less complicated. I do still use the networkedblogs feature though – do/will you?

  10. Great idea! That is what a personal page is for in the first place. Don’t sweat any fallout on that!

  11. I think it’s a good move and I think that facebook is structuring their pages more and more to accommodate the differences of business and pleasure.

  12. Do u need help unfriending 5000 friends?! LOL.
    I agree, personal FB pages should just be for Family and real live friends. Blogging/social networking friends should be directed to FB pages.

    Busy week for u!


  13. Fine, I never liked you anyway. ;-)

    Wise move, actually. I totally support it. The dividing line makes perfect sense.

  14. Really good decision I think! I don’t usually become a fan of this, but of course I will for the ProBlogger page!

  15. Inspiring. I need to take the weekend and think through the same thing. At least one of my “social” accounts needs to truly be about relationship. I commend you.

  16. I’m just wondering when you will clean up your twitterati list. I just started with de following waay less ppl than are following you:-)

  17. This is a great motivator, as I’ve been contemplating doing exactly this same thing. I’ve got too many friends on facebook that I don’t actually know.

    I’ll be following your example as I make this same move myself.

  18. Good decision Darren. I do the same thing, my facebook page is ONLY for people I know personally. I have a fan page for my business and it’s only for business.

    People do get upset still when I won’t add them as a friend, but that’s not what I have facebook for. I still have over 200 personal friends on there, I can’t keep up with them let alone people I don’t know.

    Have fun deleting people, that’s going to take a bit of time….

  19. Could not agree more with your approach. I isolated my social networks several years ago and the setup seems to work for me. Have not run into any awkwardly miffed friend scenarios…

    I wind up declining a lot of facebook friend requests and I don’t auto-follow everyone who follows me on Twitter. I certainly don’t expect everyone I follow on Twitter to follow me to be polite. Because they are relevant to me, does not mean I should be relevant to them.

    Facebook is different – I find it works much better when there is a mutual level of engagement.

    I broke down my social networks this way:

    Facebook = Friends (people you really know) It’s my personal voice. It’s an excellent idea to use your Facebook fan page as the connection point for your extended network of friends – something I need to develop further…

    LinkedIn = Business Associates (again, people I have met)

    Twitter = I only follow those where I perceive value; I also try to block my faux followers – bots, spammers, etc.

    Plaxo = Extended business network – lots of people I don’t know. Used mostly to keep e-mail addresses current.

    Buzz = still trying to figure out how & if it fits in… Right now, I am using Buzz a lot like I used Friendfeed, and I didn’t use Friendfeed a lot…

    Foursquare = Local friends

    Blog = My professional voice

    Website = My company

    To keep all this mess organized, I primarily use Tweetdeck to keep engaged with Twitter (with extensive list use), LinkedIn and Facebook. As a result, I can now keep my personal and business lives separate, but have the ability to track them in a single application.

  20. Good on you mate. I did the same thing a few months back. My strategy is if ‘associates’ attempt to add me via Facebook – I refer them to my LinkedIn profile. I also have several twitter accounts, one personal, one business and a couple for semi-regular tweet-ups. These days it seems we are forced to diversify our Social Media.

  21. This makes total sense to me. Twitter, blogging, can be done in a semi-personal way. Facebook has always seemed more personal to me.

  22. I think that is a good move too. My Facebook account is for my friends and family members. I have a Green and Chic Facebook account that’s business/store related. Its good to keep those separate.

  23. I actually started to think about this the other day. A friend of mine noticed that I spend a lot of time on Facebook gossiping and playing games, and she was under the impression that I was using Facebook for business purposes. I told her, “Only sort of.” Then I started kicking around creating a fanpage for myself—several of my fellow writers have them. As you note, there is that limit of 5000 on personal pages, but no limit on the fanpages.

    Bottom line: I am glad to see that you are doing this; it helps push me towards doing the same myself.

  24. @Darren

    I’ve never believed in FB as a community builder. So that’s not so much of a problem for me. Am now believing Twitter is neither :-)

  25. Great move, Darren. I’ve been slowly doing the same thing, but it seems so hard to mass unfriend people on Facebook. Do you have a tip for doing that quickly?

  26. This is VERY understandable! I don’t have that many on the list, but there are a lot who are into Genealogy…may have to think of doing the same here…

    I never got befriended by you , only because there were over 5000…and now I am happy to be a member of your page…

    thanks Darren for explaining …


  27. Good for you Darren! You should have a space that is just for you. You give so much to us followers – surely we can understand this as you are giving us many other ways to connect with you.

  28. This is a great decision Darren. I’ve only been on the blogging scene for about 3 months and have ALWAYS felt uncomfortable including any business/blogging material within my personal facebook page. Of course, I list the website in my profile, BUT I’ve only shared maybe two links to the site for posts I’ve written.

    My last imposition was an invitation to my fan page. Out of 300+ friends only 8 or 9 became fans. And guess what, I’m not at all offended. I only want to interact with those who are interested anyways. So, the best of luck to you! Hopefully everyone will understand. I would.

  29. …as it should be! Good for you! You have every right to control the privacy of your FB profile and to make it as exclusive as IT SHOULD BE! Social Media can get out of hand. Just a couple of hours ago I was writing about the lack of discretion on most SM sites and how public a person’s life can become.

    BRAVO!!! Love the Boldness!

  30. Thanks to Facebook for adding pages. It allows this separation of personal and public arenas within Facebook. If anyone gets upset that you’ve de-friended them you can gently remind them that they were never truly a friend, but a fan so fan pages are more appropriate.

  31. Carrie says: 02/23/2010 at 12:00 pm

    Looks like you’ll be drinking a LOT of coffee. :-) But seriously, don’t sweat it.

  32. Good for you! Everyone needs a little private space, even blog gurus. :)

  33. Excellent move Darren. I did the same a few weeks ago. I went from almost 2000 down to 103 friends. A few other bloggers I know have –or soon will be — doing it as well. Nice job on creating the pages, that’s my next stage, and an excellent solution to an ongoing problem.

  34. THANK YOU for this!

    I’ve recently had a few of my blog readers (who are strangers to me in real life) friend me on FB and I haven’t been sure what to do about it.

    I want my FB page to be un-apologetically personal, though. So I hope this becomes the trend.

  35. Darren,

    I have wanted to do this since Ed Dale published his thoughts on the subject. Another person I completely respect does it – it’s a go for Frank!

  36. I’m honestly surprised you didn’t do this sooner. It’s been fun being your friend… I guess I’ll have to settle for being your fan. =)

  37. I think defriending 4,950 people could give you carpal tunnel syndrome! What about closing your facebook account, then resigning up and inviting your friends and family to friend you?

  38. Darren,

    I know you expected backlash, but it’s your account and you can manage it as you choose. I think most of us have evolved in our approaches to social media, and it is always your prerogative to alter the way you manage your personal and professional networks. Good luck with the transition.

  39. Even my Facebook account with far less number than 5000 friends is getting cluttered everyday. I really don’t want it to become a place with updates that no one cares about. Nice move Darren, good luck with the tedious process :)

  40. When I started blogging 6 months ago, I also joined Facebook for the first time. I was torn on whether or not to use a fan page or a personal profile. The fan page wasn’t as easy to set up as I thought it would be, but I guess I made the right choice. I am still well informed as to my friends’ Lost theories, so there’s that.

  41. Think of the harm you will do to all those people who believe they are your friend and then find out they are not.

    Bit like stringing someone along and dumping them. How does it feel to be the dumpor? Great I suspect. Oh well, I guess the dumpees will get over it!

  42. Ah, a clean slate. What could be nicer! Glad I worked this out for myself before I got up to 5000 “friends”. Poor you, but it’ll be worth it in the end:)

  43. I have maintained the Facebook for “real” friends and family and as a result I feel I can freely update them on what I am doing and the children’s development and other updates that would mean nothing to people who do not know us.

    I still like the (sometimes) scary ease with which I can communicate with the rest of the world but by confining it to twitter and my blog I can decide how personal my reveal.

  44. This is good advice for beginners; create seperate accounts for each purpose. My blog only posts three times a week now, so I post on my personal facebook account, but in the future I might not.

  45. You have my full support D!

  46. Darren

    If you have the 2 fan pages then the DR should be personal. It is a place for you to keep in touch with friends and family to talk about the kids (we all love showing pics of our kids) without that being in open to the public. My FB is all about me and my friends so that I can stay in touch with them on east coast USA when I am west coast.

    The redundancy had to be maddening of checking and commenting on 3 pages. Peace shall be had now.


  47. I started a Facebook page for my business a few months ago and noticed that I have recently been spending more time there than with my personal account. In fact, I barely access my personal account anymore. This seems odd in that prior to the business page I really used my Facebook personal account a lot. It will be interesting to see over time if more people trend in that direction as well.

  48. Great move! I have never included any blog reader to my facebook account. I do use Facebook Fanpage for my blog and I think it’s the way to go.

  49. I think this is a great idea and I’m going to copy you.

    Facebook becomes so watered down when not used the right way.

  50. I began the process silently a while ago by not accepting new “friends” and then built the Network page. Then I slowly removed Twitter updates from Facebook and RSS feed updates. I just sent a message out to everyone hinting that I have not been sending updates through as befor ans to get to the network page. The number jumped a bunch that first time and I will repeat it later to get Facebook back to friends and family.

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