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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. Your motives make sense. If I started to become very popular online and everyone wanted to be my friend on Facebook, I wouldn’t want to have tons of random strangers befriending me. Just too weird…

  2. I am beyond picky about who is on my friend list! I created a fan page with a separate account for my blog, and keep my personal page for people I know in real life. I even de-friend people that I haven’t seen in years and never connect with. I am just really personal on my page and don’t want to share my life or my current hair crisis with just anyone :)

    Good move, Problogger. Good move.

  3. Recently I got an email from someone saying something like, ‘follow me on facebook,’ so I made a friend request. Then I received a message saying, ‘sorry, I reached the 5,000 max and can’t accept!’ I was shocked and ever since I wondered how on earth anyone can deal with that amount. My little circle of friends and family on fb are enough! As it is some of their fb apps drive me crazy. I can’t imagine 5,000 people posting meaningless messages about fish, farms, mafia and small world! I’m glad you’re doing this. Good for you!

  4. I did the same exact thing last week. So very glad I did!

  5. Good for you Darren. We all need boundaries in place. Thank you for setting an example for others. Blessings, Cath.

  6. Good decision, Sir !
    Let’s move :)

  7. That’s not nice Darren.

  8. I believe what you are doing is the right decision. I have been thinking about doing the same.

    Currently, I am not using Facebook at all. That’s because I have a lot of friends and family and co-workers using it, and on the other hand, I have a lot of “business people” who are friends with me.

    No matter what I do, I find that one of the groups of people will be disappointed. If I write about personal stuff, the business people will be disappointed, if I write about business stuff, my friends, family and co-workers will be disappointed.

  9. It happens.
    Some people will be offended no matter how much sense it makes. Some people wouldn’t have needed that much of an explanation.

    Do what you do. I think I’m more following your blogging stuff through Buzz right now than anywhere else. (surprising to me)

    I think if we don’t evolve our habits along with the technology and the popularity of a given platform, we’re fooling ourselves… because we’re pretending we’re in a stagnant space, and it sure as heck isn’t that.

    Good luck to you Darren.

  10. I don’t think people will be offensive about what you are doing after your nice explanation. Everybody needs that personal space for family and close friends.

  11. Facebook sucks. I mean it REALLY sucks. If anyone has wondered how they can permanently delete their account, check out this link:


  12. Hey Darren,

    Instead of cleaning up your Facebook account, did you ever think of just staring a second Facebook account for just your personal friends and family? I mean – the Group pages are a given ‘must-have,” but at the same time, why do all that work to delete everything? Isn’t that basically deleting a big part of your SEO footprint?

    Personally, I have lots of writer friends who have more than one Facebook page. One is in their pen name, and one is in their real name that is exclusively for their friends and family. If you did that, you could still market to your exclusive 5K without having to delete anything. (And everyone who “shared” or “liked” your stuff wouldn’t have it mysteriously lost from their Walls for all time.)

    Just a thought.

  13. Great idea. I always kept my Facebook and Hyves privately and use LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with professionals. I am considering though to make a FB and Hyvespage with my company name. Hope you will mostly receive understanding for your decision.

  14. No hard feelings… It must be difficult to sift through 5000 updates and status changes looking for you personal friends. There are plenty of others way for us to get in touch with you after all.

  15. “You’re giving me the “It’s not you, it’s me?” I invented “It’s not you, it’s me!” If it’s anyone it’s me!” – George Costanza

    I totally understand your logic here. I to have been thinking of doing something similar, although I am nowhere near the scale you are. I always viewed Facebook more as a personal outlet and I hate flooding people with posts by me.

  16. This is deinately the way to go, you need your private space online too! Also there are less restrictions with Facebook fan page and you can choose what to share. I got a Facebook fanpage but I’ve not really worked out what to do with it yet, I realise it has potential but only time will tell if it works for me. Good luck with the defriending though, sounds like that could take you a long time!

  17. Hi guys

    my hubby did the same about 4 months ago because his facebook account is private and he has a business one too and because he is well known people have joined his private one.

    He wants to be able to chat to his borthers without someone asking him something work related and his business contacts not knowing every part of his personal life.

    kind regards


  18. Andreas says: 02/23/2010 at 11:43 pm

    I think you are going the best way with your decision. A little question: Why don’t you publish this blog article on your ProBlogger FB Fanpage? Can’t see it there….

  19. Great idea! I’ve always kept my Facebook account 95% personal (family, friends, people I know in real life). The other 5% are people that I know professionally or via (cyber) networking, but I feel that I can connect with them on a personal (social) level. I rarely promote my business or blogs to my family and friends unless it’s a topic that may be of interest to them.

    I think it’s a good idea to keep the groups separate. This way you can post photos, videos and goof off without worrying about strangers and potential clients giving you the * side eye * . LOL!

  20. I’m surprised you had not done this sooner. I have a number of friends who could care less about what I do in the blogging world, so I don’t spam the update wall with stuff related to my blog – that’s why I started the group page for idrawdigital.

    Of course, I sent them all an invitation and quickly found out who was interested and who was not.

  21. I made the same decision about three months ago and I’m really happy I did. You’ll be too!

  22. Thanks, Darren, for providing me with some clarity. I resisted putting up a Facebook page for some time. I simply don’t have much time to do duplication work. So I focused on just having a personal account. Of course, what you shared makes perfect sense. It is better now than later. Off to check your FB page and to set up mine!

  23. Darren. Could not agree more with your approach. I am not even close to 5000 friends on Facebook and I already feel like I have lost any personal connection I had with my real life friends. Thanks for sharing your strategy.

    Scott Pollov

  24. I don’t blame you – I’ve always guarded my Facebook profile and I’ve only recently allowed in a couple of business contacts. Thanks for those pages or I wouldn’t be able to promote my blog there at all. The only problem I have with pages is that regardless of how many followers, it’s very difficult to engage people there – maybe “It’s ME” – I don’t know, but it feels like things float into the void there…


  25. I couldn’t give two F#@ks mate ;)

  26. No need to even defend what you are doing here. It makes perfect sense.

  27. Ai Ling says: 02/24/2010 at 1:28 am

    I would want to do the same too. Is there any tools for quick delete?

  28. When I started with Facebook it was for business only. Then my family started to join and ruined the whole thing. I would post something about business and I would get a comment scoffing at me from a cousin. My friend count is under 500 so I am not too concerned at this moment. I just delete some comments or hide things (like farmville) and won’t post the family tree to my profile.

    I have been feeding twitter into FB and that is something I may consider deleting.

    Anyway I understand why you are doing this. There are those moments when I feel a bit uncomfortable at reading info that seems too personal for the relationship I have with the person.

  29. This is great in theory, yet what about all the apps that only update your personal page & not your fan page??

    I would love to do the same!

    Christine Hueber

  30. Great idea. I always cringe when I get a fb friend request from a stranger. (especially when they don’t even tell me why they want to be friends) But alternatively in Real Estate it is becoming more and more a networking tool. Yet for me it started out as close friends and family. I’m still choosy though but it is not a completely private page anymore…

    Good for you!

  31. Excellent Post! I’m a huge fan and user of Social Media but this business frenzy with Facebook has me a bit concerned. For one thing, the interface is terrible. For another thing, it’s too hard (even with the pages feature) to separate your personal from your business on Facebook. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but it’s too “messy” when you look at it from a design point of view. There are so many outlets for businesses now to share their information, I just wonder if Facebook ought to be kept for personal reasons….

  32. Makes total sense. It feels so strange to be “friends” with people I don’t even know. I’ve been thinking about defriending people and asking them to join my fan page instead.

  33. hard but nice move

    good job

  34. Darren, you’ve helped me make up my mind… the Facebook
    page I thought would be nice to share with family and friends
    gets populated with people I don’t have the guts to turn down when they ‘friend’ me and I’ve been planning a
    business page for a while…

    However your family and friends would need to agree with
    you completely and not be friending everybody who asks
    or will you just have the courage to turn those down when
    they ask you?


  35. Sandra says: 02/24/2010 at 4:43 am

    Good decision! Sometimes I wondered about websites that say “follow me on Facebook” and then you have to friend them instead of following a fan page. I wondered how they kept in touch with close friends and family.
    Those of us that do want to continue to follow ProBlogger and/or DPS can do so through the fan pages while can remain in touch with those you are really “friends” with.

  36. This is exactly what I started doing a few months ago too Darren. I didn’t want to have to worry that when I say something personal in my status or post a picture of myself or my children, that my professional contacts and acquaintances knew things more in depth about me than I would typically have in a business conversation with them.

  37. Heather Scott says: 02/24/2010 at 5:25 am

    Ahahaa! Ok! I get it now! :) I think it’s great you’re making your facebook page personal. Not as many people want to be on my facebook page as for you, but I struggle with the same thing mixing different types of relationships on my facebook page and wanting to stay true to it and everybody on there.

    Way to go on setting a great model for the rest of us! :) Great application of boundaries!!! :)

  38. Yep, I have a Facebook page for business but my regular Facebook is family & friends only. Everyone needs one private place online :-)

  39. Oh the pain, the pain of it all! My heart aches….

    lol it’s the right move

  40. I’ll understand. (sobbing) I really do. The break up will suffice.


    I’ve fanned u already on your other page, so go ahead and de-face me!

  41. It’s a good choice I suppose, I have always thought of my mobile phone is my place for my real friends and family…

    Anything you publish on the internet can be copy and pasted, shared etc…


  42. i have my facebook set up this way too with pages and a personal site just for family and friends. I started following problogger at the weekend on facebook.

  43. Facebook has really changed over the years. Firstly, the amount of design changes that have occurred are quite surprising, with two or three happening in the last couple of years alone.

    Another thing that has changed dramatically is how Facebook is used. Originally, Facebook was designed for people to connect with friends and families. Now that it’s been mainstream for so long now it seems to become what MySpace use to be, which is the fact that the more friends you have, the better. Now we’re seeing everyone become friends with everyone, even if they’re not friends in real life. That isn’t what Facebook is about.

    This all brings me to my point. Darren I think it’s a great idea for you to unfriend all of the people you don’t know. Sure, it may have been good as a promotional tool at first, but now there are fan pages and groups available that you can direct your Fan base towards. Your personal profile page should be for you and you only.

    One more thing that seems to be bothering me is that Twitter seems to be following the same path as Facebook. I’m confident that the number of followers doesn’t really matter, so long as the followers you do have are actually interested in what you’re saying. It doesn’t matter how many people are following you, however, it does matter that that the people you do have following you are interested in what you have to say.

    So those are two different takes on social networking in this modern age. I think you’re taking the right step in limiting your family life to people who’re actually relevant to your personal life.

  44. I’m so behind the times. I don’t have a Facebook page. Twitter is enough. People are a little too sensitive. If a stranger rejected my request I wouldn’t bother sending a nasty reply about it.

  45. Nice move Darren..totally support it – and have tried to retain the same divide myself…although your post has me thinking about revisiting some of my facebook friends and redefining the friendship!

  46. But Darren, I bought both your books :P! It’s okay, I’d do the same thing if I were you. In fact, I haven’t added you or anyone else that I’m not familiar with or had contact with on Facebook, aside from some people I knew of. Luckily I only have a little over one hundred friends so I’m not swimming in nonsense or self promotion….yet.

  47. I only have 80 friends on my facebook page!! But like you say, I am just using this for people I actually know and family. Facebook has become a bit spammy, especially with all those fan pages e.g “become a fan of I like sleeping in the mornings” or “i like chocolate” then their walls are just filled with comments about how many members they got in the last hour. Whats the point??

  48. I’ve found FB to be best used for IRL persons, whereas Twitter is a better “worldwide” platform. Have fun purging!

  49. One word: A-MEN!

    I’ve written a couple of posts on this in the past; my logic is if you post everything everywhere, what’s the point of having multiple tools? I call it “RSS Ricochet”.

    Thanks for articulating what many of us have been thinking!

  50. I did this too a few months ago as I found it increasingly difficult to maintain the divide between friends/family & business contacts.

    I’m a bit uncomfortable with the way that facebook is evolving and after some thought, decided to delete my account. My real friends and family know how to find me!

    Now I’m going to set up a fan page at some stage but keep my personal profile limited (and possibly friendless) with a message redirecting people to the fanpage.

    Haven’t thought out the details properly yet :-).

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