Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Facebook Lockdown and Purge - How and Why I Do It

This is in answer to fellow Objectivist, Rachel Maegan, whom asked about my "Facebook Lockdown and Purge", that I describe my procedure and my reasons for doing so.

My procedure basically involves going through my list of friends, one page at a time, and asking myself how much I've been in contact with this person, how I presently value that contact, and what the prospects are for potential future social intercourse of the valuable sort.

I have a number of friends lists set up but I have designed a couple in particular that serve to restrict access to my profile and contact info.   I have one called "Limited" which cuts you off from my contact info, and I have another called "Super Extra Restricted" which only gives you the bare bones minimum of access to my profile.  If you are on this list, you are likely to be deleted in a future purge.

I roll through my friends list one page at a time, and if anyone jumps out as someone I haven't had positive interaction with in a while, I either put them on a restriction list or I delete them outright.  In some rare cases, I promote people by granting them access to my contact info.  These are generally people I see in person at least once a month.

Why lockdown rather than deleting?  Well, because Facebook is a social networking tool and sometimes it is easier to locate people when you have a friend in common, there are situations where you want to keep connected to someone who is a hub of a network without interacting with them.  That is a darn good use of "Super Extra Restricted".  At some point, when you have enough direct links to that network yourself, you remove the person you were using as a hub.

Why do I delete people I have friended?  Often times, I friend people on FB while I am still getting to know them initially.  I have met many people over the past couple years from dancing and it's a good tool for learning and retaining names (especially of that cutie you're hoping to get to know better).  Some of these people have even become good friends in non-dance capacities.  The ones that don't are likely to get locked down and eventually deleted.

Ultimately, I purge because I am not a collector of Facebook friends.  I don't use it as a promotional tool for my job as some people do to wonderful effect.  I use it as a facilitator of interpersonal relations.  When the relations wane, I cut the cord.  I get no ego boost from having a large list of people I don't care for as "Friends".

As for how I go about scheduling it, usually it happens after an unpleasant exchange on Facebook.  The kind where you realize that you've been ignoring the writing on the wall for too long.

Techie details:

To edit your lists, Click the Account menu on the top right, and choose Edit Friends.  Then click on "All Connections" on the left side of the screen.

You also have to customize your privacy settings if you want to permit or restrict access for certain lists .  This can be found in Accounts -> Privacy Settings.  I have set just about everything to "custom: Only Friends; Except: Super Extra Restricted".