How many of your Facebook friends do you actually know?
After conducting some research on my own Facebook, I realized the number of friends I have is high, but 75% of the people I don’t really keep in contact with anymore. A lot of them are high school peers, friends from childhood, acquaintances, friends of friends, and some even people I have heard about and never met. The number of friends that I keep in contact with on a regular basis is very low when considering the actual number of my Facebook friends. I can say that probably 20 or so out of the 800 friends I have I keep in contact with on a regular basis; some being family, some being best friends. I find it amazing the number of Facebook friends people can acquire without even knowing the person or keeping in contact with them. In an article from Huffington Post, Bianca Bosker mentions the new “Facebook ‘Acquaintance’ List” that helps one to sort their friends into best friends, acquaintances, family, etc. With this function, you will see less of your “acquaintances” updates on your News Feed. Facebook tells users to “To try out the new feature and relegate distant classmates, former colleagues, high-school sweethearts, and that neighbor who moved away when you were twelve into "acquaintance" territory, go to your Friends list page, then click the "Acquaintances" tab.” I think this is very interesting, considering the number of Facebook friends I see of my own that are acquaintances or barely acquaintances. The people I want to keep in contact with and who’s updates I care about most are best friends and family, so I see this function to be very useful. You can still be friends with the person, but will not receive regular and constant updates on your feed.
In another article from NBC News, Rosa Golijan makes an interesting comment about this “acquaintance” function. “We all have a few of those Facebook "friends" — ones which we barely know and never interact with — but we'd feel guilty about un-friending them, even though their constant posts are irritating. Thankfully Facebook’s devised a way to ignore those "acquaintances" more easily than ever.” I find this to be very relatable, because I have thought the same thing many times. I have also talked to many friends who express the same “guilt” over de-friending someone they don’t talk to anymore. This new feature makes it easy to personalize your own page and news feed without having that guilty feeling. However, there is the other side where a lot of the information that people I don’t regularly keep in contact with post pictures and posts that are of interest to me. Some people may call this Facebook “stalking”, but for some reason people find somewhat useless information about people interesting. I’m sure we all can say we have viewed photo albums and status updates from old friends or people from high school, and still find that information somewhat interesting.
How would your life be impacted without Facebook?
If my Facebook site were to completely disappear, I would have mixed feelings. Part of me would miss seeing random posts and pictures of people I don’t keep in contact with, but the other part of me would come to terms with the fact that I will always have contact with my best friends and family, and that is what is important to me. Facebook does help keep in contact with all types and categories of friends and family, but what would matter to me would be being able to keep in contact with close family and friends, which I can always do. Some of the convenience aspect would be taken away, but I would still be able to keep in contact with the people I care about most. This would have some effect on my emotional ties as well, because part of me would miss seeing updates on people from high school, or old childhood friends. It would also have an impact on my informational ties because talking about people from high school or old acquaintances is sometimes an interesting topic of conversation among my best friends. Some of us will see a picture or post from someone that we both know from high school, and we will talk or laugh about it. I would miss this aspect of having information that I could only obtain from Facebook, but I would quickly get over it. Having contact with best friends and family is what matters to me. Overall, the number of my Facebook friends far outnumbers the number of actual close friends and family that I keep in contact with on a regular basis, and without Facebook, I still would be able to talk to those people.