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Too Many Friends?

by Randall Craig on October 28, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: , , ,

Can you ever have too many friends? In real life, the answer is no, but when we’re talking about social media, the answer is definitively yes. If you have been collecting so-called friends, contacts, connections, and followers online, then you probably notice that some are more valuable than others. Others have very little value at all, and others are pests.

In our quest to add as many connections as possible, what about the other side of the equation? Are there any good reasons for deleting a social media relationship? Consider the following criteria, and delete anyone who doesn’t measure up:

Too much noise: What is the signal-to-noise ratio of each of your contacts? Are their postings relevant? Or do they take up time that could be better spent reviewing more valuable updates from others?Bad etiquette: Do their posts contain embarassing information that might be seen by other people?

Leaches: Are your connections constantly asking you for help, without giving anything back in return? Their requests could be for connections, recommendations, or advice. Relationships go both ways, and if these leaches are unwilling to reciprocate, or if they are taking advantage of your helpfulness, then there is no relationship – there is dependency.

No relationship: If you don’t have a real-world relationship with your “friend”, and you likely never will have one, why are they a connection in the first place? Without the relationship, they won’t connect you forward into their network, and they won’t help you in other ways – even if you ask nicely. They’re just taking space.

A connection with others is like a currency – it has value. Social Media sometimes blinds us to this: our zeal for more connections causes us to spend this currency with people who haven’t earned it, or don’t deserve it. If the purpose of Social Media is to administer and strengthen relationships, deleting online relationships that take up space will leave a stronger core network.

This week’s action item: Go through your LinkedIn, Facebook, and other Social Media pages and delete people who should never have been your connections in the first place. Then get rid of the noisy, the rude, the leaches, and those who don’t have a relationship with you. You are judged by the company that you keep, so improving the quality of your network means asking the right people in, and moving the wrong people out.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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