So, I braved an attempt at VERY unscientifically examining my friends lists on Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter, as I said I would in yesterday's post, Some thoughts on online friendship. Here are the results after a long hard struggle mucking through about 1,700 online connections (some of which overlap categories below):
- IRL Friends - people who I know from work, school, church and actually socialize with (or used to):
- Total: 182
- This a count of FB friends minus IRL acquaintances and friends I only know online.
- IRL Acquaintances - people who I've met and essentially exchanged cards with and then connected on Twitter or FB. This would also include people with whom I did projects and don't know really well. These could be on Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In but I would not consider them friends, so much as contacts.
- Total: 104
- This is mostly Linked In and a handful of folks I allowed on FB.
- Friends I've Made Online - we've never met but we've either gone beyond the Shared Causes or are friends of my IRL friends and decided to connect via e-mail or Facebook and I would consider them friends.
- Total: 24
- 15 of these 24 are out of state/country
- I was a little surprised this wasn't higher but part of the reason is that many of the persons in this category who were in New Mexico have moved to IRL status already.
- Online Friends With Shared Causes/Interests - we are in solidarity for one or more social causes but don't exchange personal information. I remember their personas but may or may not know their real names (depending on Twitter handle). I try to keep an eye on their statuses and try hard to go back and check if they've been lost in the sea of my newsfeed.
- Total: 810
- I gave up trying trying to count. This is a total of my Twitter Lists, as I've been though a few times to try and get everyone into lists that I could categorize. There is double-listing here, so the number is probably close to 700-750.
- Regular Contact Now
- Total: 115
- This number was approximated downward for duplication removal.
- Neglected - these are people with whom I used to interact on a regular basis but somehow fell by the wayside. The sad thing about this is that these Tweeters are the ones who showed me that the things I care about can be addressed on Twitter and showed me the ropes from a social justice social media perspective.
- Total: 33
- Twitter Contacts - I would describe this group as the people who are in my follow list that I readily recognize and know why I follow them but we don't really interact much. I might even put them in my Follow Friday mentions if they tend to have what I consider good tweets but I wouldn't put them in the Online "Friends" category.
- Total: 665
- This approximately the number of people in my cause lists. As I said, I may or may not interact with them.
- Why, exactly did I follow you? - this last category is a bit embarrassing but anyone with lots of Twitter followers has these. I don't plan to unfollow these tweeters, as some might suggest. That's what lists and filters are for. Also, note that if I follow someone but don't list them that does not mean the follow is in this bucket. There are very cool people I follow who don't fit in any of my 20 allowed lists and my Cool Tweeps list is so big, as to be unwieldy.
- Total: 586
- These are my uncategorized follows. They don't all deserve this label (the Why) but this is where I decided I didn't have it in me to label them any other way. I do know they don't count as friends, per se. Generally, they are news sources; marketing people who weren't specifically fair trade or organic; and the rest. By "the rest", I mean: "Well, you don't appear to be a spammer or a pornbot, you aren't a crazy person whose tweets call people socialists or nazis, you don't appear to be a TOTAL airhead, so sure, I'll follow back." I may live to regret this but I just don't have the energy to house-clean now.
So what does this all mean? Well, it says nothing about what friendship is. Note, for one thing, that my 182 IRL friends includes people I haven't seen since high school or college. However, if that's true, then:
- My number of IRL friends is probably closer to 100-150. So, the 150 Rule is not so very far off.
- For Linked In (IRL acquaintances), my number is 99. That's partly a function of my colleagues just starting to get the hang of this social media thing. Sadly, my numbers are also getting driven up as colleagues get let go and start looking for other work.
- My number of folks I pay attention to on Twitter is around 100, as well. Add my 33 neglected folks in and we're at close to 150 there, as well.
Proof of the 150 Rule? Not really. Indicator that it's reasonable. I think I buy in. My guess would have been a lower number but you would really have to only count your closest friends and I don't think that's what that rule applied to.
If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair. ~Samuel Johnson