I Don’t Have 2000 Facebook Friends

Facebook friend count
Photo credit: @jachristo

In fact, I don’t even have 1000. I have about 150.

I love social media – so much so that I do it for a living. And I believe in the power of social media to be ‘real’ with one another.

There’s a lot of personal stuff on my Facebook page. Pictures of my family (even the un-flattering, no make-up, just-after-yoga ones), mushy notes back and forth with my husband, hilarious (and slightly inappropriate) jokes with friends, and silly, embarrassing videos (usually involving dogs knocking over plants in the living room, or bloopers from my former TV career.)

If you are my Facebook ‘friend,’ you are going to know a lot about me in a very short period of time. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. As someone who moved around a lot in my former career, Facebook has been an invaluable tool for keeping in touch with friends I no longer live close to. It’s also great for keeping in touch with the new ones I’m making these days. For me, posting something on my Facebook wall is the equivalent of calling up each one of my friends in the middle of the afternoon, ‘just to check in.’

If someone has 2000 friends, usually they haven’t met some of them. They might not want to let them into the personal details of their lives. And so they censor. And hold back. And become someone on Facebook who is slightly different than who they are in real life. And in my opinion, that defeats the whole purpose.

That’s what makes social media so different from traditional media. When I was on TV and on the radio, I was polished, professional, and good at my job. But I wasn’t cracking jokes in between stories. I wasn’t writing back to all the people who sent me mail. (Although in hindsight, I wish I had!) You weren’t watching the real, uncensored me on the evening news. On social media, you are.

Here’s something that gets me into arguments with other social media people: I won’t “friend” (yes, it’s a verb) anyone I don’t know. I’m not going to click on every face that shows up in the ‘People You May Know’ column on my home page. Because once we’re friends, you’re going to be let into my life.

That’s not to say that I’ve had deep, soul-searching conversations with all of my Facebook friends. I haven’t. But there has been some kind of interaction with all of them. If someone sends me a friend request, and I don’t know them – or if I really want to connect with someone who I haven’t actually met – I’ll send a Facebook message instead of the friend request. Hopefully, we’ll have some dialog and at some point, that conversation will move into a ‘friend’ ship.

There are plenty of people who disagree with all this. They will tell you to make as many ‘connections’ as possible. And I’m sure there’s something very empowering about sending your updates to the population of a small city. I just feel more comfortable sharing the pictures from my last vacation with people who actually knew I was gone.

Follow Katie Wagner:
Katie is the President of KWSM. Before opening the agency, she spent more than 15 years as a journalist, working for CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN and National Public Radio. Katie works with clients across the country and is a popular public speaker..

2 Responses

  1. Heather Heuman

    I just went through this very same thing about 10 days ago and your words explain so clearly exactly what I was saying. Additional, I feel that since so many of my social platforms are so open, I like my personal Facebook page to have a bit more of an intimate atmosphere so I can be authentic and share from my heart, including the zany comments!

  2. Katie Wagner

    Thanks for your comment, Heather. I’m glad you liked the post. Yes, my personal Facebook is my ‘safe zone’ too! 🙂