National Unfriend Day

Have you heard that tomorrow has been dubbed National Unfriend Day by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel? From the website:

Jimmy Kimmel has declared a new holiday on November 17th – National UnFriend Day. NUD is the international day when all Facebook users shall protect the sacred nature of friendship by cutting out any ‘friend fat’ on their pages occupied by people who are not truly their friends. Get ready to unfriend!

I have to say, Jimmy probably has a point. I have a friend—a real one—who, when she first joined Facebook, was confused about which friend requests she should accept or reject, and about whom she should befriend or ignore. When she shared this dilemma, her college-aged daughter wisely pointed out, “Mom, Facebook friends aren’t real friends.”

OK, some of them are. But in my case, most—the majority—are acquaintances, and some I’ve never met at all. A couple weeks ago, another friend (again, a real friend—I was a bridesmaid in her wedding) accepted my friend request. Afterward, she told me that I was a member of an exclusive club; she does not intend to be Facebook friends with anyone who isn’t actually a friend. I can appreciate that.

But I use my Facebook account differently. In addition to keeping in closer touch with people I was already in touch with before I signed up for Facebook—friends, family members, colleagues—I also use it as a networking tool. I use it for work all the time.

I do find it fascinating that I am now “friends” with people I rarely, if ever, interacted with in high school. But I kind of enjoy that, and it made last month’s high school reunion experience less awkward than the one I attended six years ago, pre-Facebook.

So, while I don’t have any plans to do a massive “unfriending” tomorrow a la Jimmy Kimmel, I don’t blame those who choose to. And I’ll be watching my own Facebook friends number to see if it drops. But those of you reading this who are my Facebook friends? No worries.

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