I’m on a new mission this year to pare down the number of friends I have on Facebook. No, I’m not some self-centered person who suddenly thinks some people aren’t good enough for me. Rather, I’m making a conscious effort to make sure my Facebook relationships match up with my real-life relationships.

It’s my fault I got into this mess in the first place. A few years ago, I started promoting my personal profile all over my business correspondence, namely because Facebook didn’t have a good grasp yet on business pages. Because of this, many people I didn’t know sent me friend requests which I blindly accepted thinking they must be interested in Noobie. At the same time, I sent friend requests to people I came across thinking they might be good business contacts for Noobie.

What I ended up with is a couple hundred or so friends who I wouldn’t recognize if I pass them on the street.

Like I said earlier, I’m on a mission to fix this. But I really hate the idea of sitting down and going through my entire list of friends all at one time. So I’ve come up with an alternative.

Every day, Facebook puts a little reminder near the top right of the screen telling me if today is one of my friend’s birthdays. It’s supposed to be used to send a quick “Happy Birthday” message to your friends.

Facebook birthday notifications

SEE ALSO: Happy birthday to me!

I still use this to wish people happy birthday but I now also use it as a quick smell test to see how well I recognize the person. If I don’t recognize someone, I click through to his or her profile. If after browsing their timeline for 30 seconds or so I still have no clue who the person is, I unfriend them.

If all goes as planned, by the time I blow the horn to welcome in 2014, my friends on Facebook should accurately reflect my friends in real life.

What do you think of this strategy? Is it cruel or is it reasonable? I’d love to hear your feedback. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Patric Welch

Patric Welch founded Noobie, Inc. in 2006 to help others effectively choose and use technologies to enhance their work and lives. The catchy company name earned Welch the name of Mr. Noobie®, but, in reality, Welch is an experienced and professional techie. Unlike most techies, Welch evaluates emerging technologies from a noobie’s perspective and provides technology education for all skill levels in a friendly, non-threatening way.
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