Facebook has been in my life for a long time. I was one of the few who had an account when it was only open to those with school email addresses. I watched as it went public and the social networking world boomed. Regardless of the social realm, I was a born networker and thrived on connecting with as many people as possible. By 2011 I had nearly 1300 friends which isn’t as many as some have but double of the average user.
As I’m getting older, the value of friendships is being impressed heavily on me. I recognize the need for solid friends that encourage and support each other. I’ve been seeking out ways to become more intentional in my relationships. When it came to social networking, a problem presented itself because it was impossible to be intentional with 1300 friends. Many of those so called friends I hadn’t talked to in years, and all they did was clutter my news feed with info that hid those I truly cared about.
If I was truly going to be intentional with my true friends, I needed to be able to consistently follow what was going on in their lives. Beyond that, I needed to take my intentionality a step further and only use Facebook as a catalyst to reach deeper into the lives of my friends by following through with phone calls, emails, and meeting in person. If I have no intention of doing one of those 3 things, then they’re truly not “friends”, they fall more under the category of “acquaintance” (though at one time they may have been more of a friend).
How do I network with those who don’t fall under “friend” but I want some virtual connection? I use other social network avenues such as LinkedIn (for business) and Twitter (though I can’t define how I use it differently than fb, but I do).
Let me emphasize, though, that even if you eliminate people on your social networks, that doesn’t automatically mean you get more quality out of your relationships. It takes diligence to go beyond pressing the “Like” button and using what people post on Facebook to spur conversation on a deeper level. The most important of all is to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:24).
To date, I’ve gone from 1300 friends to 134. My name is Andrew Randazzo and I’m more than just an avatar online, and I choose to be intentional.