What to do when you hit 5,000 friends on Facebook

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I’m at 4,990 friends now.

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Every week, I purge another 40 so I can add a fresh 40 friends.

It used to be that the 5,000 cap was friends plus pages you liked- total connections.
Now it’s just friends.

If you go to your profile and click on friends (the screenshot above), Facebook lists your “best” friends first. So if you want to ditch the dormant ones that you may have added a long time ago, you’d have to scroll to the end.

Even with a speedy 100 mbps internet connection, you’d be waiting an unpractically long time to get to the bottom of the list. And there is no reverse sort.

What to do?

  • One answer is just to have a lot of followers– I have 41,319.
  • Others say you can create a public profile page (mine is at fb.com/getfound), but it’s not the same.
  • The cynical say that it’s impossible to have more than a handful of real friends, which is why the 5,000 cap exists.
  • So some just mass delete everyone and start again, similar to declaring email bankruptcy.

I made the mistake years ago of accepting anyone’s request.

But now relationships matter more to me.

3.36

I have to guard my time jealously, as should you.
Mari Smith taught me this lesson.

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So here’s the practical solution:

1) Go to https://www.facebook.com/friends/organize

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Facebook identifies the folks you haven’t spoken to in a while. Maybe you’ll want to uncheck a few folks that fell through the cracks. When you click the “add to acquaintances” button at the bottom, they go to a special group.

My apologies to anyone reading this who is in the suggestions.

2) Now go to your lists page at https://www.facebook.com/bookmarks/lists

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 3.45.30 AM

3) Time to start pruning!

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I like to manually review each person, usually by seeing which friends we have in common.

To my knowledge, there is no “mass purge” option, though someone has likely built an app to do this. If you find it, let me know.

Probably not within Facebook’s rules. Remember they got mad at Burger King a few years ago for giving people a Whopper if they unfriended 5 people.

Slightly tedious, but a nice walk down memory lane and helping you focus on who you should be prioritizing spending time with.

What about you?

Update: Facebook shows your best friends first, so you need to get past these to delete the duds you shouldn’t have accepted years ago. I’ve discovered the fastest way to get to the bottom of your friends list is to scroll through it on mobile. Takes about 3 minutes on mobile to do this, as opposed to perhaps 20 minutes on desktop.

Plus, when you examine each of these suspect friends, you can easily go back to where you were. In desktop, you have to keep opening new tabs to inspect these people. And if you screw up, you get sent right back to the top of the list to have to scroll down to the bottom again.

Easiest to just drop anyone who:

-Doesn’t have at least 3 friends in common.
-Hasn’t posted in the last year.
-Has no profile pic or has a silly pic.
-Posts self-promotional bits or nonsense.

My friend, Robert Scoble, has more to say about it here on Quora

About Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of BlitzMetrics. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also a regular contributor for Adweek's SocialTimes column. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com, his blog, or on Facebook.

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