A New Approach To Facebook

I tweeted about all this yesterday so some of you probably know this already but I figured I should blog about it as well.

For years, I've had a Facebook account but I've never really used it. I've just pumped information (blog + twitter) into Facebook and that's about it. I've never had a particularly scientific approach to who I friend and who I don't and over the years I built up about 360 "friends" and another 1000 people who I never confirmed but also did not deny.

In that past couple months, a few things have changed about my use of Facebook:

1) My brothers and some high school friends started using Facebook pretty actively. All of a sudden, there were things on Facebook that I cared about that were not happening on Twitter or in the blogs.

2) Facebook redesigned the home page to an interface I understand and like and I started to get real value from it.

3) My two daughters decided they would "friend" me on Facebook, something they've refused to do for over four years. The main reason is that they use Facebook as their default photo sharing service and they are posting photos of me and our family and tagging me in them. And they wanted me to see those photos.

So I started visiting Facebook every day and I found it way too busy. I was having a hard time finding the information I cared about inside all the other information there, most of which I was already seeing on Twitter.

So I decided to do something pretty radical. I deleted about 300 "friends" on Facebook yesterday and took my total friend count down to 56. I've limited my Facebook friends to family and close friends. My methodology is something akin to who I'd invite to a family wedding or bar/bat mitzvah. I realize that a lot of the 300 people I nuked were using Facebook to follow me and they can no longer do that.

My reasoning was as follows: I feel that between Twitter, this blog, and my tumblog at fredwilson.vc, there are plenty of public places on the web that you can follow me and all of them have RSS feeds for those who want the content pushed to them. I feel that Facebook is by default private and it's become a good place for me to network with my close friends and family privately.

But there was a good discussion on twitter yesterday led by Brandon Wirtz and Adrian Bye who pointed out that I could get the best of both worlds by creating a "fan page" on Facebook and let anyone who wants to follow me there. As much as I dislike the sound of the word "fan", I like the idea and I've done just that.

If you are among the 300 people who I nuked from my friend list on Facebook or the ~1000 people who I never agreed to friend on Facebook, or just someone who wants to follow me on Facebook, you can now do that at this page. I am already publishing all the posts from this blog to my Facebook fan page and I'd like to also publish all my twitter and tumblr posts but I don't know how to do that. The Notes app only allows me to publish one RSS feed to my fan page. If you know how to do this, please leave me a comment and I'll do that immediately.

I hope this works out for everyone who was following me on Facebook. I realize it's a bit insulting that I don't want to follow everyone back, but I honestly don't know how to follow 365 people on two different services. It's all I can do and then some to stay up to date with that many people on Twitter. I am curious to hear what people think of this new approach.

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