The Incredulous Hulk (quizling) wrote,
The Incredulous Hulk
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The politics of friending and unfriending (Part I)

I looked at my LJ profile page the other day and saw that my ‘friends’ list has 110 names, while my ‘friend of’ list has topped 100 (105, to be precise). I also noticed that a few people had added me whom I’d forgotten to add back, so after that was set right, I now have 114 friends. But numbers aren’t everything, right? Yeah, right.

It may seem obvious, but there’s a message hidden in these figures.

Scenario #1: If the number of people in your ‘friend of’ list significantly exceeds that in your ‘friends’ list, it means you’re extremely popular and/or people like to read what you write. You love the attention. (You deserve it.) You’re either picky or snobbish. (You can afford to be.)

Scenario #2: If both lists are similar (that is, a variation of ±20%) you fall in the majority, of average folk. Nine profiles out of ten seem to fall under this category. So do I, though my list has fluctuated over the months, generally unflatteringly. There’s an interesting tool here that lets you find out who’s been adding you or unfriending you.

This variant gives you the same information as a nice (but confusing) set of bars, so you can check when exactly people added you and how long they have been in your list. I can see people who have friended and unfriended me multiple times over the past three years (and I never even realised it at the time!)

Scenario #3: If your friends list is much longer than your ‘friend of’ list, you can feel happy that you’re honest and not particularly concerned about winning the popularity stakes. Unless you’re a troll or spammer—and there are quite a few of them doing the rounds since the PIC (post-invite code) era. Or it could be that you’re a beginner to LJ and still getting to know the ropes.

Then there’s the tricky matter of etiquette... but that’s best left for another post.

Disclaimer #1: These observations are not directed at anyone who may have unfriended me at some time (presumably they wouldn’t be reading this anyway).

Disclaimer #2: If anyone thinks all this is stating the obvious and asks me to shut up, I’d agree wholeheartedly. It’s what happens when you get an itch to update at 3 a.m.
Tags: friending, unfriending
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