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Found this post on one of my social media news feeds one afternoon. "Two hundred inactive FB 'friends' going today so I can make room for those that want to play here. SeeYa.' This statement was posted by someone I consider a fairly savvy promoter, especially in social media, for a highly visible education and motivation organization. Of course, I was puzzled why this type of statement was noteworthy enough to be made a post. I guess I was not the only person who was alarmed. It appears there was some push back from the original post because immediately there were follow up posts that read: "Its easier to delete friends in real life than it is from Facebook." and "If you are following me here but not engaging do yourself a favor - go in private put your computer up to your temple and hit UNFRIEND from me so you don't feel rejected cuz I am about to make to make room for some new SuperFreak FB friends. Do Me this last little Favor please."
Are we so disconnected from each other that we can be harsh and inconsiderate because we are making a post on a social media site? In real life, would you call together all your friends and make this announcement to the group, “Those not gathered here today will be deleted from my group of friends.”? Probably not! More than likely, you would just stop contacting those you no longer wish to be friends with. Unless asked, no one in your group of friends would know the wiser. If your social media friends list had grown so large that it was cumbersome, then why not just quietly remove members without fanfare.
When making an announcement in a forum like social media, it is always wise to consider your audience and word your message for their eyes. There are a variety of tools that have been developed recently within social media so you can filter who can view your messages, comments, posts and pictures. We all want the ability to tailor how individuals “see” us on our social media channels. In this case, if your social media friends were truly inactive, the announcement would be missed by them anyways. This post is therefore a mismatching of message to intended audience. So what is the purpose of making a statement directed at an inactive audience that would probably only been seen by the active members? Was this a ploy to conjure up activity and conversation from the active members to prove they were active and therefore safe from deletion? In reality, would you create fear to prove the validity of a friendship? Not unless you want to grow up to be a tyrant.
Just because someone does not “like” your posts, make comments on your pictures or add posts to your social media pages, does not mean they are not influence by what you are sharing. In marketing, we call it a "touch" when someone views an item but does not act on it. A "touch" becomes a familiar reminder to an individual when they are “touched” again by something from you in the future. All these “touches” add up and can trigger activity when someone is in need. Think about it! A friend of yours posted pictures about a recent vacation to Hawaii and made comments about what a wonderful adventure it was. Months later, you are thinking of planning a vacation and the image of those pictures come to mind. Even though you may not have commented on those pictures when they were posted, you now find yourself on Google doing a search for vacations in Hawaii. The use of “touches” can be considered subliminal, but they are still a very powerful influence. Even our reputations are molded by a series of “touches”.
Another reputation bender is how you interact with people and often that includes how you express yourself. If deleting friends from a social media channel was indeed a news worthy event, why not craft a message that strengths a positive reputation. For example, “I appreciate everyone’s comments, posts and interaction on this site, but it is with regret that I will be deleting inactive members to make room for new members that wish to be active participants. If you feel you were deleted in error, please send me a message.” I think a message that shows compassion and appreciation would influence your active participants who are actually viewing your posts more so than an arrogant “people are disposable to me” message.
Moral of the story, treat you social media “friends” like they are people. Don’t hide in cyber space. Interact with you social media contacts as if they were people you actually come face to face with. You never know, you mom might be watching your social media channels and send you a message about getting along with others and how you were raised better than that.