You Don’t Count Friends

// // January 18th 2011 // Rant + Social Media

When was the last time you counted your friends ... in real life.

You Don't Count Friends

My guess is that you have never actually sat down and counted your friends. Maybe when you were 6 you counted your best friends on one hand but you didn't wake up every morning and recount. Yet online we're constantly reminded of and trained to tally our friends.

The Prisoner

We've become prisoners to social numbers. The numbers on Facebook and Twitter; on Feedburner and Quora. Not only are we held hostage by those numbers, we become them too. We're number 212 on someone's list, number 83 on another.

I am not a number! I am a free man!

I love numbers and could literally lose myself in an Excel spreadsheet for a day. But the numbers attached to friends and followers simply seem unnatural and don't map to any offline behavior.

People are generally not alerted when someone 'unfriends' them in real life. What does that even mean? It probably means you grew apart and just don't talk anymore. No biggie.

But online the drop in friend count is right there in your face. Suddenly you have to explain and account for it. WTF!

Lose The Social Numbers

Lose The Numbers

What it we lost the numbers. Maybe you still need some sort of tally? But could we come up with a word to describe a range of numbers? Something that would be more real?

  • A Handful
  • Several
  • Some
  • Many
  • A Lot
  • Tons

I know, I know, people will probably still want to get from Several to Some or from A Lot to Tons. But maybe it helps a little? Or maybe we just remove the numbers all together. Poof.

Is there an app for that? Like an ad blocker but for social media numbers? Contact me if you want to help build one.

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Comments About You Don’t Count Friends

// 3 comments so far.

  1. andrew // January 18th 2011

    When you stop counting friends, the only gauge you have is actual results. It doesn’t matter (really) how many people walked through the front door of your store, it matters how many people bought something.

    I love this post. I’m your new biggest fan. Keep up the great work.

  2. aj // January 18th 2011

    Thanks Andrew, I appreciate the kind words.

    The lure of those numbers is strong, but at the end of the day you’re absolutely right. It’s about results and relationships.

  3. Holly // January 19th 2011

    Never usually comment – but great post.

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