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Facebook Unfriend Day: Jimmy Kimmel wants you to have fewer friends

By Melissa Bell
Jimmy Kimmel
Jimmy Kimmel wants you to drop your friends.

Update: Mosey on over to Monica Hesse's chat where the Web hostess dished about unfriending.

9:45 a.m.

"Cut out some of the friend fat in your life," Jimmy Kimmel announced on his show last week to promote today's National Unfriend Day. The talk show host has decided society needs to return to a time when people did not know what the random guy from their high school biology class had for breakfast this morning.

From the moment Facebook introduced the concept of "friends" on its site, the debate has raged about the appropriate number. The network site limits your friends to a mere 5,000. After that, users must switch to fan pages. However, Dunbar's Number has often been cited to show that Facebook greatly overestimated its friend lists. Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar developed a theory based on social interactions across different continents and times: People can really be connected to only about 150 other people at any one time.

In January of this year, Dunbar applied his number to Facebook and found that even people with huge lists of friends only really interact with about 150 other people. The new social networking app Path took this as its premise: It only allows people to have a circle of 50 people and no more, so users feel free to share their real life without fear of having their boss see it.

Kimmel has suggested you implement a similar limit on your Facebook page: Prune the fluff.

A random sampling around the Web of who you should defriend: mothers, exes, the guy who keeps posting the political rantings, the woman who talks about her children's bathroom habits.

It's all well and good to bid a digital adieu to the really off-the-radar non-friends, but Facebook has enough strange lists and hiding options that my recommendation would be: tread the de-friending waters carefully and just make lots of block lists.

Lists have to be the least utilized and one of the best functions on Facebook. It might be a bit of a pain to add 1,768 friends to different lists, but it's worth a one-time cleanup of the site. Going forward, when you accept a new friend request you can add that person to whichever list you want.

To make a list, go to Account --> Edit Friends --> Create a List.

I have a parents list (Sorry, Mom and Dad!), a work list, a No Wall list, a college friends list and a professional list. For every questionable update, I can decide who will see it and who does not need to know what I'm eating for breakfast. If you want to hide a status message from one of your lists, simply click on the padlock icon next to the share key, and create a custom edit.

Plus, you can hide updates in your News Feed by simply hovering over the right hand side of a person's status. An "x" will appear. Click it and choose "Hide All by [person] or [application]."

Too complicated? Fine, go unfriend folks. But don't say I didn't warn you when that inevitable meeting happens on a street corner and your former friend says, "Why'd you unfriend me?" Jimmy Kimmel won't be around then to blame.

By Melissa Bell  | November 17, 2010; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Comments

"The new social networking app Patch took this as its premise..."
The new network is actually called Path, not Patch. I am sure it is just a typo.
https://www.path.com/home.html

Posted by: njeschke | November 17, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Jimmy Kimmel still has a show?

Posted by: Irato | November 17, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Njeschke! Added a link to it.

Posted by: Melissa Bell | November 17, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

easy, I ask myself if I died, would that person take a second to even acknowledge my death and If I feel they wouldn't then they are gone...As for the rest that I don't wanna deal with, I just ignore them or their crazy app...

Posted by: Krazijoe | November 17, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

About two weeks ago I had a back & forth conversation with a "friend of a friend" about somebody else's post. At the end of it I realized I'd just wasted 1 & 1/2 hours I'd never get back...and deleted my entire account. Buh-bye evrybuhdy!

Posted by: SageThrasher | November 17, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't I sign up for Facebook? Because I could see this issue coming a mile away. I have enough clutter in my life and if it takes someone too long to send me an e-mail, then they're not my friend anyway. Everything that gets too popular starts to suck.

Posted by: Susan9 | November 17, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I am counting the days until this stupid social media bubble finally bursts. The sooner it happens, the better. Sadly, we've got a long ways to go until then.

Posted by: bikes-everywhere | November 17, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Please don't bombard me with statements about how you know Jesus loves me or God plans everything. No one can _know_ this, and I don't want to see lame-o illogical drivel from people I'd prefer to like and respect.

Posted by: Innana | November 17, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I just recently pruned some ex-signifcant others of friends. No need to know what they're up to or vice-versa anymore.

Posted by: em15 | November 17, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Several friends/relatives of have wrecked their cars and have walked into walls/posts/fire hydrants, etc., because of checking their facebook and texting. I cannot even have a family dinner without at least one person getting a call or hearing a 'newtext' 'beep'; its ridiculous. Congrats Jimmy on coming up with an excellent idea. I have only one regret though. I have zero friends on facebook or any other site, so I cannot contribute (more) to the cause!

Posted by: gdmover2 | November 17, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I think this is a great idea. While it's nice to find old friends, and somewhat flattering to be found by them, it can become a cluttered mess. If personal expression is a goal online, I sometimes feel constrained by knowing who all might see my posts. To this regard, I wrote a little song a few months back. I post it here for your amusement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A0texCAX1k

Posted by: dpartrick | November 17, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

if you send me an illiterate post or something that looks like a cross between a tweet and an IM, you're outta here.

Posted by: rdanca | November 17, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Last choice in the poll is "They're your Mom."

Who wrote this? Do "they" realize what an absurd sentence it is? I don't want to nitpick the grammar. If you must use gender-neutral terms to avoid "he/she", then fine. But it's completely unnecessary here. For crying out loud, "SHE is your Mom"!

Posted by: bpm2000 | November 17, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"you thought they were someone else when you accepted their friend request"

"you were drunk when you friended them"

"you don't actually know them"

Posted by: Michael_A1 | November 17, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Something else: patently offensive comments (usually jokes) about other ethnicities, groups, religions, etc.

Posted by: jaho | November 17, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The only person I've ever unfriended was my boyfriend's other girlfriend.

Maybe my standards are too low.

Posted by: nononsense129 | November 17, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I've never had to unfriend anyone (yet), because I'm very careful who I friend in the first place. I get requests from friends of friends every now and then, and I always send a message to the person we have in common asking, "Who is this person?" Sometimes it turns out to be their insurance agent, trolling for new clients. Sometimes it's just someone who, judging by the number of "friends" they have listed, is just randomly trying to grow their list.

Bottom line, if I don't know you, unless a friend persuades me that I really SHOULD get to know you because you're a such a cool person or we have something in common, you're not going on my friends list.

Posted by: Connie710 | November 17, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I've never had to unfriend anyone (yet), because I'm very careful who I friend in the first place. I get requests from friends of friends every now and then, and I always send a message to the person we have in common asking, "Who is this person?" Sometimes it turns out to be their insurance agent, trolling for new clients. Sometimes it's just someone who, judging by the number of "friends" they have listed, is just randomly trying to grow their list.

Bottom line, if I don't know you, unless a friend persuades me that I really SHOULD get to know you because you're friends with one of my kids, you're a such a cool person, or we have something in common, you're not going on my friends list.

Posted by: Connie710 | November 17, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I hate the stupid Farmville and similar game updates (yes, I have blocked them). It is one of the most annoying features of Facebook!! In second place are the people who have to update you on their location. It is not only uninteresting, it leads me to the conclusion that these people are incredibly stupid and want to get robbed! Why are they my "friends"?

Posted by: PepperDr | November 17, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I just stay away from Facebook in general. I hate the way it tries to manipulate you into participating. If someone wants to be my friend, I almost always reject them, but it doesn't matter much, because I go on Facebook about once every six months only because I have to for some reason.

I think the Constitution needs a new ammendment: Freedom from Facebook.

Posted by: geneven | November 17, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I unfriend those who like to whine a a lot! Every day if not every couple hours there is something so horrible going on in their lives(even though its never really that bad!) I am fine with once in a while but come on, everyday, really?!?! Negativity does not make people want to be around you(or read your posts!)

Posted by: acsmomma | November 18, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

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