Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy

A few days ago, I posted about my problem with Facebook. I outlined my complaints and then solicited reader input. So far, I have had more than 80 comments. They have been extremely helpful.

My Facebook Fan Page

In the last several days, I have discovered several things about Facebook. First and foremost is the realization that Facebook itself is not the problem. I am. Facebook is simply a tool. It has its quirks and issues, to be sure. But the root problem is that I didn’t have a strategy for how to use it.

Until now, my “friend policy” (if you could call it that), was to simply accept any and all comers. I figured, the more friends the better. The problem is that this resulted in a huge amount of noise, not to mention added workload. I grew weary of all the friend requests, invites, and notifications.

It also made me think long and hard about my vocabulary. Like many people, I had begun to use the term “friend” in a very loose way. The first thing I did in re-thinking my strategy was to tighten up my definitions of key terms:

  • Family: These are the people who are related by blood or by marriage. I have occasionally been too loose with term, too. I have used it to refer to close personal friends or even the “Thomas Nelson family.” But I don’t think this is accurate or helpful. It creates the illusion of something that is not true. From now on, I am going to use this word as it was intended.
  • Friends: These are the people I know in real life. They are people I have met face-to-face, enjoy being around, and interact with in real life. (These three elements are key.) Frankly, a few of these relationships started off online through Twitter. Over time, they grew and developed. Regardless, I have a few deep and significant friendships. But if I am honest, I don’t have many. I only have so much time available.
  • Acquaintances: These are people I have met online or off. I may know their name or even their face. We may even have been friends at some point in the past, but we don’t have an ongoing relationship. We only know one another at a superficial level, and that’s just fine. We just have to be clear that these are not our “friends.”
  • Fans: These are the people who know my public persona or my work. This is also where people get confused because the relationship is not mutual. For example, I am a fan of Chris Brogan. We have even met once. I know lots of stuff about him, because of his blog and Twitter posts. This creates the illusion of intimacy. If I am not careful, however, I could fool myself into thinking I have a relationship with Chris. I don’t. I’m just one of his many fans.

So with those definitions in mind, I set out to re-think my approach to Facebook. Basically, it’s pretty simple. I have decided that I will only use my Facebook profile for family and close friends. I don’t want an inbox that is flooded with sales pitches and invitations to things I don’t care about.

However, realizing that more people are on Facebook than Twitter and that at least five percent of my blog traffic comes from Facebook, I decided to create a fan page for everyone else who wants to connect with me.

For the record, I dislike the term “fan page.” It makes me very uncomfortable. Instead, I wish Facebook would use the term “public pages” for fan pages and “private pages” for profiles. I think that better represents the distinction between the two.

Regardless, my Twitter feed will show up in both places. (Or it least it will when I get that working!) However, the interaction on my fan page is more limited, which is what I need in order to preserve my sanity. My “fans” can write on my wall and I will reply back as I am able—just like I do with Twitter direct messages and replies.

Once I set up the fan page, Facebook tech support was kind enough to move all of my “friends” over to the fan page. I then proceeded to “unfriend” everyone on my profile page who wasn’t a family member or a close, real-life friend. I went from over 2,200 friends on Facebook to less than 100.

Frankly, this was a slow and tedious process. I had to unfriend people one-at-a-time. Facebook doesn’t currently provide a way to unfriend people en masse. I did this for a few hours each evening and powered through it. If I had to do again, I probably would have just deleted my account and started over. It would have been easier.

Here are some of the key learnings I took away:

  • You have to understand the difference between friends, acquaintances, and fans.
  • If I try to be everyone’s friend, I will be no one’s friend. I must be deliberate and selective.
  • I will probably offend some of the people I unfriended. That’s okay. My sanity and real friends are more important than meeting the expectations of fans and acquaintances.
  • I need to be very careful who I accept as a friend on my profile going forward. Just based on mouse clicks, it’s three times as much work to unfriend someone as friend them.

I found that I got more aggressive as I culled my list. After my first pass, I had 400 “friends.” I went back through and had 250. On my third pass, I had 95. And, frankly, that’s probably too many. But at least it is a start.

In this crazy world of social media, I think we need to remain thoughtful and flexible about how we connect online. What works today, may not work tomorrow. What works with 100 followers many not work with 10,000 followers. I doubt this is the last time I will re-think my online strategy.

One final note: I am still not able to update my fan page automatically with my Twitter feed. I have tried the Facebook app, “Selective Twitter Status” and PeopleBrowsr. Both are showing promise. I am working toward a solution. But neither one of them have it nailed yet.

Question: Is it time to re-think your Facebook strategy? What needs to change for you?
Learn how eight simple but powerful tweaks can help you grow your platform. Get my new video series, Your Platform Makeover. It’s free for a limited time. Click here to watch it now.

Get the FREE video series now

Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

    Interesting post. This is how I use Facebook, too — only for people I actually know through one avenue or another, who I feel comfortable with reading my personal status updates. I think too many people, particularly those who are new to social media, perhaps forced into it for marketing purposes, confuse FB's purpose with that of Twitter. Of course, it's always what you make it! But how you've decided to deal with it seems to be the most common — and most acceptable — way.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. We'll see how it goes.

  • http://twitter.com/robwar0100 @robwar0100

    Good thoughts, MIchael. As a journalist, I have a hard time becoming a fan of anyone on Facebook other than a celebrity. I do not like the term. If I want to follow a politician in order to keep up on the info, I don't want my readers thinking I am a fan of the politico or organization or whatever. I think everything in life is a balance. Social media has its place, and it is not going away any time soon, but it can also be a distraction. Best wishes moving forward. I have found myself migrating away from Facebook.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Believe me, I so know the feeling. Even last night, while I was trying to get my Twitter feed working with Facebook, I was tempted to just delete the account and be done with it!

  • http://www.therampart.us Bret

    I'm currently using it to generate a buzz over my new website, and I've found it useful to have many people on the list with whom i don't regularly interact. Then again, I'm not probably of the stature that anyone would want to be my "fan," though (in ministry) I have plenty of people who aren't necessariy "friends" who have accepted my request (and vice versa). I think for us little guys (sub 500 friends), the more the merrier.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You make an important point: your strategy will also depend on the size of your audience.

  • http://twitter.com/dheagle93 @dheagle93

    As one of the people that you "unfriended" in this process, I'm not at all offended! I think that one of the dangers/issues with social media is to blur that line too much between real and private relationships and our public relationships. As a church pastor, I know the need for private relationships that aren't broadcast, and I can imagine that CEO'ing is similar.

    So, treasure those real relationships. I'll continue to enjoy being your fan.

    Doug

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for not being offended, Doug.

      Have we ever met? ;-)

  • http://tomlaforce.com Tom LaForce

    I noticed that you have a category called "Friend." You then go on to write that only family and "close friends" are going to be part of your FB community. Sounds like you might still be a little squishy on your friend definition. Like your strategies. Think this is useful to make these kinds of distinctions.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I don't think it's so much squishy as I am intentionally trying to stick with bigger "buckets." If you start making distinctions in each of the bigger categories, it gets very unwieldy. Just think of family. You could, for example, have spouse, children, grandchildren, immediate family, in-laws, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.

      • http://tomlaforce.com Tom LaForce

        Good clarification. Big, broad buckets makes a lot of sense.

  • http://www.thesocialmediahandyman.com Paul Chaney

    Like you I am uncomfortable with the term Fan
    Page. The official term Public Profile but no one
    uses that.

    Good plan btw.

  • Jeff Klingenberg

    I appreciate the work. I am sharing this blog with friends and family on Facebook.

  • http://www.everydayisprecious.com Rob

    Thanks for this post. I have been going through the same issues, but to a much lesser magnitude. This (like most of your posts) makes a lot of sense. I am a fb newby, too, and would appreciate more detail on how you overcame other obstacles (i.e. getting applications to work.) You are not the only one who thinks everyone else knows fb but you!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      As soon as I can get my Twitter feed linked to my Facebook fan page, I will post how I did it. Evidently, I'm not the only one with this problem. Thanks.

  • http://www.simpleitalliance.com Matt Martin

    Michael, its been interesting to watch people who started with social media in its early days, and then who became popular, struggle with volume of updates and spam that they receive. Robert Scoble recently went through the same excercise on Twitter and "unfriended" 106,000 people so he could get back to hearing the signal from the noise.

    I dont have nearly the volume of friends on Facebook or Twitter that you have but still a little to much for me as well. I have been playing with the Facebook filters to see if I can carve up the updates I receive so family and friends I care about bubble up to the top.

    Have you taken a look at Ping.fm? Its a tool that will update a wide variety of social networks including Facebook and Facebook Fan Pages. The trick that I have found is getting timely updates into Ping.fm so they can be pushed out. A combination that I have tried is using Twitterfeed to pull RSS feeds from Twitter and then push over to Ping.fm. It may not be as immediate as you would like but might be worth a look.

    Good luck!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Robert Scoble is my hero. I may have to cull Twitter next. However, for right now, PeopleBrowsr is making it very manageable.

      Yes, I have looked at Ping.fm. I am hoping that PeopleBrowsr will solve problem of updating Facebook fan pages as an administrator. If they can do that, I won't have to add yet another third-party app.

  • Jeff Baker

    Bravo! I applaud your efforts (and transparency in doing so), even knowing that you will offend some “friends” along the way. Kudos!

  • Kyle Olund

    Mike, I haven't checked to see . . . but I'm assuming I've been unfriended. And it's OK. I did the same thing about 8 months ago. And that was tough, becasue there were people from my past with whom I was happy to reconnect–but after that I thought it was nice but I wasn't really friends anymore. I'm sure there will be people with hurt feelings over your decision, but you'll be glad you did this.

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    My fav quote in all of this… "My sanity and real friends are more important than meeting the expectations of fans and acquaintances." While fans and acquaintances are important, those who are engaged in the relationship take prominence. I like it.

    Personally I hope Facebook never becomes like Twitter. I like Twitter for my public profile and interaction but I like Facebook (private pages) for my more intimate interactions. There are things I say and post on Facebook w/ friends that I would never say or post on Twitter. Different audience.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I agree. I think different strategies can make sense for different people. The important thing is to be intentional.

  • Kyle Olund

    One more thought, Mike . . . this is a lot like narrowing down the guest list for a wedding. Tough, but you can only afford so much.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      That is the perfect analogy, Kyle. Thanks.

  • Pingback: Facebook Re-Visited: Segmenting Appropriately and Strategically - ChurchCrunch

  • http://freelancerbattleplan.com Chris Johnson

    I don't know who he hell you are. I don't know where you come from..or your "public persona." But this fits with what I'm wanting to use facebook for.

    I can see someone going opposite–using twitter for friends, and FB for public. Bottom line: you need a public place.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      A … yea, nice to meet you, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emuelle1 Eric S. Mueller

    At this point, I don't think I need to rethink my Facebook strategy. For the most part, I enjoy Facebook helping me reconnect with some high school friends and Navy buddies. Facebook isn't without annoyances though. I definitely don't care what quiz people just took, what animal they added to a farm, or what level they reached on Mafia Wars. I prefer to interact with people through comments.

    It's Twitter I'm trying to rethink. With a scourge of people attempting to make money from Twitter, I find myself barraged with spam. Every time I use certain words, some of these people hoping to get rich follow me. If I tweet "I took my wife to the farmer's market", I'll get 10 self-proclaimed "social media experts" following me. I tend to follow people with interesting feeds, but most of these auto-DM spam you when you follow them.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I find that the spam goes in waves on Twitter. It's not too bad. I found Facebook to be far, far worse.

  • Aaron

    Mike,

    You want the Facebook app called "Twitter" which is made by Twitter itself. That will post all of your tweets (except for @ replies) as your status. It says that it works on fan pages.

    Aaron

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, it doesn't—or, at least, I couldn't get it to work for pages. It works great, though, for your profile.

  • Carol

    My struggle on facebook seems to be the "friends of friends" category. Yes I know you. I may even occasionally be in the same place as you at an event or gathering. BUT I don't care to have you going through my photo albums and opening my life to you on a day to day basis. The ignore option is a great thing.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Ignoring people is difficult for me to do. (I probably need more therapy!) But, I agree with you: it is necessary.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/mvivas mvivas

    I think this is a very important point. As we embrace social networks, many people misunderstand what they are meant for. Some people find value in having thousands of friends. This may work if you are trying to reach people for marketing purposes, but for personal "friendships" it is a total fail. I don't accept everyone's "friend" request on Facebook. I will only accept if you are a friend, colleague and family. I have no interest in running the "who has the most friends" list. With that said, what you have done with the fan (public) page is a well worth effort.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ldsquire ldsquire

    I've watched this with interest, because you were going about what I had determined to do from the beginning. My intention with Facebook was to be very selective about who I interfaced with there – friends and family and people I actually knew in person. But soon I found that others would send me a friend request and it wasn't in my nature to turn them away. I see Twitter as just a big news headliner (kind of like what rolls on the bottom of the TV screen when you watch CNN or such) so I didn't care who followed me, but I do care who I follow. Twitter, to me, is a business necessity; Facebook is a social gathering.

    However, I have found that I get more traffic for my blog and more responses for my events from Facebook than Twitter or any other such tool. I believe the reason has more to do with who I'm "friends" with than because Facebook is necessarily a better tool. My "friends" on Facebook are more likely to read my blog because of that personal connection than those on Twitter who are just looking to up their number of contacts.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      It's almost like you need a broadcast or mini-channel that is more one-way in nature and then a narrowcast way to interact with friends. I'm sure this will continue to evolve.

  • http://Www.jilljarvis.com Jill

    Interesting approach! Happy you have found what will work for you!

  • http://twitter.com/timdetellis @timdetellis

    This is by far the best strategy for online social networking I've seen implemented. Why? By making levels of engagement, it brings greater relevance to the content for those that receive the message. I was pondering the same. I thought about creating a new "friends" account on Facebook for my family and friends. However, the solution you delivered on moving everyone outside of family and life-friends to a fan status makes 100% sense. Thank you for thinking, doing and sharing. Your fan!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tim. I am just stumbling along. I haven't been able to find any other way to learn, other than to throw myself into the deep end of the pool and sink or swim!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Daniel_Berman Daniel_Berman

    My guess is that this will also refocus people's commenting to your blog, which may prove useful for a more coherent community. Though on the flip side you might also have to open a forum, just to handle some of the discussion and rabbit trails that invariably occur with a large group of people.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You might be right. I have some stuff planned for later this fall along those lines.

  • http://forrestlongart.com Forrest Long

    Thanks for this post. I have been struggling with the same thing recently. I understand the need to build an online platform, but I came to realize that I have been spending far too much time on facebook, twitter and the other social networking sites I am on. I could be using this valuable time for more writing and painting and time with my wife. So I have begun the process of change too. It's a profitable exercise. Social networking should be a tool for our use, not the master of our time.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Amen to that. I totally agree!

  • http://www.praisegarment.blogspot.com Judith Robl

    I'm not a high profile person. Perhaps a couple of dozen people know me and are interested in what I'm doing. Facebook and Twitter are both in the learning arc for me at the moment.

    Thank you for clarifying your decisions and reasons. They are a great help to me in prioritizing my involvement with both these social media.

    Grace and peace,

  • http://wordlily.wordpress.com WordLily

    I see what you're saying as far as what the different pages are called, but it's not something I've dealt with because: the things you're calling fan pages I call pages (I know I'm not alone in this). And the other I call my profile. Public and private pages as a distinction doesn't work, because a person's individual profile can be made public or private, with some variations in between.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yea, it gets confusing quickly. I think that is why you have to take the tool and figure out your own strategy.

  • http://twitter.com/christopherbmac @christopherbmac

    As always, another great post Mike. This is the approach I took with Facebook from the get go. I had been on Myspace previous to joining Facebook and hated that it was a "friend" feeding frenzy where everyone added everyone else regardless of if you knew them or not. Which is why I deleted my account.

    When I started my facebook account I decided to only accept family, friends, co-workers, and the occaisional friend from my school years, and only if we were close at one point. I think I might have 200 "friends" and desperately need to whittle that down to a more realistic number.

    This guiding principle, if you can call it that, is also why I won't/don't try to add public figures such as yourself. If the role was reversed I wouldn't add or befriend everyone under the sun, so why should they/you?

    Thanks for the inspiration to get out and prune my list.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I wished that I would have started with this philosophy. It would have been so much easier!

  • Pingback: » What’s Your Facebook Strategy?

  • Jody

    Great post. I have been thinking about this for myself and for my clients who are hesitant to use facebook. I often hear the comment that it is creepy people you barely know or know professionally can view your personal life, so they do not participate. I believe they need a presence, this is a great solution. Thanks!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    In true schoolboy fashion, I want to run home and tell my Mum, "Michael Hyatt doesn't want to be my friend any more" :-) But I won't because I completely understand and agree with what you are doing.

    So don't worry, you won't be getting an angry phone call from my Mum. Probably.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Your Mum called today. She isn't happy with me. I reluctantly agreed to be her friend. ;-)

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

        I'm sorry, you know what protective Mum's are like!

        Hey.. Wait… You're HER friend now. Oh, I see how it is!

        :D

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    Your comments on the word 'family' got my pastor-head working though.

    I do agree that blood relatives and their spouses is a good way to define the word 'family' and I really don't have a problem with you using it that way to define a facebook strategy BUT I think that's a very small, short term way of looking at things – and it misses the big picture.

    You see, you and I are family in a very, very real way. We are both children of God. You are my brother. Not figuratively, not in a Sunday-morning religious sense, but in absolute reality. We have both been adopted into God's family as sons in as real a way as any human adoption. I think that way too often we miss that fact and we use your definition of family to describe people who we would do more for out of a sense of duty and love than the rest of our 'family'. In doing so, we negate or depreciate the reality that, as Christians, we are truly family in an eternally real sense.

    OK, preachy-rant over. Carry on. :-)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Peter, you are absolutely correct. In fact, I had this thought, too, and some how it didn't make it into the post. I think it is an important distinction, at least at a theological level.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

        "At least at a theological level" is precisely the problem. Too many of us relegate truths about the Christian life to theological discussion and don't put them into practice.

        I don't really see how you could have incorporated it into this post without making the post too long. I also understand why you use the word 'family' in the way you do for the sake of this post, and your strategy – and I don't disagree with it. I just had to get my preach on for a moment!

        :-)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/katieoats katieoats

    Thanks. I've been following your blog for several months and am a "fan" (for lack of a better term). I find your posts thoughful and relevant to issues in my life, but I think of them in the same way I think of a good book. I couldn't possibly develop healthy friend relationships with the authors of all the books or blogs that I read. Your Facebook approach makes a lot of sense with the key point for me being: If I try to be everyone’s friend, I will be no one’s friend. I must be deliberate and selective.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      That is a good analogy. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sitwalkstand Justin T. Miller

    What did you do to get Facebook tech support to move over all of your friends to your Fan page?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I employed a radical strategy: I asked! ;-)

      • http://kevinhull.org Kevin Hull

        Hi Michael,

        Thanks for taking the time to read…and no, I’m not family, a friend (fb), fan or any of the other facebook lingo. However, love your blog, very well done.

        So, my question is this, you say that you asked Facebook but exactly where and who did you ask. As a minister, I have a personal that has over a thousand friends but I need to move them over to the ‘fan’ page that I have. Can you please assist? Thanks in advance.

  • http://www.godmessedmeup.blogspot.com pam hogeweide

    Great post.

    I love Facebook. For me, it is like a great big schmooze-fest. I don’t say Yes to every friend request, but if there is an interesting connection I’ll go for it. As a result, my online network has increased and so has my readership. It definitely helps me build my platform.
    My online ethos is this: make connections that are beneficial for all. Facebook, more than Twitter, has helped me to do this.

  • Harrison Farr

    Perfect! I love how you outlined your thought process. I’m going straight to your fan page now to sign up.

  • Rachel

    Ditto every thing you said, Mike. I created a Fan Page, and have that link on my web site. My FB fan page is linked to Twitter, but not Twitter to my fan page. Need to figure that one out, stilll.

    I still largely acquire "Friends" because I'm not sure how to acquire Fans unless I promote my fan page on my main FB page. A list of potenial fans don't show up on the Fan page. But, I'm working it. ;)

    I too do not want a bunch of promo material in my Inbox. And, I didn't want to do the same to others when I had book release news. So, I will do that news blasting from my Fan page.

    I agree, Social Media is a liquid business and we have to be ready to change and adjust as we learn more, and as the market changes.

    Rachel

  • Rachel Rigdon

    It is completely appropriate to give yourself a Fan page on FB, as you have many fans (I'm one of them). Your public persona is an encouragement, even though it doesn't come with friendship. I appreciate your topical, edited thoughts every day. I have ambiguous feeling about the "spirit of entitlement" that Facebooks exacerbates in people, and I'm not even a public person.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your kind words, Rachel. I appreciate the encouragement!

  • http://www.brandilyncollins.com Brandilyn Collins

    The bottom line of this interesting post is that we must keep rethinking our strategies as our followers/friends grow. So far on Facebook at 2060 or so friends, I'm handling it. But there are a lot of invitations, etc. I delete every day. On Twitter at 5600 or so followers, I'm finding many of the new followers are sales people. I went from manual follow to auto follow when I reached a certain level. Now at this level auto follow is letting in too much riffraff, and I'm going to have to change once again.

    You're right on, Mike–it's not the medium, but our ability to constantly rethink our strategies.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yea, I am still using auto-follow, mainly so I can DM with anyone who wants to DM. I find the spam comes in waves. Right now, it's not too bad.

  • Dee

    How do you "unfriend" people? I need to do that.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Just click on the Facebook Connections or Friends link and then click on the "X" next to their name. It will ask you to confirm that you want to "unfriend" that person. The nice thing is that it doen't notify them.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SwitchingGranny SwitchingGranny

    Michael I know I speak for many of us who appreciate your ability to help us better understand and use online social media. You always make great points and cause me to pause and consider. (Selah) that is what so often happens when I read your posts. Thank you

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Martha. I appreciate your kind words.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pfnikolai Pete Nikolai

    Your new thinking seems to fall in line with various studies on the maximum number of relationships one person can maintain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number
    I agree with your comment that even 95 may be too many. While a person may have friendly relationships with that many people, it probably is not the optimum situation to have so many friends–whether on Facebook or face-to-face. The longer I am involved with social media, the more I sense that it is better to have a few good friends–just as it is more important to read a few good books rather than hundreds of blog posts…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yep, I'd really like to get it down to about 50. That may even be too many, but when you consider how big my family is, I don't think it is. We'll see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debra.twardowski Debra Twardowski

    I’m one of those who you unfriended. I am only friends with people I know. I friended you because I had followed you an Twitter and I gave up Twitter when someone threatened me bodily harm over my choice of American Idol winner (not kidding). I’m a writer, too, and a Christian, and you’re a publisher who I follow because you’re communicate about the industry (always a mystery to writers). Now, on my part of the equation, II play many games on FB so I am sorry if those idiotic notices got posted.;-) Oh well, I enjoyed your posts even if we did not know each other personally and I followed your links with interest. One note, on FB you can filter out people who you do not want to “hear from” as far as the noise. you can friend everyone but set up filters to only get the posts you want, and also to post privately to your “real friends.” I hope it works out for you. I’ll try to catch your links on the backside fan page. My problem is remembering to check other places. God speed and many blessings on your continued endeavors.

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive … – The Facebook News

  • http://santzonthejourney.com santos samayoa

    Thank you for defining each group it puts a finer perspective on “Friends” and although it may offend some people i think you deserve your sanity. Thanks for the great insight.

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive … – The Facebook News

  • http://www.tabithas-team.com Kelly Harbaugh

    I also use facebook for only real life friends and family. One reason is that I want to share pictures and stories about my children with long-distance family without worrying about their safety. I also want to stay in touch with my real friends and what is going on in their lives without having to filter through "other people's stuff."

    Whenever someone sends me a friend request and they are not a "real life" friend, I thank them for the request, explain my facebook policy, and then list the other social networks I am on and invite them to connect there. That way people understand and do no think they are just being ignored.

    I found the "friend vs fan" description interesting, as I used this comparison in an older post about our relationship with God:

    Know God – Are You a Friend or a Fan?
    http://www.tabithas-team.com/Know_God.html

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Great idea. I need to have a "template" or "boilerplate" response. However, I shouldn't get too many of these friend requests now, because I have hidden my profile. If people search for me, they only get the fan page.

  • http://www.dailyreflectionsforsingleparents.blogspot.com/ Scoti Domeij

    I think you've started a trend among authors. I've requested to be friends of other authors I've not met. And I've been encouraged by their posts and the similarities in our writing lives. Getting to know more about them and seeing family pictures makes me more interested in who they are and what they write. Now some are asking me to become their fan. I decided I will not become their fan.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yea, you can only keep up with so much!

  • http://twitter.com/TVAmy @TVAmy

    Ping.fm works best for me to update profile and fan page. But I had to get a "pro" to set it up. I followed instructions perfectly and couldn't get it right. After an hour of work by the "pro" it was finally done. Works like a charm ever since.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I may go to that if PeopleBrowsr can't solve the problem for me. However, they have great engineers and are working on it now.

  • http://twitter.com/TVAmy @TVAmy

    Got cut off…
    There is definately an evolution in how we use these tools. I would have gone with a "fan" page (dislke the term as well!) if I'd known then, what I know now.
    Blessings.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

    after @human3rror 's twitter meltdown and now this…i've been through my own fb fiasco this summer and i ended up cleaning up my friends lists. it's been a lot better

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      That's true for me, too. I am actually starting to enjoy Facebook again!

  • http://twitter.com/realpetermag @realpetermag

    nice post michael. i'm wrestling with the same thing. it seems to me that social networks organizing into better groups should be the next wave of social media. you should be able to organize your friends into the categories you described and organize access to your profile accordingly.

    it's time for facebook to get rid of the word friend. it's antiquated. there should be an option where you can "get to know someone better" by allowing them to temporarily access your page.

    I think it's time we start thinking of making social media friends the same we do in the physical world. introductions, common interests, shared experiences grow a friendship (is there a way to do this online?), family, work relationships, etc.

    I loved Michael's line about the fact that "I think we need to remain thoughtful and flexible about how we connect online. What works today, may not work tomorrow. What works with 100 followers many not work with 10,000 followers. I doubt this is the last time I will re-think my online strategy."

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I agree with the word "friend." I think at this point in the evolution of social networking, we can make better and more discriminating distinctions.

  • http://twitter.com/HSchiefelbein @HSchiefelbein

    Have you tried Seesmic for allowing Twitter to update Fan page? Great post, by the way. It's so important for leaders to be reflecting and constantly challenging the process. Well said.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      No, I haven't. However, I have it on my Mac, so maybe I will give it a try. Thanks.

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive …

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive … » bLOG aLL

  • Pingback: AJF7688 Blog - Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive …

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive … « Blogging

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive … « Blogging

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive … « Blogging

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive … « Blogging

  • http://www.widneywoman.com WidneyWoman

    I took a Facebook sabbatical this summer. Deleted the FB app from my iPhone. I deleted almost 200 'friends'. I removed my Twitter link. There were things I wanted to say and not have to be worried I would offend a 'friend' on FB. I did this to reduce the amount of time I wasted on social networking and increase the amount of time I spend face-to-face with my kids.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    I thought I wasn't going to be affected with the switch to your fan page (because I have never met you), but today your tweets are not showing up on my facebook home page like they did yesterday. This is okay because I have your blog bookmarked and I'm following you on Twitter, but I enjoyed reading through your tweets on Facebook.

    Just a note on social media, I don't really care if people follow me or befriend me. What is most important is that people hook up with God and we don't need computers or cell phones. Just speaking the password–"in the name of Jesus"–puts us in immediate contact with our Father who loves us with an absolute love, a love that is perfect, complete, and real

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    I thought I wasn't going to be affected with the switch to your fan page (because I have never met you), but today your tweets are not showing up on my facebook home page like they did yesterday. This is okay because I have your blog bookmarked and I'm following you on Twitter, but I enjoyed reading through your tweets on Facebook.

    Just a note on social media, I don't really care if people follow me or befriend me. What is most important is that people hook up with God and we don't need computers or cell phones to communicate with Him. Just speaking the password–"in the name of Jesus"–puts us in immediate contact with our Father who loves us with an absolute love, a love that is perfect, complete, and real

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Patricia, I think this is just a temporary Facebook glitch. After I got your comment, I did a test to see if people could see the Facebook post on my fan page. I received a ton of comments. If you can't see it at http://www.facebook.com/michaelhyatt, please let me know. Thanks.

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking My Facebook Strategy | Michael Hyatt | Chief Executive … « Blogging

  • http://janalynvoigt.com Janalyn Voigt

    I'm one of the people you marked for unfriending, but actually I unfriended you first. (I hope it didn't hurt your feelings.) ;o) I decided to spare you the few clicks for me, and besides, you had already voiced your desire to save your friend page for your family and close friends. I'm not one to hang around uninvited.

    I did have a small reaction to your pronouncement, although I understood it. After introspection, I recognized that, as a writer, I use fb for networking, to connect with, share ideas and learn from others in publishing. I viewed you in that category – as something of a mentor and role model. I didn't think of myself as your fan. Your wish that the fan page could be called the "public page" helped me.

    My family feels a little uncomfortable tagging me in photos or making comments because they know I use fb for networking. At first I initiated friendships with other professionals, but now others initiate just as often. It does feel strange to allow complete strangers access to my personal information. Rather than make a fan page that includes writing contacts, I've decided to make a personal page for family and friends under an alias and allow them to connect with me on either page. I think you can turn off applications. I don't mind letting invitations pile up, especially if I post a notice in my profile that I don't want them. Emails can be directed to my primary email account.

    By the way, the fact that professionals have invaded fb for networking seems to indicate a need for something like it, minus the fun and games.

    Janalyn Voigt

    http://janalynvoigt.wordpress.com

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    My facebook is for family and friends (friends definition is loose like my handful of writers I've gotten to know from my local chapter, church congregation because likewise I'm trying to change the face of our church to be more community orientated, family, and real close friends or in other words people I confide my secrets in, talk to, and enjoy hanging out with). Good for you on clearing out your list. I think 2200 is bit many to handle. In fact, just having to build a platform with twitter and trying to keep up on what's going on in the lives of my friend list is almost a third job ontop of my writing and my day job. My list has 149 people on it.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patalexander patalexander

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As always they provoke thought about my own needs as we are all learning the world of social media and how to use it.

  • Pingback: Re-Thinking Facebook Strategy « Todd’s Mindbloggler

  • Pingback: My FaceBook Strategy | Indie Business Blog

  • http://www.theflossip.com Flossip

    I am curious how you contacted facebook to transfer friends to fans? Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/EmcsMedia @EmcsMedia

    Interesting read. However it looks to me like it's more like a noise cutting effort, than a real strategy per se. Like twitter followers and following, Facebook allow grouping and total and precise control of inbound and outbound feeds. I agree with the Fan page being 'the business personae' but that does not mean that your fans have to be different than your friends, as some of them are both, and you want to be able to speak to few as well as to all, but also be able to listen to as many as possible, and just choose when you want to hear what they have to say.

  • Maureen

    Finally an approach that is realistic. I struggled with quality versus quantity of friend numbers I have numerous friend invites waiting for my response but would not add them due to this dilemma of melding everyone in one pot. It was about integrity of my values for me.. allowing anyone into the sanctuary of my family life without due course and natural evolution. so I held back until you beautifully expressed your plan as you plugged through your list… I now have a fan page and what I consider healthy boundaries for both my family and my associates. Much appreciate your candor Michael and the example of integrity that you emanate always.

  • Ellie

    Hi,
    How were you able to contact facebook and ask them to transfer your friends to fans? If anyone can help me with this??? That would be great!

  • http://alyiceedrich.com Alyice

    I went through the same thing some time back. I almost deleted my FB altogether, but then I realized I have kids to monitor–and now that my son is in college, it gives me an opportunity to play a few games with him online and stay in touch.

    I did, however, unfriend a bunch of strangers and even some high school acquintances who friended me but never talked to me beyond that "Friend" status. Even unsubbed a few friends who no longer talked to me on a personal level once we became FB friends as it was easier for them to catch up with my updates and then move on with their day–which made hurt our relationship. Unfriending them, has allowed us to reconnect on a more personal relationship.

    A may have to start a fan page, for the magazine though… something to think about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/spdlc Tim Westermeyer

    Michael –

    It looks like you were able to change the URL for your “fan” page from “facebook.com/michaelhyattfan” (which is the link to it you have in this blog) to simply “facebook.com/michaelhyatt”. How did you do that, since you can apparently only change your user name once? Sorry for such a pedestrian question — great information in all of your blogs. Keep it coming.

    Tim

  • Pat

    Interesting reading, even if a few months late! My computer was hacked several months ago, and as a result, I went through and deleted just about all of my online accounts, photographs, etc. I found, to my surprise, an enormous sense of relief about the simplicity that returned to my life. Only at the urging of extended family did I recently open up a new Facebook account (everyone but me was on it). But this time, like you, I was judicious in keeping the list of 'friends' to about 100. I ditched my old Fan Page, and with the new account, I made everything as private as possible ("only friends"), even turning off the search capability for my name. I don't 'friend' people who are just acquaintances, and unless they are friends of a friend, they can't 'friend' me, either. I discovered that if I don't click 'ignore' on a friend request, that there is still some capability of 'awaiting confirmation' folk to read my wall posts–and due to my need for privacy from my hacker, I click ignore for all friend-of-friend-but-stranger-to-me requests promptly. I've trained myself to do so without guilt. ;)

    To simplify my newsfeeds, I don't enable/accept applications, and hide all games. And the biggest help to me with the newsfeeds is the creation of categories of friends ('lists'). I found that my general newsfeed was still missing many posts from family or other close friends–but that when I put folks in lists, such as Family, Local, College, High School, etc.–if I clicked on just that list group, I'd get ALL the newsfeeds for that category. So now, I can at least stay current with family feeds, or certain groups of friends.

    The thing that's odd about Facebook is that it generalizes all as 'friends' or 'not friends'. In real life, though, there are shades of grey…there are some things I'd share with certain friends and not with others. So mass-posting certain posts to 100 other people sometimes means either I'm staying light and superficial, or I'm getting close with a few folks who I otherwise might not share so intimately with. Just one reason why technology is likely to always fall short of real-life interaction and communications.

  • Colin

    Michael- Looks like Facebook finally got the message and changed "Fan" pages to "Like" pages today.

  • http://www.windridgeconsulting.com Lindsay Colitses

    Good moves Micheal!

    I would like to add that "linking" Twitter to Facebook (even a Fan Page) can become extremely annoying to your FB fans. Filling people's FB Newsfeed with Twitter tweets (chatter) leaves little room for others – Personally, I hide people who use FB as a Twitter mirror….. I'll follow them on Twitter if I want that much of a person.

    Twitter and Facebook – two different beasts and even a Fan Page must be used with discretion so as not to turn into an annoyance.

    My two cents :-)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/moraw moraw

    please let us know when and how you figure it out how to split your fb friends and your FB "Fans"…

  • Pingback: Head to Head: Two CEO Blogs : lucid at random

  • Pingback: Shared Links and Resources for July 20thAdam Stahr | Adam Stahr

  • Belinda

    Thank you Mr Hyatt for being so open about your thoughts with Facebook. My husband and I both deleted our personal FB pages. Now to set up the “fan page” for our businesses. Thank you for your encouragement through your blog and Twitter!
    Have a blessed CHRISTmas!

  • Jay Blaisdell

    I am reading Platform, Mr. Hyatt, and I am enjoying it very much and finding it useful. On page 182 you said., “Once I set up the fan page, Facebook tech support was kind enough to move all of my friends over to my fan page. I then proceeded to unfriend everyone on my profile page who wasn’t a family member of a close, real-life friend.” I have been trying to do this myself since I have over 4,000 friends on my personal account, but the only option I see is to CONVERT my personal page to a fan page, which I don’t want to do. I have had my personal account for years, and I don’t want to erase it. I see you made this post in 2009. Do I still have the option of transferring my “friends” to my public page and then deleting them from my personal, or must I have convert the personal account? Any help would be appreciated. It appears people can no longer do what you did. It seems I will simply have to delete all of these “friends” if I want to keep my personal account.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      What if you converted it to a fan page, set up a new personal page, and then selectively invited to the new page those you want?

  • Chris Harris

    How did you receive Facebook’s help in moving all your friends over to your “fan” page?

  • seguido

    I found this app on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb97ohpS1T4
    Maybe is helpful.