A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

How many Facebook friends are too many?

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The fascination with gathering friends on social media is truly becoming an epidemic.

To this day, I do not understand the need to have hundreds and thousands of friends on any social network. Obviously, it’s clear to have such a large amount of connections if you are the celebrity type and have pages your fans can follow or if you use your social networks for business. That I understand. But what’s the need for any random person like you and me to have 2,545 Facebook friends or more?

First and foremost, when I think of such a high number, I automatically wonder what sort of drama will ensue. Clearly, safety isn’t any concern for those who share their everyday doings to a variety of social media outlets, and with so many digital friends following, can you really differentiate between friends and potential stalkers?

At my highest amount, I believe once I acquired a whopping 317 friends on Facebook and honestly, nearly a third of those were not in my everyday life. Wow — 317, right? Some of you have four and five times that many. Do you honestly know all those people? I hardly believe any one person would on a personal level.

Occasionally I will scroll through the suggested friends that Facebook databases have collectively and strategically compiled and see if there are any who I’d consider sending a friend request. Although I rarely do accept or send requests, becoming a friend on my list isn’t as easy as one may think.

Many years before social media was even thought about, before computers were socialized and used for every aspect of our lives, one of our largest concerns was people going through our trash to collect information about us. Now all they have to do is send a friend request. Many of you are eager to accept it.

Maybe those of you with thousands of friends on Facebook didn’t get enough attention when you were little and crave it, or maybe you just are the type who likes to gossip. That reminds me of Aunt Bea on “The Andy Griffith Show” when she got on the party line to gossip with the ladies of Mayberry.

Imagine if Aunt Bea had Instagram or Snapchat. She would be the queen of the gossips. Andy wouldn’t be able to contain himself with all the ladies chasing after him and ol’ Barney would have Thelma Lou on a tight leash, I suspect.

Ah, the good old days — days to which we all can relate, a simpler time. A time where just knowing who you needed to know was better than becoming digitally attached to every soul you meet and every soul you come across. Wait a moment, I just received a friend request from my doctor’s pet groomer’s third grade teacher from Lincoln Elementary. Might as well accept it, right?

For me, I don’t think it’s worth letting too many people in my social world. At a total of 265 today, I think it’s time to go through my list and let a few be on their way.

Rodney O’Neal is a resident of southern Nash County.

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