January 14th, 2009 by Sten Franke

Defriending will surely be the big trend of 2009 in everyday use of social media. Burger King has anticipated this trend – dump 10 friends and get one free Whooper. Well I asked myself all the time, when I’m using LinkedIn, etc.: who is in god’s name with over 1000 business contacts on his/her a list could speak from “real” contacts or how one even should follow twitter stream, which follows more than 1000 streams? Perhaps it applies in social media, as well as in the world outside of social media: Less is more.

For Charlene Li, the downsizing of followers and Facebook “friends” is surely the trend for 2009:
Having thousands of friends becomes “so 2008″ and defriending becomes the hot new trend, driven by overwhelming rivers of newsfeeds. The movement is rooted in a desire to have quality, not quantity, as people cocoon in the face of the economic crisis. Facebook apps will emulate Twitter Grader, allowing you to prioritize your friends based on their overall social ranking — and prune safely to ensure the highest quality friends“.

Even Peter Blackshawconsumergeneratedmedia.com – also foresees quite similar development for year 2009:
Many of us will feel compelled to join the social media equivalent of Weight Watchers, eager to trim the excess and rediscover a modicum of don’t-follow-everything discipline.

In my opinion this development is certainly right. A social graph is only then a functional one, if one really communicates with his/her virtual contacts. This kind of communication is by far more than just the act of clicking the confirm button. Truthfully, I find it quite difficult to keep an eye of all the conversations happening in my Twitter streams, facebook, Linkedin, Myspace, etc. contacts, and then to actually be involved in a constructive dialog in the end. In the mean time a flood of information emerges, which are mostly irrelevant. Probably tools like TwitterGrader or Benedikt’s Twitterfriends are needed to accomplish an overdue network optimization. 2009 will be the time for all to join the social graph watcher movement and hence strengthening the networking.