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How To Vet Your Facebook Followers and Friend Requests

I spent a few hours auditing and removing over 300+ of some of my Facebook friends after hitting the 5000 friend limit on Facebook’s personal pages. I had to go through the process of auditing friends A-Z twice, because for some reason many didnt show the first time or I missed somehow. I wanted to share what I learned with you here:

1. Maybe you dont think you’ll ever hit 5000, but its good to Vet people early on before you accept them. For so long I’d just add anyone who Friend Requested me. I WAS AN ACCEPTWHORE (my copyrighted word). It was a pain in the butt to go back through them all and delete them. Vet them early.. Don’t be an Acceptwhore!

2. If you dont accept someones personal Friend Request, send them a message to go to one of your fan pages with a link. I took and made a standard reply to copy and paste in Notepad on my desktop. “Thanks for the friend request, I’m full now but you can see my stream at http://www.facebook.com/TheChrisVossShow – Thanks!” They can develop a relationship with you on your Facebook Fan page and maybe they can possibly earn a place in your personal page. Friend Suggestions of friends from friends, I allowed those too much. NOW I dont accept them. In talking to many of them they still didnt know who I am or care. My new rule: unless YOU personally Friend Request me I wont let you though.

3. The Top Level of my hierarchy of keeping friends is those who comment and interact with me as friends. This will override the latter points I’ll make below, if they meet this criteria. I usually know who comments on my Facebook consistently. One way to flush out the lurkers who you want to keep, because they ARE at least looking at your wall, is to announce your cleaning house on people who dont comment. It’ll amaze you as to who is there.

70%-ish of people are voyeurs so dont punish people who dont chat. Some people are shy or think they cant be as funny etc. Thats they way that they ENGAGE. Just like someone told me, if I accidentally kick off an avid follower, they’ll probably notice and re-friend request me. If I saw that they had Liked my Fan Page I’ll keep em. They are a supporter. You can see it on their Info Tab if they Liked your Fan Page.

4. I decided to avoid people in the future who dont speak my language. I was amazed at people who were following me, but in looking at their wall they never spoke my language and therefore never interacted with me. My personal page is about personally communicating with me. Keep in mind though, some people can speak multiple languages you may want to ask if they can and what their interest is when they send you a friend request. If they can communicate with you keep them.

5. I focused my friends also to people living within my country. Mainly for my next level, which is people that I most likely have a chance to meet. Keep in mind, my over all rule, I STILL kept all my foreign/language friends who comment and interact with me.

6. The easy thing is to look for the empty picture avatars, 9 out of 10 times they arent people who are interesting or using their Facebook. Most signed up for a while and stopped. ALSO NO FACE PICS…if you have an avatar of something other than your face and you don’t appear in the photos you’ve posted, DENIED.

7. Business profiles all got dumped. Some were from prior to the creation of Fan pages so I had to dump them. A few chimed up and turns out their personal profile AND business profile where following me. I said “nope,” only one person per entry, no duplicates.

8. Same person, multiple accounts. I was amazed how some people have up to 5 personal accounts. Talk about a waste of my space.

9. You can search by a few different ways but I pretty much went by name and picture. Then I’d look at their wall. The next group I dumped were people who’s wall or postings didnt impress me. Obviously the hard core Facebook gamers with nothing but game posts went. Some people never talk just retweet links. BORING, get some original thoughts.

10. One thing I’ve found is if I leave my computer and Facebook on overnight all sorts of odd people will IM that I dont want to have following me. Usually if you reply they go quiet. Its very odd. I call it sticking your head up for an un-friending.

11. Hard core politicos who spout 100% their drivel about the “other” party. Any fanatic regardless of topic went out the window. I want friends who can talk or LISTEN about a multitude of subjects in life. I dont like fanatic robots.

12. Now every day or two I glance over my feed to vet whose chatting and if I really want them.

13. Newbies. I’ve noticed a few newbies sending requests. I send them the “goto my Fan Page link.” Let’s see if they stick with it first.

It sure has cleaned up the feed I get. Now when I get Friend Requests I look at them a whole lot more and qualify them. Fortunately most good people that like me from Twitter will type out an introduction. Thats a great way to get in. Dont be afraid to ask people why they want to friend you. Trust me its easier to do this ahead of time, than clean up the mess at 5000.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.