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This Guy Is Livestreaming A Purge Of His Facebook Friends Brian Lobel Is Purging His Facebook Friends on UStream This Guy Is Livestreaming A Purge Of His Facebook Friends Brian Lobel Is Purging His Facebook Friends on UStream

This Guy Is Livestreaming A Purge Of His Facebook Friends Brian Lobel Is Purging His Facebook Friends on UStream

by Nona Willis Aronowitz
July 9, 2011


Artist Brian Lobel is playing the world's most brutal game of friendship maintenance. As a piece of performance art, Brian going through his 1400 friends one by one, allowing himself one minute to describe and defend his Facebook friendships to strangers at a cafe.  At the end of this minute, the audience in the cafe holds up a "delete" or "keep" sign. He's livestreaming the experiment for six hours a day until July 10, here and in four London cafes. Brian describes the impetus for the project on his website:

In 2010, Brian realised that his best friend and first love had deleted him from Friendster, a pre-Facebook social networking site which deleted all of its user content in May 2011.  He only realised this after his first love had died.  Although they had since reconnected as friends, and neither of them had signed on to Friendster since 2006, this virtual disconnection laid the foundation for Purge.

Even though this project is called Purge, Brian just might be the nicest and most generous Facebook purger around. Some of his justifications for keeping his friends:

"We've slept next to each other."

"I kissed her at Obama's inauguration."

"I invite him to Facebook events, and he actually comes to them. Which is nice!"

"I don't actually have an email for her, so I'd like to stay connected."

The meanest thing he's said so far? "I haven't talked to her in a while."

From the admittedly limited time that I've spent on the livestream, Facebook seems to play a genuinely positive role in Brian's life (which, by the way, seems chock full of worthwhile, serendipitous meetings). Still, as you can see above, not everyone's making the cut; it seems that even the most ardent social butterflies can benefit from paring down their friend collection.

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