Friends: How many is too many?

Okay, I'll admit it: I don't have time to read more than half the tweets and status updates sent out by my friends on Facebook and the people I'm following on Twitter. And I only have 200 on Twitter and 350 on Facebook. In fact, on most days, I probably only read one third of the chatter (and I don't mean that in a pejorative way). There have been a few pieces floating around the Web lately that say the average person can only keep track of about 100-300 people maximum; after that, it just becomes white noise. (And did you know Facebook limits you to 5,000 friends?) And it also works against the very idea of social media: that you're creating a community to "interact with," (that's the 2.0 model) not amassing thousands to "speak at" (the 1.0 model).

So what about all these friends of mine who have 1,000 Facebook friends or 2,000! What about my Twitter followers who are following that much, or even say 25,000 people? Clearly most of the followers/friends have been "hidden" or banished to a far away tweetdeck column that they don't read, right? Because it would be impossible to read any significant amount of such volume. So if that's the case, here's the question: Why have 2,000 friends on Facebook? Why follow 25,000 people on Twitter?

One theory: it's impolite not to Friend or Follow someone who has initiated the same. Or how about this theory: it's all about the numbers--the more you have, the more popular you are - and who doesn't like to be popular?

What's your take? How many friends or followers do you have and how many is too many? We'd love to know how you handle the issue and what you think about all the white noise.

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If You've Ever Connected to an App Through Facebook, It Has Access to Your Data. Here's How to Change That

Facebook has never had a stellar reputation when it comes to privacy, but the social media giant's latest scandal involving mishandling of personal data may be the final straw for many users. Reassessing your relationship with the website can be an overwhelming process. If you're not ready to cut ties completely, you can start by limiting the information third-party apps have access to.

As ABC News highlights, you can manage your app settings on Facebook by clicking the down arrow in the top right corner of your profile on desktop and clicking on "Settings." On mobile, you can get there by hitting the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the page.

Once you've reached the "General Account Settings" section, go to "Apps." This will show you every third-party app you've connected to through Facebook, including games, shopping sites, and quizzes. I don't consider myself an active app user, but according to my Settings page I've given 134 apps access to my Facebook data since joining the site, many of which I have no memory of.

The apps on this list can see your friends list and any other information you choose to make public. To limit the access of a certain app, click on the pencil icon ("Edit Settings") beside the name. From here you can choose what personal information you want to provide them and what to keep hidden. If you want to block its access altogether, click on the "X" icon to remove it.

Cleaning out those third-party apps is just one step you can take toward making your Facebook data more private. If you want to take the process even further, here's how to check which advertisers have your information and how to limit their access.

[h/t ABC News]

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8 Pro Tips for Taking Incredible Pictures of Your Pets

Thanks to the internet, owning a photogenic pet is now a viable career option. Just ask Theron Humphrey, dog-dad to Maddie the coonhound and the photographer behind the Instagram account This Wild Idea. He gained online fame by traveling across the country and sharing photographs of his dog along the way. But Maddie’s impressive modeling skills aren’t the only key to his success; Humphrey has also mastered some essential photography tricks that even the most casual smartphone photographer can use to make their pet look like a social media star.


Based on her Instagram presence, you’d guess Maddie is either in the middle of a road trip or a scenic hike at any given time. That’s no accident: At a pet photography workshop hosted by Adobe, Humphrey said he often goes out of his way to get that perfect shot. “You need to keep situating yourself in circumstances to continue making great work,” he said, “even if that means burning a tank of gas and going someplace you’ve never been.”


Dog and owner on a couch.

That being said, it’s important to know your pet’s limits. Is your dog afraid of flying? Then leave him with a pet sitter when you vacation abroad. Does your cat hate the water? Resist the temptation to bring her into the kayak with you on your next camping trip, even if it would make for an adorable photo opportunity. “One thing I think is important with animals is to operate within the parameters they exist in,” Humphrey said. “Don’t go too far outside their comfort zone.”


Not every winning pet photo is the result of a hefty travel budget. You can take professional-looking pictures of your pet at home, as long as you know how to work with the space you’re in. Humphrey recommends looking at every element of the scene you’re shooting in and asking what can be changed. Don’t be shy about moving furniture, adjusting the blinds to achieve the perfect lighting, or changing into a weird outfit that will make your pup’s eyes pop.


Two dogs in outfits.

Ella and Coconut Bean.

Trying to capture glamorous photos of a moving, barking target is a hard job. It’s much easier when you have a human companion to assist you. Another set of hands can hold the camera when you want to be in the picture with your pet, or hold a toy or treat to get your dog’s attention. At the very least, they can take your pet away for a 10-minute play session when you need a break.


The advent of digital cameras, including the kind in your smartphone, was a game-changer for pet photographers. Gone are the days when you needed to be picky about your shots to conserve film. Just set your shutter to burst mode and let your camera do the work capturing every subtle blep and mlem your pet makes. Chances are you’ll have plenty of standout shots on your camera roll from which to choose. From there, your hardest job will be “culling” them, as Humphrey says. He recommends uploading them to a photo organizing app like Adobe Lightroom and reviewing your work in two rounds: The first is for flagging any photo that catches your eye, and the second is for narrowing down that pool into an even smaller group of photos you want to publish. Even then, deciding between two shots taken a fraction of a second apart can be tricky. “When photos are too similar, check the focus,” he said. “That’s often the deciding factor.”


When it comes to capturing the perfect pet photo, an expensive camera is often less important than your cat’s favorite feather toy. The most memorable images often include pets that are engaging with the camera. In order to get your pet to look where you want it to, make sure you're holding something your pet will find interesting in your free hand. If your pet perks up at anything that makes noise, find a squeaky toy. If they’re motivated by food, use their favorite treat to get their attention. Don’t forget to reward them with the treat or the toy after they sit for the photo—that way they’ll know to repeat the behavior next time.


Person with hat taking photo of dog and dog food.

According to Humphrey, your pet’s eye should be the focus of most shots you take. In some cases, you may need to do more to make your pet the focal point of the image, even if that means removing your face from the frame altogether. “If there’s a human in the photo, you want to make them anonymous,” Humphrey said. That means incorporating your hands, legs, or torso into a shot without making yourself the star.


This is the mantra Theron Humphrey repeated throughout his workshop. You can scout out the perfect location and find the perfect accessories, but when you’re shooting with animals you have no choice but to leave room for flexibility. “You have to learn to roll with the mistakes,” Humphrey said. What feels like a hyperactive dog ruining your shot in the moment might turn out to be social media gold when it ends up online.


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