Arguing (with a smile) that bloated Facebook friend lists are undermining true friendship, the late-night host launched a national "campaign" to shed fake friends on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" two weeks ago.
But as Facebook users around the country start trimming their "friend fat," an Oklahoma student, who has reached the social networking site's limit of 5,000 friends, insists that she really doesn't have much to cut.
Chinh Doan, a 20-year-old journalism major at the University of Oklahoma, says she has been on Facebook for five years. Although she knows that her friend count is unusually high (Facebook says the average user has 130 friends), Doan said she is cautious about whom she accepts as a friend and has no intention of whittling things down.
"I don't see anything wrong with having that many Facebook friends. I know Jimmy Kimmel likes to say that it's impossible to get to know that many people and there's not a point in it," she said. "I can't say I know all of my 5,000 friends well. But what better, easier way to get to know people on your own time? And they can get to know you on your own time. I just keeps staying in contact a lot easier."
Can You Really Know Thousands of Facebook Friends?
Technically, Doan has 4,847 friends and 123 "likes" on Facebook. But since the site counts both numbers against a user's friend count, she's had to think more carefully about the friends and fan pages she adds.
To keep adding friends, she's had to "unlike" content on Facebook. But will she take advantage of Kimmel's made-up holiday to get rid of a few friends?
"Probably not," she said.
Kimmel might insist that no one – not even Oprah Winfrey – can have 800 friends, but Doan said, "to each his own."
"Some people want to share with just their closest friends and that's great," she said. "There are others, like me, who really want to enjoy networking and getting to know people."
Even though she might post her typical three to four daily status updates, she said she doesn't want to focus on Facebook over school today.
"It might sound silly to some people, but days like today should serve as a reminder to people about the role of social media now in today's world, and the importance of being cautious when using social media," she said.
But other Facebook users said they are grateful for the excuse to clean the cobwebs out of their friend lists.
Facebook Users Appreciate Excuse to Ditch Virtual Friends
"I've always wanted to delete some of these people," said Amber Kay Dejarlo, a 22-year-old from Fayetteville, Ark. "I'm tired of reading their status updates."
She said she's wanted to delete a few of her so-called "friends" for a while, but felt too guilty about cutting ties with people who were still friends of friends. Thanks to Kimmel, she said she had an excuse and has already axed about 30 friends online.
Merry Causey, 28, of Madisonville, Tex., said she plans to delete about 100 Facebook friends today.
"If it's been years since I've even talked to these people then, more than likely, they're going to be cut," she said.
But before she sets them free, she posted a warning on her Facebook page: "Ok guys. I am serious about cleaning my list up today. If you are wanting to stay let me know."
Others on Facebook are filling newsfeeds across the site with congratulations to those who made the cut -- and apologies to their virtual victims who didn't.
Kimmel: Facebook Is Cheapening Friendship
"Friendship is a sacred thing and I believe Facebook is cheapening it," he said. "I go on this Facebook, I see people with thousands of what they call friends. This is impossible, you can't have a thousand friends. Here's how you can tell who on Facebook is really your friend: Let's say on Friday, you post a status update that says 'I'm moving this weekend and I need help.' The people that respond, those are your friends. Everyone else isn't."
In response to Kimmel's "holiday," Facebook issued a tongue-in-cheek statement of its own: "Jimmy Kimmel's Facebook campaign is clever so we're keeping him on our friend list for now. But just remember Jimmy, it's one thing to be the "unfriender", but it's a whole different story if you're the "unfriended."
Over the past couple of weeks, Kimmel has continued his campaign, encouraging viewers to drop their fake Facebook friends on "National Unfriend Day."
"It's a special day on which Facebook users, which most of you probably are, without guilt or fear of retribution, can unfriend those people who are not really your friends," he said. "And don't we all have at least one person in our virtual lives we'd like to get rid of? Of course we do, we probably have 100 of them."
Actress Lisa Kudrow, Band WAR Show Support for Unfriend Day
He convinced the band WAR to rerecord the lyrics to their hit "Why can't we be friends?" with the refrain "What can't we unfriend?"
And he even asked one of television's most famous "friends," actress Lisa Kudrow, to record a mock PSA for his national holiday.
"Your friends on Facebook are not your real friends. Real friends are people you meet at Central Park. People who watch you play guitar and sing and pretend to like your cat no matter how bad it smells. Real friends have hair styles named after them," she said. "On November 17, dump your fake friends before they ruin your day, your week, your month or even your year. I know friends. I used to be one."