I believe that modern technology has a place, and can help families and friends stay connected despite distance. It can also help make connections in the community, and has the ability to reconnect individuals from long ago.
One does need to be careful what they post online, as it can come back and haunt you. Safety and precaution need to be taken with each and every post. Use privacy settings, and don't add or communicate with someone you don't know or trust.
The individuals interviewed in the article had nearly 1,000 and 2,700 friends on Facebook. Seriously? Who has that many friends? That is just a popularity contest. Of course when you have that many friends (not talking about fan pages, those are different), you are going to feel like a product. If you have that many friends, it is time to purge. Even those who have 500, I think are pushing it. That is 500 people who instantly get access to your feeds. Depending on your privacy settings.
Eliminate those that won't bother to say hi to you at the mall. Use that as your measuring stick. If you see each other, in person, what will happen? If you think it will be a negative encounter, don't have them as a friend.
Nonetheless, the internet is what you make of it. You can have as big or as small of a friends list as you want. You just need to be aware of off-line consequences to online choices.
For information on being internet safe, check out netsmartzkids.org or nsteens.org. Both have great resources to help parents and children be safe on the internet, so that you don't feel like you need to commit a digital suicide to feel safe.