Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reasons to unfriend - part 3



In a recent post on this blog I argued it was time to give Facebook the big heave ho and unfriend Mark Zuckerberg because he was trampling all over our privacy and generally being a smug and right royal pain in the backside.

Of course true to form I didn't totally kick the Facebook habit, although I have become increasingly estranged from the site. Needless to say I'm not principled like Lidia who gave Mark a swift kick in the goolies and never returned again to the scene of the crime.

If the truth be told I guess Google+ is rather lonely, Linkedin is too corporate and Twitter feels like a vacuum. I did an experiment this week in Tweeting live updates from a council meeting I was reporting on, without any discernible audience reaction.

Although I am still interested in the psychology of the social network as related to Pavlov's dog theory with a modicum of Newton's third law of motion, I am starting to get alienated by the unsociable nature of the concept. With this in mind, I have resolved to have more verbal conversations with folks. Today was a good start, although I might want to build on "A tall Pike Place, please," in terms of my day's conversational quota. Well we can't all write frightening verse to a buck toothed girl in Luxembourg can we?

But the point of this posting is really the issue of unfriending, which applies to social networks but has greater ramifications for society and, who knows, maybe the alignment of the planets.

If someone unfriends us a lot of the time we don't even realize who they are. However, this week I found myself needing to send an email to a photographer who recently departed my company in relation to an outstanding matter from an old story. She didn't depart the company in relation to an outstanding matter. That's why I needed to get hold of her. It's late at night and I don't have a life - OK.

Imagine my surprise when I realized I had been unfriended. This seemed particularly strange because we had normally conspired to squeeze a chuckle out of the bleakest assignment and we had spent a lot of time on godforsaken street corners looking at yellow incident tape.

Fortunately I had not been unfriended by this woman's husband, so I managed to get a message to her via him. Eventually I was able to ask that subtle question so few of us are able to ask, namely "um ... why did I get unfriended?"

The answer turned out to be an unorthodox one and not quite as bad for my self esteem as being told 'because you are a total jerk." I had apparently posted a few stories on my Facebook site and she had an ethical problem with work getting mixed up with social networking. Nevertheless, this is a very gray area, particularly when you work in the media.

I have certainly been unfriended by other people, although I know no official reason why. Still it may be no coincidence that a couple of Republicans unfriended me shortly after I pointed out the striking similarity between Michelle Bachmann and Morticia Addams. That should probably be unfiended.

According to a recent Time magazine article there are actually some good reasons for unfriending; great aunts who get on your case on social networks, people who send you Farmville invites, people who moan a lot etc.

One great reason is people who are in "lurrve" because this truly is the worst. There is actually a girl on my social network who continuously posts how she has the greatest boyfriend in the world, how he's taking her to Paris, how he's showering her with flowers how he even does the vacuuming. There's a limit to how much vomit you can get out of the gaps between the letters on the keyboard.

Will she please unfriend me if I message her to say "I prefered you when you were single, bitter and fed up."

Because let's face it - we know there has to be a downside to this guy; he probably has a crawlspace that makes John Wayne Gacy's look like the Magic Kingdom etc.

Another legitimate reason to unfriend someone is because you don't know them. This may sound obvious but I have people on my network who are total strangers. In fact there's no reason for them to be there. More embarassing still I have 'friends' who I have walked past on the stairway at work and thought they looked familiar before realizing that was, in fact, because they were Facebook friends.

Time to do something radical about my online existence probably.

25 comments:

  1. I see the appeal in 'unfriending' Mark Suckerberg and his lack of care for users privacy. Once the latest changes to facebook are up and running, the site will be like having a spy satellite tracking your every move. Not good at all for those people who value their privacy.

    As for those complaining little whingers who verbal vomit every single detail of their dramatic lives live on facebook, they should be drop kicked right along with Mr. Suckerberg.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I still can't believe I dirrent make your BlogList.

    Unfriend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm stopping in from the recent blog hop started by Alex & Matt! It's great meeting new people and what a topic to stop in on!!!

    Though I've never unfriended anyone I'm sure I've been unfriended unknowingly. Surprising enough it's not that bothersome for me. I adore Twitter & Facebook for entirely different reasons. Facebook is for family and friends I don't get to see year round, Twitter is like the funzone... the place to be when you feel inadequate and alone and wanna barge in on others conversations. They call is socializing, I call it a mild form of stalking I've grown to love.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I unfriended a couple of people because of the way they treated another friend. The whole Facebook thing is kind of weird. It is a different way to interact with others than the one I grew up with--that's for sure. So much of it seems phony and there just for show rather than trying to keep in touch with those you care about.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hiya yeah the whole facebook thing started to do my head in so I deleted my account. Try it you might like it! (I am also a Brit in the USA)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm an American but spent the last five years on the other side of the pond (Germany, not Britain). I suppose if you used the new list feature in FB, you could direct your posts to the people who you want to see them. But that requires giving FB too much information for my comfort. So... yeah, maybe giving up on it is the sensible thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yeah, Zuckerberg is the devil. Hell with Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey! I just realized the only human interaction I've had today was the same Starbucks order ("A tall Pike Place, please"). That's one of the reasons I stay on FB, Google +, etc. Working from home can get a little lonely, so it's nice to have some "interaction" - even if it's the digital, highly filtered kind.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm not unfriending FB because everyone says to. Reason enough for me to hang on. Tomorrow when working on your verbal communicado, try this: "A venti Salted Caramel Mocha, por favor."
    There you've spoken three languages and it is unfreaking believable.

    Glad to find your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Suckerberg - That's funny empress. Hmm never thought of it as a spy satellite. You scared me into putting you on there Scots Lass.

    ReplyDelete
  11. thanx for stopping by Jen. yay for a mild form of stalking. That's a good reason to unfriend Daisy - I need to unfriend some folks when I get the time. Cool Emma, where are you from back home? That's great Alison. Thanks for the follo. I should do that but i get bogged down.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 4 sure movies - thanks for stopping by. That's too funny ValleyWriter - atleast mine was a joke. Glad you found it Redhead - I will be checking out yours

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi David. I'm here as the co-host from the Pay It Forward blogfest. Thanks so much for signing up.

    And I wasn't following your blog until just now, so the fest is working!

    As to your post, I spend way too much time online and doing social networking. I've never unfriended anyone, but I've certainly wanted to.

    ReplyDelete
  14. She had ethical problems with the intersect of work and social networking? And she works in the media? Um, I'm confused. So is she.

    I unfriended one person for being a jerk and insulting me publicly several times. Another glitch in Zuckerberg's invention is that those you unfriend keep showing up as those you should "friend." It's annoying. I don't want to see his face or name anymore. Oh, excuse my rant.

    Be well.
    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks Matthew - it has worked. I've gained quite a few followers. I didn't know that Robyn, but that is annoying. I guess I haven't unfriended anyone but have some annoying total strangers I may unfriend soon - best David.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You just need to grow a pair and deactivate your account. Keep one for work only. I have found that there is so much less drama now. Common denominator always came back to Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ah FB, haven't been on it all of last week and hey I am missing ladies from New York and Edinburgh wishing me good morning. Nubian's idea is a good one but two to log onto to with all the other stuff can be too much. True privacy is only on Twitter as u don't even know if the person retweeting your 140 is real or a bot.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh right oh Lidia - but I don't have much trouble with FB; I'm just getting bored with it. No morning is complete Rek without ladies from New York and Edinburg wishing you good morning, I find...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Now I have that song stuck in my head.

    I can't believe that woman unfriended you for such a stupid reason. It is so stupid, in fact, that I believe she is lying to you and there is another reason she simply isn't going to say. Sorry. I hope that doesn't keep you up at night.

    The only people I have unfriended on facebook are ex-boyfriends and stalkers. If someone in my life has obnoxious status updates, I merely hide them from my newsfeed. Easy as pie. I just don't want to hurt feelings or cause drama by unfriending someone who hasn't really hurt me in any way. Ya know?

    Great post, D-Mac.

    ReplyDelete
  20. thanx Jen - yeah it was probably really because she just hated my guts. I haven't unfriended anyone much but am thinking about unfriending someone who I don't even know who posts more spammy stuff than Monty Python.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi David, apologies for not being around blogs that much at the moment, October is turning out to be a bit nuts for me. Enjoyed your post. I know on Twitter sometimes it unfriends people for you which is a bit random! I've had this happen quite a bit recently. I always find the whole 'unfriending' thing deeply awkward, which says a lot about me I guess!

    ReplyDelete
  22. no need to apologize Abi - oh yes me too. Hope your October is going well

    ReplyDelete
  23. i've deleted my fb account recently for obvious reasons. they are too many to mention.

    yet another brilliant article, david!
    i am loving your style of writing.:)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have a few strangers on my fb friend list that I keep thinking about deleting, but then I start to feel guilty. I once rejected a friend request from an old school friend because she didn't have a picture up. As soon as I rejected it, I realized who it was and had to look her up and send her a friend request. It was quite a mess and now I'm a little paranoid about the whole thing.

    ReplyDelete
  25. thanx Betty - you are too kind - it's a dilemma Alyson, yep still haven't defaced anyone yet, lol

    ReplyDelete