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.