Facebook has ushered in a new era of expectations from our “friends.” I’m sure I’m not the first person who has noticed the downright ridiculousness of people killing other people over an “unliked” status or a “defriending.” And it doesn’t help that Facebook seems to be in a perpetual beta stage, always changing things, always “fixing” things, and it’s not uncommon for whole messages and notifications to just get lost in the cyber-shuffle. I try to take Facebook interactions with a grain of salt.
That said, it’s hard not to be insulted when you know a family member or good friend has been online because they have been posting/forwarding stupid pictures and “inspirational” sayings, but they don’t respond to a message you specifically tagged them in, or bother to stop by and comment when, say, your cat dies (eh hem…)
Couple that with the passive/aggressive use of emoticons and LOLs after a barbed comment, or fact that it is hard to tell tone of voice from an instant message, OR the fact that people seem to magically grow brass balls when they don’t have to say something directly to someone’s face, and you have endless potential for misunderstandings and out and out comment wars.
And I don’t even really need to go into the fact that Facebook makes it that much easier (and tempting) for people so inclined to cheat on their partners. Wouldn’t even mention it except to say that the majority of the same people are apparently too dumb to remember they are on a public forum, and invariably do something to get themselves caught in the act, like this douchebag here did recently via Twitter.
But anyway, back on point… Invariably, many of us will begin to question our friends’ dedication and ourselves. Why did she not answer me? Why did he not “like” that? Is she mad at me? What a dick!
I have hidden some of my friends’ status updates because, while I like them and do not wish to actually “defriend” them, they may post things that bother me in some way, whether due to the fact that the subjects are generally boring or just annoying, or by sheer number of posts (HOW MANY music videos do you need to post in the span of a single hour???) It is their right to post what they want on their wall… And it is my right to not have to see it. I don’t want to listen to your crappy music, I don’t want to be converted, I don’t want to read rehashed “inspirational ” sayings that came from everyone’s mouth but your own, and I DEFINITELY don’t want to see pictures of dead babies and/or puppies, or be guilt tripped with “I think I know which of my friends will [repost] this.”
Likewise, I’m sure some people find my colorful use of profanity a bit abrasive at times (Fuck them! Just kidding. LOL. <—– see what I did there?) But to have a family member actually defriend me over this…? (Yes, this actually happened, and when I messaged her a neutral “weren’t we friends already?” message I was summarily ignored.) That says something to me. Like, she couldn’t hide my statuses? She is apparently too self-righteous to be friends with me. I was kicked off the island!
Which brings us now to the question: How could they not comment on this; have they been hiding my status updates???
~Sigh~ Facebook can be a good tool for discovering more about friends and casual acquaintances than you would normally get to if you had to wait until you saw them in person. Some of these people you may never have the opportunity to hang out with anymore. By reading their posts, comments, and profiles and looking at their photos, you get deeper insight into what they are really like…
And the unintended but undeniable result of that is that sometimes we discover that we really don’t like some of these people.
I’m not one of those people that says “If I don’t hang with you in real life, I don’t need you as a Facebook friend,” because I recognize FB for what it is- a useful social networking tool. I like that I can keep in touch with old high school friends even though our separate lives and schedules may not allow us to hang out. I have reconnected with old friends, and even some exes who (before you roll your eyes) have actually turned out to be good “friend”-friends. I am friends with some of their wives as well.
I guess what I am saying is that a person needs to be careful not to place unrealistic expectations on their friends in response to some imaginary “Facebook etiquette.” While there IS a certain protocol to some social networking interactions, let’s not get ridiculous about it.
And if you don’t “like” this post AND compliment my cat pictures AND tell me my duck face is sexy, you’re not my friend anymore!
- Defriend? Offend? (howtosurvivesocialmedia.wordpress.com)