Like everyone and their mother (including my mother, who admits to ‘creeping’ frequently), I’m on my Facebook page daily. And despite the fact that I do truly believe we are all a little too connected these days, if not to each other than to the devices which provide us internet, I truly value the network this creates between myself and the family and friends I have far away. I don’t add anything really valuable or interesting to the ether when I update my status, but certain people who are interested (read: my mom, Dave’s mom) like to know what we are up to daily and see our pictures weekly.
As I mentioned before, the beauty of the Internet, a sometimes rather abysmal place, is that you can generally make very clear and easy choices about what you want to see or read. If there are people among my Facebook ‘friends’ who find my updates tedious or my pictures too numerous, they can and possibly have already simply block my feed from their updates. Voile! They don’t need to see things they don’t care about, and I don’t care because I don’t know about it. There are people with whom I don’t necessarily want to break ties with, but who just flood my life with all kinds of weird games or ads or solicitations or whatever, so I simply hide that part of our interaction from my own sight. No hard feelings, nothing to say, just simple information control.
There are other instances, however, when it’s more than just a tad annoying. When someone (most often someone I either a) don’t know very well or b) don’t care if I ever see again) posts something that really, really irks me to my core. I used to get worked up about it. I’d try to reason with them or ask for more details and then have to read their responses and then my head would explode. I went back and forth with an acquaintance who also travels for her hockey playing spouse about health insurance for like…a week. Until her mom somehow popped into the conversation to tell me some mom line like ‘Lane, you have chosen your path you have to suffer the consequences.’ or some other bullshiz for which my own mom would get an eye-roll. Anyway, it was then (1 week too late) that I suddenly realized…essentially the ONLY connection I have to this person is Facebook and those ‘mutal friends’ it’s always talking about. I don’t care what she thinks, which means she probably doesn’t care what I think, we aren’t friends in the non-Facebook sense, and will likely never see each other again. WHY AM I EVEN SUBJECTING MYSELF TO THESE STATUS UPDATES. Unfriend. And breathe.
Since then I clarified my own personal Facebook philosophy to myself. I’m not super strict about who I will and won’t add. I control my privacy settings and monitor them often, but when I receive a friend request I just ask myself : ‘If I were in the grocery store and I saw this person but they didn’t see me, would I duck behind the canned goods to avoid speaking to them?’ If yes, I don’t add. If not, I add them. That’s all the thought I put into it.
When it comes to purging friends, I give it more thought. Because I’m not looking for a utopia where nothing annoying ever crosses my screen, I’m just hoping for a Facebook where I can go and just read updates and laugh at pictures of animals with funny captions and find some links to intersting articles and keep up with friends. I don’t want to fly into a rage during this social networking experience. So I made a philosophy:
We can certainly agree to disagree, or even disagree to disagree, but if you used racist/sexist/bigoted/or generally hateful language (even if you think you are clever and subtle) you are gone forever.
If you try to make an actual argument punctuated by a phrase like ‘and you’re fat anyway’ or ‘plus his wife is a bitch’, CLICK, goodbye.
If you do anything even remotely related to the previous offenses PLUS use terrible grammar and/or punctuation and/or web talk like ‘4realz’, you’ve been cut already but you probably don’t even know it.
That’s it. That’s all. Nothing fascist there, I’d say.