Skip to main content

The Un-Friend Zone

Before Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Facebook, who you kept in touch with was not for public knowledge. A lot of people had a Rolodex or an address book filled with phone numbers and addresses. (Throughout high school, I had a small piece of paper with my friends' phone numbers on it.) With cell phones, keeping any number stored in your phone was groundbreaking.

But ever since those aforementioned social networks came into prominence (especially MySpace and Facebook), deleting anyone from a virtual (and public) Rolodex has become a touchy subject. Un-friending someone doesn't mean, "I don't want to hear your political rants, what you're eating, or what was the last movie you saw." Instead, it often comes across as, "I need distance from you, so I'm breaking communication ties for now." And sometimes (usually with the blocking function) it means, "I don't want to have anything to do with you for the foreseeable future."

Whenever someone un-friends me, I often think about the last time I saw her or her. Most times, the conversation (no matter how brief) was pleasant and friendly. So to find myself un-friended, I'm more curious than anything. I don't hold it against that person if he or she does it, but I most certainly will politely ask about it if I see that person again. (And as much as people like to say it's not personal, it certainly comes across that way when there's no real explanation given.)

I'm not bashing social media here; I love the concept, frankly. Keeping in touch with people you haven't seen in a while, you get a ballpark sense of what that person's everyday life is like. For people you often see, you get to see things that may or may not be brought up in a future conversation.

Too often, what we're thinking in our heads is not always suitable to be said in person. It doesn't help that Facebook always asks, "What's on your mind?" in the blank space delegated for a status update. Humans have a great filter called vocal cords. We can use them when we want to say something, and we don't use them when we hold back. Yet we don't have to use them at all when posting a status update. Which makes me wonder about the validity of, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it" matters in our modern society.

I'm no saint here; I've said some really hurtful things to people over e-mail, and I've been very cryptic about heavy things going on in my life on Facebook and even this blog. I have tried to curb all of that even though I understand why people use the route of sending a message instead of having a conversation in person. There are some people that we know that just don't "get" what we're talking about. They cut us off mid-sentence, urge to change the subject, or make light of what we're talking about. That certainly derails us from truly speaking our minds.

I can't help but think of this topic with the presidential campaign being over. Friends of mine, who love to vocally voice their political opinion on Facebook, have plenty of things to say today. In some cases, people have come across as hurtful and misinformed with the posts they share and the things they say. Interestingly, they don't bring these things up in an everyday in-person conversation.

All I come away from is knowing what to not talk about with someone in our next in-person conversation. If their political rants annoy me, I can simply unsubscribe from their posts, and they won't know about it. Thankfully that doesn't have to be public knowledge . . . yet. 

Comments

Ted said…
I unfriended someone from FB because this person posted about their annoyance of political posts and vowed not to post anything political on FB. Then, a few days later, this person started a posting quite a few political posts -- which made me angry. Not because this person was posting about their views. Rather, it was their hypocrisy that pissed me off.

Popular posts from this blog

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Catherine Wheel

Originally posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 Despite managing to release five proper albums, Catherine Wheel was one of those bands that always seemed to slip past the mainstream rock crowd. Yes, they got some nice airplay in their day, but people seem to have forgotten about them. You may hear “Black Metallic” or “Waydown” on a “classic alternative” show on Sirius or XM or maybe even on terrestrial radio, but that’s about it. For me, they were one of most consistent rock bands of the ’90s, meandering through shoegazer, hard rock, space rock and pop rock, all while eluding mainstream pigeonholing. Led by the smooth, warm pipes of vocalist/guitarist Rob Dickinson (cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson), Catherine Wheel featured Brian Futter on lead guitar, Dave Hawes on bass and Neil Sims on drums. They weren’t a pretty-boy guitar band, but they weren’t a scuzzy bunch of ragamuffins either. Though the band hailed from England, Catherine Wheel found itself more welcome on American air

Best of 2021

  Last year, my attention span was not wide enough to listen to a lot of LPs from start to finish. Too much went on in 2020 to focus on 10-15 albums, so I went with only a couple to spotlight. Well, 2021 was a little better, as I have a list of top four records, and a lot of individual tracks.  (I made a lengthy Spotify playlist ) So, without further ado, here’s my list of favorites of the year: Albums Deafheaven, Infinite Granite (listen) Hands down, my favorite album of the year. I was not sure where Deafheaven would go after another record that brought My Bloody Valentine and death metal fans together, but they beautifully rebooted their sound on Infinite Granite. The divisive goblin vocals are vastly pared-down here, as are the blast beats. Sounding more inspired by Slowdive, the band has discovered a new sonic palette that I hope they explore more of in the future. It’s a welcome revelation. I still love their older material, but this has renewed my love of what these guys do.  J

Hello, Control

I'm still a big fan of iTunes . I haven't tried Napster , Urge or eMusic as I've been perfectly happy with Apple's program ever since I downloaded it two years ago. However, an annoying new feature has come up with its latest version, 7.0. Whenever you pull up your music library, a sidebar taking up 3/4ths of the screen appears plugging the iTunes Music Store. Why is this an annoyance? Well, first and foremost, since you can't close the sidebar, you can't escape it. I believe a music library is a private collection, a spot away from the music store. So what's the need for constant advertisements and plugs? To provide a better visual, let me describe what I see whenever I pull up a song in my iTunes library. When I listen to "This is a Fire Door Never Leave Open" by the Weakerthans, I see a graphic for Left and Leaving , the album that it comes from (and available in the iTunes Music Store), along with a list of the Weakerthans' other albums,