It used to be a frivolous decision whether to add someone as a “friend” or not. It used to be similarly unimportant whether you deleted someone after becoming friends with them. Those days are over. 🙂 Friending and unfriending people is serious business now, as people’s IRL lives spill over into their online presence and “art” begins to imitate life…
Errors In Judgement
I personally learned this a while back when I deleted someone from a contact list on one of the social media sites I use. I deleted this person for very VERY *VERY* poorly-rationalized reasons. My thinking at the time was “I have this flimsy reason to delete them and no reason I can think of *NOT* to delete them”, so I went ahead and did it.
Long Story Short.. I found out that I had caused the deleted person grief, due to the asynchronous nature in which we relate to each other on the internet.
When we relate to each other IRL (In Real Life), we’re both aware that we’re spending time together and building or destroying our relationship to each other. Relating online works totally differently. You see people in pictures and they don’t know. You read their blog posts and they don’t know. You are in the same room with them at parties and they don’t know….
Just today, I got a message from a gal that was randomly searching the internet for information about something and landed on a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago. If she hadn’t sent me that message, I wouldn’t have known that she EVER read my blog in life.
So, it turned out that the person I had deleted was asynchronously paying more attention to me than I had been paying to them. In effect, I had frivolously disrespected a fan, which is bad policy as far as business and HORRIBLE policy as a ******* human being.
Realizing the error of my ways, I apologized, explained and immediately reinstated the person whose online contact I had unceremoniously discarded. That was when I first realized that the online was seeping far into the offline.
Justice Is Served
I’ve also been deleted by people.
This is very hard to figure out when you have 2,300 Facebook friends. The only way I can tell is when someone I used to be connected to shows up in a picture with a mutual friend and their link looks different. I follow the link and it says “Add as friend”. 😀
Personally, I don’t give a flying ****. 2,300 contacts is too much to efficiently manage. What I do care about though, is what I might have done to cause that person to delete me. I think it’s always good for one’s self-improvement and evolution when one can figure out how he’s inadvertently hurting other people.
One of the reasons is that cliques tend to form in social media circles and you can be penalized by being friends with someone that the other team has decided they don’t like anymore. That’s just a fact of my life that I have to live with. I don’t care about people’s beefs with other people, so I’m just going to have to suffer from the fallout of people’s petty rivalries.
Another reason is that people meet you IRL and don’t have the same impression of you that they had from your online presence. This is one of the reasons why I try to keep my internet posting as real as possible. There’s no point in meeting a new gal and then she finds out after the fact that I already know a million chicks. It’s like “Here’s what’s going on.. If you want to be down, get down.. If you’re not interested, that’s cool too. :)”. Still, you have people that don’t read enough of your material or they only read the social media posts and not the dating posts and then they’re all aghast when you’re pressed up on some chick (or their sister) at a party.
Too Bad.. So Sad.
So.. Having experienced both sides of the deletion issue, I can tell you that it’s in your best interests to figure out *IF* you should friend someone in the first place and figure out what your boundaries are for deleting them if they do something you don’t like.
If you delete someone, you should be fully prepared for them to be upset at you and potentially act out by deleting YOU from other sites y’all are connected on.
You should also be prepared for them to be mad if they meet you in person, feel like y’all built rapport and then you reject their offer to add you.
You should also be prepared for them to be mad at you if you decline their FR when you have a lot of mutual friends with them.
You should also be prepared for them to be mad at you if y’all were friends IRL back in the day and you don’t want to be socially connected to them now.
Is any of that rational? Nope. 🙂 This a free country (world). People can be connected to or not connected to whomever they want. A friend of mine has a Facebook account where she uses a fake name and another one where she uses her real name. She thinks I don’t know who she actually is, so she accepted my friend request for the fake account and ignored me on her real account. 😛
Then, you have the set of people that only friend people they “know IRL” on Facebook. I understand why people use that style. They’re using online as only an extension of their offline lives. Being the type of person that likes meeting new people and learning new things, I go in the other direction. If I had to rely on the time I get to spend IRL with people to build my relationships to them, I’d be way back on something like 900 friends instead of 2,300. I’d rather make the connection and read someone’s content so the next time I run into them, I know more about them and either have relevant and interesting things to say to them or I’ve determined we shouldn’t be friends IRL and keep it at “hi” and “bye”.
Someone who shan’t be named *COUGHcathybrooksCOUGH* said “Just because you have friends in common with people does NOT mean that you should be friends with someone. Period. Full stop.”
That’s absolutely true.. However, you can’t control how someone else is going to feel about your accepting a bunch of people they know and then not accepting them. I’m not talking about what’s fair in life. I’m talking about how personally people are taking social media connections now that the civilians are trying to catch up to the fishbowl residents.
This is especially relevant on LBS (Location-Based Services) like Foursquare, Gowalla, Latitude, Loopt, Brightkite… There aren’t currently distinctions between people that you’re connecting with in order to be sociable and people that you actually want to KNOW where you are whenever you check in. The choices you have are a) only add people you actually want to meet up with or that you want to meet up randomly with you, b) add everyone and be sociable, or c) make two accounts so you can use the app in its intended fashion but still connect with random people everywhere in the world that would like to be your friend on this service.
On top of that, you have people trying to add you that you have a history with, so you might end up deciding whether To Friend or Not To Friend the Ex! O_o
What about people you used to work with or *STILL* work with? How do you handle it when your boss wants to be friends with you on Facebook, since y’all are friends on the job, right? 😀 What about clients, if you’re a freelancer? What do you share on each site? Is your twitter stream completely different from your Facebook stream?
Some people utilize Fan Pages. This is all well & good if you’re an entertainer, because you’re offering one-way content. You talk and people listen. I have a Fan Page, but it has approximately 1/20 of the population my personal page has because I can’t listen to people from a Fan Page, so it’s essentially useless to me.
So what camp do you fall into when it comes to social media connections? Are you still living the “Online friends aren’t REAL friends” life, or do you aim to treat your virtual friends the same way you would treat your IRL friends & neighbors?
When was the last time you told someone IRL “Lose my number.”? >:D