Deleting People From Facebook

Bill CammackBeing connected with people on social networks like Facebook, Twitter & Foursquare has taken on a new importance in people’s lives in 2010 AD.

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”.

Catchin’ Feelin’s

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

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  1. Enjoyed your article,
    I recently deleted my account with facebook, and happy for it.
    It seemed more like a site for games. I got so tiered of deleting
    invitations to games agh……

    1. Thanks, Rich. 🙂

      The thing about social media is that there are so many different ways to interact with people. It’s in everyone’s best interests to figure out which sites/apps they really like and which ones they don’t.

      The multiple invitations annoy me as well, however, it also sets me up with opportunities to party every single day of the week if I wanted to. I enjoy being able to listen to my Facebook community and hear about what they think is important or interesting and then decide whether I want to look into what they’re excited about or not.

      Other than that, I’d have to scour the internet myself, which I’m not going to do. 🙂

      But yeah.. Any site.. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, YouTube… If it’s not floating your boat, dump the account. There’s not enough time in a day to deal with all the social media stuff that comes up within that very day, so it’s best to only deal with sites where you can efficiently gain a return from your interactions that’s valuable to you. If there aren’t any of those, then IRL is the way to go and online stuff can be left to people who actually get something out of it. 🙂

  2. I dont really have a problem with deleting people cause for the most part, everyone on my list is welcome (thats why my list is pretty small) BUT my problem is in the whole being requested!! I have about 30ish friend requests sitting in queue because I have not and will not accept but it seems people dont get or have a clue. I have (easily) about 10 requests that date back to early/mid 2009 and still I will get a random IRL comment or private email reminding me that a request was sent. Well, what is the proper ettiquette at that point? Am I responsible for actually declining or should you have gotten a clue 2 weeks in to the wait?? (reason I dont decline immediately is that it opens up a whole other can of worms with the hurt feelings behind that action)

    And to answer your question “…When was the last time you told someone IRL “Lose my number.”? >:D” Last week! Its one of the queued 2009 requests and this person only calls to complain!!! She had the nerve to get a tad loud about my not returning her calls. Told her dont call and reduced my number by one after I “declined” her request! lol

    1. Actually, you bring up an interesting aspect I hadn’t considered. What happens when you decline someone online and then run into them in person? 😀

      Personally, I take being declined as an indication that that person doesn’t want to get to know me, for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. If I see that person IRL, I’m going to be cordial, but I’m not going to socialize with them because the way I see things, they’ve already decided where we’re going to stand, going forward.

      Now, if this person strikes up a conversation, I’ll chat with them, but I’m not going to request becoming Facebook Friends because I already did that. If they bring it up or add me in the future, I’m cool with that and then we move on from there.

      I actually had a funny situation like that happen to me about a month ago. I’m in a cab with these two chicks, one I’m very friendly with and one whom I was just meeting for the first time that night and the new (to me) gal goes “hmm… I think I declined a friend invite from you on facebook”.

      I was amused, however I didn’t hold it against her because I had no clue who she was. 🙂 It turned out that I had seen her in FB pictures surrounded by friends of mine. When I see someone that people that I hang out with have accepted as a cool person, I’m willing to take their word for it and add that person on the spot. That’s why I didn’t remember her. I had never met her, but had extended the olive branch of a friend request to her by extension of mutual friends.

      Just before that, in the cab, she had said something like “How come you know all of my friends, but we’ve never met each other?”. I was like \o/ and then when I told her what my name was, she remembered not adding me. I told her it was cool and I perfectly understood her reasoning. We ended up hanging out for the rest of the night with our mutual friends and we’re in contact with each other now.

      I would have been just as satisfied if it had gone in the other direction. If she would have determined that she didn’t like me and didn’t want to add me, that’s great, because she’s making an educated decision. Everybody’s not supposed to be friends with everybody. Everybody that knows each other IRL isn’t supposed to be FB friends.

      Another situation was that I was hanging out in this group and asked this dude if he was on FB. He said that he was, but that he really uses Twitter to socialize. I said “cool” and added him on Twitter without mentioning that I don’t use Twitter at all. 😀

      Ultimately, we all use each social media site to express a certain part of ourselves. Sometimes, those overlap and sometimes we want to share some things with some people and not share other things.

      In the case where you didn’t add someone, I’d just have to say something like “The way I socialize on Facebook has nothing to do with you”. I can’t think of a nice way to say that. It’s like if the fellaz are going to get together and talk about THE REAL DEAL about dating and chicks, women aren’t going to be allowed, so we can feel free to talk about reality and it doesn’t affect any of our dating careers because some chick snitched. >:D haha Same thing for snitch-ass dudes, really.. Theyre’ not allowed, EITHER! 😀

      Same thing with Facebook or wherever it is that we share things that are for some people to hear and not for others. If you’re not down with me like that, that’s how it is. I didn’t FORGET that you added me six months ago! 😀 I just thought that it would be nicer for you if you kept seeing “friend request pending” instead of if I BLOCKED YOU and you were banishED off the bat. 😀

        1. heh. Thanks, Jade.

          I would think that anyone that blocks and re-adds people for no apparent reason should be considered a game-player and interacted with as such.

      1. Hi Bill:)

        Too bad they missed out on getting to know you. I personally hate facebook rejection from guys and don’t want to go through that again. What also makes me upset is when they reject you on facebook but act like they know you in public??

        1. Well, haha, there are a lot of people that reserve Facebook for their actual friends, and don’t happen to consider people that they’re dating “Friends”, which, of course, is completely backwards, but they like to keep their dating lives and their online lives as separate as possible. 😀

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