Sorry, I’m Not Sorry for Unfriending You


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 (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

Ahh, Facebook. How it has completely changed the way people interact and have expectations for “normal” social behavior. We now have rules for things that didn’t even exist less than a decade ago. What’s appropriate to say in a status update? Is it okay to post a million selfies of yourself? Should I be “friends” with my parents and bosses? Answers to questions like this are completely new additions to the Handbook of Good Social Behavior, and it’s kind of extraordinary that this generation is almost creating a new etiquette for this era.

I’ve found that one of the most controversial and debated Facebook social behavior topics on what’s “appropriate” is the friending and ‘unfriending’  of friends. (The Facebook-born word itself is a great example of these guidelines.) Being friends with someone in real life and being friends with someone on Facebook shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, but with some people, it definitely is. You know what I’m talking about.

I know Facebook isn’t meant for you to stay in touch with your closest friends — although it helps. But I find that more and more it’s not even about staying in touch anymore. Facebook is now just a social media platform with an ego-centric formula built right in, made so you can broadcast your own life to your “friends.” Think about it.

It’s not a blanket statement, and it’s not a criticism;  it’s just an observation that you can’t deny has some truth to it. We use Facebook to talk about ourselves.

So, now to the topic of all those so-called friends. Now, you may find me hypocritical when I make my next point considering this is a public blog that I do broadcast on my Facebook profile, but just hear me out. I’m not publishing my life on my blog, only select ideas and thoughts that are meant to reach an audience. You also aren’t bound to see this — it was your conscious decision to read me rant on. I use my Facebook with caution of who will see what.

Frankly, I just don’t have over 700 friends in my life who I want seeing pictures of my weekend shenanigans, complaints about the cold NYC weather and how I felt about The Walking Dead finale. My philosophy about sharing has always been that if you wouldn’t tell someone something in person then don’t tell them on Facebook. You can see the problem this presents when you have almost 1,000 “friends” and maybe 200 actual people you talk to (if that). Either you don’t share or you don’t friend.

Now I still don’t think you should be using your Facebook like a journal or a therapist. But I am really likely to care even less about your already boring trip to the grocery store if we are barely friends to begin with. It’s nothing against you, but we barely know each other! Maybe we were closer once upon a time, or perhaps there was a window of time when we could have become better acquainted, and it’s now passed. Whatever it is, I’m probably going to unfriend you now. I might not even like you (or I know you don’t like me — let’s just be honest grown-ups here — high school and college is over now. No need for that unnecessary pretending.) so what’s the use in our being privy to one another’s lives only to gossip?

I’m still not in contact with a lot of my current friends, but there are those who make an effort to leave a comment here and like a post there. To those just stalking quietly — or worse — just getting annoyed at my posts, what’s the point?

So, don’t be offended if I’ve unfriended you. It most likely wasn’t anything personal. I just want to be able to share things with people I actually talk to — even if it is just on Facebook. There’s no need for any middle school drama because there’s no offense intended. But really…sorry, I’m not sorry for unfriending you.

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The Facebook Detox Diet


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Social media didn’t explode until I was well into high school, and even then it was a new platform that people were still integrating into their everyday lives. By 2007, it was a complete social phenomenon and had completely changed the way people interacted with each other and presented themselves to their friends, family and even people who barely qualified as acquaintances.

At first, Facebook was an unbelievably effective means of staying in touch with family and friends on a daily basis; it was a great way to get to know new friends (or just to “stalk” them); it even doubled as a virtual time capsule for old pictures and other media you posted. Somewhere along the way, though, it became an overbearing monster that constantly bombarded you with news and useless information about everyone around you. The term “friends” came to mean less when one meeting constituted reason enough to be friends on Facebook. Of course, ambiguity of defining “friendship” meant you had to be careful about protecting your privacy. Your family members, neighbors, random people you met on a night out all became “friends” but in reality – how many people did you share (or want to share) your information with? Probably not even half.

Over time, Facebook – for me, anyway – became comparable to a party where I was perpetually stuck. All 600+ people on my list of friends were in attendance, and no matter how little I updated my status or added pictures, I was still witness to what everyone else was saying, who they were talking to and how much, where they were going, in what stage of their lives they were and so on. You could sit in your corner and be quiet, but the whole room was still buzzing with activity giving you mindless gossip to talk about or unhealthy thoughts over which to ponder. Especially during a time when I was transitioning from one stage of my life to another, and when I was still getting my ducks in a row, I finally realized I had to get off Facebook. I was in serious need for a Facebook detox diet and after over two months, I’m happy to say that it has done nothing but good.

If you can relate in any way, and especially if you’ve been considering hitting that deactivate button, I’ll tell you exactly why I think everyone should try this diet and why it’s chock-full of healthy benefits.

  1. I  wonder less about what so-and-so is up to just because it makes good gossip. Let’s face it – everyone has that one person or two on the news feed who you barely talk to but always find a way to talk about. It’s unhealthy and, frankly, unkind. I feel better knowing I’m not tempted to talk for gossiping’s sake; it’s like standing at the checkout counter and not browsing the tabloids because I’m bored – just less pollution in your head and your heart.
  2. I’m not always rushing to post pictures or update my status every time even the most menial thing happens in my life. The point in enjoying a good meal is eating it, not telling everyone about how “just amaze-balls” it is. Granted, it’s nice to be able to share something new and exciting, but sometimes I felt like I was more excited to post something cool that happened rather than enjoying it in that moment. If it’s exciting and cool, I’ll share it with the select few people who I know might actually give a damn, otherwise it’s not that important.
  3. I am less tempted to turn to Facebook to “inconspicuously” spill my life’s problems. I was always pretty good, I think, at keeping my real issues with people or life off of Facebook. But the real problem is that the Facebook status update box is more like the confession booth at church or a shrink’s lounge chair: it’s inviting, and you know it will reach someone. It’s far more satisfying knowing that your words will be heard rather than taking them to a diary, where they’ll only be regurgitated back to you. Of course, therein lies the issue again – it’s too tempting. Facebook is terrifyingly accessible, sometimes more so than a friend, and it’s all too easy to want to say something you don’t really want to share.
  4. I feel a little less bad about myself. Going through a transition when you can’t see the end in sight isn’t easy in itself, but having a virtual newsletter of other people either doing things you’re not or having reached goals you haven’t yet makes the process more difficult. I’m not a resentful person, and I am more than thrilled for the successes of my friends and family; I enjoy hearing good news about others – but when it’s coming directly to me. On your bad days, it just doesn’t help when everyone’s business is in your face, and that’s just the truth.
  5. It has strengthened my relationships with my closest friends and shown me the weaker ones. It makes me sad sometimes when I see how much some of my closest friends relied solely on Facebook to keep our friendships alive after we moved on from school or other phases in our lives. I’ve always been firm that I don’t want to depend on Facebook to be the binding glue, and now I’ve seen where it was and wasn’t. Some of my friendships have survived without needing Facebook to support them. Honestly, it’s not an excuse in this day and age that not having a Facebook account makes it difficult to keep relationships strong. Text messages, emails, video chats, online chats, phone calls and, of course, the age-old practice of meeting in person are still widely accepted means of communicating, you know. Not being on Facebook helped me grow closer to many of my closest friends, and it’s been nice to be more personal than posting something on each other’s walls.

I’m planning on activating my Facebook account eventually, but I kind of dread being sucked into the addiction again. I fully recognize how useful it is and what good it has done for advancing the lines of communication between people; I enjoyed those benefits for years. For now, though, I’m really enjoying my Facebook detox diet, and I think if you will too if you give it a try. In order to be successful, though, you have to stay strong! Try it, and you’ll see why it’s worth it – even for just a bit.

Let me know your experiences!

Uncomfortable Truths


Aren’t people funny in that we are all guilty of the same bad habits, unhealthy actions, and “secret” faults – and yet we go on pretending like we are not “those people.” We point fingers at each other when we know our 3rd grade teachers were right — we’re only pointing three back to ourselves!

As a professional People Observer (it could pay more, I admit)  – I have noted some interesting guilty faults of the human race that makes me want to laugh out loud and say, “You know it’s true!”

  • When you put up a profile picture on Facebook (or anywhere) – even if it’s with other people – you’re only choosing it because you think you look good. The other person/people could be your best friend(s) and look like they have 3 chins, and you wouldn’t care. It especially makes me laugh when you look at a guy’s default picture because you’ll find he picked that one out of all the others because he looks good or “cool” in some way. You just happened to be laughing jovially with your side profile to the camera? Well, of course you were – real modeling pictures are expensive!  That’s what the “crop” tool is for, duh.
  • There comes a point when you’re talking to someone and you want to throw in something that sounds braggy about yourself – for instance, “Not to sound conceited, but I get a lot of compliments on my hair” or how about “I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve got great kids.” Well, the truth is you are a little conceited, and you definitely are bragging, but you’re just hoping to negate that impression by calling yourself out first. Well, it doesn’t really work, and I don’t mean to be vain – but I’m pretty sure I’m right about this.
  • There is a reason someone, some thousands of years ago, in a village in the middle of nowhere said, “Misery loves company,” – and the phrase is still well-known today. The guy/gal wasn’t necessarily a philosopher, but he was wise because don’t deny it – you know when you’re having a crappy day, you don’t really feel like hearing someone else had an absolutely wonderful one. Are you really happy your neighbor won $5.4 million dollars with his first lottery ticket when you’ve probably spent half that in buying them? Do you really want to hear that your friend aced that test and you bombed yours? No, of course not. I love it when someone loses with me, and that’s the stinkin’ truth!
What else do all people do that is uncomfortably true?
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The [Relationship] Status Update


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Image via Wikipedia

Over the years, Facebook and other social networking sites have introduced a host of etiquette rules to adhere to when interacting online. Many of them are obvious and simply a virtual set of social “dos and don’ts” that already exist in the real world: do return a message in a timely manner; don’t be rude to your peers and elders; so on and so forth.

One foggy area for me has always been the matter of updating relationship statuses. In real life, people don’t necessarily go about announcing when they’re dating or NOT dating someone to the first 500 people in their social circles. On Facebook, however, it takes only a click to send that memo. And when that monumental update is made, it’s one that always seems to show up in all of your friends’ newsfeeds – regardless of your level of interaction. It’s as if even Facebook knows that relationship news is the juiciest and makes sure to blast it from every end.

Considering the elusiveness and safety of appearing “offline” (even when you obviously aren’t) and the ability to witness social breaking news from the safety of a computer screen, I’ve always felt a sense of discomfort when I log on to Facebook and see “Jane Doe went from ‘being in a relationship’ to ‘single'”. Why? I’m not really sure myself.

It’s as if I’m witnessing a lovers’ quarrel right in front of me. I instantly think,”I shouldn’t be here! This is not my business!” And to add to the feeling of intrusion, I know that about 500+ are reading the same intimate headline. Suddenly, I’m embarrassed to be apart of this dismal event and even feeling awkward for the couple in question as their dirty laundry hangs to dry.

In real life, you don’t go out and tell the world the minute you break up with someone, so I’ve always wondered where people get the gusto and bravado to make the public announcement on the Internet? It’s something I’ve never possessed, even though I’d consider myself a pretty open person. Ask me about a previous relationship, and I’ll be honest, but to tell the world right after it happened? No sirree, I’m not that open.

Obviously it’s just dishonest and awkward to have your status say you’re dating someone (especially if that person is on Facebook him/herself) when you’re NOT, so it’s reasonably necessary to make that update when the flame goes out in your relationship. But what about when you BEGIN a relationship? What is the real reason people find it necessary to make this known to hundreds of people – many of them friends and family but some barely acquaintances.

Is it because they’re simply so in love that they’re bursting to share the feeling with the world? Perhaps, the couple enjoys attention and feeds off the shine of the limelight. Could it even be that their lives are so invested in the presence of Facebook that they feel it’s almost injustice not to share the news with the cyber world?

The thing is: telling the world that you’re dating someone is obviously joyous news, but to invite people into your business if/when things turn sour — it’s something that simply tags along with the decision. I think it’s fine do so if you want to because I strongly live by the mentality of “Live and let live.” However, there is one serious issue I do have with people who DO love to change their relationship status, and that’s with those who get angry and defensive when others want to know more. It’s with people who think it’s insensitive when others feel it’s okay to leave their personal thoughts and comments about the decision. Really? You’re the one who told the world to begin with — did you not foresee this happening down the line?

At times, the exes preach about the right to privacy and become aggressive about getting some. But seriously – I think the reasonable right to be left alone about your love life soars out the window with the original status update.Yes, it is personal business, but it ceased to be when you put it up on Facebook to begin with. Should’ve thought of that before you sent out the public announcement the first time…

Fortunately many will show some respect and turn the other way as if they are ignorant to the news. There are many, however, who live for this type of gossip and it’s just something that comes with being that open!

So, do you openly share your relationship business with the world? Why?

Tacky Internet Behavior


Way back in yesteryear, etiquette classes were a thing of the norm. Boys and girl, alike, learned manners that society expected of them, and commonly rude behaviors were corrected at young ages.

Maybe such classes would be considered stuffy and pretentious today – not to mention outdated and completely irrelevant, as societal expectations have changed leaps and bounds. However, with people spending most of their days in the virtual realm of the Web, it may be time for people to adhere basic rules of Internet etiquette. Certain behaviors are commonly accepted to be rude, inappropriate, and overall tacky.

Facebook and Twitter are the main foregrounds where Internet users will see these immature tactics be most popular, and it’s time many adhered to a new set of courtesy rules of what NOT to do.

  1. Don’t put up a snide status being rude to someone and think you’re cool because you left out the name. The person who you’re annoyed with will know you’re mad, regardless, but now all of your 600 friends know how you are a drama queen craving attention.
  2. Don’t leave a comment at all if you don’t have something constructive or positive to say about someone’s Tweet, status, or YouTube video! Why do people go out of their way to say rude things to people they don’t even know? Yes, it’s publicly shared but why is it necessary to tell someone how ugly or fat they are? It’s not.
  3. Don’t change your relationship status seconds after your relationship has changed in real life – especially if you “don’t want to talk about it.” First of all, that statement is a lie because you clearly want people to ask you. Secondly, you’re only inviting people’s opinions about your personal life and offering up everything private between you and that person. No relationship expert will tell you that this is healthy behavior.
  4. Don’t stay logged in on your phone 24/7 so you can constantly Tweet and upload pictures to Twitter and Facebook. At some point, you may take a picture of something private and accidentally broadcast it for the world to see. The ‘Weinergate Scandal’ isn’t an urban legend.
  5. Don’t complain about your life via your social networking accounts. Everyone has problems and sometimes they are funny to talk about when they’re ridiculous, or a common issue that everyone deals with. But going on about how people hurt you, and no one loves you, and how life just sucks in general is really tacky behavior. If you wouldn’t tell all 600 people in person, why do you tell them over the Internet?
What other rules of the Internet should more people follow by?

Overdue Facebook Changes


You know if Facebook actually fixed things that NEED to be fixed on the site, all ‘400 million’ of its users (minus the 40% that a study found were actually fake) would probably be a lot happier. I mean do we really need a new profile design every other month or a new place to put the birthdays and event invites? We’re smart kids – we’ll figure it out – promise!

On the other hand, there are some major kinks and annoyances in Facebook’s system that could definitely use a fix or complete nix.

  1. NOTIFICATIONS : It would be really nice if you could freely ‘Like’/comment on a picture, status, or wall post without hesitating because you don’t want to receive a flag every single time someone else wants to throw their 2 cents in. Instead, it would be helpful if you WERE notified about wall posts on an event YOU’VE created, just in case you don’t diligently check its status everyday.
  2. OPTIONS ON CHAT : I really like Gchat’s function of being able to be ‘invisible’ while on chat, so you can openly engage in conversation with whom YOU choose without having to remain ‘online’ to everyone. Sometimes you just want to talk to a person or so, right? It’s also nice to be able to browse your options without anyone knowing you’re doing so. Elusiveness rocks.
  3. PHOTO PRIVACY: You should be able to set a default privacy setting for all of your photo albums and THEN individually alter the settings for each album if you wish. It’s hard to remember to add the ‘restricted’ lists every time you create a new album – not to mention annoying. The one album you’ll forget to update will probably end up being the one that you ESPECIALLY want to hide from your family/boss/professors, and that’s going to be no bueno for sure.
  4. APPLICATIONS : I really hate being invited to applications – no matter how good of friends I am with you. They’re just annoying, and I don’t use them. I wish I could add myself to a list so that I couldn’t be added to an invite list for an application/game/quiz/anything else spammy.
  5. MESSAGES : This is probably not feasible nor practical, but I know I can’t be the ONLY person who gets annoyed by messages sent from a group/event you were invite to. Obviously those messages are sent out for good reason, but sometimes I’ve said “Not Attending” and will STILL get all sorts of reminders, changes in times/location notifications, and ‘Thank You’s”!

Anybody else agree with me?

Things You Should Know About Facebook


I frequent Facebook. A lot. But I’m no different than any of you because I know that everyone from my friends to my college advisor uses Facebook to keep up with people they’re friends with, or just “friends” with, and what’s going on their lives. Pictures, videos, wall posts, messages – what CAN’T you do with Facebook? It’s definitely grown monstrously over the last 4 years since I’ve signed up, and I hate to say, it’s a little unnerving.

Although I’m pretty vigilant about my privacy settings by keeping track of people on my ‘Restricted’ list –  making sure to exclude them from viewing my pictures and videos, and ignoring friend requests from people I don’t know, not everyone seems to be. Some people are bold enough to keep their profiles public for the world to see. Some may not be so open and inviting, but still leave little to the imagination through their constant updates and life chronicles (aka their pictures and the similar). Many are even bold enough to put up photos of themselves doing *ahem* college-like things with no regard to who may checking out what you looked like, who you were with, and what you were doing last Saturday night. Then of course, there are those who are hyper-sensitive to what is visible to whom, and who keep a tight lockdown on all their Facebook output.

Regardless of the category you fall into, you’ll probably be surprised (and a little unnerved) to know a few things about Facebook and your supposed privacy on the social-networking monster may not be exactly what you think. News media and blogs everywhere are reporting and complaining about kinks in Facebook’s security and how the people behind it are abusing all of their some 400 million users’ privacy rights  by selling their information to advertisers. A few things that definitely caught my attention might interest you too…

Redesigns to the site = reset to privacy settings

A lot of people hate it when Facebook redesigns the site. I can recall at least 3 specific times when the site went under major renovations and people went absolutely berserk because they were sick of all the change. I didn’t mind the changes too much, until I recently found out from a CBSNews article titled ‘Five Dangers of Facebook’ that every time the Facebook guys decide to redesign the site – your privacy settings all get reset to default. So, if you have a meticulously organized system of settings on Facebook designating who sees what, you’re going to have a thing or 2 to complain about every time you have there’s a redesign. If you haven’t already – might want to check your privacy settings right about now.

Your friends’ weak passwords might mean trouble for you

In the same CBS article, the author brings to light an interesting piece of truth I wouldn’t have considered. People you may actually be friends with may be dangerous to you if they have really weak passwords. Why? Because say a hacker gets int your friend’s account, which is connected to about 500+ friends (you being one of them), who do you think is going to get spammed? This has happened to me on several occasions and I know it has to many of you too. There is also this scam called the 419 scam where a hacker sends a message to his victim’s friends saying something like “I’m in London, and I just got mugged. Can you wire me some money?” It sounds ridiculous but some people actually fall for it and send money that ends up somewhere in Nigeria. (That’s a whole other security issue). To prevent someone from getting into your account, make sure always to log out of public computers and change your password every now and then. And not making it something obvious will probably help, too. It’s probably time for a change of my own, too.

The more “friends” the better? Not really

People tell me I’m kind of mean to go through a round of spring cleaning for my Facebook friends every now and then, but listen to this. The CBS article reported that a study done last year showed that some 40% of Facebook profiles were fake. That’s nearly HALF. That’s a ridiculously large number if you consider Facebook claims 400 million users. So, for people who are too nice to reject friend requests or have some 1000+ friends, maybe it’s time for a stroll through the lists for a reevaluation as to who you actually know, and who you don’t. There’s probably a few spammers or robot-created accounts in that list of yours just itching to spam you and steal your info.

We all know what you “like”

According to another article on Wired.com, a lot of content you publish is public whether you like it or not. The infamous and often overly-used “Like” button is one of these things. Apparently, when you “like” something on Facebook, it goes public and the scary thing is, there’s not even a way to STOP it from going public. There’s no privacy setting for it!

If Facebook keeps growing and expanding at the rate it does, it’s only a matter of time before it gets termed the new MySpace for its endless clutter and overly commercialized platform. The more and more information we’re allowed to share on Facebook, the more and more the creators behind it assume we want to make it public. It really would be a good idea for everyone to reevaluate the information you’ve got on your profile and really go through those privacy settings often to make sure everything is as private and public as it should be.