Recently, I was “unfriended” on Facebook. It’s possible this has happened with others before but I never noticed. I have somewhere around 230 “friends” give or take a few but I don’t watch the number count with an eagle eye so I could definitely miss it. This particular person though I did notice because in the timeline you can now see when other friends comment on other statuses, even if they’re not your friends. Holy convuluted Batman, life in social media is hard, but I digress. The update looked interesting, so I went to leave my 2 cents and lo and behold, I am unable to comment. Scratching my head was quickly replaced by a stinging feeling followed by “What the heck did I do?” hand-wringing.
At age forty-three, I’ve lived more than half my life without the influence of social media. I suppose it’s for this reason, despite my heavy involvement with it for the past 5 years, that I still find the concept so foreign and at times, so utterly ridiculous.
In the case of the recent unfriending, I fretted over it for a couple of days and then had a moment of clarity. If this person and I were true friends, I’d probably have a damn good idea what I did. I mean, in real life, a friend just doesn’t walk away from you without you knowing what you did. So why should I feel badly? By the same token, why should this person feel bad taking me out of their feed? They shouldn’t. And so, the whole concept of having friends and Facebook friends is a bit of a conundrum to me. I mean, I’ve actually said those words to someone, “She’s a Facebook friend.” I find that sad, I don’t want to draw distinctions like that anymore.
For the past six months, I’ve really been trying to find a way through all of it that makes sense to me. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
On my personal page, I’ve become rather clear cut about the whole thing. Friends get full access, others get restricted. Some probably take this as a rather snobby approach, but at this point I no longer care. The bottom line, is that I want one place, just one small little corner where I can proverbially scratch my ass without fear of the anti-ass scratchers coming out in full force. For me, my personal Facebook page is a gathering of those of like mind, with a similar sense of humour, who know me and know that if I make a crack about wanting to drink the bottle of wine, I really just mean a glass…ok, maybe two. So, I keep the numbers small, quite intentionally. I’d say only 50% of the 200 and some odd people I have there, actually see status updates. Does this mean I post things I might regret or that might be damaging to me? No. I get that what I put on the internet is shareable even if I do fool myself into believing I have a small sanctuary on my personal Facebook page.
Then there’s my Life in Pleasantville page. 100% me all the time, just less ass-scratching. I’m representing brands on this page, but I still have loads of fun and I truly love the people there. They’re engaging and funny as hell. Can’t that be enough?
Next is Twitter. Ahhh, Twitter. When I first started on Twitter five years ago, I remember thinking that it was the funniest thing ever invented. Perfect strangers converging and talking and really laughing out loud not just LOL’ing. I made friends here, real friends, who now sit in that 50% who see my ass-scratching status updates on Facebook. Lucky ducks.
Twitter was magic for a brief time and then it got downright miserable. Mention you scratch your ass in this space and you’d get people telling you that it’s wrong, or asking you for the reasons behind it, or sending out tweets like, “I wish the ass-scratchers of the world would just shut it.” Hashtag it so that #assscratchers could unite and the nosepickers would hijack your thread to make you feel bad. Worse still, you’d be having fun LOL’ing at the latest #assscratcher Twitter party and you’d start to notice all the passive aggressive tweets floating by. “Soooo tired of all these twitter parties”, said to no one in particular so that everyone now participating in a Twitter party feels just a little bit bad. And then there’s just the mean tweets. The ones intended to hurt. It has, unfortunately become a very negative space and now I wear blinders. I know which ones are the master of the passive aggressive tweet so I see their avatar float by and I ignore. I’m a no-drama mama, so I hang with the live and let live crew now. I engage mostly with those on my lists and I am beginning to feel a little of the fun seeping back in.
Finally, LinkedIn. I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn, but apparently anyone who is anyone is there. I’ve jumped in with the herd but believe me when I say I am reluctantly in this space and pay it the least attention. What bothers me about LinkedIn is the feeling that some think it’s a dating service. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received requests to link in from men who have absolutely no reason to connect with me. It’s not likely that I’m — as owner of a school supply business, blogger and social media manager — going to need a job in forestry for example. Think I’m joking about LinkedIn? Read this. I remain unconvinced of LinkedIn’s ability to bring me employment, since it hasn’t brought me one opportunity yet but it’s possible I’m doing it wrong.
Heck, it’s possible I’m doing it all wrong. I often miss life pre-social media. I miss the certainty of friendships and the lack of clutter. At the end of the day, drawing these little fences around social media keeps me sane, even if it is just smoke and mirrors.
How do you manage it all?
*photo credit SomeECards
I find myself sharing less and less on social media. Some days/weeks I share more, other days/weeks, I pull away completely. The social media space has become a funny place!
Love this Candace! I too have “lists” on my FB and my feelings don’t get hurt when someone defriends me. I’d rather have that then cringe every time they see me in their news feed. Great post!
Great and thoughtful post. I struggle with this myself. Be yourself and the right people will find you in one way or another.
I did this interesting thing lately that has done complete wonders for me. I stopped caring—I stopped watching, comparing, counting, overthinking etc. I used to do a lot of this and it would make me crazy. How come I don’t get as many RTs as her, how come she isn’t following me, responding to me, inviting me etc.
And now? I absolutely love all forms of social media again. The thing is…there’s really no right way to use them. So you can’t be doing it wrong—you are doing it right FOR YOU. So, I use social how I do, and don’t question it, don’t stress about it.
ok ok I’m sorry I’ll send you a friend request and beg your forgiveness 🙂
Seriously I have been hitting the unfriend unfollow button a lot more lately.
Here’s my gage.
Instagram- If you post pics of yourself or your cats all the time = unfollow
Twitter – see above + argumentative + over 50% negative = unfollow
Twitter – being an asshole = Block
Twitter – dm about diets or unbelievable pictures of myself = BLOCK
Facebook – see any of the above + my kid is better than your kid mentality + woe-is-me status updates all the time = unfriend
Now if you are a true “drink sangria with in person” kinda friend I’ll chat with you first to make sure you’re ok.
After 7 years of being devoted to my personal fb page, I find myself rarely on it anymore, preferring to spend my time on my blog’s fb page. I notice the novelty of fb has worn off for many of my friends as well. I have been unfriended as well, which can kind of sting. My personal philosophy with the whole friend thing is: If I wouldn’t stop to talk to you in the parking lot at Walmart, why would I be your fb friend – the whole idea of sharing the personal details with mere acquaintances never really sat well with me. As for twitter, I use it just for my blog as well. I just don’t have th time or the interest to keep up with everyone’s personal lives anymore. It was fun while it lasted though. 🙂
Barbara | Creative Culinary
I’ve always been more of a Twitter fan than a Facebook but I’ve grown weary of it too. Now those folks I used to be able to just chat with barely utter a word except to promote their blog and that’s wearisome but I did recently notice a ‘friend’ that I’ve been tweeting with for years has not just left Twitter but also unsubscribed to my feed. Hmm…really, were we really friends?
Heavens no…as a matter of fact I found some of her need for snark a bit much but I never thought to quit following her so I think she might have done me a favor. The truth is a VERY small number if the folks I’ve connected with over the years can fall into the category of a real friend and we all need to remember that. I know real friends; these folks simply do not qualify and in relationship to that status I’ve also decided to never let it bother me!
Great post! I gave up on Twitter and rarely post, I keep my personal facebook page to people whom I consider a friend and would happily sit with all night chatting with.
I went to the funeral home to pay my respects when a high school friend’s dad passed away. I hdan’t realized she blocked my on FB, so I REALLY looked like a stalker! Still no idea why I got blocked in the first place… Not even just unfriended, but blocked. Kinda bugs me I don’t know why.. but must let it go.
I took a long FB hiatus – for over 3 years – and only recently went back on it after a friend encouraged me to network with other bloggers. In that sense it has been very helpful. But for personal use, I found it has completely changed. I’d say a good 80% of people on my “Friends” list do not post anything anymore on there. Majority of the photos are shared via Instagram. And any instant messaging is either via Text or Email again. I honestly think FB is past it’s prime and lots of people are moving on. For me FB got harder when I started adding coworkers to the mix b/c I like to keep my work life and my blog life separate from my private family life with my kids. It’s too much of a pain in the ass to constantly update lists to see who can see what.
I also joined Twitter strictly to network with other bloggers and for work and it’s been an interesting experience so far.
Argh. Its prime. Me and my grammar pet peeves and there I go.
I enjoyed this post, but I generally enjoy you with or without ass scratching. So linked in dies bring me opportunities. No question it gets me jobs too. I am often shocked by that but lately I have found it very useful for business.
Great poat! I deactivated my Facebook account and nobody even noticed. Lol. I expected emails, phone calls as got nothing. Bupkis. That made me realize That the criticality of Facebook to my life is not at all what I thought it was. I can connect without it, and its a lot more fun 🙂
Even though it appears I am completely hooked into social media, I’m actually on it less than people think. Having time away from it is important, plus being able to skip some of the dramaz is a bonus.
My personal Facebook page is a place where I share family pictures, names of my kids -something I don’t do on the blog or Twitter. So for someone to be there, I want to be comfortable with them knowing a lot more about me.
Twitter is still my fun place. It’s just a place to hang out and chat, I still get that from it. On Facebook I use private messaging and messages to groups to stay in touch more personally.
But man, it’s tough not to get into the muck some days. I shouldn’t, but sometimes I can’t bite my tongue. The number of mean, passive-aggressive tweets and status updates, the number of fake people, those who say one thing and do another. But if it doesn’t affect me directly, I try to avoid it.
The clutter can be avoided, it is just tricky sometimes to not get into it. I try to surround my social media presence with awesome – the more positive I feel about it, the more return I seem to get.
It’s also helped that I have a core group of people I can trust and vent with/talk to. Having that support makes everything easier, even on the hard days.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Alexander Skarsgard to surf on Tumblr then tweet about bacon or something.
I sometimes feel like it’s Grade 9 — first day – and I’m the one with the dayglo skin and frizzy red hair who trips when she walks. Ugh and gulp and argh. Often feel like I’m saying the wrong thing and worse than that people are unfriending me or deliking me and I don’t even know it.
The challenging thing is based on how we’re feeling or what’s going on in our individual, real lives, it’s easy to comment or tweet or update in a way that’s misinterpreted.
* pass the Sangria…. *
I think that the longer you’re in it the more jaded you become. It’s not easy sharing when there’s always someone there waiting to jump all over you in opposition.
Honestly, hard to get hurt when most aren’t real friends to begin with. Wonder how our kids will cope with this though? We have a very real sense of friendship in it’s purest form because we are pre-social media, our kids no so much.
I believe you are 100% correct Lisa.
That’s true. There is really no right way to use social media despite all the experts out there that say there is. There’s only what’s right for you. I don’t think I could ever stop caring. I don’t care about numbers or RT’s but when I see someone being spiteful for no other reason than they might be having a bad day, I can’t help but feel my blood boil.
LOL, thanks for taking me back 🙂 Love your criteria.
I’m with you. I really enjoy my blog’s Facebook page. I love the people there. They’re witty and good-natured, it’s fun to spend time there.
That’s exactly it. Be a duck and let it roll off your back, right? As someone mentioned above, the right people will find you and vice versa.
I’m beginning to reclaim my love of Twitter, but it’s been a slow build. You have to be very good at filtering out the a-holes 🙂
Ouch! No kidding Jacki.
Which is why I try so hard to keep my personal FB page and my blog page separate. I often get friend requests and feel like a jerk ignoring but I prefer to have those conversations on my other page. I have suggested in the past to people that they like my page because I talk much more over there anyway and that I try to keep my personal page to just people I know. I find they get more offended. So I add people put them on restricted and leave it at that. There’s just no tactful way to go about it.
Awww, thanks Paula 🙂 Maybe I’ll talk to you about LinkedIn a little more next time I see you. I’m open to suggestions.
And that’s when you know who your real friends are right? I’m positive I could leave tomorrow and there wouldn’t even be a ripple.
It is so hard not to get sucked into the negative wormhole some create in these spaces. Block, filter out, ignore. It’s all you can do. The world is full of assholes, it’s only in social media that you’re often forced to hang out with them LOL
Well a) you never say anything wrong Pam, b) you could give lessons on how to treat others in social media and c) worry about being misconstrued is why I’m queen of the smiley face 🙂
*clinks glasses* Bottoms up 🙂
I hear ya! I recently had someone I considered a really close friend unfriend me on facebook. In fact, she (and her husband) were supposed to take my girls in the event that my husband and I died. I was really hurt by it and contemplated for days to write her to find out what I did. I finally decided it’s not worth my time. I’ll move on and try to make a better decision next time.
I love Social Media but you’re right – it’s a strange forum at times. I remember the first few times I was unfriended on FB. I obsessed for a few days thinking, wait, what did I do wrong? How could you NOT want to be my friend? Lol Then I realized that it really didn’t matter. I can’t make everyone happy and I’m not on Social Media to make others happy. I’m there for me and I’m going to use it the way I want to. Some people will click with me and like what I’m sharing, some won’t. I’m ok with that now.
I have really embraced the “unfriend” option over the past few months. The reality is if I don’t interact with you in real life, or on a regular basis on FB then why should you have access to snoop through my personal profile? I’m down with keeping my blog/work pages open but my personal stuff is reserved for people I’m in direct contact with.
As for LinkedIn I don’t trust them. They’ve been hacked before and beyond that, their dashboard makes my head hurt. 🙂
Um, yeah. 🙂 I have over 200 FB friends now and I seriously wish I could go back to the fifty people that I really know there… but I don’t want to “unfriend” anyone – partly for the sake of my blog and my future book (is that terrible?). My blog page and Twitter are purely “business,” for promoting my blog and connecting with brands, so even if friends follow me there, I treat it as if I’m reaching out to a wider audience. But yeah, it’s complicated.
I had a big, long answer like Becky’s but she stole all my stuff, so I’ll say this. I just do my thing and don’t really care what anyone thinks about it. I’m not rude and I don’t swear on my social media accounts but I am goofy and will tweet celebs and joke around in Twitter parties. There are things I don’t like about FB and Twitter but for the most part I just ignore the haters and have fun with the people who want to have fun. Plus, drama gives me hives…
Funny story about how non-confrontational I am. I once unfollowed a guy on Twitter because he made a racist statement. 10 seconds later, he tweeted me and said, “unfollowed?” I nearly had a heart attack and then blamed twitter for doing it, lol. Stupid tracking devices.
I find that my Facebook page (for my blog) is where the trolls come out and bite. I haven’t faced that yet in Twitter, but I was a late adapter since I didn’t really love it (I still don’t – I kind of only do it for my blog). I joined Facebook in 2007 as a way of sharing my pictures with my close friends (on a typical weekend, I would take over 300). Now I have over 700 “friends”. I probably couldn’t claim 1/10 of them to be my friends in real life, but so be it. I do “stalk” others, so I figure it’s only fair for them to see what I’m up to as well. Besides, I don’t post anything that I would regret later (I hope). It’s definitely a scary new world, but no one is doing it perfectly unless they’re not on social media. But that’s just no fun either!
It’s true and it’s worth noting that many, many good things have come into my life as a result of social media!
Love this post. It’s sad, but people really think they “know” you in the social world. They don’t. I share very little of my life anymore. I got tired of the judgement. So much insecurity and passive aggressive nonsense. So awhile ago I reclaimed my happiness in these spaces just as you are doing – not everyone understands it or can handle it. But it’s the only thing to do if you want to stay sane.