If you use social media such as Facebook is it okay to defriend? What about ignoring a friend request? Keep in mind that when you interact on a social networking website you are not interfacing with a machine, but with people with real feelings.
So keep in mind that real people with real feeling are attached to those profiles. I am not going to try to be your mama and tell you have you should behave in cyber-space. But I would like to offer some simple reminders of things you should already know.
In the biology of technology equation, I have always found it interesting that we often hide behind technology to avoid the reality of the human condition. When we are buffered with a layer of technology we feel more liberty to be less human and more animal. Traffic is a good example. Whenever you cut off a car in traffic in reality you are cutting off a person. Because, you know, people drive those cars. If you cut someone off at the mall you might at least utter “excuse me” instead of blasting an obnoxious horn or flashing the finger.
Here are some things to think about for social networking relationships.
- Before defriending or ignoring, take time to think before you click. Don’t make a knee jerk reaction based purely on emotion. Take a deep breath and step away from the PC. Don’t you wish you could do this in real life situations?
- Remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
This timeless and universal value is always a good guideline. How awesome would the world be if we all followed this a bit more closely?
- When it comes to social network, relax! In reality, a social networking friend is not really a friend. The Twitter terms of “followers” and “following” are a bit more accurate. You are simply allowing someone to see what you post and you see what they post. You are not inviting them to share a tent with you on Brokeback Mountain.
- If you don’t want everyone to know what you are doing then don’t post it on Facebook or Twitter! You know, those status postings are optional. Yeah, really. For example, suppose I have seen the new Star Trek movie 4 times even though it has only been out for a week. (Did I just admit that?) If I don’t want my Facebook friends to kid me about being huge geek, then there is I should not post it. BTW – I have NOT seen the new Star Trek movie 4 times! So there!
Before you go through the hurtful act of defriending or ignoring, did you know that Facebook offers a lot of privacy options? Simply log on Facebook and click Settings –> Privacy settings.
Here’s a video demonstrating some Facebook privacy options:
Here’s another good tip, did you know you can hide someone’s status updates without them knowing you have done this? Here’s how:
- Put the mouse over someone’s status update.
- You will notice the word “Hide” will appear to the far right in the status field.
- Click on Hide and you are given the option hide their status updates.
And the great thing is they do not know you have done this. Suppose you are dating someone who is a Facebook friend. Then you have the break-up from hell and within two weeks they are in a new relationship. So they are constantly posting Facebook updates about how much they are in love and all the silly romantic things they did with their new significant other. Who wants to see that? But if you defriend them they will know that they got to you. However, if you hide their status you get the best of both worlds; you look cool without having to endure their silly status drool.
So in social networking and in life in general, let me refer to the immortal words of my fictitious friends Bill and Ted, “Be excellent to each other.” And don’t forget, “party on dudes!”