We all have dealbreakers. We have probably all unfriended someone in social media, if we’ve found them disagreeable, or annoying, or offensive. More often, we tend to prune our social media rosters. The Internet now has a smattering of places you can add and delete people, then hurt their feelings, without ever once looking in their eyes! I for one am proud to announce that I no longer have 666 Facebook friends. I have 668. I can’t be going around with the number of the antichrist attached to my friends list. I was gonna delete a few friends just to unnerve a few of my more conservative pals, or just for a laugh, and this got me thinking. Why? Who do I delete? and why do I remove them.
For a time, Facebook’s premier draw was gaming—Mafia Wars and FarmVille invitations were ubiquitous, and very annoying for those of us who did not play. Those who did play, it was a requirement to drag others to the game, to gather a larger army, and retrieve greater benefits in the game they were playing. For awhile I went out and sought random folks, and had a Facebook roster of well in excess of 1500 people. I came to realize that I didn’t care all that much for these people—I didn’t know any of them—and when I grew bored with the games, I went through a time of mass deletion.
So, these were the roots of my first requirements. I actually know the person, to add them to my Facebook roll call. Furthermore, I decided I should remember something about them.
I was affiliated with schools and colleges for well over 20 years of my adult life, as a student, then staff, then faculty at 2 different institutions. Twice a year, a new group of students push wide-eyed through the doors of a college, and begin to form relationships. I have dealt with literally thousands of people, whose lives intersected with mine in some way. I couldn’t add them all. So, if I had a personal memory, and (usually) it was a good one, I’d add them. Family gets automatic adds, of course. So did most of my high school classmates—due to the small-town uniqueness of my upbringing, many of my classmates are also relatives, so they pull double duty.
For me, social media is for renewing and sustaining relationships with people I wouldn’t otherwise contact. My list is peppered with a handful of people who are of the “FOAF” (Friend of a Friend) category. Usually they are recommended by a trusted friend who sees us as like-minded individuals.
But what about people who break my rules?
Recently I noticed a friend’s Facebook status and it grabbed my attention. Here it is:
I “unfriended” a friend who was always ready to criticize my spiritual leaders even though he had never once met them. He has his PhD, and is always waiting for an opportunity to show how much better he is than the rest of us. It’s a shame that people can’t hold on to a little humility.
I am withholding this friend’s name because I don’t know that the person would want the name made public, but I just wanted to look at it for awhile.
When would I cull my roster, and why?
Are spiritual differences too much for me? Inflammatory arrogance? Loud political statements I don’t agree with? Sometimes, all of the above. I am (mostly) longsuffering. I tend to dislike being spammed. I don’t like it when people find hobby-horses—politics or religion, or small business sales—and post only this sort of thing to their Facebook page. I go to Facebook to enjoy the interaction between myself, and cadre of (NOT 666) individuals, with whom I share some commonalities. I’m curious – what are your dealbreakers?
I know if I harvest folks from my list, without a doubt I can guess that I’ve been removed from others’ lists. This stings a bit more because, hey, who couldn’t like me? I’m a fantastic guy and never do anything to annoy people! Right? Right?! Why do I only hear the chirping of crickets?!