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Monday, January 19, 2009

To de-add or not to de-add, that is the question

I'm not a big fan of social networking sites, even though I met both Ian and Sov through MySpace. At the time, if you recall part one of The History of My Love Life, I was in the middle of a bad relationship and was attempting to enlarge my social circles in preparation for the impending implosion of said bad relationship*. It was a good idea, as I actually met quite a few people through MySpace at that time, and a few of those relationships have lasted over the years.

These days Facebook is the hot social commodity of the interwebs. I'm not quite sure why, because I find the layout and everything about it confusing. But the thing that irks me the most about Facebook is the fact that people you wouldn't really consider your friends, or even acquaintances, add you as their friend, and then you feel pressured to confirm the add so that you aren't delivering the electronic equivalent of a slap across the face.

In my case, these non-friends are fellow alums of my high school, many of which I never actually talked to in high school, some of which I know actually loathed me in high school, and others of which I would have considered "high school friends" back in the day (i.e., we were friendly at school, but didn't hang out after school), but we haven't kept in contact over the years, so I don't see why we should keep in contact now. One of them mistook me for someone who went to an entirely different elementary school, but I allowed his add request anyway.

So now the question is, do I de-add these non-friend folk? Or do I just leave them cluttering up my friend list like a lie?


* Sorry to be a wanker by using "said" as a demonstrative. Just preparing for law school.

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23 comments:

Claire said...

Burn those bridges, sister! They don't lead anywhere anyway.

I have a ton of MySpace "friends" who are celebrities and/or models of various stripes, but I am a shallow hedonist, so that works for me.

It's weird that I view Facebook as something more mature than MySpace. It's VH1 to MySpace's MTV, and as a result, I am more choosy with my "adds."

Archivistimo! said...

If you delete 10 Facebook friends than you can get a coupon for a free Burger King Whopper. (http://news.cnet.com/delete-10-facebook-friends-get-a-free-whopper/)

Also, apparently the people you drop are not notified that you are no longer friends. Just do it like a band-aid RIGHT OFF!

I have unfortunately amassed over 100 friends. It is humiliating! It must stop. I have rejected my fair share of peeps, but the list steadily grows.

sovknight said...

I refuse to even go to Facebook. No need.

Sra said...

Claire: I suppose Facebook does seem a little more grown up at the outset (maybe because there is no age limit?), but then you get "poked" by someone, and you get invitations to join the oregon trail or spit on a puppy, and then you realize it's not more grown up, just more disguised.

Archiv: I'm not 100% certain, but I think you might be one of my actual real life friends disguised by a new moniker (and whom I will not boot from amongst my Facebook friends). I don't care for Burger King, personally, unless you're talking about their crack coffee.

Sov: That's ok, we have blogs! I don't really know why I use it either. Actually, one or two of my real friends uses it as their main means of communication, so that's why I've kept it.

Scott said...

You make a good point, but the word "friend" in a Facebook context means something entirely different than what you are taking it to mean. Conventionally, a "friend" is anyone you could imagine yourself wanting to eat lunch with. But in a Facebook context a "friend" is anyone you could imagine yourself being curious about. Could you imagine yourself ever being curious if these people ever moved out of their parents' basement?

Claire said...

You know, if anyone ever pokes you in the Facebook, you should tell an adult, fast.

McGruff taught me that.

Ditto for spitting on a puppy!

Trovan said...

I used to be pretty addicted to MySpace. I was checking it several times a day, trolling for people to add as my friends, and endlessly tweaking my layout.

And then the porn/bands came. Day after day I was receiving 10-15 porn or band 'friend' requests. So, I just quit logging in.

I have messed around on facebook as well, but I too find the interface extremely annoying. It is always asking me to install some application and then to whore it out to all of my friends.

I still log in about once a month, maybe. But I don't really care about them anymore.

I see having my own blog site as the grown up version. I made my won site, I control the content, and whoever reads it, reads it.

Dena said...

I have my blog, my myspace, and my facebook pages. It's almost like sitting at different lunch tables back in high school because some people just won't intermingle with the others. If you don't want them on your friends list, ditch 'em. There's nothing more immature than whining because someone booted you from their MySpace friends list. If they complain to you about it, they weren't your real friend in the first place.

I sound like my mother. Gawd!! But I am a mother, so it's still valid!

Sra said...

Scott: I define a Facebook friend as anyone that (1) I actually know and like in real life, or (2) I don't necessarily know in real life, but we maintain a friendly interaction online. I don't care what those kids from high school that I never talked to then are up to now. I didn't care about them then, don't care about them now. If we managed to run into each other in real life only to find that we had stuff to talk about, great, we can be friends. Or, if they wanted to message me first and strike up a correspondence, then we could be friends as well. But I don't think these people give a hoot about what I'm up to now either, otherwise we might have talked since the add. I think they just searched for their high school and added anyone whose name or face rung a bell. What's the point?

Claire: :D

Trovan: Yes, getting spam from bands and porn got annoying on MySpace. Eventually they made it so you could block such correspondence, but it was rather irritating for awhile. The great thing about blogs is that people who come to them want to come to them. No pressure to add people you don't really care to keep tabs on.

Sra said...

Dena: I was thinking about that, that someone might notice the ditch and then yell at me for it. But on the other hand, that is a really immature response, and if we were friends in the first place, there wouldn't be a need for the ditch. I should have just not allowed these people in the first place (and I will be more discerning in the future), but it was new to me and I didn't know.

jess said...

it's a hard spot to be in for sure. i often get friend requests from people i do not even know. they are friends of friends and they add me. i have no idea why.

i have some co-workers who have added me and honestly i'm less than thrilled about that than i am with the people i don't know at all adding me. i don't want them to know that much about me.

i have ignored requests for days on end. then i add them. and then, after a time, if they have enough friends that they won't notice, i delete them. HA.

B.R. said...

I don't get the whole Facebook mania. I deal with enough daily in my quotidianity to start with. :)

The past week was the first week of my Facebook experience. I had deactivated it for months and only had it up for a couple of weeks when I first set it up.

I believe in relating to people vis-a-vis but when you are in different places it's kind of nice to have a format like this. Hearing from people with whom I went to boarding school, or reconnecting with people I went to college with, as well as cousins I have not seen in a while, gives one a nice sense of visitation.

I don't get some of the Facebook culture or the whole collection of friends business. All of my contacts are people I know personally, professionally, and familial-ly.

Sra said...

Jess: Yes, I would be uncomfortable if my coworkers added me as well. I like to keep a professional distance from the people I work with. Not that I disclose anywhere near as much about myself on Facebook as I do here, but I still would rather keep the work relationships at work.

B.R.: I agree that it's a great tool for getting back in contact with people that you haven't seen for a long time but do actually care about. And since people change their email addresses every so often, this format is preferable to that. My only gripe is all these people I don't care about -- and who don't care about me -- adding me. I'm ok with real friends, family, childhood friends, and even acquaintances, fracquaintances, and frengers. Just none of this pseudo-friend crap.

I've decided then. I shall thin the herd.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

You know what? It's your life. And if you don't want people having a glimpse into it, don't accept their friend request. It's really *that* simple. I've denied friend requests on FB for other reasons and not once regretted it. Be strong!

tennessee mike said...

I keep having people want me to join Facebook, and I think I'm finally going to break down next week and do it when I have some downtime.

Great news from Robert Redford and the NRDC, huh?

B.R. said...

Right. And since I have a strong allergy to pseudo, faux, Bizarrolandia-inspired things et al., I had mine set up in an uber-private fashion. Only those I know are allowed access.
It's pretty cool to see the Tower of Babel that is my wall, actually. I got on it just now to see what's up and I still have a bit of smirk thinking about the linguistic diversity that it features.
But I do concur with your post's premise and I share. This is what I blogged a while back after I decided to deactivate my account, by the way:
http://www.brikenaribaj.com/2008/04/dude-wheres-your-facebook.html

Sra said...

Well, Mike, I'll just let you know right now that we can be Facebook friends if you want ;) Also, yes, the restraining order on the sale of our Utah lands is most excellent news! Let's hope the outcome of the case continues in this vein.

B.R.: Here's my favorite bit from your previous post:

"I believe in the organic way relationships tend to develop and I find settings like myspace or facebook bizarre. For starters, friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances, performers et al., see one version of you, the only version of you. We live in a world where we have to multi-task and juggle many responsibilities, sometimes contemporaneously, so presenting one’s self only one way is a tad constricting.
Actually, I find the whole setting a haven for affectation.

"When it comes to communication, there exists more than one register. There is one appropriate way to communicate with one’s close friends, one way to talk to co-workers, family members, acquaintances, neighbors and so forth.
We reveal where we stand vis-à-vis those around us based on the register we pick."

I love this. I hadn't even considered register differences and the inflexibility of social networks to reflect these differences. But it is an apt point.

FrankandMary said...

I'm no fan either, and some of what I've read(when a bf's daughter was active on facebook and myspace) made the authors sound like they were battling a lot of necrotic brain tissue.

Dump them ~Mary

tauns said...

You do know that if you take that person off your friend list that they aren't notified right?

My brother had a guy he grew up and annoyed the heck out of him growing up add him as a friend on facebook. After my brother became sufficiently annoyed with him again he finally decided it wasn't worth it to "keep up the appearance" even if he looked like a complete jerk. When he went to remove him as a friend it told him that the person he was removing would NOT be notified. Remove away!!!

That or you could start removing them with the whopper ad. If you remove 10 friends you get a free whopper...the catch is it announces that you removed those 10 people for a free whopper! :)

Sra said...

I have officially cut the cord on several non-friends. A few remain, because they actually spoke with me a little after first adding, and I didn't have the heart to de-friend them yet. Not sure if I will.

Yes, I know that they aren't notified when removed (thankfully!), but with things like the "People you might know" application, I will likely pop up for some of these people, and they might think, "Hey, weren't we already friends, what gives?" Or they might not. And I'm not sure I care either way. But I might care. I'm really not trying to offend anyone.

Sra said...

I have officially cut the cord on several non-friends. A few remain, because they actually spoke with me a little after first adding, and I didn't have the heart to de-friend them yet. Not sure if I will.

Yes, I know that they aren't notified when removed (thankfully!), but with things like the "People you might know" application, I will likely pop up for some of these people, and they might think, "Hey, weren't we already friends, what gives?" Or they might not. And I'm not sure I care either way. But I might care. I'm really not trying to offend anyone.

Sra said...

Jess: Yes, I would be uncomfortable if my coworkers added me as well. I like to keep a professional distance from the people I work with. Not that I disclose anywhere near as much about myself on Facebook as I do here, but I still would rather keep the work relationships at work.

B.R.: I agree that it's a great tool for getting back in contact with people that you haven't seen for a long time but do actually care about. And since people change their email addresses every so often, this format is preferable to that. My only gripe is all these people I don't care about -- and who don't care about me -- adding me. I'm ok with real friends, family, childhood friends, and even acquaintances, fracquaintances, and frengers. Just none of this pseudo-friend crap.

I've decided then. I shall thin the herd.

Sra said...

Dena: I was thinking about that, that someone might notice the ditch and then yell at me for it. But on the other hand, that is a really immature response, and if we were friends in the first place, there wouldn't be a need for the ditch. I should have just not allowed these people in the first place (and I will be more discerning in the future), but it was new to me and I didn't know.

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