Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Unfollow or unfriend? How social media can be awkward

Sometimes I find social media to be one of the most unsocial places in the world!  I ask you, would people really (a) say the things they do face-to-face and/or (b) really be this unsocial if we were in the same room, ie. texting each other instead of speaking?
What I also find odd about 'social media' is the friend collection. I had just over 100 friends, a good 95% of which I knew at some time as a real person.  However, despite accepting their friend requests or sending them some and re-connecting that way, I increasingly find that people are just on there without actually using it.  Even if they do occasionally post something, they never respond if you comment and never comment on anything you post.  What the heck are we friends for then?  So, today I did a whittling of my friend list and deleted a pile of people that, quite frankly, weren't really using Facebook or engaging with me.  It's all very well having an account with 50 friends but if you never log in or post anything, why bother?  So, having either never seen a post or never had a response to anything, I've said goodbye via the 'unfriend' button. If only it were that easy in real life huh?

However, I still have a bit of a dilemma.  There are still people on my account that I am honestly not bothered about but unfortunately, accepted friend requests (as you do) when children started school and have since really not engaged with much at all.  It all seemed like a good idea at the time - "Hey, our kids have all started this school so let's all be friends".  Yeah, like that is really going to work.  So, for this bunch (for now), those I'm not really bothered about I've 'unfollowed'.  I'm grateful to Facebook for this feature as no longer do I have to read their monotonous, 15 posts per day or see yet another picture of their child dressed as this or doing that followed by 100 people fawning over the image....pass the bucket.  However, I still have that sticky wicket of unfriending them.  I'm planning to wait until they have more friends and then quietly slipping away. In the meantime, I don't see their posts so that's great that they are not clogging up my feed with their mundane chatter.

What Facebook is really about for me is (1) keeping in touch with those people I don't see all the time - Llynne, Kate, Louise, Royah, Rosie, Karen N, Gilles, Sean, Paul...the list goes on.  That's when Facebook is fabulous for me. I love to follow the adventures of these friends and family. I love their pictures, their stories and the interactions we have.  We *are* social!  That's the difference. 

It is also about (2) keeping up-to-date with news relating to schools/activities, etc that I am interested in.  Some of the closed groups I'm a member of are fabulous and full of information which makes them worthwhile.
Consequently, Facebook is a great place for me but next time someone asks to be my friend, I'll ignore it until we've spoken at least 10 times and perhaps even had a coffee together!

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