Social media. This post is about what has been going on with me for the past couple of months in terms of social media. I’m just going to talk about the three big social media networks and my general thoughts on them, as well as what has been going on with them. No pics, no fancy graphics, just straight up me talking about what’s been going on. I want to clear the air before I go back to college, or this will continue to press on my mind and its been bothering me for far too long.
Before one of my “vacations” this Summer I got upset with the content that was passing through my feeds. I’m one of those people that reads pretty much everything that’s on my feed, so that doesn’t help matters. Anyway, back then I was having two major issues. Lots of spam posts and lots of…well, hard to read posts. It was back during the time of the whole Chick-fil-a controversy and the gay rights thing. I was following people on both sides and the posts were….disappointing at best, hateful at worst. On both sides of the “fence”. If you guys were trying to win, you were both doing a terrible job at it. It got to the point that I couldn’t deal with the hateful things being said anymore. And I decided it was time for a change. For better or worse.
So one of the things I decided to do because of this was to clear house. I began a massive clean out of social media accounts I had under my name. This was more for getting back time than anything else, but it helped. I am now down to three accounts now: Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. I also decided to do a lot of cleanup on my Twitter and Google+ feeds as well. Most of the focus was on Google+ but some was aimed at Twitter. Why not Facebook? Because I’m not sure what to do there just quite yet and it has calmed down since. But in any case, I had enough of the fanboyism, the hateful things said to other people and the politicking, especially on Google+ where it was the worst for me. I’m just not interested in reading it. Life is too short to read such things.
I did have a conflict with a friend of mine a couple weeks back. I’ll simply say that his name was Al. Those that know him, yea, that’s him. Those that don’t, well, I’m not linking you to him. One day, I got tired of the Klout tweets and he was the last person still posting them. I’ve made my stance on Klout abundantly clear. I think its a website that needs to go away. So I decided to unfollow him. I was still friends with him on FB and I wanted it to stay that way. But the next day, he asked why I had unfollowed him and I told him the truth. He then abruptly blocked me on both Facebook and Twitter and we haven’t spoken since.
It took me a bit aback. I began wondering why? I don’t follow all the people I know on both Twitter and Facebook. Its just how I am. Yet he seemed to take offense at me unfollowing me and blocked me straight away. Which makes me think that I screwed up with how I approached him. Its probably a character flaw, but I tend to be as blunt as a hammer when speaking honestly. Or maybe I just didn’t explain myself very well, I don’t know.
But as I sit here, thinking about the whole event a few things stick out in my mind. How had he known that I had unfollowed him so quickly? And why only him? He found out within 12 hours that I had unfollowed him and I cannot help but wonder how. The guy follows hundreds of people. And why react so harshly? I told him the truth. And he instantly blocks me. I had planned on still being friends on Facebook, which is why I hadn’t unfriended him. But it seems like it was an all or nothing deal to him.
It does concern me that people think that following/friending/circling is the only sign that people are friendly/friends with each other. I think life is a lot more flexible than Twitter and Facebook allow for. With these networks, its black and white. Your either a friend or your not. There is no in-between. In reality, we know that relationships are not so rigid. I follow the opinion that unless either of us block each other, that we’re still friends or still conversing. I get why people don’t follow me. I or the content I talk about isn’t interesting to them and I get that. Doesn’t mean we can’t talk simply because you don’t like what I post about.
An example, a long while back, a friend of mine had unfollowed me from Twitter. I hadn’t noticed because I don’t keep a track of who unfollowed me. I find that a bit creepy to keep track of. But we never stopped being friends and we kept conversing. It wasn’t until some time later when I got a notification on Tweetbot saying that they were following me again that I noticed the lack of it. I was more surprised than anything else, but I did ask why they had unfollowed me in the first place. Back then, I had apparently been spamming. Which was true. Back then, I had been using services like Getglue or Ping to just randomly put things on Twitter. But I have been taking time to clean up all those junk postings and it seems at least one person appreciated it. I really didn’t have a problem with them unfollowing me and I still wouldn’t now. Whether you follow me or not won’t affect our friendship. Its what actions you take that will affect it.
Its why it saddens me that Al took it so badly. Maybe I should have explained myself better. Maybe I should have handled it better, I don’t know. All this social media stuff is a difficult beast at the best of times. There is no seemingly right or wrong way to handle it. I guess this was just a bad misstep for me. I don’t know if Al will ever forgive me. The door is open. But there is nothing more that I can do…
I guess I see Social Media differently than most. Its not an uncommon sentence for me to hear “well, its awkward that I’m talking with him/her since I unfriended them from Facebook”. But is it? I guess I don’t see it that way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that I have people that converse with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. And I like to think of them as friends. For me, Internet friends are no different than friends I hang out with in the world around me. Furthermore, Twitter/Facebook/Google+ is not a metric of whether we are friends or not. This is why I had such major issues with Klout, I don’t like the whole “influence” thing. Its not what social media is about, to me anyway. Also, I will converse with you regardless of whether I’m “following” you or not. If I blocked you, well, that’s a different story obviously.
At the end of the day, I don’t want to control what people post on the internet. That is their choice to make. And I have my own flaws when it comes to social media posting, I don’t deny it. But it is also my choice to decide what I want and don’t want to read on a daily basis. But maybe I’m just too different on this issue. I don’t know.
I hope you enjoyed this post…though I can certainly understand if you didn’t. This is a weighty topic, but I think its one that needs to be talked about. I don’t know, did I make myself clear? I’d like to know on this post. I’m not going to lie, I struggled a lot with getting this post. It is not my intention to call out Al and make him out to be the bad guy. Its more for thinking out loud about the event and what has gone on lately for me in social media.
Anyway, until next time…