Yesterday, in a fit of pique, I de-friended someone on facebook. Why? Well, because she said something that offended me. I know, that's part of life on facebook. But she did it on my status thread. And when I responded to her comment, she replied in a way that pissed me off even more.
But that’s not when she got deleted. Oh, no. I spent the next several hours stewing (because that’s the way I roll), then fired off what I thought was a fairly diplomatic response. One that was carefully worded to make my feelings clear without actually accusing her of being an asshole (although clearly she was. Being an asshole, that is).
And you know what? Her reply made hulk EVEN MORE ANGRY.
That’s when I hit the big red X. And just like that, she was deleted from my life. Poof. Gone.
It felt good. For a few minutes. But then, being the hyper-sensitive, overly-anxious-to-please doormat that I am, I began to feel guilty. I wondered if she would notice. I almost sent her an apologetic friend request, but didn’t.
And that's when I began to wonder. What are the rules? When is it acceptable to de-friend (or re-friend) someone? Do you have to accept a friend request? What about twitter? I'm sure loftier minds than mine have come up with the answers, but quite frankly, I'm too lazy to go look for them.
So I started to assemble my own lists of, I don't know, dos and don'ts? Here's what I've come up with so far:
When I first logged on to facebook, I didn't have any idea how I was going to use it. So I accepted anybody's friend request—my best friend's ex-boyfriend, my real estate agent, heck even my boss's boss had access to my profile.
But as I got into it, I realized facebook is not the place for business contacts. Rather, I use it to connect with friends and family—mostly people I don't see every day. Sure, I'm connected to most of my work friends, but they're not the focus of my activities there. That's when I learned to separate people into lists—and control who has access to what.
These days, before accepting a friend request, I ask myself, "Would I want to get a beer with this person?" If the answer is no, then you know what? I'm going to ignore you.
There's one exception to this rule—old high school acquaintances. I might not want to go to the reunion, but I still want to know what those frenemies are doing (unfortunately, not as badly as one would wish, for the most part).
Once I've accepted your friendship, I generally won't un-friend you (except in a fit of rage). However, if you're obnoxious, I will hide you. It's the passive agressive way to deal with negativity on facebook. Also, if you start trying to sell me something? Consider yourself cut.
Twitter is a different animal entirely. Most of my tweeps are people I've never met in real life. They're simply folks I find interesting, funny or just entertaining. Most of them are bloggers, a few of them are advertising gurus with a sprinkling of celebs thrown in, just for good measure.
Likewise, most of the people who follow me wouldn't know me if they passed me in the street. In fact, I'm amazed that more than 200 people actually find me interesting enough to follow my stream. Many of them are simply being polite. Apparently it's rude not to follow someone back if they follow you. But I still feel I should try to be entertaining.
So, I think about my tweets as mini blog posts, for the most part. You hear that advice all the time, but I try my best to capture the same flavor of junk I write here...only shorter.
Also, it is a community. So you have to participate in the conversation. Which is tough when you're flitting in and out during a workday and such, but I try. When I can. By the way, if I seem exceptionally conversational? You can bet it's a slow and/or crappy day at the office.
Let's face it. Without readers, you're just talking to yourself. Which is, you know. Kind of pointless? Also, if people do comment on your posts, it's only polite to talk back. Otherwise you come off as...vain (By the way, I know I'm bad about this. But I'm trying to get better!).
So, how do you get readers? By getting out there. Reading and commenting on other people's blogs. And making friends. At least, that's what I'm trying to do. It's a lot of fun! There are so many smart, funny and wickedly entertaining people out there, I could spend all day just reading blogs.
One of these days, I'll get around to updating my blog roll, and then you can all see just how addicted to blogging I am. But for now, you'll just have to take my word for it.
I could go on, but I have a feeling I've already talked your ears off for far too long. So I'll leave it there for now. What do you guys think? How do you use social media?