Thursday, January 29, 2009

Defriending People on Facebook; or, The Times Gets Bitchy

There's a fun article in today's Times about the etiquette and practice of "defriending" (or, as the paper asserts is the more accepted parlance, "unfriending") Facebook friends. The germ of the article came from a recent online promotion by Burger King that allowed you to "sacrifice" ten of your Facebook friends in exchange for a free Whopper. Until it was shut down by Facebook for violating a user agreement clause, Burger King claimed it had ended 234,000 friendships.

Nevertheless—That's not what I want to talk about. You can, and should, read the Times article, which is here. The part I want to show is this weird breaking of the Times' businesslike remove in this article. Here are the few paras—The last one is the best, but you have to read up:
Nor does Facebook care to be a party to what might be called punitive unfriending, banishing someone from your network for violating one or more of your personal rules of conduct. Perhaps someone annoys you by posting an obsessive number of status updates, or expresses himself in a way that you consider obnoxious?

Those were the excuses that Ehren S., a former co-worker of mine who apparently unfriended me sometime this past spring, offered up recently for giving me the digital heave-ho.

“I believe it was based on a passive-aggressive update of yours to which I sighed, kinda shook my head and pressed ‘delete from friends,’ ” she confessed by e-mail. “I find negativity a bit tiresome and don’t have the patience for it.”

Fine. Though forgive me for pointing out that Ehren, who asked that I not use her full name, initially tried to fib her way out of the awkwardness by saying she did it for a Whopper.
Ha! The writer basically just said, "Fuck you, Ehren" in the pages of the world's most widely-read newspaper. (I don't know if the Times is actually the world's most widely-read newspaper, but whatever.)


ClatieK said...

Maybe I should pretend to be doing some sort of psychological research study so I can find out why one of my most beloved former coworkers unfriended me, while people who were sort of shits back in the day have requested my friendship. Dammit. I'm dismayed all over again.

Anonymous said...

In 2005 I left a job I had been at for over a decade, was actually forced out, and it was a really sad time for me. I had a lot of colleagues I liked working with, and many of them stayed in touch with me afterwards, if only on FB and MS (I had both).

A guy from my former workplace sent a friend request and for that reason I signed on to FB. This was maybe in 2007...anyway, soon former co-workers began colonizing FB and everyone from my old workplace (along with the unsavory but powerful characters in management who ruled by fear and political backbiting) --all those people were suddenly there. That workplace was a really classic case of good people suffering under extremely dysfunctional management; but anyway, as soon as other people from my old job popped up on FB, the guy deleted me! And, he ignored me when I emailed him asking if there was a reason I was no longer a "friend." He had invited me in the first place, and I found this to be really sucky--especially since I didn't even post much on FB to begin with.

So I know it wasn't because of anything I said on status updates or anything because I rarely if ever used FB, just once in a while to see what people were doing.

At the same time, two other former colleagues ignored my friend request, and that really hurt. These were people I had worked with for years, and thought were good professional contacts. Not anymore, apparently, and not even worth an explanation.

I should say most of the people from my former job friended me right away. But the ones that didn't friend me really hurt. I took the account down, because they kept popping up along with other people from my old job whose faces I did not want to see. Those people were in the minority, but the bad ending at that job apparently made them decide I was not worth even acknowledging.

But also, with FB you can't have a profile song, (I would did without a profile song!!!!!!) ..they want copyright to YOUR creativity, and basically, as far as I'm concerned, FB can bite me now. MS also sucks in many ways, but at least you can pimp it out with design and color and multimedia elements. All those little white boxes and goofy games, I truly don't get the attraction. Finding those people from my past was a pleasure. It's just that FB wasn't worth the hassle to me, when I added up the pros and cons.