How Facebook Affects our Lives, Relationships & Self-Esteem
Facebook The Fickle
Recently, I was deleted or "unfriended" as someone's friend on Facebook. Actually, it's been a few times that this has happened. I have an inkling as to why, but since they never told me to my face, I'll never be 100% sure.
Were these people actually really good friends of mine with whom I speak to outside of Facebook on a regular basis?
No. Okay, so then what's the problem? No real problem, per say. But I can see the huge difference between my friends who are actually interested in my life or feelings, and those who are just on my Facebook to be there.
"In the real world, you could never get away with just dismissing someone you are talking to just because you don't agree with their opinion like you can on Facebook."
Most of my great friends from the days when there was no such thing as Facebook are either not plugged in because they are living "off the grid" or they are so busy doing things like working, raising families, being outside, and enjoying the natural world that they just don't go online very much. I admire these people.
Then there are acquaintances I have who do go on Facebook and browse, but rarely post anything, so there is not much interaction with them. Occasionally those people will comment or "like" something like a birthday, or some other major occasion. They only break out the "likes" in lieu of something really noteworthy.
Because you don't want to go mad with "likes" it makes you look like you have nothing better to do, right? Maybe so, but in truth, there are actually people out there who don't feel compelled to "like" or share everything, even though they do go on Facebook.
Back to being deleted.
I've had some run-ins with revenge deletions. This could be a friend I hung out with who decided to delete me over a misunderstanding, or a guy who realized I was not going to date him and deleted me. All's fair in love and war I guess.
We all have that one friend or family member that does the Facebook deleting cycle when they're feeling offended or feisty.
I noticed that as I posted more politically driven updates, specifically regarding the subject of supporting same-sex marriage, I started losing more friends again. I'm not going to lie, I was half expecting it from certain people, but it still makes me wonder about the way in which we treat each online and off.
“If only people tried to connect with the heart the way they do with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”
― D'Andre Lampkin
A frenemy is defined as, "A person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry." I would go so far as to say that a good handful of people on anyone's Facebook page could be classified as a frenemy.
Most likely these are people who don't share your views or don't particularly care about what happens to you, but they keep you as a friend on Facebook anyway. Occasionally, a frenemy will even "like" your status if the mood strikes them.
"Facebook has now come up with a more diplomatic way to get rid of those whom you want to technically remain friends with, but don't want to see anything they post because you don't like it. Now, you can simply "unfollow" someone."
During the controversial buzz surrounding the rights for gays to get married a while back, I did what a lot of people did. I changed my profile picture to a rainbow.
Facebook came up with this brilliant idea to show your support on your profile picture, and it was genius. I changed mine because 1. I do support their rights. 2. I've loved rainbows since I was 3.
Not everyone was pleased about this and I was among many being teased over selling out to Facebook by changing my profile picture to a rainbow. That didn't bother me because I loved the rainbow. But then I noticed, that the day I did it, I lost two Facebook friends. Coincidence?
Well, those two people had posted several status updates in the past about how marriage is between a man and a woman only - per God. Probably not a coincidence.
This video below demonstrates what happened when one man decided to confront those who had "unfriended" him on Facebook and find out why.
So, now that I have less "friends" I guess I don't look as popular anymore on my Facebook page. But I can see that the more honest I become on Facebook, and the more political I get, the more friends I lose.
Facebook has now come up with a more diplomatic way to get rid of those whom you want to technically remain friends with, but don't want to see anything they post because you don't like it. Now, you can simply "unfollow" someone.
This means you can literally be a Facebook frenemy without anyone knowing it. Jane Doe may think you guys are friends and that you see all of her status updates in your news feed but, in fact, you unfollowed her months ago because she annoys you, but you don't want to deal with the awkwardness of deleting her. More brilliance on Facebook's part!
Imagine if you could do this in real life! Wait, in real life, if you did that, you would literally have to hide inside your house from someone who thought you were friends or never answer their calls, which would become tedious and stressful, to say the least.
What's The Point of Facebook?
I believe the point of Facebook started out as a platform to share pictures and random thoughts. It has evolved into more than that. Now, you can literally start entire social or political movements through Facebook. I think that's great, and certainly great for the guy who invented it.
I have to wonder, though, is it really about friends anymore? I see a lot of people on Facebook who have "friended" people they only met once, and you can generally tell that by post updates.
If someone has 300 friends but average only about 10 likes per post, then they probably only have about 10 "real" friends, or maybe 7 "real" friends and 3 frenemies that are filling up their daily quota of "likes". In fact, many people use the "like" system as a kind of social karma. They will "like" your stuff if you "like" theirs. Tit for Tat. If you haven't noticed this by now you should take a closer look.
“Social media is your opportunity to reach a massive number of people with transparency, honesty, and integrity.”
― Brian E. Boyd Sr.
In the end, people will do what they will on Facebook and other sites like it. No one has to participate if they don't want to. I just find it fascinating the way people behave on social sites as opposed to real life.
In the real world, you could never get away with just dismissing someone you are talking to just because you don't agree with their opinion like you can on Facebook. You could do it, but there would be actual consequences and awkwardness because the person would be standing right there.
Talking directly to your boss as opposed to ranting about him/her on Facebook is entirely different. It's non-confrontational to slam someone on Facebook, not to mention passive-aggressive. But all of us Facebookers do it at some point. And at some point, we will all be victims of it.
I find that now I care less about how many "friends" I have online and do care more about being sincere, genuine, and enjoying the perspectives of others that I know and of those who know me.
The idea of keeping an online friend around just to be able to say I have an extra friend is not a convincing motivator for me. Family members and extended family members, well, those can be tricky, and you'll have to sort that out on your own.
There are ways you can block or restrict the most obnoxious members of your family to limit your interaction with them without causing much real life harm.
But you need to ask yourself, "Do I want to be free on Facebook to say and do as I please even if I get deleted? Or do I want to go about my time online offending as little as possible and gain 20 more frenemies?
"By being honest and sincere, one often creates revolutions without having sought them." - Christian Dior