Not feeling the love takes on a whole new meaning in the virtual world of communication. De-friending is the latest phenomena, causing marital spats, broken hearts and some ugly skirmishes on the adult playground of life. It’s expected that 14 yr olds will friend and de-friend the same pseudo friend 10 times a day, but when an adult is defriended, it’s this permanent action, slamming the door and walking away forever.
De-liking is akin to this. My own brother de-liked this blog over something I wrote, but I keep forgetting to ask him what it was that bothered him so much. A reader de-liked me today, my count went down by one, and I tried hard not to take it personal. I wonder–did I offend someone with my ditty on hair gel? I pepped myself back up when I realized it didn’t cost me any money, like when a reader returns a book and wants money back. That actually hits my pocket-book, for eventho I don’t write a check back to the publisher, it’s out of my next royalty statement, the ability to buy another Big Mac gone. Poof.
When I’m on my personal FB page and I’m defriended, most of the time I don’t notice. When I do, I evaluate whether or not it’s worthwhile to go, get-to-the-bottom of the situation. I have done this in only one case, with my brother actually, who, by de-liking me, defriended me at the same time. A double-whamming of rejection.
A few months back, I reduced my “friend” count from 150 to about 75, because I realized I don’t talk to those individuals, they don’t write or email me, and basically, I had/have more of an ambiguous “I know you and like you,” status. The insincerity of the friend status caused me to stranglehold what I wrote to the point of ineffectiveness and boredom. Even with 75 (which, by the way, is about the number of folks we invite to our Christmas party), I find it exhausting to wonder what I can and cannot say, what’s relevant and interesting, and will I be offending someone at 8 in the morning. So it is that my personal FB site has dwindled to a place of irrelevance in my life. I check it periodically–about 1 every other week–to see what someone’s eaten for breakfast, who’s child has won the latest soccer match, or other notices of worth.
I’ve found the same patterns to be true with Linked In, the business connection site. This, in my world is worse. People who I barely know as me for recommendations. I may ‘like’ a person, but having never hired, nor worked with someone doesn’t make for a good, honest recommendation. I don’t want to write, call, or email my position on the subject to the asker. It’s just to…uncomfortable. It’s easier for me to shut down my Linked In profile and fire it back up when I need a contact than to deal with everyone who wants a link or a comment or a job.
As I’ve come full circle over the last 10 years, as Plaxo and Linked in have been up long before FB, and as I look forward, to the myriad of other networks designed to make me more social, I’ve realized one thing. I’m a rather anti-social individual, who finds one way communication vis-a-via writing in any form, more comfortable than engaging w/loads of people who are not meaningful in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I still take a hit to the ego when I’m “unliked,” “defriended,” and “delinked,” three new ways of rejection that didn’t exist in my 30’s. Yet I also have a purer kinship to complete strangers who do ‘like,’ ‘follow,’ or ‘friend,’ me, since it’s not required by familial relationship, church association or proximity. It’s genuine. And that’s what I, me, and my curmodgeony-self, truly “like.”