Thursday, December 22, 2011

Delete Friend?

I promise, this isn't going to be a Ludite rant.

So I use the Facebook, and I tweet the Twitter (by the way, can we please agree that snarkily adding definite articles before popular social-media websites is just the worst?). I am Involved on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes, "friends" annoy me, usually by being idiots or consistently spelling "consistently" wrong.

So I block them.

And then I feel like this:

Great success.

Let's put aside the question "is it right to feel this way toward your fellow man?" We're putting it aside because we already know the answer: "No, most certainly not." The question I'm interested in is "why do I feel so happy when I block idiots?"

Some answers:

  • I don't have to look at their misspellings any more.

  • It gives me a feeling of power--I can dictate who's in my life and who isn't.

  • There's a remote chance that they totally idolized me and now they'll see that I'm gone from their lives and that'll force them to change their ways and before ya know it, they'll be back on the straight and narrow, and I just set some kind of record for Most Contractions Used In A Sentence.

  • Wait, what? Look back at the second answer I gave.

I can dictate who's a part of my life and who isn't.

Facebook, and to a lesser extent Twitter, provides me with the power to kind-of-absolutely-control my existence. I can even delete people from my life if I want, if "life" here is equated to "profile" or "brand" or "online presence" or whatever it is to be called. The point is that I can erase people from my universe.

That's not a form of--of murder, is it?

If in real life I find someone annoying, there are a few ways I can remove that annoyance from my life. I can physically remove myself from their vicinity (analogous to deactivating an account). But that's a retreat. That's an admission that the annoyance has defeated me.

I can seek to avoid them, ignore them, analogous to "un-friending". But they're still out there, and they tend to turn up like bad pennies when I least want to see them or hear from them.

So what remains?

I dunno. Now I feel guilty about blocking people.

Great success, conscience!

Long live maundering...


David Mews said...

Fascinating. I really like your argument. I've taken to deleting one friend a day on Facebook, I find it very therapeutic. I like the rush of power and the idea of simplifying one part of my life. Now I have to reconsider.

robadams said...

I disagree. While I understand where you are coming from, I think that deleting or blocking friends is a sometimes necessary action. However, if one does it for the reasons you suggest, power or what have you, then it is wrong. But if it is for a very plausible reason, such as we never talk anymore, or I am blocking this person's posts because they are offensive, or this person constantly gets into fights with my other friends over statuses so I am just blocking them from reading, I feel it is a very appropriate action.

Ian the Pontificator said...

@David: there certainly is something therapeutic about blocking people. It's kind of an unique phenomenon.

@robin: I hadn't really thought about blocking people because of offensive posts...I guess that would be an acceptable reason. Or would it? My argument is that blocking is maybe digital murder. Would you shoot members of the Westboro Baptist Church for being offensive?

Ian the Pontificator said...

I think I'm going to have to revisit this topic. I've thought about it some more...I may have been abrupt.

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