There’s a difference between reality and social media…right? Right?!
How do we explain, then, the outrage, the hurt, the disdain when someone is unfriended on Facebook?
I’m sure you’ve witnessed it yourself, but the negative impact that an unfriend can have on a person is quite the new and unique phenomenon.
Just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine raged via Facebook status about his latest snub. Even though she was no longer privy to his commentary, he called her out by name, scolding her for being so rude, so insensitive, so mean.
How dare she?
And this is the guy with 3,000+ Facebook friends.
I’m a social marketing professional, but I am not going to equate Facebook friendship with real friendship or society at large.
From a marketing standpoint, I use Facebook strategically and it is a great tool. But when it comes to my personal profile, and my life, my details, my photos — I save those for a select group. I don’t feel the need to save face by silencing or blocking Facebook users instead of just removing them from my list completely. My life has changed drastically in the last ten years; I’ve graduated high school, college, and I got married. And in the last 10 years, Facebook has changed drastically. What used to be a list full of casual friends and college acquaintances has ebbed and flowed over the last several years and is now a group of a couple of hundred school friends, family members, past professors and teachers, and other trustworthy (or at least fairly trustworthy) people I’ve met along the way and made a connection with.
Why do I limit myself? It’s not intentional; I guess there’s still a little old school in me. My belief is, if you are my friend or family member, you have my cell phone number, you can text me, you can meet me at a family dinner, and I can visit you at your home when I need to. I can email you or tweet you. Our Facebook friendship does not have any impact on our real friendship.
What about people sans Facebook profiles? Does that mean they don’t exist?
Every social platform is different. Every social strategy is different. My strategy is to stay close to the vest on Facebook with a nucleus of people I feel comfortable with (and are not bombarding me with their lives, either). That doesn’t necessarily mean I have anything against having thousands of friends on Facebook. My professional goal is to get brands 1000s of followers.
I’m just a bit puzzled by the outrage that people feel if someone unfriends them, especially someone that they don’t really care about. Maybe it is because my profession forces me to notice clear distinctions between the magic of social media and the reality of life.
The danger of social media’s impact is that it can easily start replacing self-worth, self-esteem, and sense of reality.
It’s possible to engage in social media and have it enhance our personal and business relationships. What it should not, and was never intended to do, is replace the real elements of societal constructs.
Therefore, if someone unfriends you on Facebook, that doesn’t mean they hate you, that they are a bad person, or that you’re doomed from having a relationship with them forever.
What it does mean is that they are following their personal social media strategy, felt the need to clean house within that strategy, and that is something you should respect. Don’t let social media limit you. Let it increase your possibilities.
Just my two cents.
What’s your opinion on Unfollows? Rude, or commonplace? OK, or outrageous?
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