What Exactly Does Facebook “Friend” Mean? The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

WANAs at DFWWWCon

WANAs at DFWWWCon

What is a “friend?” That’s a good question. One of my personal peeves about The Modern Age, is that English is a very rich language and too often words are employed as a synonym when they aren’t. A HUGE bugaboo? A 13 year-old girl cannot be mature unless maybe she survived a concentration camp or other horrific events (and even then she could actually be emotionally stunted). Maturity only comes from life experience. She is too young to be mature.

The kid can be precocious, meaning she seems very adult-like. The danger in using these two words as synonyms is they AREN’T. Often a precocious child will be given more freedom than is age-appropriate or even handed burdens and responsibilities that are NOT age-appropriate.

For instance, I did most of the accounting, banking and bills by the age of twelve. I helped my mother get through nursing school, cleaned the house, packed the lunches and made the meals. A year earlier, my biggest concern had been scoring a Cabbage Patch for Christmas and where I put my favorite Barbie. Growing up happens quickly after divorce (especially a in home about as functional as the Jerry Springer Show).

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Geriant Rowland

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Geriant Rowland

Anyway, my point is this. Words have POWER and we need to respect that. When I go onto LinkedIn? I don’t see the same camaraderie as Facebook, because they use the term “Connections” which keeps the psychic distance, well…distant. Also, people generally are talking about professional things, not necessarily posting pics of the new grand baby or their beautiful garden or failed attempt at a chocolate soufflé.

Same with Twitter. We have “followers.” Most people who are active on Twitter, unless you are part of a TRIBE like #MyWANA, conversations and ideas float past. We talk, chat, have fun. If someone is a flaming a$$clown, we block. We really aren’t vested in a tiny picture and a stream of 140 characters.

Facebook is different and I think that’s what makes it really powerful. Facebook uses the word “FRIEND.”

The Good 

What a WANA Coincidence! (Susie Lindau, Moi, Julie Hedlund, Piper Bayard)

What a WANA Coincidence! (Susie Lindau, Moi, Julie Hedlund, Piper Bayard)

I “friend” all kinds of people. Yes, I am a conservative gun-owning Christian but I have friends who are Wiccan, communists, socialists, liberal, gay, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, vegan, pagan, or even just plain weird or seriously normal (which scares me more because I am one of the weird ones).

What using the word FRIEND does is it humanizes and connects me emotionally to people very different than I am. Folks I might not have sought out as friends in person, namely because I’m an introvert.

Also, geography and not being a bazillionaire prevents me from traveling the globe making friends on other continents who possess other perspectives, ideas and opinions to enrich my own.

Facebook “friend” interaction makes people I might not philosophically agree with people. I see their cat pics, funny memes, love for Star Wars, the office they are proud they just finished painting…and I am part of their world. In fact, on Facebook, I have more “human” interaction than with people I know in person.

I have lived in the same house for five years. My neighbor finally asked me to housesit and feed the cats.

I didn’t even know she had cats.

Are they single and dig Ginger Guys?

Are they single and dig Ginger Guys?

I had no clue what her house looked like inside or even what other family members looked like until I stepped inside to fill food bowls and scoop litter boxes.

Facebook can be very personal and that is a GOOD thing. We need more of that. I have had some fantastic debates and discussions with people who are very unlike me and oddly, more often than not, we find out we really are a lot more alike that it might appear on the surface.

I’ve taken trips to hang out with people I met on-line. In turn, they’ve come to stay with me. I’ve gotten people jobs, helped them relocate, or even introduced them to other WANA Facebook peeps who might be in the area where they are moving so they have an instant group of friends in a new city.

My FACEBOOK friends have been there to offer emotional support through accidents, surgeries, death, support I could NOT get from family because they were just as distraught. I was not ALONE at two in the morning when Spawn was in emergency surgery after a terrible accident knocked his four front teeth up into the maxilla.

It was a FACEBOOK friend (and WANA) Rachel Funk Heller (a purple-haired liberal Flower Child) who stayed up talking to me to keep me awake when I was the lone caretaker after my sister-in-law had an excruciatingly painful surgery on both eyes. I COULD NOT go to sleep and miss giving Kim her pain meds. It was Rachel who kept me awake from Hawaii by making zombie jokes.

Facebook friends are as real as it can get. Yes, some are closer to me than others, but ALL are real and ALL are friends (to me).

And on the business side of things…

Connecting with people is the WANA Way for building an author platform. In a sea of endless choices we will default to who we “know” and like and these relationships can be critical to our success. If we hope people will buy our books or recommend them, the least we can do is consider then a friend for-reals.

The Bad

Original image via Flikr Creative commons, courtesy of Manuel W.

Original image via Flikr Creative commons, courtesy of Manuel W.

Using the word “friend” should mean something. Yet, often when someone does or says something hurtful or is on the opposite end of being hurt, I see things like, “Well, these are just Facebook friends, not ‘real’ friends.”

Thing is, that specific word elicits something in the human mind. It makes an association. X Person=Friend.

We have to be careful being dismissive of this (likely) subconscious phenomenon in others. It’s akin to using someone for a purpose (interaction, conversation, connection) then placing little or no value on that individual or their feelings. There are no consequences for being hurtful because the “Other” wasn’t ‘real’ anyway.

Though maybe this is a poor example, it’s like that one-night stand where one person thinks there is a relationship beginning and the other just had a great time and has moved on.

The Ugly

Meet the "Facelessbook Friends"

I HATE politics, religion and social issues being meme-ified, especially when they are hateful or negative. These are SUPER COMPLEX issues that just can’t be boiled down into a meme. Most of the time, these attack posts just evoke raw knee-jerk emotion for those on the other side.

No thoughtful debate comes from this, just hurt feelings and more division. I am adamantly opposed to ANY meme that makes ANY group the “Faceless Other.” It’s dangerous and is the beating heart of hate, bigotry, racism and on and on.

If we study history, that is DANGEROUS territory. When we can make another group less than human? Fill in the rest.

I’ve seen memes comparing all Christians to Westboro or the KKK. I’ve seen memes calling all Muslims rabid Jihadis. That is just moronic, unproductive and, bluntly? Cruel. I might not support or agree with a group, but I will not tolerate them being dehumanized.

***Westboro is the exception and they did it to themselves😛

Anyway…

I found myself on the bad end of this a couple days ago. A Facebook friend who I know and like, posted a meme essentially comparing Texans to Al-Qaeda Jihadis (and this wasn’t the POINT of the meme, but it was not a CLEAR meme).

And BOY did I have a PTSD moment. All I felt explode inside me was anger and hurt.

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 12.49.05 PM

I was transported back to the moment my 6’6″ husband came home from drill and broke down in tears because he’d just been given orders to deploy to Afghanistan. All I felt was the six months of hell, the non-stop crying when I noticed EVERY cemetery, funeral home and gravestone maker in DFW. It was as if I’d been emotionally side-swiped (which I KNOW was NOT the intent of the person who posted and we made up and all is good.).

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 12.47.22 PM

This isn’t to say we need to be all happy-happy melba toast, but let’s be honest. Most of the time? We know “those” memes when we see them.

Some we might even agree with or find funny, but that doesn’t mean it’s good to publicly share. My challenge to all of us though is to simply take a moment to think before we share. There could be someone on the other side it could devastate, especially because the “attack” is coming from a “friend.”

A Better Approach?

Having been abused, I steer clear of any meme or article or video about child abuse unless it is something POSITIVE and empowering. For instance, this is BRILLIANT. It’s a sign using lenticular printing. Someone the size of an adult sees one version of the poster. Anyone the height of a child sees a way to reach out for help when they are in a high-risk situation (and ADULTS cannot SEE IT).

This is VERY different than posting graphic memes of little kids who’ve been victimized. Yes, I want to support something I believe in, but those on the other end aren’t subjected to something that might be traumatic. It’s also EMPOWERING. We don’t feel sucker punched by our feed.

If there is something graphic we might want to share, it’s better done in a link with a warning, so the person has a choice to go there or not. I even do this with funny stuff. I am generally PG-13 in all I post, but if there is a REALLY funny video, I will say, “Hey, adult language.”

We Can Change the World by Being POSITIVE

Susie Lindau, the bravest WANA of all bringing breast cancer awareness in her won Susie Style...

Susie Lindau, the bravest WANA of all bringing breast cancer awareness in her won Susie Style…

All of us have faiths, beliefs, ideas, etc. and we have a right to have them and be different. We have a right and a duty to be passionate about those beliefs. And guess what? I don’t have to agree with others and they don’t have to agree with me. And that’s OKAY. Anything else is a police state, which is the definition of un-fun.

We can all support our beliefs by being passionate about we love instead of bashing what we hate. Love is always more powerful anyway. When memes or links or whatever are non-threatening, people might pause to listen and maybe even see another point of view. We change minds by changing hearts.

But here’s the thing. A hardened heart needs to be softened to be remolded😉 . When we spout off attacks, all we do is build armor so thick the heart disappears and might even wither and die.

Facebook is a tool. How we USE it is our choice. Make people MORE human or render them faceless, heartless “things?” We have the power to decide.

We Need to Get Over Hurts

I know a lot of reflex options involve, “Report” or “Block” or “Unfriend.” You know what? I got over un-friending people who hurt me ONCE when I was about five. If someone hurts our feelings? Cry, dust off, then shake hands and go ride digital bikes. We need to be grown-ups. Now, this doesn’t mean if someone is relentlessly spewing hate and ad hominem attacks we have to tolerate that. We shouldn’t in life. Both extremes are BAD.

We all need to learn to make up and move on. Image via Wikimedia Commons

We all need to learn to make up and move on. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Hitting an Un-Friend button is a lazy shortcut that doesn’t repair relationships and leaves an open wound. Life is better when we are whole and when others are there to make us better than who we are alone.

What are your thoughts? Do you view Facebook friends as real friends? Maybe it is just my personality. If I SAY you are my friend, I MEAN it. I say what I mean and mean what I say. But maybe I am being childish.

Do you know your on-line friends better than people you know in person?

Have you ever been sucker-punched in your feed? Have you had posts you liked and then stopped yourself from posting because you were concerned you might unwittingly hurt someone? Do you seek out all kinds of friends? Or do you stay in the comfort zone? Why? And feel FREE to disagree just be nice or civil, please😀.

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of JUNE, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

If you feel you might have the vapors after reading all of this, no worries, I offer classes to HELP.

SATURDAY is my  Antagonist Class  ( June 27th). Use WANA15 for $15 off. This class will help you guys become wicked fast plotters (of GOOD stories). The GOLD level is personal time with me either helping you plot a new book or possibly repairing one that isn’t working. Never met a book I couldn’t help fix. This will save a TON of time in revision and editors are NOT cheap.

For more help with your social media/author platform/author brand, please check out Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World.

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  1. #1 by Marilyn Hudson Tucker on June 25, 2014 - 2:15 pm

    I sometimes feel side-swiped. Recently, for instance, someone posted an article whose title read “Oprah wants to Exterminate Whites.” I read the article, and what happened was that someone asked when racism would end. She replied, “When the racists die.” Since people of any color can be racist, I took offense at the headline. Facebook troubles me because so many falsehoods become famous. I am almost to the point of giving up Facebook completely. I know I’m not getting as much writing done as I should.

    • #2 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 25, 2014 - 2:24 pm

      Yeah, that crap irritates me. But, I glaze over the idiocy and look for the good and for the most part it has landed on the positive side. The only way we will EVER be clear of stupidity is if we live on a deserted island alone and even then we are stuck with our own stupidity, LOL.

  2. #3 by Nancy LiPetri on June 25, 2014 - 2:22 pm

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Kristen! You put so many of my thoughts about FB friends and their posts into perfect words. From how close I feel to online friends…to feeling sucker punched by some of those political and alarmist posts, yet not “unfriending” or blocking them because I don’t want to miss out on their good posts–agree with you!

  3. #4 by Heather on June 25, 2014 - 2:23 pm

    The people I’ve unfriended have typically been people I knew outside the internet, who I found out later lied to me and the people closest to me, and about me and the people closest to me. their stances didn’t mean anything to me personally, until I and my friends were actually attacked.

    • #5 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 25, 2014 - 2:25 pm

      I don’t tolerate abuse. I have rarely unfriended and it was generally people being unkind in a thread. My “Friends” need to feel safe to have a different point of view and not be attacked for it.

  4. #6 by Normandie Ward Fischer on June 25, 2014 - 2:28 pm

    As always, Facebook/blogging friend, you’ve written something true, something real, and something we should each consider. I have friends all along the faith/political/ideological spectrum, both online and in person. We get along because we share a mutual respect and are kind to one another. “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all” was drummed into me by the sweetest woman I’ve ever known, my mama. And, yes, that sometimes means biting my tongue or heading into the closet for a rant, but it keeps me from loosing the words into the hearing or sight of others. (If I were the disarmingly innocent person my mama is, I’d be a lot further along toward perfection. Sigh.)

    And, yes, Facebook allows for real friendships (in spite of what my son says). I’m real. You’re real. And a lot of other folk out there certainly feel real to me. I love interacting with them and being stimulated by their conversation, grinning at their photos or cartoons, applauding when they achieve something they want, weeping with them when they hurt, and praying for them when they ask.

  5. #7 by Kait Nolan on June 25, 2014 - 2:32 pm

    Really great post, Kristen. These days I tend to unfriend a) Random dudes who friend me and immediately start behaving like a creeper, b) People whose feeds have become nothing but drama mongering political BS (without legitimate fact checking or care about FACTS at all), and c) Super negative people. There’s enough negative out there in the world, and I prefer to surround myself (IRL and out) with people who are positive, who will lift me and others up.

  6. #8 by P.L. Taylor on June 25, 2014 - 2:38 pm

    Kristen, that was a wonderful post, but the video just rocked my day. Having been an EMT and involved in security I’ve seen some sad things. The concept of a child not being able to see what the adult does and get a message safely is amazing.

  7. #10 by Beppie Harrison on June 25, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    As a relative newcomer to Facebook, I am fortunately inexperienced in encountering what I would call abuse of “friend-ship.” Your blog has made me think about it more than I had before, and I guess what I will do personally is what I do with real live people: assume they mean well unless there is clear evidence to the contrary. So far, so good–some people think things are interesting that I don’t (this is not a problem), some people are at home with rawer humor than I am (also not a problem; I just skip that one), and some people hand out solid gold. Your sharing that video was in the last category.

    • #11 by Stephanie Scott on June 25, 2014 - 3:21 pm

      I also generally assume people mean well. The problems I’ve encountered are mainly extended family who I know in one context, say a family gathering where people might act one way around grandma, and then online, which can reveal a whole host of attitudes and beliefs I was unaware of. I ended up unfriending an extended family member of my husband’s because he kept saying insensitive things that I think he meant to be funny, and it was just too much energy to explain every time why these things he was saying were not only unfunny, but insulting. If I see him at a family event, I’m sure he’ll be nice, but I don’t want a constant feed of his noise.

  8. #12 by kristin nador on June 25, 2014 - 2:57 pm

    Reblogged this on kristin nador writes anywhere and commented:
    Have you ever been offended by a Facebook ‘friend’s status? ‘Unfriended’ (how is this a word now?) someone because of what they post? Thought about chucking it all and deleting your Facebook account?
    Read this blog post from the wonderful Kristen Lamb, where she honestly deconstructs Facebook friends, virtual offenses, and how to deal with them all.

  9. #13 by yosemitesyd on June 25, 2014 - 3:04 pm

    I agree that a FB friend connection can lead to valuable relationships with people you would not normally encounter because they travel outside your circles. I have only ever unfriended two people. Both were men who cheated on women I love and I don’t want to see their faces anymore. I have changed settings so I don’t see posts of some friends because they post too frequently on subjects that raise my blood pressure; I value the connection but prefer not to have them in my face too much.Great post. And BTW, I got a lot out of your First Five Pages seminar. Thanks.

  10. #14 by sharonhughson on June 25, 2014 - 3:05 pm

    First, Friday is June 27 (my husband will be 49).
    Second, I like being friends with people who see things differently than me. I personally think creative people are more open to such inter-culturalfaithpolitical friendships because we want to expand our worldview. We know it will make our art better.
    Don’t mistake my openmindedness and willingness to listen as compromising my beliefs. But after losing every argument ever had with my older brother (because he never listened), I decided arguing is counterproductive. I need to live what I believe without condemning others who don’t believe the same.
    I feel strange when I say, “My writer friend I met on Facebook (or at WANA)” because it is a new culture. To be friends, you have to know someone. I believe we can know people even if we’ve never met them face to face (I do believe I know Jesus Christ, after, all and I’m nowhere near old enough to have met him in person).
    Thanks for saying what we’re all thinking in a clear and engaging way. When I grow up, I want to write with the same clarity.

  11. #15 by hovisb on June 25, 2014 - 3:08 pm

    I don’t agree with you about the maturity thing. I’ve come across 15 year olds who were incredibly mature, not simply for their age, not precotious but Mature human beings. However, I was late to Facebook. I can’t admit to liking it but it’s better than the rest. I’ve got a lot of “friends” but I don’t consider any of them to be actual friends just “links” in a chain. Not sure what the chain powers as it doesn’t produce much activity on my lifeline however, that’s probably because I’m not sure how to use Facebook effectively. Pathetic isn’t it?

    • #16 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 25, 2014 - 3:17 pm

      Nah, I didn’t get a lot out of Facebook until I connected with the right people and then those lead to other great people. A lot is learning how to use it. Not pathetic, just “new”😉 . And sure, maybe there are 15 year olds who are mature, but I see a LOT of the latter. People don’t realize that kid really needs adults to help and be there. Teens often go through this. parents might back down but they still need us, even though they are coming into adulthood.

  12. #17 by Jen on June 25, 2014 - 3:11 pm

    Hi Kristen! I’m a huge fan! Love your emails. I totally agree with you about FB being frustrating when it comes to people foisting there political agenda on you. I noticed on the first photo of you and some gals that you are all holding up three fingers. What is that all about?

  13. #19 by nrhatch on June 25, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    When I first joined Facebook, I added lots of casual acquaintances to my “friends” list. Over time, I decided that I couldn’t be “friends” with all of them because friendship takes time and effort and I didn’t feel like spending the time it would take to follow all the ups and downs in their lives. So I unfriended those that I didn’t feel rose to the level of “friend.”

    Now my friends on Facebook are all real friends.

    • #20 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 25, 2014 - 4:00 pm

      I use my energy to varying degrees. Friends flow in, life gets busy and they flow out and new ones come. The cycle repeats. I might not see someone for a few months, but then find out there was a death or a major life event. This is why I don’t unfollow for inactivity. I just bee-bop on and chat with who ever scrolls past.

  14. #21 by Kit Dunsmore on June 25, 2014 - 3:24 pm

    Great post. I do my best to always remember that my FB Friends, many of whom I’ve never met, are people. Individuals with their own lives, opinions, and hot buttons. I prefer to friend people who are positive in their shares. I skip the hate posts. If someone posts something truly cruel or is consistently hateful, I will turn off their posts. I don’t want to live in a fantasy land, but I don’t want to live in a world full of hateful messages that make other people into targets.

  15. #22 by Shawna Coronado on June 25, 2014 - 3:44 pm

    If we have never met before and have friended one another, there is a period of time that we spend getting to know one another. What if we find out that person is abusive and mean to others or posts things we don’t like overtime? I don’t think that we should be expected to be a permanent friend to them if they are cruel and mean to others.

    I often unfriend people who are not active with me. I am about to my 5,000 limit and while I would never unfriend a close friend, I don’t think I can stay friends with inactive/non-participants, extremists, mean people, bigots, or people who offend me and my followers by hating and being a troll. So I unfriend them. I do it quietly. If they contact me and want to know why, I tell them honestly.

    I recently unfriended an acquaintance who I’ve never met in person who was very upset with me for unfriending her. Yet every time I posted something on my feed it seemed she had some hurtful or abusive or argumentative thing to say. She wanted me to remain her friend so she could continue to abuse me. That is wrong. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life and I wouldn’t want that for anyone else either. So I unfriended her.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is FB is a great place to build friendships, but are you saying you’d actually stay close friends with every single person you ever met in your entire life? Once we get to know someone intimately we sometimes find that they aren’t really friends at all. It’s a life lesson we try to have our children understand – that friends are here to stay unless they are cruel, abusive, or hateful, then we don’t want our children to stay friends with those types of people. Same for we adults. We have to make smart decisions when using social media that is good for our emotional well being. Bottom line.

    • #23 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 25, 2014 - 3:56 pm

      No, at the end of the post, I do say that if people aren’t adding to the relationship or are being abusive, cruel, hate-spewers? Leave. But if the person most of the time has been cool then has a bad day? The knee-jerk shouldn’t be to un-friend. And I also say they are friends by varying degrees of closeness, but I wouldn’t talk the way some people do to Facebook friends to STRANGERS. YIKES! Just be kind.

      I’ve unfriended people who were abusive to me or others in my feed. I also unfriend people who are hate-spewers or perpetually angry and negative. If I want that crap? I’ll watch the news to get indigestion.

  16. #24 by Diana on June 25, 2014 - 3:48 pm

    I have FB friends I know in real life, some who have been board buddies for over a decade and with whom I have had real life contact, and some whom I have never met and never will. We run across the spectrum in all areas. I’m seldom blindsided but I do admit I get tired of all the political/religious stuff or the so-called “feel good” posts-I can guarantee if one posts what I call a “fluffy bunny land” post, many will also post the same dratted post to the point I will see it at least three/four times on my feed-but I learned a long time ago to just scroll on by until I find an entry I actually want to read.

    I have unfriended 2 people, one who asked a question and didn’t like my answer so he had his buddies gang up on me instead of asking me for clarification, and the other was a real life acquaintance who pulled some very uncool stuff to the point of physically harming a friend. I wanted nothing to do with the acquaintance after that. Oh, and I’ve hidden posts by a few friends when it feels like they become far too obsessed and vitriolic about politics. One or two of those and my feed becomes a maddening mess of fluffy bunny land vs. partisan rants interspersed with an occasional cat picture(Because I think it’s a law that there is at least one cat picture on the FB wall at all times).

  17. #25 by Amy Keeley on June 25, 2014 - 4:04 pm

    Politics is possibly the worst thing I’ve encountered on FB. I’ve found it’s best to just ignore it (most of the time) because those people are generally alright the rest of the time. Plus, I know and interact with the vast majority of my FB friends in real life, so I just tell myself I now know which subjects to avoid in RL conversations to keep things smooth. It’s made my RL more pleasant as a result.

  18. #26 by Jess Mahler on June 25, 2014 - 4:32 pm

    I actually have more ‘friends’ on Twitter than Facebook. The chat layout lets me have actual conversations with people, where the more forum-style comment system o Facebook always feels a bit awkward to me.

  19. #27 by Tarla Kramer on June 25, 2014 - 4:41 pm

    While I get vexed by the LGBT agenda posts, I will ignore them except if they cross the line into persecuting Christians then I will message the person (then like a few of their good posts). Some things I disagree with strongly I might ignore if they only have a couple of likes, or make one comment then leave it.

  20. #28 by Elizabeth Anne Mitchell on June 25, 2014 - 4:42 pm

    I’ve definitely got online friends who are as close as my IRL friends, many of them WANAs. The support I got from everyone when my brother passed away was unbelievable. WANAs have stood by me and helped me so many times, when they only know me online.
    I have blocked only the creepy men who direct message me, and don’t take my “No, thank you,” for an answer. I have hidden the posts from people who sprinkle negativity liberally on all their posts. I struggle with darkness myself, but I try to shut up about it rather than be the harpy of Unhappiness pooping everywhere.

  21. #29 by logankeys on June 25, 2014 - 4:50 pm

    What a fab post! Guns, Christian, writer, and military over here lol

    I’m on a FB break right now to get my physical in order. The chunky golum look is so last season so I have to pry my hands from the keyboard and hiss at the sun for an hour here and there.

    FB is simply a tool yes. But how is it effecting your life is the question. If it’s a negative thing more than not I feel a break is in order but some don’t get the blowback others do.🙂

    I love you blog btw! Just found it recently and needed to hear a lot of the stuff you post🙂

  22. #30 by Kelly Roberts on June 25, 2014 - 4:54 pm

    This is my second go on FB. The first time, it was just me, with all of my opinions, politics, religion, etc. And what I surrounded myself with was like-minded folk…and a really small bubble of reality. But what I know now, on my second FB rodeo ride as an author, is that my bubble is wider, it NEEDS to be wider, and I like it that way so much more.

    Don’t get me wrong—I’m still me, with all my same opinions, politics, religion, etc.—but I keep that stuff to myself because it doesn’t have any place of value in my world as an author (at least the kind of author I want to be). I learned that from a really smart woman—hey, you have her same name!!

    And the funny thing is I don’t have much tolerance for people who feel the need to pummel the world with their extreme views. I wholeheartedly believe that people have the right to express them and I wouldn’t want to live in a country where we couldn’t say what we felt compelled to. I just don’t have to be friends with them, online or otherwise.

    I’ve found that as I’ve modulated my own expression of opinions, I feel more centered. At first I thought I’d feel the opposite, like I would explode if I couldn’t express my deepest opinions. But I haven’t felt that way once—my outward civility has cultivated an inward calm.

    Sure, there are a few people I follow who still spout off extreme views. If they’re the same as mine, I read them and move on…nothing new to see here, folks. If they’re the opposite, my first instinct is to counter comment. Instead I read what they wrote and let it sit with me for a bit. I’m a logical person, and my opinion can be (and has been) changed with logical, rational information. So I give their words a chance. If I’m not moved to change or alter my opinion, then just as with my like-minded peeps, I move on.

  23. #31 by julipagemorgan on June 25, 2014 - 5:03 pm

    I’ve only “unfriended” one person since I’ve been on Facebook. She was a relative of my son-in-law, someone I’ve never met, and she was the most negative individual I’ve ever run across. But I will block posts from people. I have a friend (a guy I know in real life) whose political opinions are the polar opposite of mine. He doesn’t post a lot of political crap, but there are times when he gets in a mood and that’s all he posts. And they’re not things designed to foster discussion, but snarky, hateful attacks. Since I don’t log into Facebook to be told people who think like I do are all incredible morons with no functioning brain cells, I block him for a while. I’ve also blocked people for posting gruesome photos of animal abuse, ostensibly to “raise awareness” even when there’s no link to donate to an animal charity. No, all it does is break my heart, and those horrid images stay with me for WEEKS. I block anyone who posts photos like that, and I’ve realized I’ve never un-blocked any of them. Huh. Don’t miss them at all.

  24. #32 by Cyndi Perkins on June 25, 2014 - 5:36 pm

    Those of us who use Facebook for good and not evil should never give up on promoting positivity. I’ve only had to unfriend a couple of hate mongers and I have a few times filled in the explanation blank where you can explain to a friend why you’re deleting their comment. I simply tell them that I can’t abide personal attacks, prejudice or negativity. I adore Facebook for its ability to connect us with life events – and I always tell my friends who fear they are posting too many baby pics or “bragging” to shush. If you don’t like the good stuff, fellow facebookers, then just scroll on by. I have 20-plus cousins with children who have children that I would never have engaged with at this level without Facebook. And I’ll pray for anyone who asks for healing, blessings or understanding. Who doesn’t need a prayer-circle mechanism as powerful as Facebook – or for that matter whatever new social media connector eclipses it someday. Professionally, I share published pieces that I think my friends and family will relate to, either because they’re rejoicing for me or its news they can use, like how to grow a better tomato or stand up to a bullying bill collector. It’s a soft promotional tool. I don’t like anything pushy or drama-ridden on Facebook. It’s not the appropriate venue.

  25. #33 by Susanne Leist on June 25, 2014 - 5:56 pm

    I agree with your post. Politics and religion have no place on Facebook. Personal beliefs should be kept personal and not forced on others.

  26. #34 by Cheryel Hutton on June 25, 2014 - 6:18 pm

    Kristen, not long after I read your FB post about being hurt and angry because of a meme, there was a post that distilled two very complicated issues into a one-sided anti-semitic post.

    The guy who posted the thing had only asked for a “friendship” a couple of days before. I quick check of his timeline showed this was not unusual. I unfriended him, and I will be checking the timeline before i friend anybody else I don’t recognize from other places. Why he picked me to friend in the first place is beyond my ability to understand. Another writer, I guess. But Jewish is on my profile. Why friend somebody you obviously hate? Crazy!

    I think of you as a friend, and hope to give you you an in-person hug one day. You and my other FB friends have helped me through the last few months. Thanks.

    • #35 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 25, 2014 - 6:23 pm

      RIGHT??? Like there is a GIANT PIC of me with a sniper rifle on my FB page. Um, if you hate people with guns that much? Errr? I have gotten where I check timelines too. Everyone has a bad day and I am addressing the ANOMALIES. Obviously the person who hurt me I LIKED and had liked enough of her posts for her to show in my feed…and then there was this WEIRD TURN. I DO think of you as a friend and if you are ever in DFW, let me know and I will cook for you or—time permitting—join us at the ranch😀.

      • #36 by Cheryel Hutton on June 26, 2014 - 9:24 am

        I would love that. Now back to the writing so that someday I can afford to go somewhere besides the grocery store. LOL-sort of.

  27. #37 by alicamckennajohnson on June 25, 2014 - 6:29 pm

    I have definitely thought about not posting things, but if it is funny, upbeat, or positive I go ahead and post it knowing if it doesn’t appeal people will pass it by. But I have made mistakes, I post this ridiculous church sign that made me crack up, and most people took it in humor, but one guy was offended, and a friend who can be aggressive with her beliefs decided to argue with him. GUH Drama on my facebook, I was able to stop it, with humor, but I felt bad for accidentally starting a scuffle.

  28. #38 by Deborah Makarios on June 25, 2014 - 6:41 pm

    I don’t have a Facebook account any more, but back when I did I was annoyed by people who ‘friended’ me but didn’t seem interested in any further interaction. Yes, you can have real friends online, but putting someone’s name on a list headed ‘friends’ doesn’t make them one.
    Also annoying when ‘real life’ friends issue invitations on Facebook only and then wonder why people without Facebook accounts don’t come to the party!

  29. #39 by Leigh Verrill-Rhys: EverWriting on June 25, 2014 - 7:08 pm

    I came to adulthood during the Vietnam war. Before that it was the Korean War. One of the results of all wars before and since has been the demonization and dehumanizing of the enemy. Whatever I do, on whatever side of any issue I stand, I don’t reduce the ‘other’. In every case where that happens, the person who reduces their opponent has already lost the argument. It is easy to dismiss someone who opposes your point of view by calling them stupid or idiotic or simplistic. It is much more productive to listen and respect the difference.

    I learned my lesson with Facebook when a very good friend objected to my post on a particular extremely explosive topic. I considered all my options and decided I liked him more than I had a strong opinion about this. I didn’t change my mind – his argument was insulting – but I let him have his say and dropped the matter. I learned that Facebook is not the place to discuss heavyweight issues. These are better handled face to face, except when people yell at you. :{ Even then, my friends are my friends, regardless of disagreements.

    Most of my Facebook friends are people I know or who know someone I know. I have a FB page and Twitter account for my professional work. I stick to good news.

    Another great post, Kristen. Thought-provoking and so important in this very divisive social climate.

  30. #40 by Mira Prabhu on June 25, 2014 - 8:25 pm

    Kirsten, when the internet exploded, I was in the Himalayas, “finding” myself…as a result I missed out on the first and second and third waves…and have been getting into it now…over a decade later. So much of it is mystifying…and you make it all so easy to understand, this business of “friending” etc…which does get people into all sorts of crazy situations, because we are all so different. Thank you for your always thoughtful and meaningful communications…love reading your posts!

  31. #41 by rumadak on June 25, 2014 - 8:32 pm

    Great Post!! So many people would not agree with this but I certainly do. Social Media is an amazing tool to use and explore! I need people who disagree with me and vice-versa around me!

  32. #42 by emeraldobrien on June 25, 2014 - 8:39 pm

    Great post Kristen. I agree that people need to try to work through disagreements instead of just unfriending. This post also reminded me of something I’d read a while ago, and while I can’t find the post, this is the theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number It suggests that people can only have true social relationships with 150 people at a time (I’m paraphrasing), so it’s interesting that the majority of people have more Facebook friends than this.

    • #43 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 25, 2014 - 9:28 pm

      Seth Godin has explored this and when I mean “friend” it doesn’t mean we are all hanging out braiding each other’s hair. It means you are in my tribe and I seek to realize you have FEELINGS and your opinions are your own. Just be KIND. I am not intimately friends with everyone on FB, BUT I know I have a VERY diverse group, so I take time to ponder if I am being poignant or hurtful. I can post stuff people disagree with that doesn’t just NAIL them to the CORE. And vice versa.

      • #44 by emeraldobrien on June 26, 2014 - 7:55 am

        I definitely agree that everyone should be respectful in any online community, but for me, that doesn’t mean I view each person I have as a friend on Facebook an actual friend (the hair-braiding type, or the get together in person type). Some are old acquaintances from school that I have never interacted with. There are so many varying opinions about how close people are/feel to the people on their Facebook, but as you said before, it’s an intimate title given to someone in a social network compared to others. I understand when you say you see these people as people, more so than some you know in real life. I do too.

  33. #45 by Kristina Rienzi, Author on June 25, 2014 - 9:05 pm

    Reblogged this on Embrace the Unknown and commented:
    I love what Kristin Lamb has to say about Facebook friends. I touched on sharing our lives on social media in my post, “When Private People Go Public,” but Kristin explores it with insight and depth. A must read for all of us social creatures. Enjoy!

  34. #46 by doovinator on June 25, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    I really hate Facebutt, though I have a certain circle who knows who I am (NOT my standard “given” name) and make posts to them and readily and frequently un-friend anyone I don’t wish to argue with (and Facebutt is particularly good at inciting pointless, middle-school arguments). For real interaction I go to Google+, where I have about 10,000 folks in my circles, from all over the world and from every possible background!

  35. #47 by Shari on June 25, 2014 - 11:01 pm

    Great article. I’ve made some wonderful friends on facebook and also had bad moments where I felt angry at meme’s designed to spawn anger and hatred. For the most part, it’s been a very good place for me and I’ve met people who I consider lifelong friends. I like your perspective. It’s good to have a balanced approach, much like with everything in life.

  36. #48 by Bernadette Rowley on June 26, 2014 - 12:10 am

    Enjoyed the article Kristen. I do consider my Facebook friends REAL friends. I get a lot of support there and try to give some too. I feel overjoyed at the successes and commiserate with the disappointments. There are some I know I wouldn’t see eye to eye with in real life and who share deeply personal stuff that just shouldn’t be aired on FB but I ignore anything like that. I try to stay positive in my comments. I tried to avoid FB for so long but when I finally succumbed, it’s one of the best things I ever did.

  37. #49 by A Writer With Something To Say on June 26, 2014 - 12:18 am

    Facebook is a great tool for writers if you use it correctly. I appreciate some of my Facebook friends and there are some who never reach out to me, but add me because of my writing. I think it’s all about the person.

  38. #50 by Bianca Herdin on June 26, 2014 - 1:15 am

    Wow this message has stirred up a mix of emotions, tears and thoughts. I can relate to most of what you say and other points have made me re-think some of my actions. Mainly my approach to converting people to veganism. I am one of those guilty of posting explicit and shocking info to try and make people see what I see. I personally became vegan after seeing sad and distressing footage of animal abuse and my rationale was if others see this, they will be just as moved as I was and take action. But as you say, perhaps that has done more harm and angered people creating an opposite reaction to the one intended. Perhaps only positive and loving posts where people don’t feel judged and condemned will penetrate the soul. Thank you. X

    • #51 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 26, 2014 - 1:11 pm

      I think it would be more effective. I do the same with GF and had to stop being an annoying evangelist, LOL. I would LOVE to be a vegan because I just don’t care for meat and am an animal lover. I just have SO many food allergies and mostly to the sources of vegan protein. I remember one time I was talking about grilling and vegan LAMBASTED me and went on this graphic rant about slaughterhouses and I was all….um, GO VEGAN, but I am allergic to soy, nuts, legumes and I kinda dig being ALIVE.

  39. #52 by suesconsideredtrifles on June 26, 2014 - 1:22 am

    You make some really good points. I frequently see things I’d prefer not to see on Facebook. They include ill-considered posts, inappropriate public discussion and some innocent requests to share memes, which would be painful for me. I prefer Twitter! Sue

  40. #53 by Richard A Snow on June 26, 2014 - 5:48 am

    I think this is one of the most thought-provoking blog posts I’ve ever read. (And to compare all Texans to Jihadi’s??? what was that person thinking?) I’m going to try to exercise more care when sharing things to ensure I’m not blasting an entire group or religion because of how a few people behave. Too often I’ve thought “Yeah, that’s right” and hit the share button, without pausing to consider whether I’m blasting an entire group. Thanks for this.

  41. #54 by David Erickson on June 26, 2014 - 6:33 am

    A thoughtful article. FB has allowed me the freedom to stay in touch with friends and relatives I otherwise wouldn’t be and connects me to people I’d not have met. The variety of posts they offer and the connections to articles I’d not have seen otherwise are invaluable. And yes, sometimes it changes my opinion on things while at other times they reinforce my beliefs with incontrovertible facts and unique perspectives.

    I find it hard to unfriend anyone, but there does come a time. Like when I get a guy telling me he loves me whom I just friended or someone who turns out to be a not-obvious at the outset troll. Rare though it may be.

    And I find it far easier to start a conversation or provide content than I do with a blog.

  42. #55 by Tamara LeBlanc on June 26, 2014 - 8:44 am

    I read this fantastic post quick and have a ton of work today so not a lot of time to comment, but I loved it, Kristen, loved every word and image.
    Tamara

  43. #56 by N.E. Montgomery on June 26, 2014 - 11:06 am

    This is so true! People forget that FB friends are people – and not stupid ones, either. What I love about FB – helping and connecting – I once helped on FB friend who needed to get adopted cats out of a foreign country (long story) connect with an old friend from Jr high who had a foreign service gov job and knew the resources she needed. No way would they have “met” otherwise. (Yes, she got her kitties home).

    What I hate about FB – using it to hurt. I have a group of IRL friends who are no longer friends with each other, partially because some of them wrote supposedly “general” FB posts clearly targeted to snark at each other – things they would never have said in person. Now they won’t even be in the same room with each other. Super fun for those of us who are friends with them all.

    And people who use FB as just their personal soapbox. I hid a friend who’s posts were just a constant political harangue, and I agreed with the politics! But I want personal on FB, not soapbox. It’s one thing to post an FYI link, another to go on and on…

    Thanks for this – it’s worth stopping and thinking about what you post, and how it affects the real humans behind the screen, humorously intended or not…

  44. #57 by Lanette Kauten on June 26, 2014 - 1:10 pm

    A year-and-a-half ago, a FaceBook friend was brutally attacked and left for dead. The only time I have ever seen him face to face was when he was in a medically-induced coma. Though we never saw eye-to-eye on anything (I’m a conservative Christian; he’s a liberal atheist), I always enjoyed talking to him and sitting back and reading the debates he got into. I truly cared about him and was distraught when the doctors weren’t sure if he’d recover. Thankfully, he did recover, and he and I have become better FB friends since then. We still haven’t met face-to-face since he’s been out of the hospital, but I still care about him, and we chat through IMs frequently.

    This morning when I checked my FB, I saw that he had sent me a message asking me to check on a thread I hadn’t been following. I cannot begin to say how angry I got and how upset I still am over what I read. He’s a lawyer and loves nothing more than a good debate. Well, a debate became very personal. One guy (I’ll call him Bob), asked what my friend did to provoke the other guy to attack him. My friend calmly pointed out he doesn’t remember that night, but the lack of defensive wounds suggested he was completely blind-sided. Bob kept dogging him with the same questions about what my friend did to deserve his attack. That not only made me angry, but I have cried today because this is someone who means something to me. We’ve never hung out, I haven’t seen him in person while he’s alert, but this is someone I’ve gotten to know over the past 2-3 years, and I care about him.

  45. #58 by Ruth Ann Nordin on June 26, 2014 - 2:58 pm

    Facebook has been a wonderful way to connect with people. I agree about keeping positive. I think some online friendships can be the best ones we have. I recently met two people in person I’d been communicating with online for a couple years. The best thing was since we had talked so much online, it was much easier to break through the phase of not knowing what to say when you’re face to face with someone new. It was a great experience.

  46. #59 by geralynwichers on June 27, 2014 - 9:26 am

    I’ve often wondered how much a Facebook friendship can ‘count’ for. Do I really know that person if that’s the only way we’ve met?
    But after the invaluable help I’ve received from writer friends, and the accountability from health-group friends, I’m really thankful for them anyway.

  47. #60 by Jeannine on June 27, 2014 - 11:34 am

    Kristen, shouldn’t the antagonist class be taking place now? It’s 12:30 on June 27, but I’m still getting a message that it hasn’t started and the website doesn’t mention anything abouht a delay or rescheduling. Thanks.

    • #61 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 27, 2014 - 4:31 pm

      I am an idiot who looked at the wrong month when I gave Jay the information to load the class. Apparently the 27th IS a Saturday…in JULY *head desk*. So I am rescheduling it. I was totally ready for tomorrow😀.

      …yes, I am a moron.

  48. #62 by Annikka Woods on June 27, 2014 - 11:40 am

    I’m essentially house bound because of my disability. I get out a few times a week, but that doesn’t leave much of a chance to make friends in the “real world”. I have more online friends than I do real life friends, and my best friend is someone I’ve never met but would love to one day. For people like us (my friend is the same way), social media and IM chats are our main source of conversations and interactions. And I met my best friend through Facebook by asking a question about something she posted. I think social media in general and Facebook in particular are great for people like us.

  49. #63 by Rebecca on June 27, 2014 - 10:52 pm

    I don’t have a Facebook. I haven’t for years due to extensive bullying. It started to become a trigger rather than a resource.

    I don’t feel safe on Facebook. I’ve seen far too many people weaponize it, blocking those people, and them finding another way to wage a war. The hypervigilance became too much to maintain.

    However I like what you’ve written. This was an awesome article. The points you made were absolutely excellent and I love that you made it so beautifully personal.

    Hope your day is a good one🙂

  50. #64 by Hannah Kubiak on June 28, 2014 - 9:21 am

    Hi there, Kristen,
    Thank you for this thorough analysis of the pros and cons of Facebook. I haven’t had a Facebook in several years, so I’m not sure what’s going on there anymore, but I definitely agree that it has, in a way, diminished the value of the word “friend.” As a fellow introvert I am very careful about who I form friendships with, and I take being a good friend very seriously, going so far as to say that if I died and someone sincerely decided to write, “A good and loyal friend” on my headstone, my life’s ambition would be fulfilled. There’s value in being able to talk to someone face-to-face, but unfortunately, while Facebook keeps everyone connected, paradoxically it also keeps them apart.

    Keep on blogging! I greatly enjoy what you write!

  51. #65 by Addy Rae on June 30, 2014 - 9:46 am

    This is a very thoughtful post. Oddly enough, some people that I’m very close to on Facebook, I’m very awkward and comfortable around in real life. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t close friends, just that we’re friends through the computer screen. 🙂

    As a side note, I’m often more annoyed by the missing dog/cat posts that get forwarded through my feed. The ‘This dog missing from Hawaii’ posts when I live in Wisconsin. I mean, if I see a stray dog I’ll bring them in to the vet, and hopefully they’ll be chipped and recovered, but I’m unlikely to see THAT particular dog, and when someone posts dozens of these in a day from all over the country, it annoys me. Possibly cruel of me.

    Political posts, I tend to skim over. Graphic anything I block and report. Touchy feely posts I skim over as well. Really, what I like to see is how YOUR day went, what YOU are thinking about, not knee jerk shares. I care about you, not what the Internet coughed up today.

    • #66 by Addy Rae on June 30, 2014 - 9:47 am

      ‘Uncomfortable’ I meant to say. Whoops! Didn’t see that on any of the read throughs I made.

    • #67 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 30, 2014 - 10:12 am

      I LOVE your line, “Really, what I like to see is how YOUR day went, what YOU are thinking about, not knee jerk shares. I care about you, not what the Internet coughed up today.” AGREE!

  52. #68 by lisa on June 30, 2014 - 11:19 am

    I myself am a Christian, writer, mother, wife, friend. I use FB and enjoy it. I have cousins across the country and it is great to catch up with their lives. I don’t get into political and religious discussions. I like to see what my friends are doing. I usually only friend people I know. I have unfriended people. One was a church friend. One of her friends used a word that I consider worse than the F word, so I unfriended her. I did message her and let her know why. My kids sometimes look over my shoulder, so I have to be careful. My friend of 20 years unfriended me and I still don’t know what I did. I had to let that go. I tend to look at profiles as well. Here and on Twitter.

  53. #69 by Kerry Gans on June 30, 2014 - 1:25 pm

    Kristen – I do seek out friends who hold other viewpoints than mine. I ENJOY discussing differing views with people who can do so in an intelligent, non-insulting manner. I often learn a lot. And although I am not always persuaded to their POV, I do understand more of where they are coming from, and that’s so important. Like you, I usually find that we are more alike than different. And yes, I do feel that some of my FB friends are real friends. I know more about them than my neighbors–I am highly introverted, with anxiety disorder, so dealing with people is incredibly hard for me. I am thankful that so many people on FB have let me into their lives, and made me feel comfortable there.

    And, yes, I have sometimes seen a meme I liked or found funny but didn’t repost because I felt it might not be appropriate or might hurt others. If I really liked it, I might “Like” the original post, but often I just smile or nod and go on my way. FB is a public forum, no matter how friendly it feels, and some things in my head don’t need to be shared with the world.

    Kerry

  54. #70 by jorgekafkazar on June 30, 2014 - 3:54 pm

    What I hate about Fæcebook is the deliberate, organized othering. A friend, someone I actually know, shared a photo that claimed only 6% of all scientists were Republicans. Setting aside liberal academic hiring bias (which studies show exists), the photo was intended to portray Republicans as mentally inferior. What if the photo had said, “only 6% of all scientists are non-Aryans?” Would she have caught on to what was being done? I sure hope so.

    Too many people think that their noble beliefs make them holy in some way, and that thus anyone who believes otherwise must be EVIL and inferior, deserves shunning and, ultimately, death. I recently wrote a review of “In the Garden of the Beasts,” a history of William Dodd’s tenure as ambassador to Nazi Germany. [http://preview.tinyurl.com/kx8vc56] The book drives home how thoroughly the Nazi propaganda mill did its work. It started with othering…

  55. #71 by Raani York on June 30, 2014 - 4:22 pm

    You know, I had the experience that people on FB are “normal” people we could meet every single day in the streets. Some of them are friendly, funny, “stupid”, with or without humor, unfriendly, grumpy, frustrated, “weird” or crazy, and/or helpful, supportive, happy when I am and just become “friends” in a very clear form… I know, I haven’t seen them (very often) – but I connect to some of them more than I ever connected to some people leaving nearby…
    Yes, I agree, there’s all kinds of stuff going on on FB but I prefer just picking the “nice” stuff – the useful one – and the nice people I like and make FB fun for me.

  56. #72 by E.b. Black on July 2, 2014 - 2:40 pm

    You summed up why facebook is my favorite social network. I try to post on twitter and my blog as well as much as possible, but I get closer to people on facebook than any other social network. And for me, I like to socialize and connect with people as an author. It’s great because I really get to know people. But it’s also extremely painful when feelings get hurt on there.

    For me, I do go out of my way to try not to be offensive on facebook. I have certain political and religious beliefs that are very personal to me. I have certain events in my past that were traumatic that formed some of those beliefs. But you’ll never hear me talking about them.

    But I also know a lot of people in person who have completely opposite beliefs to what I have in these two areas. So I try not to do more than just “like” posts in these areas that I agree with. I sometimes state my opinions on certain subjects like women’s rights, but I keep it to a minimum.

    I haven’t been sheltered. I’ve met so many people with a variety of beliefs in person that it isn’t unusual to me to have people with a variety of beliefs as friends on facebook. I have friends on facebook that are hindus, muslims, mormons, christians, and athetists, and I have conservative and liberal friends who post their beliefs on facebook all the time. Sometimes I like pictures that don’t even have to do with my personal religion, in fact. I just like them because they are interesting and I’m used to talking to people about their beliefs even when they are different from mine.

    I agree, that you shouldn’t just see one offensive thing that someone posts and immediately hate them. It makes me like you more that you don’t do that.

    I offended an author once with something I posted on my blog. I took it down and apologized over and over again, but I know this author never forgave me. How do I know this? Because they told me so. And that’s the kind of thing that I dislike that people do.

    And I have one person on my friend’s list in particular that mocks/argues whenever she posts a response to something I posted. She isn’t really bothering my other friends or arguing with them. It’s just with me, so I figured,”Oh well. She just likes to express herself. If she gets entertainment out of debate, then I guess that’s how she connects with people.” And I’ve accepted it.

    People sometimes post weird pictures on my timeline or add me to groups that I don’t want to be in without asking. I get game requests all the time. I do not complain. I just delete it (or leave the group or whatever) and forget about it.

    Anything can offend anyone. On facebook, one of my friends was complaining about how women who post cat pictures annoy/offend him. I am someone on facebook who does this ALL THE TIME, so lol, I knew I was one of the offenders. But I went,”Oh well” and moved on. I guess even my cat pictures can be offensive. But what I liked is that this person didn’t immediately unfriend me even though they said this annoys them.

    So there does need to be some forgiveness of each other on facebook. No one’s perfect. Everyone has annoying sides. And everyone has different triggers. It’s about if you can accept people for who they are (faults and all) or not.

    And you never know what people’s triggers are. I have really weird triggers because of my past. And people on facebook have posted about my triggers. But I ignore it if I can’t calmly confront them about it (because I know that will lead to a disaster). Because everyone is a person and we all say/do stupid things.

    It’s why you don’t see me posting those pictures about strangling idiots either. Because I don’t consider myself superior to others. I know I’ve said/done stupid things and every day, I’m just trying to be a better person.

    I hope that made sense.

  57. #73 by jbw0123 on July 3, 2014 - 10:14 am

    Ha! Just watched a video, and I mean just, as in the previous click, on how to delete a Facebook account. Didn’t end up going nuclear, but the finger was hovering over the button.

    Thank you for the reminder about offensives posts — can’t be said enough. An over-simplified, knee-jerk and provocative post, phrased in just the right way, can play me like a fiddle, and not in a productive way. Maybe the point of all this social media though, is to get us used to stupidness, and not react to it. And, as you say, it is amazing how many people you find who are amazing and wonderful, who you wouldn’t have “met” any other way.

    The photos of your son and husband had me in tears. It was a war I didn’t support, but I honor and respect the men and women who serve in our military, particularly those who were involved during this last conflict, which was a painful and divisive for so many in our country. Many thanks to your husband for his service.

    PS: the next time I feel a joke about Texas coming on, will substitute the name of my own state to make sure it’s still funny.

  58. #74 by Judith Post on July 11, 2014 - 9:47 am

    You said, in a brilliant way, what I feel. Thank you!

  59. #75 by katherineclairehayward on July 14, 2014 - 5:14 pm

    A great article. I have had people I have been friends with in real life for 16 years or more, and who I have been there for through thick and thin be repeatedly unkind and judgemental to me about my life choices directly on Facebook, and another person I thought I’d be friends with forever just cut the contact completely with me for no reason as I saw it and they did not explain why. Was I right to block them? part of me misses their friendship due to the years of good times we had, but they also occasionally let me down in real life too, and badly.

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