We’ll pick up on the whole, “Artists not working for free” thing later. Is free a good thing? Yes and no. Benjamin Franklin has a saying I’m going to adopt for how I feel about FREE.
Free is an excellent servant, but a terrible master.
But while I’m working on those posts, let’s return to the discussion we began—the notion of unfriending. My first post was about why we are wise to keep as many friends as possible (even for folks not out to specifically “build a brand”) so I recommend checking it out.
And on to the next leg of our adventure. Here’s the deal…
People are Not THINGS
Guess what? You are not a gadget. You have value and have meaning simply by being you. So keep being spectacular 😉 .
Whether we want to admit it or not, unfriending is a form of rejection. On Twitter I’ve never paid attention to my numbers. It was the same way on my FB profile until I got close to that 5000 limit and then, every time someone bailed?
It was obvious.
For all I know, it could have been a bot that was suspended, but in my mind?
No one likes rejection and rejection hurts feelings. Why hurt feelings if we don’t have to? Do you like being treated like a “thing”? I don’t, so I don’t do it to others.
When we “add as a friend” we are entering a relationship based on social norms which are the rules that guide and govern human relationships. Treating human beings like they’re an e-mail list to be culled is unkind and breaks the social contract we agreed to.
Socia Media Isn’t All About US
If people aren’t “things” that means they do not exist solely for our amusement/benefice. It’s why I loathe it when people make announcements that they’re cleaning up their friends list.
Well, if we have never talked or you don’t like or share my content I am cutting you.
Passive aggressive much?
Seriously? Who does that in real life?
You haven’t been within 500 feet of me in the last year so this protective order shouldn’t bother you.
You haven’t called me since last year so it shouldn’t hurt you that I blocked your cell number.
What do we do in real life? We go on! If people stop by or call or we run into them? We’re pleasant. We don’t act like a bunch of drama queens.
First of all, quit thinking the world revolves around you. It doesn’t. It revolves around me 😀 .
Someone might not be liking or interacting with our content for any number of reasons.
Maybe they had a major surgery or life event (a death) and haven’t been on-line. Maybe they haven’t yet figured out how to use Facebook but eventually will. They may not be interacting with us simply because of Facebook’s algorithms. Our content might just not be showing up in their feed. Period.
It isn’t personal.
(Though unfriend and it is totally personal.)
Thus, it’s rather unfair to unfriend people because they aren’t interacting with us. That person could be the greatest connection we ever make so unless they are actively and chronically misbehaving? Leave it alone.
I said, chronically misbehaving…
If a person generally has great posts and suddenly posts or likes something that offends you?
If they have a bad day?
If Something is Phishy, It Might Be Phishy
I once got a really racy message from a female author on social media. I’d never talked to the woman but I took a look at her wall and the message was SO off when laid in comparison to her content (that and there were a crap-ton of spelling and grammar errors).
Instead of unfriending, I politely messaged back I wasn’t interested in a rendezvous with handcuffs but thanks for the compliment. Turns out she’d been phished and was mortified. Porn bots had been messaging everyone in her list.
But, had I not messaged her back, she would never have known why people were fleeing from being her friend.
A good friend tells you when you have digital pigeon poo in your hair. Come on, folks!
We’re Going to HAVE to Give Some Grace
Just like we do in person. In real life, we give others latitude and that’s why we can remain friendly. Expecting everyone to behave perfectly 100% of the time is as ridiculous on-line as it is in person.
Also, remember we might not know as much as we think we do, so the benefit of the doubt comes in super handy.
Since we’re talking about the subject of unfriending I’ll share a story. Back at the holidays, out of nowhere I was hemorrhaging friends on Facebook. Like 30 people unfriended in the course of a couple of days. I’m at the 5000 limit so it isn’t all that unusual to lose one or two people a day, but 25+ was just bizarre.
It wasn’t until a childhood friend publicly shamed me for “liking” a post that I realized what happened.
NOTE: Facebook announces every time you fart in the sidebar unless you change the settings. I choose not to. I feel that if everyone can’t see what I’m doing I probably shouldn’t be doing it on-line. I generally avoid privacy settings because I believe they’re the water wings of the digital world and create a false sense of safety that can land us in big trouble.
Apparently, I had “liked” a seriously tasteless cartoon. But the thing was, I never actually liked it at all. I have an android phone with a touch screen. Very often when I am using my finger to scroll through my feed, I accidentally hit things. Sometimes I like things unintentionally.
I actually did get somewhat angry with the friend for calling me out and shaming me publicly and politely confronted her over it (and she apologized). We aren’t just social media friends, we’ve been friends since the age of five. This person knew me. She even admitted that she was shocked I’d “liked” this cartoon.
So, if what you saw was unlike anything I’ve ever shared. If it was so grossly out of character it even gave you pause, why not just message me and give me a heads up? Hey, Kristen I saw you liked this cartoon making fun of kittens being punched in the face. That seems odd and not like you at all. Were you phished?
But at least my friend was brave enough to say something and I did thank her for that because then I could go back and “unlike” that cartoon (thus solving the mystery of the missing friends). But what gets me is this. How many people automatically saw one thing they didn’t agree with and they hit the unfriend?
And that is neither here nor there because if people are going to leave that easily then *waves*.
But why are we THAT sensitive and is it healthy?
Diverse Friends Help Critical Thinking
I’m a born and raised Texan. Enough said.
It’s pretty easy to spot where I sit on the ideological spectrum upon meeting me. But, if you look at my biggest friends, most of them look nothing like me. I collect Jews, Muslims, atheists, Wiccans, democrats, socialists, communists, libertarians, vegans, gays, feminists and on and on and on. We are more than our faith or political party, and liking people who are just like we are is no great accomplishment.
Living in an ideological echo chamber is bad and it’s especially bad for authors.
First of all, it makes your brain turn to pudding. If no one ever challenges what you believe and makes you actually have to articulate why you feel a certain way, it kills brain cells. Everyone sitting in a circle saying the same stuff rots the noggin.
Last I checked, we writers needed a good noggin to do what we do.
It’s a False Reality
Everyone agreeing with us isn’t life. I often wonder if this is why millennials are having such a tough time interacting in person. They aren’t properly socialized. They’ve grown up in a world where they can craft and cultivate their world to never ever be uncomfortable, so when they get into reality, they have no idea how to get along. They crumble or explode the second someone has a different opinion.
Writers, we are selling books to all kinds of people, and some of them are not very nice. Some are downright trolls and if we insulate ourselves in this false reality on social media? We are ill-prepared to deal with the very real difficult people we will all eventually face.
My fear is that this ability to friend and unfriend and edit and redact is creating a world where no one is allowed to be different lest they be punished.
People Have a Right to Be Different
Guess what, you do not have to agree with me on everything for me to like you. And if we can only be friends with people who agree with us then we need to get rid of the Pampers and grow the hell up.
Adults can actually handle someone else having a different opinion.
I get so tired of seeing people being bullies on social media. “I am just announcing that if you don’t agree with me on X issue then I am unfriending you.”
Really. Just really. Are we five?
So we get along in 9,000 other areas. We share a mutual passion for history, books, kittens, jokes, Star Trek, but if I support X political candidate you’re out? Can I offer you a sippy cup and some used DVDs of Yo Gabba Gabba?
We mere mortals have been handed the greatest tool to change the world in the history of humanity and all we can do is play digital dollhouse? Because when we bully people that they have to be just like us, that’s what we’re doing. Carefully crafting and positioning everyone who can be in our little artificial habitat.
This world is screwed up and needs changing. And we adults are going to change it, not a bunch of thin-skinned babies who need Political Pull-Ups.
To be successful in life we are going to have to play well with others. Yes, what we learned in Kindergarten was pretty much all we needed to know about life. We are going to have to work with all kinds of folks who are a different race, creed, religion or political leaning and we are wise to learn how to navigate differences without anyone crashing on the rocks. We have to learn that a heated disagreement is simply one event on a timeline and move past it.
*waves at Frank (RantingMonkey)*
When Frank initially commented on my blog, he was on the spicy side. So I was a tad extra spicy. But you know what? We calmed down, saw we weren’t really all that different and the differences? Eh, fuggetaboutit.
My PEEP! Yes, we are now pals and pretty dang good ones, too.
If I’d unfriended everyone who was unlike me (or only friended Kristen Clones), I’d have missed out on some of the kindest, most generous and brilliant people I’ve had the honor of knowing, loving and serving.
Come on! GROUP HUG!
What are your thoughts? Though please keep any political, social or religious commentary on the down-low. We can share general experiences here without this turning into a political rant on Fox/CNN.
Do you think it is ironic that we have the abilities to share ideas more now than ever in history, yet have become more closed-minded than ever? Do you get to the point where you don’t even want to share an opinion for fear of being bullied? Have you ever had something happen to your accounts (I.e. hacked) and people just unfriended instead of saying something?
Are you concerned that this Photoshopped/crafted world is unhealthy for us? Are you super grateful for the friends you have who are super different from you? Do you gain new insights and perspectives?
I really DO love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of FEBRUARY, 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.
Finally caught up and got us two winners for December and January. Normally I am faster but been blessed to have a lot of blogs go viral as of late. Congratulations to:
December’s Winner: AmieGibbons15
January’s Winner: Lisa Fender
Please e-mail me a Word document with your 5000 words to kristen at wana intl dot com.
Double-spaced, inch-inch margins, NTR font. Congratulations!