When I first started out in the social media world, I read all of Chris Brogan’s blog posts. I followed him on Twitter. I commented and conversed when I had the guts to. I took his opinion as true. I didn’t have enough knowledge to disagree. As I found other personalities to follow and discovered that there are many people that are just as smart as Chris, I read his posts less and theirs more. But that’s just part of broadening our horizons. The more we delve into a topic, the more sources we’re likely to start pulling from for a well rounded view.
Earlier last month, he posted something about the emotional attachment to data management. As in, when we think we are simply clicking a button to clean up our connections, we don’t realize the emotional impact it has on the person we’re removing. He says:
I’d say that people who use social networks extensively (versus people trying to plumb the system for business purposes) would feel a little something, should they find themselves defriended.
It says you’re not important. It says you’re no longer relevant. It says you’re no longer entitled to a more intimate view and sharing. There are lots of potential combinations to feel when one is unfollowed or defriended.
People. We’re talking on computers. There are only so many hours in a day and so many people that fit into those hours with which to have quality conversations and build connections with. How does someone unfriending you say you’re unimportant? It’s a button on a computer that we’ve given too much social context and power to. Now, if this is somebody whom you have repeated conversations with, that adds value to your day, and one day you “unfriend” them. Yes, that says something. That sends the message that they’re not important.
But somebody you never talk to? Come on. I don’t buy that. We’ve all become a little too over sensitive to one another. Don’t get me wrong… sensitivity has it’s place, people’s feelings should always be considered.. but really, if we didn’t make it an issue, or didn’t react when somebody decided they felt unimportant because you unfriended them, what would happen? Nothing. Life would continue. That person would find other people to make them feel important and you would more meaningful connections because of it.
But then again, if it’s a childish attempt to take a stab at you and say “ha! I unfriended you before you could” followed by some snide remark in your status (we’re not longer talking about Chris’ post here), well… that’s just dumb and doesn’t deserve any attention anyway.
Who’s job is it to make me feel like a real person? Is it yours? I don’t think so. That’s my job. And if I’m not doing it well… then that just my tough luck, isn’t it?