I just got a nasty-gram email from someone who I had been “friends” with on Facebook and chose to unfriend for various reasons. We were never really anything more than acquaintances at best and it was years ago. This “friend” was a leftover of my initial creation of a Facebook account where you connected with every damn person they recommended to you because it was “cool” to have connected with someone you had lost contact with in real life. Well, in most cases, the real life reason you lost contact with them, regardless of who it was that initiated it, will always creep into your Facebook life. It’s like a big fat smack on the back of your head reminding you WHY they were no longer in your life.
This email I received, was quite negative and accusatory with various perceived reasons as to why I had unfriended them instead of reaching out first. Did you hear that? I just rolled my eyes. The stones they had for assuming that my Facebook friendship with them was sacred and my unfriending them was a GodFather level disrespectful click of a button. I read the entire email to the end, all the while getting more and more angry at their blatant self-centeredness. As if my life is now less meaningful without me seeing the multiple posts every day of really ignorant viewpoints on some really touchy topics in the news lately. The act that caused me to unfriend them was a clearly misinformed response to a post I made in support of a third-party candidate for President where they implied that I was un-American for choosing to not vote Republican or Democrat. Feel free to laugh in surprise, I just did.
My relationship with social media has been consistently tepid. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. are all mechanisms that remove the physical contact from socialization. Two people can sit next to each other texting on some random service without actually saying a word or making any eye contact with each other. We have relationships with the screen, using eye contact and our voices is now out of style apparently. Studies have been conducted that show our brains operate in a completely different pattern when texting then they do when physically interacting with another person. Here are just a few of the articles I’ve read after doing a quick search on Google:
- Texting May Require Young Brains
- Is Texting Changing Our Brains?
- The Truth About Texting and Talking While Driving
- Texting while driving might derail your brain’s ‘autopilot’ (Video)
All of this is related to the explosion of social media. An entirely new dynamic has been created where we’re as offended by someone unfriending or unfollowing us online as we are if they were to slap us for saying something inappropriate. I’m more of an “if I can say it to your face, I can say it on social media”. I value intelligence and thoughtful conversation with other people and I respect that you can have a different opinion than my own. What I will not respect is a misguided or negative comment that is based ONLY on what has been obtained from social media. The comment made to my post about a third-party candidate was quickly researched with a simple Internet search and they were obviously misinformed on their the point they made. Several responses after their comment proved my point.
In the end, after much thought, I chose to respond to their email with this reply:
I’m sorry you feel this way, however I value my time and choose to spend it with/on intelligent people who can respect my point of view even if it differs from their own. There was nothing constructive about your implication that I’m un-American for deciding that neither Democrat or Republican represents my point of view or stand on the issues facing our country. In exercising my right to choose my candidate through my constitutional right to vote, I’m very much an American, regardless of that candidate being a third-party. I pity your narrow view of the world and the fact that you have been lured into the brainwashing our current leaders have been perpetuating for decades. I’ve had my eyes opened and a third party candidate is our best chance of fixing what is currently a game of the rich and elite. This wasn’t the sole reason I unfriended you, this was only the most recent act that caused me to evaluate why we were friends on Facebook.
In fact, this has caused me to evaluate all my current Facebook friends and a clean up is well overdue at this point. Facebook is the only account I actively use on social media by the way. Fleeting moments with Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and the like quickly lost my interest.