facebook is not real life

written by alison

I recently caught some flak after unfriending almost all of those on my friend list who liked Donald Trump’s page. Statements were thrown around claiming that I was “part of the problem, not the solution” and that surrounding myself with “those who felt the same as me was boring.”

Here’s the deal, I draw the line at repeated hate speech, ok?

But that’s not the issue I have with these comments. What bothers me is that these people are treating me like Facebook is real life, which it is not.

Facebook is a social network built originally for students. I could only sign up with my .edu email address when I started my account. Remember the “poke” button? Yeah, that was a thing. Even though it’s grown beyond it’s roots, Facebook is still a social network.

To me, it’s the same as Instagram (which Facebook owns), Twitter or Google+ — a collection of selected accounts to connect with and view. Or a carefully curated feed of events, images and people.
Still, not real life.

Would anyone dish out flak for unfollowing someone on Instagram for posting too many photos of their dog? (Sorry, not sorry.)

Would the masses label you a bad person for unfollowing a friend on Twitter who only posts their products for sale? Of course not.

Will you be shunned for removing yourself from an email chain about singing carols in your neighborhood? I hope not…

Or let me frame this another way… if you chose a route to work based solely on the view, does that make you a bad person? Nope!

And that’s my point, unfriending you does not mean I’ve removed you from my life. It means I don’t want to see your drama/hate speech/incessant sales posts/triggering updates/whatever in my feed. Because I’m an adult and I get to chose what I ingest day in and day out.

I have no doubt that I’ve been unfriended for my drama, swearing and vocal stances on “hot button” issues. I don’t think any less of those peeps — in fact, I likely have even more positive feelings for them because they are doing what’s best for them.

Do I use the unfollow button more often, absolutely. But sometimes I find myself going that route to make sure my friend count stays “acceptable” which is a clear sign that I’m doing it for the wrong reasons and treating Facebook like real life.