Friday, January 8, 2010

Re-Defining Friendships

Almost anyone on Facebook (or other online 'social networks') goes through the same decision making process. Do we or do we not ‘accept’ a Friend request from someone we barely know? The former high school classmate who never spoke to you once in those four years? The colleague who works in a different department, and you think you might know who they are, but you aren’t sure? The ‘Friend’ of a ‘Friend’ who liked the comment you made on one of your friend’s posts? The complete stranger who came across your blog, liked what they read?

As a member of the genealogy-blogging community, I’ve received scores of friend requests from fellow genealogists. I’ve accepted all of them.

And then there is the next issue. At what point do you end one of these new ‘friendships.’ Is there anything that would cause me to defriend someone?

I reached that point today.

It wasn’t because they were filling my newsfeed with silly game statuses. I long ago learned how to hide those.

It was because of a racist comment they made. The comment was also political, but the politics didn’t matter to me. I have ‘real world’ friends who have diametrically opposed political views. I’ve had a couple political discussions with some Facebook friends who are otherwise unknown to me – and I haven’t defriended them because they have opinions that differ from mine. But I won’t tolerate racism.

This is where the party ends.

It’s likely they will recognize themselves, as I suspect Facebook notifies you when you have been defriended, and I suspect they read my blog.

They'll probably insist what they said wasn’t racist, or that I’m over-reacting. That’s OK with me. They are entitled to believe what they want to believe. But, to me, what they said was racist, and since I don’t really know them, I see no reason I need to keep them on my list of ‘friends.’


Kathryn Doyle said...

Good for you, John! Just so you know, I don't think FB informs you if you are "un-friended."

Greta Koehl said...

Been there.... You did the right thing.

Thomas MacEntee said...

I'm with you John and Kathryn is correct - FB does not notify you if you are "de-friended" - I guess if you don't have lots of friends on FB, then you will notice a drop off of one or two.

My policy on FB and Twitter and other social networking sites that I used for genealogy and meeting other genealogisits is this: I expect people to act like a welcome guest in my home. Period.

And if you can't act with the good manners your parents instilled in you or with the sense that G_d gave you, then you are shown the door.

Matthew Quinn said...
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