I was reluctant to use Facebook for a long time. I'm still not one of those people who post every single move they make ("Having a sandwich..." "Watching a movie..." "Cleaning the refrigerator), but I am interacting more and more with friends.
We could argue the pros and cons of social networking all day long, and I'm not sure I would have a fiercely strong opinion one way or the other. Just like anything else related to technology (perhaps anything related to ANYTHING), social networks have their uses. And just like anything else, people will misuse/abuse/confuse it according to their own needs/wants.
That's not what I'm here for.
The whole idea of "accepting" or "ignoring" friend requests causes me a little discomfort. It's hard for me to "friend" someone just because we happened to go to high school together. If we never shared a joke or studied together or marched in the band or had a class together, I'm not sure we have a whole lot to talk about on Facebook. But I feel mean ignoring requests. I realize the person doesn't get something from Facebook that says, "Oh, by the way, Bragger doesn't WANT to be your FB friend," but it still feels ... I don't know ... middle schoolish. Like when mean girls gang up together and decide someone else isn't worthy to be in the group. After a while I guess the person who made the request realizes you never responded, and sometimes he or she might make the request again.
There was one person I absolutely refused to "friend" on FB. She is the ex-wife of my niece's husband, and why she kept requesting to be my friend I'll never know. We have absolutely nothing in common other than this tenuous second-marriage link (oh, and she wanted me to sing at her wedding but that's another story), so why would we want to communicate on FB? She and my niece get along fine ... now ... but they had a very rocky beginning when my niece and her husband (and the FB person's EX-husband) got married, and some very mean things were said. If my niece wants to be nice to her for the children's sake, that's all well and good, and I admire her for it. But I don't have to be her friend.
I've "unfriended" a couple of people lately, and while I felt my actions were completely justified, it still felt wrong. Sort of like those notes in the fourth grade when you wrote and told someone you didn't like him or her anymore. Just mean.
One unfriending was a former student. I like the girl okay, and it's not that her posts were offensive in any way, there were just so darn many OF them. Every time I opened Facebook, there would be a string of something like 10 different posts from this same girl. Sometimes they were poetry (not very good) that she had written, sometimes they were song lyrics (other people's), sometimes they were just random thoughts. If I remember correctly, random thoughts were about the best this girl could do. I didn't want her posts trashing up my page, so I unfriended her. Is that justifiable?
I unfriended another former student because his language was offensive and his posts revealed details about his life I'm better off not knowing. Is it wrong of me to choose not to know some things? I unfriended another one because she wrote entirely in slang, and the English teacher in me just can't handle that. I will occasionally throw an "ain't" out there, but to write constantly in slang is borderline criminal. Or stupid. Or both.
I also unfriended a guy with whom I graduated from high school because he insisted on posting his personal political views. It's okay with me if he wants to share his views with the world, but I keep mine to myself. And if I don't want to read his, does that make me a bad person?
I guess it would hurt my feelings if some of my FB "friends" suddenly unfriended me, and if I realized it, I would want to know why. But I probably wouldn't ask. I would just stew about it and feel icky.
Maybe "unsocial networking" would be a better term for these relationships.