I’m starting to play rough with Facebook, unfriending people with the same abandon I once friended them — sort of reverse social networking. (Would this be called Unsocial Networking or Social UnNetworking?) Start with 5000 people at random, and then one by one, remove the annoying ones. You know the people I mean:
1. The authors who send you one message after another asking you to like their FB page, download their book, check out their website, read their blog. I’m not talking about notifications or the posts that show up in your feed, but repeated private messages. I now have a new policy: if you spam me once, I might let it go if I know you or if I’m in a good mood, but if you send the same spam message a second time, I will unfriend you. Friends don’t spam friends.
2. The rabid political lobbyists, those who are always lobbying for their party, their agendas, their preferred candidates, their right or left wing propaganda. These people aren’t interested in being friends. They want power, even if at one remove.
3. The uncompromising religious folk, those who never acknowledge that another person’s religious beliefs might be as sacred as their own. These people remind me of the folk in Emo Phillips joke. This joke was voted the best God joke ever, but was not credited to Emo Phillips, and truly, it’s such a classic, he needs to be acknowledged as the author. I don’t remember many comedians, but I do remember the delightfully waifish Emo telling this story:
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”
Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.
I’m now down to about 1650 friends on Facebook, and who knows, at the rate I’m pushing people off the bridge, I might end up with only one or two hundred connections, but those will be real friends — people I enjoy following, whose blogs I read, and whose opinions I respect. And never, ever, do they spam me or lobby me or disrespect my beliefs or unbeliefs.
Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+