How Social Do We Have To Be On Social Media?

Today is Independence Day In America… sort of… At least it’s the 4th of July, which denotes the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 with the big John Hancock signature on it. To all those who will be celebrating the holiday… nicely or not… I wish you a very safe and happy day.

Me_Uncle Bill

My uncle and me

Independence is an interesting thing to talk about today. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of articles talking about a sort of independence as it pertains to social media. That topic is the “art” of unfriending, separating from someone on a social media platform who’s getting on your nerves in some fashion.

The odd thing is that more articles are talking about why they won’t unfollow people, people we shouldn’t unfollow, people we unfollow because of other circumstances and of course all the negative political talk unfriending.

Some writers are saying that our society is becoming more intolerant, not because of what people are saying but because some of us block people whose views we disagree with instead of engaging them in conversation and either trying to convince them to see your side of things or even possibly swing them your way… with facts of course.

I have a response to the people who are saying that: are you kidding me? Weren’t y’all around when I had to deal with stuff like this back in 2008 when Barack Obama was running for president? Aren’t I still going through a lot of this same mess now?

Back in January I talked about how I’d just finished sculpting my Facebook feed because a lot of people were getting on my last nerve. Some of these were people I’ve known for a long time, whose politics have shifted over the years away from mine. Some were relatives I don’t know all that well who were saying a lot of foul stuff I don’t participate in. Some were folks sharing stuff I could have cared less about. Some were people I really didn’t know all that well, and some were people who I’d never heard from in all the years I’ve been there.

Frankly, my feed hasn’t necessarily been as peaceful as I’d like it to have been but it’s been a lot better. Every once in a while things slip in because you can’t block images by topic, and you can’t account for everything that happens in the world.

There are also lots of people who are what I call Twitter selfish because all they do is promote themselves all day, lots of posts, without much regard for anyone else; ugh! Then you have the other side of the coin where people aren’t producing anything original so that we can help promote them. Maybe you’ll remember my post a couple of weeks ago saying that there are lots of people who aren’t even giving us the chance to help promote them on social media.

I don’t worry about either hiding people or unfriending them on social media because they do the same thing to me. Facebook tells me when people unfriend me (it’s not supposed to but I have a plugin…), but Twitter doesn’t. Neither does LinkedIn, where I also went on a culling spree some months ago.

Me and Pat

me & my college friend Pat

I will acknowledge that true discourse leaves when we don’t engage people whose views we don’t agree with. At the same time, I have to say that people on social media engage much differently than they do in person.

People tend to be nicer when expressing their views in person. Maybe it’s because I’m a 6′ tall large black man who they don’t want to potentially deal with if they make me angry; I don’t know. Maybe it’s because when all is said and done the best they have is “belief” rather than facts. Or maybe they’ve heard of my reputation, where I’ll just cut them out of my life and move on; depending on circumstance I’m not big on forgiveness (sorry Mom).

The reality is that blogging is more about opinion than anything else. Even when we’re doing tutorials, we’re giving our opinion on the right way to do things. It also turns out that some of these things don’t work across the board, as I found out after I wrote my brief Samsung tutorial; sigh…

Social media is pretty much the same thing. We can only know what we know so sometimes even if we’re posting fact, it could turn out that fact isn’t true (sorry Walter). Depending on how it’s presented, it’s either something we can talk about or it isn’t.

Still, no one should feel obligated to do everything someone else tells them to do… even if I’m saying it (do it! lol). We all know our comfort level and should handle social media as we see fit.

Can there be consequences? Absolutely! Family members might get upset if you drop them. Coworkers might get offended if you drop them. Also, you might find that just because you drop someone doesn’t mean they might not still see things you’ve said (you have to learn how to drop people) or that you won’t still see things they post because you’re connected to some of the same people.

As some folks have said, “You be you Boo.” 🙂

10 thoughts on “How Social Do We Have To Be On Social Media?”

  1. I’m not much of a social dude anyway, so it won’t bother me none to drop someone. Having said that, I think I’ve only done that twice.

    I am good at ignoring people and at manifesting the disappearance of their crap from my feed by sheer will. lol

    You said it, You be you.

    1. I’m good at ignoring people also; I’m better at removing them from my presence so I can ignore them better. Truthfully, there’s few people who are friends of mine that I’ve done that to; it’s mainly people who respond to things on other people’s posts who I end up blocking because I don’t know them & don’t care to know them.

  2. Well, hell…if I can’t unfollow someone who offends me, bores me, or raises my blood pressure on a day-to-day basis (even if it is profound sadness at their path), then what is independence anyway? I have taken a much stronger stance on FB by speaking out at some of the frightening and saddening underbelly of rage and ignorance that has somehow gained a quasi-legitimacy throughout the last months. I have (on my blog) remarked periodically about events that sadden or horrify me in the past. But, I am in much more of a rebuttal mode nowadays. I respond to some idiocy before I unfollow people…just to take a stand.

    On the other hand I understand polarity. I don’t believe I am going to change anyone’s mind on social media. Thinking people are reading and listening and assimilating. Reactive people (as I sometimes am) are not really teachable. I am, for example, totally polarized in this election and feel perfectly justified. And so I must suppose that my opponents are just as sure of their positions.

    I’ve had some interesting conversations in airports, etc. with people of opposing views. I listen to thoughtful people and respect their opinions and agree to disagree.

    But I will continue to decry, rebut, unfollow, and become privately unhinged in the next few months, I am sure.

    Well, that was a rant, wasn’t it?

    1. It was a rant and a beautiful one. 🙂 I’m totally with you, although lately I’ve given up the part about trying to get my point across for the most part. I’ll say it here; I’m for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming election so I don’t want to hear the Trump people and I don’t want to hear from the Sanders people anymore. All that whining about the process when the process has been the process since forever in some states. That’s why it’s easy to sculpt most of that stuff out of the stream and, if need be, block the rest. After all, like you, I believe that’s what independence is supposed to be about. 🙂

  3. Hi Mitch, I find instead of unfollowing some people I can mute them on Twitter or on Facebook feed, click the right side dash and show less of their posts. That way you are less likely to offend anyone. I try to stay away from political stuff on social media. The old bite your tongue works wonders 🙂 Hope you had a great 4th of July Mitch!

    1. Thanks Lisa. I block most people I don’t really know because I’m not worried about offending them. Every once in a while I end up blocking someone I know but don’t know well because I don’t want to put up with their stuff anymore. I like to think I’m one of the most accommodating people in the world so if you’re irking me you’ve probably gone way too far. :-)_

  4. I’m agree with Lisa Sicard. “Mute” option is one of the great options to get away from some unwanted posts. But people use that option very rarely. They just unfollow the particular person in social media.
    Of course, we can unfollow or unfriend if we completely hate that person.
    Unfollow or unfriend a person only because doesn’t like their post(s) is not a good idea at all.

    1. Thyrone, I usually start off trying to mute people but sometimes they still see what you’re doing or saying because they’re connected to someone you didn’t mute. Also, sometimes we have to take a stand on what we believe or don’t want to continuously see and in those times I believe it’s fair for us to think about ourselves. If I was the type who worried and got upset because people I knew either didn’t follow me or dropped me I’d feel like kind of a wuss. After all, none of my family and almost none of my friends read any of my blogs or have read any of my books. Not everything we do or say is everyone’s cup of tea. 🙂

  5. Hi Mitch

    I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Sometimes I hate it, other times I love to hate it. Boom.

    But seriously, I’ve recently changed the way I use platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Previously I was just posting my own and sharing other people’s content.

    Little more than a month ago I decided I wanted more engagement. So I tried initiating conversations. Lo and behold some folks responded. And a few of them became leads and even customers. Way to go.

    In relation to political posts, they drive me to distraction. Don’t people have more interesting lives than to be obsessed about politics? Yes, I unfriend them when they cross the line.


    1. Good stuff Kim. I also try engaging people here and there on Twitter (which is pretty much the only place you can do it) and I’ve had some fascinating conversations with people from time to time… though none have turned into clients. lol As for some of the other stuff, there are times when I just mute and other times when I feel I’m finally seeing the other people for what they are and, even if they might be nice in other venues, I don’t need to see them in my social media feeds all that often, in which case it’s time to remove them.

      No one should ever feel obligated or depressed by what’s on social media, of which the intention was to communicate and bring people together.

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