Social Not-working

"I don't even like Facebook."

I shake my head in disbelief and stare at the screen. Once again, proof illustrated via an "unfriend" action on Facebook that friendships are best kept up close and in person or at a distance. It's the fuzzy in-between world of internet social networking that ruins us, social not-working.

"Was this person ever interested in me?" you ask yourself about a twice-remove classmate of a sibling who has just requested a "friend" or "link".

You find out quickly that Friend A, although close to you at one point in your past, has drastically different political or religious viewpoint than you. Maybe Friend A was best kept as a study partner in College. Friend B was your best friend for a period of time, and now to find that B's memory of you is less than favorable via a comment on someone else's "wall."

Social not-working brings us too close and yet keeps us far away. It becomes a soapbox, a podium, a platform that you would never stand on in close company. Friend C was always so mellow and easy going, but you've discovered C's on-line personality  makes "timelines" less enjoyable, tedious, draining.

You discover what you have in common, or rather where you differ and ask, "Is it really worth spending my time reading about topics that interest me about as much as having my teeth pulled without anesthesia?"

Over the last few months, I've asked myself, "Why would I want to post anything topical anywhere other than a forum where other people want to participate?" Is Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ really a good fit for what people are trying to use it as, myself included? The answer is an emphatic, "No!"

I started this blog because I felt that the Social Not-working platforms were poor platforms for thoughtful introspection or longer works (and I missed posting to my ~/.plan file). I post about running, my family, and gaming. Periodically, I've posted things about Buddhism, but I've avoided politics. When I do post, I try to place labels on them so if you are a reader, you can select the ones most interesting to you via the RSS feed filter options.

I participate in sites like DailyMile because there is value in a focused, topical forum for fitness in its many forms. Reddit has had me as a regular visitor again after years of using other sites because I value the ability to focus in on interesting tidbits of information about a specific topic. I've been using my Twitter account for those short, light hearted conversations, updates about running, and I'm starting to really like the idea of having separate accounts for separate interests and focuses.

With how ridiculously easy it is to make new blog, twitter, and social accounts, perhaps anonymity should be considered a viable way of focusing one's energy. It might even save a friendship or two.


  1. At this point, I wish I would have kept my FB account down to just meaningful friends. I let it get out of hand with acquaintances and friends of friends. At this point it's not too easy to purge. I agree with you, though, it's hard enough dealing with close friends with radically different views, let alone people you barely know anymore.

  2. ah, the good old days of "finger cwalstrom" :D you had one of those annoying animated beeping .plan files, didn't you?

    for me on the facepages, I accept friend requests from people I actually know, and then I watch what they post, and then, most likely, I do a "hide all posts" by that person, so that my timeline really only has posts from people I actually care about, mostly leaving just family and actual friends. They may no longer be F2F friends, since i'm on the west coast, but the people who are left in my timeline are the people I want to keep in touch with :)

    twitter is my random dumping ground, google+ is my reader sharing land and famous person stalking ground (like Wil Wheaton, ESR, etc), and like you, my blog is my soapbox.

  3. I loved working on those old UNIX systems! If I did have an animated .plan, I didn't leave it up for long. I know a friend who updated her .project file with funny quotes from her friends. She kept adding quotes to the file (which always displayed the last line), using it as a growing journal. Brilliant idea! I wonder if she still has it.

    Adam, I like your strategy. I've been doing the same thing as I have time, but I have a LOT of friends. :)

  4. I never really got into Facebook or g+. Mostly for those reasons. My friend lists are pretty short.