The last few weeks or so, some things online came to a head and I had finally had enough.
While I love this blog – dude, I’ve been writing it since 2004 – I’m starting to dislike the lack of privacy I have in my world. And not so much that YOU guys are seeing what I put out there; it’s more the rest of my social networks that needed a major overhaul.
I started on Facebook, for no other reason than I hate it. I went into my settings and was alarmed to see that (AGAIN!) my privacy settings had been reset. Facebook is NOTORIOUS for doing this quietly, and while I typically can keep up, I don’t know when this change occurred. I pulled my settings back severely, and then took a hard look at my Friends list. I had over 800 Friends. Considering my phone’s Quick Dial list has exactly ten numbers on it, 800 Friends seemed a bit ridiculous.
I had some random criteria in my head to define who I would ”unFriend”: if I hadn’t interacted with you since our “Friend-ship”, if you are one of those bullhorn folks who loudly spew your political views with venom, frankly if I find you ignorant or your posts annoying or trite, you were getting the axe. (Sidenote: the body spray now has me concerned that I have mispelled the word “axe”. E or no e?)(Sidenote deux: media makes us stupid.)
In short, I narrowed my list of Facebook friends down to a little over 200. It’s a diverse blend of real friends, online friends with whom I’ve created a relationship, and family. That’s it. No businesses, organizations, or causes. No high school alumni whom I didn’t even really like then. (Other than Delle, obviously.)
Well, that .. that felt good.
So with that finished, I looked at Twitter. Around that same time, someone retweeted something from a locked account – of which I don’t have visibilty - and the tweet was something I took very, very personally. I looked at my open stream and thought, Screw this. If I’m not enjoying myself, I’m doing this wrong.
My follower list on Twitter was around 1100 folks. I locked my account and spent a good two hours, off and on, removing followers until it settled around 300*.
* – I had to use “old Twitter” to do this, and it was CRAZY FUNKY. I was aiming to delete “life coaches”, spam bots, folks with eggs as profile pics, and other such nonsense.. if you’re a normal person (especially someone who’s interacted with me before!), PLEASE don’t hesitate to request a follow. Seriously. I feel horrble.
But the reality of the situation is this: there are people out there who are abusive online. They are abusive with your pictures, with your name, with your family.. they have little to no respect for anything having to do with you. There seems to be a feeling of “If you put it out there, it’s fair game” and maybe that’s justified. I just know that I don’t like my kids being “out there” and quite frankly I don’t like worrying that everything I “put out there” is up for critique.
I don’t know and I’m still torn about it. Part of me believes that the open flow of ideas is what social media is. The other part of me is all Momma Bear about it. Momma Bear almost always wins, because I’d rather err on the side of caution.
I started this for a reason. Hell if I can remember what that is.
I’ll tweet about it when I think of it.