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The Unfriending Epidemic

05/10/2011

unfriendedSomeone should conduct a study on Facebook ‘unfriending’.

Oh, hold on. I googled it, and it looks like someone did.

It looks like the top three reasons for getting unfriended are posting too often, posting about religion or politics, and being rude.

Wow. I can’t believe I have any Facebook friends left.

But I’m not talking about isolated unfriending incidents. I’m talking about when an individual purges his or her friends list, deleting undesirable after undesirable, until left with an elite cadre of Facebook users.

The study I’m interested in reading would document general unfriending trends. Is a user more likely or less likely to delete people who share their economic status? Academic qualifications? Religious affiliations? Political views?

Because the mass unfriendings strike me as slightly elitist.

And also illogical. The result of unfriending someone is a restriction of their access to the information you’ve posted. But here’s the thing–there is very little privacy to be had online. If there’s something you want to hide, even from the view of just a few people you dislike, don’t post it on the Internet.

Facebook itself is notoriously lax when it comes to safeguarding its users’ privacy, and it’s only getting worse:

got privacy?So we kinda gotta do it ourselves, by refraining from posting sensitive information in the first place.

If someone is being rude, by all means, delete them. But if you find a user’s posts merely annoying, you don’t have to risk unnecessary tension by unfriending them. You can simply delete them from your News Feed. They’ll never know!

Security guru Bruce Schneier has said, “Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re Facebook’s customer, you’re not–you’re the product.” Facebook makes money by selling its users’ information to advertisers, who pay Facebook for the opportunity to target you with personalized ads.

What we get in exchange is the ability to share our ideas with as many people as possible. In doing so, we can effect real change. That’s the beauty of Facebook, and the Internet, too.

If we’re comfortable with corporations mining our profiles for profit, why do we care whether our acquaintances can see them? By unfriending people unnecessarily you limit your reach and devalue the service, for yourself and others. The Internet is about connectivity. If you want privacy, start a diary.

Don’t unfriend me, bro!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/10/2011 7:05 PM

    “The Newfie Wizard deems this post ‘fascinating'”. He’s rejoicing in the private/public blurring of which you speak and going to the aforementioned social network to disquotational say the very same, god damn thing.

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