Social Networking can be a beautiful thing. Facebook, Twitter, blogging are all great ways to meet like-minded folks and stay in touch with long distance friends and family. I check in with Facebook and Twitter every day. I roll through all the blogs I follow at least every other day or so depending on how hectic things are.
I've chosen to break my social networks into categories. My friends on Facebook are people I actually know in real life. Now granted, I haven't seen some of my Facebook friends in over 20 years, but we really did know each other once upon a time. The people I follow on Twitter are mostly book people. I follow agents, editors, authors, book reviewers, book publicists, etc. (Okay...and Ellen Degeneres and Ryan Secrest, I admit it.) Reading Twitter keeps me up to date on what's going on in that world. I've discovered the most interesting tidbits from my Twitter people.
Here's the thing though. Some folks use their social networks for purposes that don't mesh with my own, and I'm in a quandary as to what to do about it. Blocking Twitter followers is no big thing. I don't know those people, and they don't know me. If they become tiresome, I just stop following. Facebook is another matter. Linda's daughter, Mallory, informed us that blocking a Facebook friend is just not done. Really...it is apparently the worst kind of social networking faux pas.
But what if they are really pissing me off?? Am I obligated to keep listening to them? Mallory tells me to hide them from my news feed so I won't see their status updates. Okay...but that seems dishonest to me.
While the occasional political or religious status update on Facebook is fine, I'm not interested in having our online friendship serve as a platform for your political or religious point of view. Would you spew the vitriolic political rhetoric to me in person that you're forcing me to read online? I think not because I KNOW you in person. I avoid political hate-mongers in all other forms of media. I surely don't want to read it on Facebook. Nor do I want to read hellfire and damnation scripture references every day. I'm good spiritually, so thanks but no thanks.
Facebook is for sharing fun bits of your day...or the struggles of your day because maybe I can help. Tell me the funny thing your kid did or that great restaurant you tried. Tell a joke...wish me luck...tell me about a good book. I like seeing your quiz results even when I think you must have lied to get that result. :) I can even live with your mafia wars and farmville updates even though I will continue to ignore your invitations to whack Vinny or raise chickens.
Comments about politics and religion should be made online in the same way you would make them in person. And if you throw them in my face online, I will treat you the same way I would in person. I will leave. I'm probably going to offend some folks, but if I do they would be the same folks who are offending me on a regular basis.
If you really have a point of view you are dying to express, create a blog. You will probably find like-minded people, and I can say, "Why don't you just blog about it."