Ask Erin: Social network challenges | Kitsap Week

Erin Jennings  - Herald photo
Erin Jennings
— image credit: Herald photo

Dear Erin,

I like to use Facebook to stay in touch with my family and friends.  I know many people have other uses for it and I don’t begrudge them that, but I find that I want to “unfriend” many Facebook friends who use their Facebook page to promote their political or religious agenda and issues. Or other people fill the page with boring updates. I don’t care that you are going to the grocery store and then to the dentist.

How do I gracefully “unfriend” people who I see frequently in my community or who are mutual friends with my good friends?

Facebook Befuddled

Dear Befuddled,

Oh, the trials of social networking.

The difficult thing about Facebook is that each person has a different approach to how they use it.

Some Facebook users are “collectors.” Like gathering shells on a beach, their goal is to collect as many friends as possible. Collectors don’t seem to mind that they met you once at a party five years ago. When they see your picture pop up under “People you may know,” they quickly fire off a friend request.

That’s their choice. And you have the choice to not accept their request.

Other Facebookers are “guarders.” Even if you lived next door to the guy and played kick the can with him until you moved away, he still won’t accept your request. (I’m talking to you, Brian Greenwood.) Guarders keep their Facebook circle tight and have strict rules as to whom they will allow into their inter-sanctum.

And that’s their choice.

Somewhere between “collectors” and “guarders” fall the majority of Facebook users.

I’ll call them the “friendlies.”  Friendlies don’t aggressively  hunt for friends, nor do they ignore many friend requests that come their way.

But it’s the friendlies who have the biggest challenges navigating social etiquette. Friendlies don’t want to be, well, unfriendly.

A good first step is to “hide” the annoying users. To do this, when the offenders post a status update, point your mouse to the right of their name and a blue box will pop up. You have the choice of removing their post, or hiding them. If you hide them, you won’t receive any more updates from them, but they can still see updates from you.

Or, you can just yank the Band-Aid off quickly, so to speak, and unfriend them. Don’t worry, unfriended folks don’t receive a notification stating what you did. Their only clue is that you no longer appear in their list of friends.

Another solution is to remove yourself from Facebook (not forever!) Wait a bit and then rejoin. With a clean slate the second time around, be more careful with whom you friend. The woman from your spinning class who talks non-stop? You may want to think twice before accepting her.

And folks, remember not to take Facebook too seriously. If someone doesn’t accept your request, don’t take it personally. Above all, remember nothing replaces a face-to-face relationship.

— Ask Erin is a feature of Kitsap Week. Have a question? Write Ask Erin, Kitsap Week, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo 98370 or email Questions can range from advice to practical issues.

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