So here I am, wisely using my time at a recent work meeting to catch up on in-depth personal conversation with coworkers*, when the topic of facebook arose and a coworker divulged indignantly that a facebook friend had recently blocked her from posting comments on his wall. (For those of you readers unfamiliar with the concept of facebook, that is, people who are dead, almost dead, or who were born yesterday—-literally—-this is not a real wall and posting on it does not therefore constitute graffiti.) My coworker admitted mild surprise at being the recipient of this virtual barricade, considering she’d never written on his wall to begin with and that their relationship was completely cordial.
Which got me to wondering why somebody would have a facebook friend from whom they had no interest in hearing, even in the form of an innocuous wall greeting. I understand that not all of my facebook friends are those best friends for whom I would jump in front of an ice cream truck (not to save them, but to buy some ice cream) or with whom I hope to be buried (but not while alive). Yet doesn’t that facebook friend status imply some level of amicable, or at least merely tolerable, connection? If the thought of you writing a comment on my wall invokes a feeling of fear, panic, disgust, or sheer horror, and I have to go out of my way to block any possible contact you might hypothetically one day try to make, shouldn’t I perhaps not add you as a facebook friend to begin with??
But then it occurred to me that denying a friend request comes with its own set of complications. After all, everybody who’s anybody adds anybody and everybody. And just when you’ve clicked “ignore friend request” and begin to think you’re safe, you end up running into your friend’s brother’s wife’s dog’s nephew’s younger sister who you didn’t add because you’ve never met her and weren’t sure she actually existed, but here she is at Fred Meyer in the cereal aisle wondering why you ignored her friend request because she’s a very nice person really and what has she ever done to you??
And suddenly the lightbulb came on, and right after that I had a really good idea. Rather than adding facebook “friends,” we need to begin organizing our social connections and compartmentalizing them into two columns of contacts: Facebook “friends” and Facebook “foes.” People with whom we have some level of regular contact, and whom we like, love, or tolerate, will henceforth be esteemed as such in the “friends” column.
Facebook “foes,” on the other hand, are people whom you’ve never met (or you went to preschool with them, or they went to preschool with your friend’s brother’s wife’s dog’s nephew’s younger sister, or you were baptized in the same religious ceremony at the age of seven months), or people whom you dislike, cannot tolerate, and/or entirely despise. These people will be recognized as such in your “foes” column. Rather than a bright and shining profile pic, their profile box will be marred by a giant red X, and when all of your friends go to your page, they will instantly know who the cool people are, and who the rejects are. It will be just like junior high, except that in junior high I didn’t have the internet and couldn’t mark a big red X on people’s faces just because I didn’t like them. Not after that one time, when I got suspended from school for a week.**
Readers, I hope that you like my brainchild of differentiating facebook “friends” from facebook “foes” and perpetuating alienation and divisiveness among our online social connections. Please stay tuned for my next post: How to lose friends and alienate people at a rapid rate through blogging. 🙂
*If you are my supervisor, that sentence is entirely false.
**Just kidding. I like everybody. Except you.