Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Now Where Did They Put That Unfriend Button?

Posted by She Said

An issue has come up several times in my life over the last few months that has finally shown its festering head and is ready to be popped by means of this blog post. I’m squeezing that bitch. It may get political, so if you don’t want any on you, consider yourself warned.

Facebook has always been an outlet for me to express my political views, views which have turned me into the black sheep of my family and the black sheep-in-law in Greg’s. Other than through Facebook, these scandalous views have only been expressed at my own dinner table with my own husband or with like-minded friends. What views? (Hey, you were warned!) The firm belief that every person should have the right to marry the love of their life, regardless of sexual orientation. I know, GASP! The belief that the issue of women’s health and birth control is deserving of a respectful discussion, without booing and hissing from an audience. I know, I’m a dreamer, right? The belief that I’m not going to succumb to right-wing fear mongering. There are others, but I think you get the point. I lean left.

So, anyway, Facebook. I have used the social networking beast to express those beliefs. Lately, after a few comments from several of my posts, I am doubting this outlet. Around family, I am polite and pull my proverbial head into my shell when it comes to politics and religion and keep my mouth shut. To their credit, they generally do the same around me. Why rock the boat, right? But Facebook feels like a gloves-off kind of arena, where kicking, biting, and spitting all fall under the rules of fair play. That is why Greg has decided to stop posting political commentary on Facebook and put it on that other social networking site. Damn, what’s the name of it again? Oh yeah, GooglePlus. I’ve kind of stuck to my squirt guns and kept on posting whatever I felt like on Facebook.

But now, I’m questioning this. I’m questioning this because of the political lurkers. You know, the people who are your “friends” on Facebook but ONLY comment on your political posts. They ignore all the cute anecdotes about your kids. They ignore all the cute pictures of your puppies. They ignore the fact that you are checking in at the gym, busting your ass trying to get in great shape by your 40th 29th birthday. But the nanosecond you post something political, BAM! they have to let you know how much they disagree with you, how much they feel they have the superior belief, and how much they think you are a douche for having the beliefs you do.

Is this a form of cyber bullying? Seriously. I don’t feel like I need to put up with this. I’d had it with one lurker and ended the Facebook “friendship” after sending what I felt to be a polite email explaining why I was doing so. Don’t get me wrong, I can handle a political discussion – when it is possible. It’s the snark-filled, rude comments for which I have no energy, no willingness to dust off my debate skills. Those kinds of comments do not pave the way for a healthy discussion. Seriously, why bother? They’ve already essentially told me they think I’m a douche for my beliefs, and I doubt any kind of wicked debate skills would reduce my douchery level in their eyes.

How do you handle this? Do you sensor your posts? Do you maintain better control of your friends list than I obviously do? Do you comment on political posts with which you do not agree? And if so, how do you do it? If it starts with “Hey, douchebag…” then I think you missed my point and you don’t need to answer the question.

Ah, hell. It’s spring. Maybe it is time for a Facebook friends list spring cleaning. Thoughts?


  1. Unfriend. Seriously. It's liberating. Why be friends with people who aren't your friends?

  2. No comments, no debate, no explanation. Just unfriend. Set yourself free. You'll be walking on sunshine in no time.

  3. If you have an opinion about something and you express it on the internet - anywhere on the internet, including facebook - you have to do so with the expectation you might invite dissent into your life, sometimes extremely hostile dissent. So either you have to ready yourself for it or you have to censor yourself. Sometimes you will be surprised at how many people actually agree with you. Other times not so much. I personally think people should say what they want, but leave out ugly personal details. I'd rather read about someone's outrageous opinion, even if I don't necessarily agree with it, than how many bowel movements they had or how much of a jerk their ex is to the kids.

    Anyway, it sounds like we might have similar opinions so I am off to check out more. ~ Cheers ~ :-)

  4. Sorry to hear you've been having this trouble. I do sensor some of my posts. I forgot I had friended some parents from my son's school and complained a bit about how I felt frustrated with a teacher I was working for. The parents were kind with their responses / warnings. I learned my lesson. Most of my friends are very outspoken but polite about their political views, so no worries there. If I comment on an issue I disagree with, I try to find a common ground to start on and then take it from there. I keep it polite. Name calling is not debate. Nor will it help you find a solution or middle ground. I also don't understand why being pro gay marriage or pro birth control has to be considered liberal. Personally, the birth control thing should be a dead issue. That they're trying to take it away and throw us back about 50 or 60 years is kind of scary. I would think gay people getting married would be a dead issue by now as well. It's kept alive to distract us from real issues which is unfortunate. Hang in there. And I don't blame you for unfriending someone who only comes out of the woodwork to attack your political views. Wouldn't really count them as a friend.

  5. Hi there. Great post. I tend to censor my liberal views around my more conservative family - wish they'd show me the same courtesy because then I can't help but enter the debate and feelings get hurt! Mine field with some friends as well so certain topics are kept away from. Sad really... I guess politics IS personal. It's great when you can find an internet forum where everyone is arguing with civility. Find those ones.
    BTW like your blog am on my way to see more....

  6. Guy I dated in high school is like that. I totally unfriended him. I figure I don't need anything else from him..