An open letter to my social network “friends”

Like many people, I’m fairly liberal with the “Approve Friend Request” button on Facebook. I’ll add friends of friends, casual social acquaintances, former work colleagues, people I went to high school or grade school with or who laid in the adjacent crib to me in the hospital when I was born. I’d say 75% of these people never actually interact with me at all, nor me with them. And that’s fine; I don’t need to have deep, meaningful conversations with the kid who sat next to me in history class in eighth grade. It’s kind of cool to simply see his posts on my main news feed, along with some dude I worked with in 1999 or some girl I went on one date with in 1997…to see small glimpses into lives that briefly converged on mine and then diverged forever.

Unfortunately, this means that I end up accidentally friending people who have no actual interest in me, my personal life or the things I create and produce. To these people, I’m simply another notch on their social marketing belt, another name on a mass messaging list, another “friend” they can show to their marketing clients as an example of their successful penetration of the social network market. These people don’t interact with me. They don’t read my posts or comment on them. They just send me endless invites to inane events and “Buck Shmerkle Productions is a fan of CLUB ROOFIEZ HIP-HOP LADIES NIGHT!!! and thinks you should be too” requests.

I despise the marketing and advertising industry. (The fact that I’m a professional web designer, which essentially makes me a sort of marketing sub-contractor, is not lost on me. But that’s a whole other story.) I despise people who try to manipulate every single human relationship into a meaningful brand extension opportunity. I want to punch these people in the face very hard and very long until something goes soft behind their eyes.

Most of all, I hate people who pretend even casual intimacy with me when their sole goal is to sell me something I don’t need or even want. If any of these pricks actually took ten minutes to look at my Facebook profile or Twitter feed, they would probably be able to guess that I’m less likely to attend their “420-friendly reggae-metal jam!!” or gallery show of bad derivative paintings or acoustic poetry performance/hootenanny/rally for veganism than I am to shove Jon Cryer’s head up my ass whilst performing the entire songbook of Andrew Lloyd Webber in flawless Tagalog.

But they don’t know that, because I’m not a human to them. They’re pimps and I’m a john — an unwilling and uninterested one. They don’t notice if I never respond to any of their messages, never attend their events; they just keep spamming me, day after day, month after month, year after year, under the guise of a false camaraderie. (It’s even funnier when these are people whom I know for a fact don’t actually like me. You know who you are. Unfortunately for you, so do I.)

Luckily, I’m learning to be liberal with another Facebook button: the one that says Unfriend. As of today, if you’re one of these people, you are not on my friends list. And if you start becoming one of these people, I’ll kick your ass to the curb quicker than you can say “personal brand”. Sorry. Actually, no I’m not. I don’t care what you think.

This doesn’t extend to people who are actually my friends or colleagues or even acquaintances, or people who post events I care about. Even if I don’t show up to every play you put on or show your band plays, or even most of them, I’m more than happy to know when you’re putting on another event. And I think most of you know who you are.

The rest of you…well, I’d tell you to go fuck yourself, but you probably aren’t even seeing my posts anymore.

And the world seems a little lighter to me.

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  1. Personally, I have a sort of equation to root out these people automatically. It goes something along the line of: (# of friends the “friend” has) * (# of mass-marketed group invites or events sent by “friend”) (# of actual personal messages sent by “friend” per year)

    If that number is anything higher

  2. [arg, damn thing auto-submitted my comment prematurely]

    If that number is anything higher… than 300-ish, I go for the unfriend button without a second thought…

    I considered making an app for that, but I doubt Facebook would approve it.

  3. HAHA – Dude, I just friend requested you on Facebook .. so this is especially apropos … But I did just run into you at Coffee Bean last week … which is why I looked you up … & am sincerely interested in your latest musical projects … I promise not to invite you to my 420 Sponge Bob marathon fun raiser for public workers with AIDS …

    Where is the Captcha with the spelling context test ?? “They’re vs. Their” …… best idea ever …

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