For the last six months I have been participating in social networking daily. Facebook is my network of choice. I upload my email contacts to find real world friends using Facebook. I browse through Facebook’s suggestions and added people. I play Mafia Wars. I post on walls, comment everywhere, upload photos and do everything to make my online socializing open and connected.
Now, I was unfriended by a friend and feel a sense of loss. My feelings are not hurt, I feel the unfriending is not personal just an assertion of privacy. I feel surprised at the action but more surprised at my reaction because I have never met or talked with this person. I know this was not the routine pruning most people do online.
Signing up to new sites on the web is easy. Using an ever growing number of them can be overwhelming. I have signed up and familiarized myself with hundreds of sites to stay technologically literate and use several of them daily. Each of the other sites are good but I prefer Facebook.
This unfriending made me think about netiquette and my motivations online. Here is my very generalized timeline of what I believe led up to this unfriending.
- I joined Facebook.
- I upload my email contacts from AOL, Live, Google and Yahoo to find people I know on Facebook.
- I started to socialize.
- I started to play an online game.
- I was added as a friend by this person.
- I socialized with this friend and others daily.
- I imported my Facebook friends into Yahoo contacts list. The Facebook site has no option to export but Yahoo has the option to import from Facebook.
- I synchronized the updated Yahoo contacts list with other sites that I use. I do this regularly.
- I invited new contacts to connect with me on those sites. This, I believe was the trigger for this unfriending.
- I continued to socialize with this friend and others daily, but the atmosphere changed.
- I messaged with this friend.
- I was unfriended.
I believe inviting new contacts to connect with me on other sites triggered this unfriending. Many people had bad encounters with others online and in the real world. They don’t know me. They are vigilant. They interpret what I do and make judgments based on limited information. They want their privacy. A motivation of social networks is make sharing everything everywhere easy but for some it may be creepy and intrusive.