Webometric Thoughts

December 29, 2008

Defriending/unfriending without the Guilt!

Filed under: de-friend,defriend,facebook — admin @ 1:11 pm

Just before Christmas [I have only just waded through my RSS feeds] the Wall Street Journal had a piece about the problems of defriending people:

Unfriending online “friends” is emerging as the latest offense in the world of social networking.

People who are so easily offended are highly unlikely to talk to me long enough to ever make it onto my “friends” list, but nonetheless my defriending decisions have occassionally been controversial:

1) My brother: defriended for having appalling taste in music and expressing it regularly in his status.
2) My girlfriend: defriended when her annoying friends’ comments started appearing in my newsfeed.

Defriending is a necessary part of the long term use of social network sites, after all, do we really want to spend the rest of our lives with a social life clogged-up with those friends we made as five year olds?

The biggest problem with the current defriending system is its secretive nature. Defriendees would probably be more accepting of a defriending if the defriender was forced to inform them of the reasons why, rather than letting them find out on their own. Defriending without telling them why just strikes me as rude. It is worth noting, however, that however well you explain why you defriended your girlfriend, she is highly unlikely to be understanding.

February 12, 2008

De-friending on Facebook

Filed under: de-friend,defriend,facebook — admin @ 3:57 pm

One of the Facebook issues that is often discussed is the juggling of friends from different spheres. Would you want professional colleagues seeing what you had been up to on a drunken night out? The vicar to see your debauched holiday snaps?

An issue that is often overlooked is whether you really want to know the continuous goings-on of certain people’s lives. Today I finally gave up and de-friended my brother:

Whilst his status could not be seen by any of my friends, and he never felt the need to write inappropriate comments on my wall, a person’s status can slowly drive you mad.

Unfortunately de-friending on Facebook is a rather un-momentous affair. Merely being asked if you are sure you want to go ahead, told you won’t be able to undo it, and told that the person will not be informed. Facebook should allow you to inform the person and provide the reason if you wish. As it was I had to resort to the traditional email to explain my actions. Maybe I should have looked for a de-friending application that offered to send some sort of animated e-card.

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