Facebook Follies

March 7, 2011

Because I treat Facebook like a tool and not a toy, I have a pretty liberal connection policy. Even if I don’t know someone personally, if I have a reason to want to know them (e.g. they own a business in Reno) or we have at least one good shared connection, I usually accept the “friend” request. I use Facebook to build bridges, not walls. And I never post anything, anytime, anywhere that I would not be comfortable with anyone seeing, so privacy is not an issue for me.

I have a life, and I am connected to over 700 people on Facebook, so I do not read my homefeed because I simply don’t have time. I scan it quickly occasionally to see if there is something I want to “like”, but because things that end up in my homefeed originated on someone else’s profile, I treat it as noise and not a signal.

But if someone posts something on my wall, that’s a signal that I am forced to read and respond to because everyone that visits my profile will see it. If the post is rude, offensive, or spam, I will break the connection by unfriending them. I figure if folks want to muck up their own public profiles that’s one thing, but when they put graffiti on the wall of my house it’s something altogether different.

This happened to me yesterday. Someone I don’t even know personally posted something that I found offensive on my wall. When I unfriended him, he sent me an e-mail and told me I was an ass for doing so. Go figure.

I love this advice from Guy Kawasaki in his new book “Enchantment“:

Don’t take any crap. If you give people the benefit of the doubt and they violate you, don’t tolerate it. My theory is that if you think someone is an asshole, most people who are silently observing the situation think so too. This is called Guy’s Theory of Perfect Knowledge of Assholes. If you don’t take any crap, you will enchant the silent observers who like that you have the courage to push back. Just don’t make your reaction personal; criticize the opinion, thinking, or perspective, but not the person. (pp. 114-115).

Facebook for me is a necessary evil. The overwhelming majority of interactions I have with folks on social platforms are civil if not positive. But every once in a while, stuff happens. No worries.

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