The following did not happen to me. Nor did it happen within my inner circle of friends. But, it did happen.
Earlier this year, the Green Bay Packers got shafted from a call by a replacement ref. I think, basically, a scab ref screwed the Packers out of winning a game. Well, a die-hard Packer Fan was pretty pissed (a lot were). This Packer Fan posted something on their Facebook wall (a lot probably did). This Fan was bitching about a football game. Well, one of the Fan’s friends chided the complaint questioning why they couldn’t focus on something more serious, like childhood poverty. The Fan responded that Facebook is their space. It’s not work. It’s not a family thing. It’s not church. It’s a place where stupid comments can fly. Where venting can occur. Where unruly behavior can fly free. Why? Because it’s his/her own space.
I treat my blog that way, more or less. I need to write, so I write about what’s happening. Part of the reason I took a year off from blogging was because I couldn’t figure out how to write about very frustrating things without offending someone. But, I realized in that vacant year of writing that I need to write for my sake. So, I recommitted to writing, and I wrote about an instance that really pissed me off, and someone very close to me is no longer my Facebook friend. I was unfriended first, then we were refriended, but I didn’t like what I saw … So, this time I did the unfriending. And, to prevent communication that wasn’t positive, I blocked this person.
I don’t love this person any less, but I do like them less. And, I realized that my Facebook space is sort of sacred. I spend too much time there, so I need to control what I see. So, I pruned.
A few people (gasp) got blocked. And, I unfriended nearly 30 people. I had over 180 “friends”, and now I have 152. Still a good chunk are family, though that amount has dwindled. Those who stay are local and in my life now. Most have similar views as me. Theoretically I don’t have to feel bad when I post something political. I pruned my list so it could be more my space (look, an unintended pun!).
Although, I think part of the emphasis on “my space” is ill-conceived, I’ve certainly taken steps to protect my space. We’re, collectively, in this weird space trying to figure out what they best way to act is. Face to face, to all our networks, we probably wouldn’t shout our dissent over a Packers game. But, we certainly would to our close, sports loving friends. Although Facebook has given us ways to tailor our texts, it’s easier to just let them fly, and I think most of us do that. We don’t tailor our football talk to our football list, we leave it available to all of our friends. So, our social justice invigorated friends see this football post and chide us for being shallow. But, all we really wanted to do was bitch about a football game that pissed us off. We care about social justice too.
The human condition, on display in all its gruesome glory… and that’s Facebook. I’ll navigate the human condition, for now, by keeping those on my list who’ll enjoy my pontifications over why Roe v. Wade needs to be kept in its unadulterated form, and if you don’t want to hear it, well, you’re probably not on the list anyway. But, if I don’t like your football game post, I’m probably going to say something about that too – if you’re close to me, and I think you’re better than that. And, I can understand how I’d be removed from your list. We never watched football together anyway.