mind your social networking.

16 Sep

I’ve desperately wanted to tell every Grown Man (or their lady-friends that are the ones actually reading this site) to quit Facebook, Twitter, and all social networking.  Oh, how I’ve wanted to write lines like, “Seriously, why are you looking at pictures of your 6th grade lab partner’s honeymoon!?  Who cares? Go outside!” and, “Looking to cheat? Accept that friend request.”  Oh lord, I turn grizzled and cantankerous when it comes to social media.

Old school networking

However, this Grown Man isn’t a hypocrite. And, not only do I use the e-world to shamelessly promote this here blog and interact with “you people,” but I’m starting to come around to the fact that Facebook (and to a lesser degree, every other social networking option) isn’t just a fad — but a way of life.  I’m realizing that Facebook is not just about being stalked by old high school friends that you’d rather avoid, but one portal by which to produce and consume all business, entertainment, and socialization.  It is, in a sense, the new Silk Road, the new telegraph, the new email, and the Brave New World (or 1984?).

So, how should Grown Men responsibly harness the power of social networking while still remaining respectable and timeless?

1- Just say no. One of the main issues I have with all e-socialization is the wide swath of people that now have access to you and your life.  I’m not all freaked out about Internet security and “the man in the black helicopter” stealing “your secrets.”  I’m more concerned with the fact that you, me, and everyone in the world shouldn’t have access to you, me, and everyone in the world.  Here’s why:  As humans, we have a limited capacity for human connections.  Some theories suggest that we can’t really know more than 100 people well and, after that, our lives get filled with needless information and insincere friendships.

Bro.  For real, listen to me Bro.  I’VE GOT 4,380 freakin’ friends.  And, I’ve poked all of them.

Yuck, gross, c’mon! In truth, you only really know about 20 of them and the rest of them are simply pawns in your quest to feel popular without really knowing anyone.   What I’m proposing is that when you get a friend request, you ask yourself the following question:  Do I care to be in community with this person, or do I just want to be voyeuristic? If it’s option one, go for it!  If it’s option two, realize that nothing productive, respectful, or polite comes from simply looking in on someone’s life without participating in it.  If you don’t care for him or her, just say no to the friend request.

2- Just say no, again. Following the same logic as #1, I’d avoid doing a mass invite of people.  Be particular about who you enter into this community with. You wouldn’t walk into a football stadium and give everyone your email address, personal photo album, and diary would you?  Grown Men practice decorum and keep some mystery about them.

3- Be accountable. My biggest problem with social networking is that it makes wrecking a good relationship, even a marriage, easier than ever.  Here’s what happens:  You and your significant other are going through a rough patch (which will happen).  You’re feeling hurt, she’s feeling lonely, neither of you are particularly excited about the other person.  Now, she’s gone to bed and you check your email only to find that “[High School girlfriend who you lost contact with and remember as being one of the only people who understood me] has requested to be your friend.”  Well now, doesn’t that feel nice? She says, “Hi,” you say, “It’s been a long time,” she says, “Too long,” you say, “We should remedy that.”

Do you see what happened?  Your relational problems have lowered your defences and MyTwitFace (thank you, Conan) has provided a perfect opportunity to feel the attention and attraction you’re longing for. My friend, you are about to turn a rough spot in your committed relationship into and dark season with a person who, guess what!, is also not perfect and certainly flawed.

What I’m suggesting – no, begging – is that you give someone you trust your username and password.  The reason is simple, we don’t do dumb stuff in front of other people as easily as we do it in secrecy.  Which, parenthetically, is why being in a physical community where people can ask how you’re doing is a much better option for networking than interweb socialization.  But, I’m not grumpy old guy, so I’m not going to say that.  Anyhow, knowing that someone you trust is able to see your interactions will guard you from doing dumb stuff and allow you to enjoy your social networks in a responsible way.

You’re a Grown Man, mind your social networking.

Wow.  This was not a funny post, was it?  Well, I suppose it’s not always yucks and giggles on the road to Grown Manhood. But, because I fancy myself the jester of internet masculinity, I can’t end on such a Doug Downer note. To remedy that, I’ll leave you with this super special 4th rule:

4- Plant a garden. If you think playing Farmville is in any way an acceptable option for living your life as a Grown Man, you need to Apple-Q that junk right now and go outside.  For real, Grown Men should have dirty hands at the end of the day — not fake cows getting loose.  Your great-grandfather is rolling over in his grave.

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17 Responses to “mind your social networking.”

  1. Sholeh 16 September 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    There is room for a whole post on the topic of what to post on the internet (statuses, Twitter, forums, blog posts, etc). :-D

  2. Bramanm 16 September 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    GM – You forgot about, if you are using these various social networking sites, realize that your job and future employers are too, and as such, mind what you post and to whom. The last thing you want is for your boss to see that you had a great time at the kegger thursday, after you just called in sick on friday.

    If you must vent on the internet it’s difficult to find anonymity. However if you must get the crazy out and allow others to see it and comment, a simple email and a blog will allow you to vent in a forum that allows you to express yourself somewhat freely. Right GM? :)

    • Peter 21 September 2010 at 10:33 am #

      I’m sure that GM wouldn’t suggest getting drunk at a kegger on a thursday if you have work on a friday to begin with.

      • Coco 21 September 2010 at 6:59 pm #

        Or attending a “kegger” at all, past the age of about 23.

  3. GentlemanPlayer 16 September 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    I thought I was “king” when I reached 400 “friends” but then I realised that my niece has 4 times that amount. Yeah, you’ve got to be very careful with Facebook in particular what with everyone tagging you and everyone else in “compromising” situations.

  4. Shana 16 September 2010 at 11:23 pm #

    Holy cow. I love you…and I don’t even know you. seriously. can I say that on here? haha.

  5. de.construct.ion 17 September 2010 at 9:45 am #

    But Grown Man, what do you do when you realize you have 3xx ‘friends’ and you could totally get rid of AT LEAST 100 who you never talk to. I don’t think there’s a good way to ‘break up’ with people online. I grew up in a small town, so many people that I know well but don’t particularly care much about are my friends…I can only imagine the talk about town if I deleted some of them. Dilemma!

  6. Kurt 17 September 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    Very salient points, Grown Man.

    One thing that drives me insane on Twitter/Facebook is people who post status updates that are intentionally vague, and crafted to garner emotional concern, or are directed at some unnamed individual. Examples thereof:

    “I’m not going to try anymore.”

    “I’ve had enough.”

    “So that’s the way it is going to be.”

    “I guess I’m just not good enough.”

    And so forth, and so forth. Don’t do this people. Man up and get in touch with the source of your ire/displeasure and leave it off of your social networks where all you do is broadcast it to a bunch of people who are confused and can’t do anything about it in the first place.

    • Gracie May 5 May 2011 at 5:26 pm #

      Can I quote you Kurt? haha You hit the nail on the head.

      • Jerry 17 September 2011 at 1:25 am #

        That\’s not just logic. That\’s raelly sensible.

  7. Writers Team 17 September 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    I had this very conversation with a small group of friends recently. It was amusing how different our views were on the subject. But like you, I think we need to ask ourselves, “Why are we friends with this person? Is it to be nice or because we actually desire community or fellowship with that person?” Once you answer that question, the rest should be cake. I do periodic “FB cleanses.” And honestly, if I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet you for a meal or coffee… we’re not friends. Keep it real, GM. ~Amber

  8. Amber 17 September 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    I had this very conversation with a small group of friends recently. It was amusing how different our views were on the subject. But like you, I think we need to ask ourselves, “Why are we friends with this person? Is it to be nice or because we actually desire community or fellowship with that person?” Once you answer that question, the rest should be cake. I do periodic “FB cleanses.” And honestly, if I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet you for a meal or coffee… we’re not friends. Keep it real, GM. ~Amber

  9. Chris 20 September 2010 at 9:36 pm #

    I’ve never had more than 150 or 200 “friends” on facebook. Now I have 51 and I know them all personally. My rule is “if I don’t talk to you at least once or twice in a 6 month period, we probably aren’t really friends…Delete”.

  10. Anas Shafqat 21 September 2010 at 1:25 am #

    You forgot the fact that despite the age limit at Fb, many kids that are wayyy young have made their accounts on it. Which is quite a nuisance, you know … when you’ve your 9-year old cousin grovelling around your profile page :|

  11. Nilay 24 September 2010 at 2:11 am #

    Totally agree to the views expressed here.

  12. Gracie May 5 May 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    You are so hilarious (and so right!).

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. happy birthday, random acquaintance of mine « grace on purpose - 20 September 2011

    [...] Having said this, I now direct you to a funny blog which explains my view of facebook rather acurately: Mind Your Social Networking [...]

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