The New York Times (yes, I enjoy reading a paper newspaper in the morning over coffee) has an interesting article today, Friends, Until I Delete You. It was about protocols, or the lack thereof, regarding dropping / unfriending / blocking / unfollowing / defriending people on Facebook (and by default even on Twitter, my primary networking hub, as well as rss feeds and blogrolls). Getting a free Whopper from Burger King aside, this issue will only grow in discussion as the general trend toward Managing Multimembership increases.
I used to accept all invitations, though find it increasingly difficult to keep up and communicate with the people who I am really interested in following and engaging in ongoing discussions. Currently, I do not accept all invitations in Facebook or even return following in Twitter. Let’s face it, if I have not spoken to somebody since high school or college or for ten years, is there much evidence I really want to suddenly start now? There are often reasons why we lose touch (as well as some good reasons for begining again, I suppose).
I often do accept if the person appears interesting, but tastes and needs and wants do change and develop over time.
Don’t get me wrong, this issue is not necessarily a personal one; it is more a recognition that I have limited time and resources. I am simply not able or interested in following or reading people who, ultimately, do not meet the WIIFM? (What’s In It For Me?) factor. Very subjective, but then again what isn’t? (Ahh, I love qualitative research!)
I wish I have more time and energy, but there is a limit. Thus, instead of my own focusing on particulars about unfriending, I prefer to focus on following those who really make a difference in my life, work, and research.