Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pleasantries in Purgatory

I hate Internet etiquette. More specifically, etiquette on facebook. "But there is no etiquette on facebook", you say.

Wrong. Well.............50/50.

PROBLEM: What bugs me the most is, on facebook, when someone sends you a "friend request", you feel obligated to either confirm or ignore this friend. With confirmation comes endless amounts of notifications telling you that your friend ran 14 miles, or your friend is going to the bathroom. It's really quite annoying. On the other hand, if you ignore it, then (because people aren't stupid and can figure it out) you feel like a jerk because they know that you ignored their request.

For example. I was sitting in class one day. There was a girl I went to high school with who also attended the class. She was married. She had previously sent me a friend request and because, not thinking of the consequences, i ignored it. A couple weeks later, she confronted me in class asking why i kept ignoring her requests (i did it a couple time). CRAP!!! I was caught. jokingly, i told her that there was a long list of people who were waiting to be my friend (false), and that she would have to wait her turn. We both chuckled about it, and went and sat in our seats across the room, not talking to each other, just like we did the entire semester. What's the deal? We obviously weren't good enough friends in real life, what would be different online? what's the point? I didn't want anymore of these confrontations, but i also didn't want to clutter my facebook with people's pointless information.

SOLUTION: Purgatory. Not just after death limbo, but facebook purgatory. what the hades is facebook purgatory? i'll tell you. It's when you neither confirm nor deny a friend request, and you leave it pending for ETERNITY. I have about 34 people as of this moment who are currently in facebook purgatory. You're probably thinking i'm rude. Well, you would be correct, but I'm also trying to get the number of friends down to the magic number of 150.

The magic number of 150, or Dunbar's number (google it), is the maximum amount of human connections you can know. Vague and confusing, i agree. Without getting too in depth, when i say "know", i don't mean biblically, but i mean able to genuinely care and be involved with.

ie. i know my friend chad. that's one. I know my friend kat. that's two. my friend kat and chad know each other. Since I would want to know what's going on between them, that's three. blah blah blah, 150 people. This isn't a made up number. Human beings are physically hardwired to behave this way.

So, for those of you who are in purgatory, i'm sorry, but i care too much about other people. And since my sister is the only one that reads this, i don't really have to worry about any public outcry.

I realize i veered off track but it was on purpose. I basically used facebook as a segue to dunbar's number which is way more fascinating. I'm also using the number as an excuse to my terrible behavior, which i will in no way apologize for.

8 comments:

MindySue said...

I TOTALLY GET IT!!!! Currently there are only 5 people sitting my facebook purgatory. Several of them I go to church with and they are nice and everything, but not someone I want privy to the intimate details of my life (nor am I particularly interested in theirs). I have purposely ignored people who were mean to me or didnt' talk to me at all in highschool. I also have people on my list who I would rather not be there, but have felt guilty enough to allow it. I am too much of a weenie to defriend someone for fear of having some confrontation in the future. I figure I can fall back on the "oh, I hardly ever check my requests" if someone asks me.

I dont' know about the whole number thing, but I do know that I wouldn't mind having less info from people I barely know. 150 must be hard if you are including connections especially between family. I'm fairly certain you could get 150 connections that way if you are talking about counting ME, MIKE, and what MIKE and I say to eachtoher (though I seriosly doubt you are).

Anyway..point...I agree with your version of purgatory and all the awkwardness of facebook ettiquette. There has to be a term for the pressure put on a person to accept a friend request.

Cyber-pressure?
Social Networking Pressure?

I'm not creative enough. You do it.

Kitsa said...

1. your sister isn't the only one who reads your blog
2. you've inspired me to do some much needed facebook friend filtering...screw the consequences ;0)

Courtney said...

Wow, now I feel priveledged to be your fb friend...wait, maybe you purged me and I just don't know it yet. Crap.

Haley and Jon said...

We read your blog too. I like your purgatory idea. My husband was laughing through it, because it is so true

Matthew said...

1st. wow, i seriously thought my sister was the only one who read this.
2nd. Yes mindy, i was counting the connection between you and mike as one connection. In order to fully understand you and mike, i'd have to know how the two of you interact with each other.
3rd. Turns out the "urban dictionary" already coined the phrase, but i'd never heard it anywhere and i'm pretty sure i'd been using it before they did.
4th. Don't worry, Courtney, I haven't axed you....yet. (just an fyi, i usually get rid of one of the couples, because what's the point, if i need to get to the other person, i shouldn't be doing it in secret anyway. you're special.)

Kitsa said...

so...uh....is that why you haven't answered my friend request.....
uh,...just wondering ----no hurt feelings...(JK - actually I was having the same dilemma and Kitsa told me about your blog - which I found quite good and funny, Georgia)

Annie said...

Your mom reads it too. I agree with you--too many people knowing what I'm doing. Good to keep the numbers small.

Matthew said...

I don't know how i'm supposed to feel, knowing that you read this, mom. . . . . . Uneasy. . . Very uneasy. And like i should watch what i say.