258 of 365 Electronic Detritus in the Age of Social Networking

(best viewed larger, as always)

Relationships never used to leave electronic detritus behind when they ended. There was no decision to be made about deleting a phone number from my blackberry or contact information from skype. I never spent time deciphering the actual intent of an emoticon in a chat log before deleting the file in disgust. It used to be friendships faded, people went their own way and when you ran into each other in town it was awkward for a second before you thought "I wonder why they ever mattered anyway."

So, tell me, do you delete people from your friends list or do you keep them around? I am feeling a huge purge coming on and I wonder how others manage the electronic detritus of their virtual lives.


Mr. Crap Mariner said...

That is why I worship the Social Media Volcano as I do.

Mana Loa demands sacrifices, or the crops will die and we will suffer famine, disease, and death.


Okay, seriously... twenty years ago, a listserv called MattNet was made, with a guy named Matt as a social hub around which a lot of Rice grads were in orbit.

Over the years, it became obvious: who gives a damn who your RL neighbors are when you have your college friends right there and then, one click away. Every mail keeps The Big Chill going, your inbox is the sofa from Friends, folks coming and going, but the coffee bar never closes while the world around you is just for working, eating, sleeping, and the occasional run at the dating scene... you are passing Life by, not the other way around. (Well, until your RL neighbors rob your house and use your stereo system for the yard birthday party of another of their 9 anchorkids keeping the INS from botting them out of the country. You point out where you marked and engraved the stuff, and the illegals accuse you of marking it during the party. The cops just shrug and whisper "two gallons of gasoline and a match can fix that" and go back to their car. Um... Viva la Fuego!)

Where was I?

Right. MattNet. 1990 or so.

People got added, people left on their own, and eventually a situation came up when someone was forced out and another was prevented from coming in.

In the end, I left because I got tired of seeing a friend of an ex-gf on there, their extremist mindjunk leaking in through replies and such despite more and more powerful filters.

Sometimes, I wonder if this was an indicator that I was not as tolerant as I needed to be, or at least able to not sweat the small stuff. I discovered that I was just as extreme as the other extreme-types and, unlike them, I'd have the honor to leave without flouncing or crawling back.

The rage still burns, but it always burns those who unleash it more than whoever it is unleashed upon. Just a fact of life, there's always bigger blowback than you expect.

I figure it was just a sign of youth, and with age I've just gotten too damn tired and busy to deal with that shit. Just route and forget.

But I did learn the lessons of social networking, filtering, recruitment and dismemberment early on through the trial-and-error of MattNet (and its replacement RoundTable).

And I think Matt got a lot out of it... he's big into curating content and such now, VCs rocking his world, and all the more power to the guy. He's earned it.


Ari Blackthorne™ said...

I purge my friends list every two weeks. If I haven't spoken to someone in that time: flushola. It's nothing personal at all. In fact, when someone deletes me from their friends list I don't even notice. Because in the end, that's the reason the link was deleted.

Every. Two. Week.
Without fail.

Congratulations, yourenstill in the all this time on my very short friends list. Nor because you're special. But rather because you're actually a friend.

Imagine that: only keeping "friends" in a "friends list".
What a concept, huh?

Maeve Byron said...

I have the Answer: Don't friend anyone in the first place. Let them friend you. And if they don't IM you for 2 weeks...drop 'em!

Chestnut Rau said...

Me makes a note to IM Ari every week, without fail. :)

Maeve its funny, I rarely rarely ever add people, mostly because I am shy that way. I do accept friendship offers willingly and easily.

Where it gets complicated for me is work contacts. I suppose exchanging calling cards is a viable alternative but it seems out of vogue these days.

Dunno what the answer will be for me but I do expect I will tidying up loose ends later today.

Thanks for your thoughts all.

Dale Innis said...

Wild! I'm usually too shy to friend people also, but not too picky about accepting. I'm pretty good about writing on the Notes page of profiles so I can remember who the heck people are. And I pretty much never defriend anyone; for me there doesn't seem any strong advantage to it. Every once in awhile I'll randomly IM someone online on my friends list that I haven't talked to in ages, and usually it at least makes them smile. :)

The one disadvantage of a 300 person Friends list that I can think of is that the little "came online" and "went offline" messages come so constantly that you start to pretty much ignore them, so you don't notice when one that you would actually care about occurs. But it's not like I'm not oblivious in general anyway... :)