I usually try to keep my blog posts limited to writing related stuff, but today I’m going off the reservation.
I’m going to vent.
I’m kind of pissed…a little perplexed…and somewhat amused.
What could cause this mixed bag of emotions?
You know – the “social” network…
I’ve been on facebook since 2009. To date – I have 844 friends – and most of them are people I either know or at least share a mutual friend (or 12). I also have a fan page (https://www.facebook.com/BlindoggBooks) with 981 followers. I don’t spam people, I rarely post anything objectionable and I try my best to be a good cyber-citizen.
Imagine my surprise when I was notified recently that my account was locked-out from sending friend requests for 7 days. The reason? I sent a friend request to somebody and that person, instead of simply ignoring or declining my request, clicked the little box that says “I don’t know this person”.
Perhaps it was done innocently. Maybe they didn’t realize that by checking that box it sent a message to facebook that I was basically a stalker.
Here’s the biggest irony…this person (I don’t know who it was) was most likely recommended to me by facebook. You know – in the side bar where they list “people you may know”? At the very least I share a mutual friend with this person; otherwise I wouldn’t have sent them a request.
I don’t put the blame solely on this person for dropping a dime on me, as I said, it was probably done innocently. Maybe they didn’t realize what the repercussions would be if they checked the box. On the other hand – maybe they did it intentionally – which makes them a bit of a jerk and I’m better off not being friends with them anyway.
Facebook has a larger share of the blame, in my opinion.
Facebook bills itself as a “social network” – so let’s take a close look at that title.
The word Social is an adjective which means (among other things) of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society and tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others.
Network in this context is a noun meaning an informally interconnected group or association of persons.
So given the definition of facebook, you would think the mission statement would read something along the lines of…
“To promote interactions between people previously unconnected and to nurture friendships through encouraged mingling.”
Instead facebook seems to have more of a “you can be friendly, but only to the extent to which we allow.”
My friend Armand Rosamilia seems to get locked up once a month…and another friend of mine had to start a second page because her first one reached the “friend limit”.
I’m not a political science expert, but that seems like fascism or communism, or some other –ism.
They have essentially established unilateral control over our interactions and mingling by instituting rules which punish people for doing that for which the site was created. It sounds more like a twisted social experiment than a social network.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m sure there are people out there who abuse the site and it is necessary to regulate them, but I am pretty damn sure I’m not one of them.
I think there is a very simple way to solve this problem…If a person decides to check the “I don’t know this person” box they should be prompted with this question – “By checking this box you are labeling this person as a stalker and sentencing them to facebook jail…are you sure you want to do this, or is this just somebody you don’t recognize and you’d rather not accept their friendship at this time?”
Then as a failsafe if they still want to check the box they could be prompted with “Seriously? Just say no and go back to posting pictures of your friggin cats and telling us where you ate lunch. Idiot.”
Maybe if this post is shared, reblogged, retweeted and passed around enough it will reach the facebook lawgivers and they will revisit a policy that is, for the most part, counter-intuitive to everything a social network should be.
That is all…I’m through ranting.
As always – thank you for reading