Monday, October 26, 2009

Social Network Rejection

First off, get well soon wishes to Earl Pomerantz. He’s having robots operate on him or something. I’m not sure whether the WGA Health Plan doesn’t cover actual surgeons or robots are next big thing, but in any case – have a full and speedy recovery.

Earl, as many of you know, is a fellow comedy writer and blogger. He asked me to remind you that during his medical “hiatus” he is running “Best of” posts. So it’s a good chance to either acquaint yourself with Earl or catch up. You can find his blog here. Tell him Ken sent ya.

One topic that Earl brought up awhile back that I’ve been thinking about as well is “Social Network Rejection”. You must get this too. I’ll check my Twitter page and see two or three people have unsubscribed. And I wonder – hey, what did I do? Did saying something nice about Patty Heaton cause you to leave? Did you think to yourself, “Jesus, if I see one more goddamn post about MASH I’m going to scream”? After a couple of months did you just realize I'm not the Ken Levine who created BIOSHOCK? Did I misspell just too many words for you? What???

I accept the fact that readers come and go, but still – there’s a tiny part of me that wonders, “should I take this personally?”

Do you feel this way too?

Do you see that four friends have dropped you from Facebook and think, “Gee, sorry I’m not interesting enough for you.” Your next reaction is usually “screw you” but you still wonder… did they drop you but keep Heather who tweets every time she coughs up phlegm?

I mean, face it, we all drop other people. If someone wants me to join 72 causes I usually dump them by cause 20. I used to follow a certain baseball beat writer because I like their writing. Then I started getting a hundred updates a day on the Houston Astros. I couldn’t unsubscribe fast enough.

People drop former romantic partners; that I understand. But other people FIND OUT they’re being a dropped by reading Facebook. When your girlfriend’s status goes from “in a relationship” to “single”, well, there’s now 51 Ways to Leave Your Lover.

The point is, there’s usually a reason. Enough of a reason that you’re willing to seek out the unsubscribe icon and click on it. Not saying the people you purge from your life are not lovely but there’s something about them that clearly bugs the shit out of you.

The other, even greater personal rejection, is when you ask to befriend someone – someone you KNOW, someone who IS a friend in real life – and they ignore or reject you. You’re not asking them to donate a kidney, you’re asking to add your little picture icon to their friends page. This can be particularly painful when members of your immediate family dump your sorry ass.

Or maybe I’m just being too sensitive. I’d start a Facebook Group – “Coping with Social Network Rejection” but what if no one signs up?

40 comments:

Paul said...

I never remove anyone from Facebook, because it allows me to hide people I can't stand. That way there's no annoyance for me and no hurt feelings for them.

But Twitter, I'll stop following if they post too often, they post nothing but promotion crap or links to their blog, if their jokes are lame, or especially if they participate in too many of those lame #oneletteroffmovies trending topic things.

Alan Coil said...

Social Network Rejection?

Sure.

I dropped Facebook.

I felt it served me no purpose. I have nothing to advertise. And the banal comments friends were leaving for each other all day long showed how self-centered our society is becoming, and how so many people are seeking constant approbation.

amyp3 said...

Just started tweeting and only have a handful of “followers“ there. I use social media more for networking than personal stuff. But I'm still very insecure about keeping the distant acquaintances/ strangers entertained.

Recently a 30 Rock writer added me to his follow list on twitter. I got very self-conscious and literally ran to FB to share. (What AM I, 13?)

There I solicited suggestions for a brilliant Noel Cowardish, Dorothy Parkeresque tweet to impress. Someone said: “Tell him, ‘I've admired your work from the first moment I knew you were employed.’"

Mike Barer said...

It does hurt to be dropped, but then, when you have more "facebook friends" than people you actually know, you just cannot take it that seriously.

Jenn said...

I had someone refuse to add me as a friend twice. This was someone I had gotten to know in person, who I thought got along with me fine, and who has accepted friend requests from mutual friends.

It actually hurt my feelings at first. Now when work stuff comes up, she's never on the short-list for anything, because I have no way of getting in touch with her. Her loss ... and she's losing out on quite a bit now.

Wallis Lane said...

Remind me again: Why is Facebook necessary?

Call me a Luddite (OK, "you're a Luddite") but what earthly purpose do Facebook and Twitter serve? I just don't get how those apps represent progress. It's just cyber-solipsism in a sea of other voices singing to themselves.

Anonymous said...

I actually had a friend call me in tears when her boyfriend's relationship status turned from "in a relationship" to "it's complicated." He hadn't said anything to her. Her status now reads "Single."

So, you'r right, 51 ways to leave your lover, and now 1 way to get your lover to leave you!

Willy B. Good said...

If I didn't have morbid fears of rejection and getting dropped fast I would have joined Facebook just to add you Ken.

Ron Rettig said...

I didn't care for Patricia Heaton in Raymond and felt she was almost a harpy (guilty of not separating actor from character). Based on your mention of The Middle I am really enjoying the comedy series and her character, of course I attended college in small-town Indiana.
As I find your blog informative, entertaining and full of chuckles I won't be dropping you from Facebook!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

A writer friend of mine here in Holland joined the twitter group of a fellow director, only to find out that he was consequently being ignored by this director and his clique. He said it made him feel like school yard politics, where only the popular kids got attention and the rest felt like shit.

Felix said...

Losing followers on Twitter doesn't have to mean anything. Twitter has become a huge botnet full of fake accounts following each other. If those bots get deleted, you have less followers even though no human un-followed you.

Facebook is another matter. The family thing is especially bad. I put out friend requests to 8 or so cousins of mine and all but 2 of them ignored me. I've never been a family guy (which is probably the reason), but that really burns.

Stephen said...

Well most of the followers I get on Twitter are crazy porn sites who promise they can teach me how to give/have the best orgasm of my life. No thanks.

I'm still pretty new to Facebook, so I won't be broken-hearted if I start losing friends.

Bernie said...

Maybe some people ignore your requests to be Facebook "friends" because (shock, horror) they DON'T DO FACEBOOK!

Jenn's "only way" to contact her non-friend is via Facebook? How about emailing her, telephoning her or sending her a letter?

The other day I saw 4 people round a table in a bar, all frantically texting on their 'phones. They hardly spoke to each other.

I could only imagine that, a few days before, the four of them were all sat in four other bars (ignoring the three other people they were then sitting with) all of them frantically texting each other to arrange the fun night out they were now enjoying...

Pat Reeder said...

After years of deliberate avoidance, I was finally forced to join Facebook. I had to create a page for my wife, who's a performer, and I couldn't do it without joining myself. So now I have this thing I have no use for, except to remind me of how few friends I have. Thanks, modern technology!

I did have a few friend invitations piled up that I had never responded to because I wasn't on Facebook and didn't want to join. So don't take it personally if it seems someone is ignoring you. Maybe he's just not that into Facebook.

BTW, if anyone wants to join my page, I'll be happy to validate your self-worth by friending you. I can guarantee I won't waste your time because you will likely hear from me seldom or never.

Paul Duca said...

I stand with Wallis and Alan...I don't belong to Facebook or Twitter--I have no need for disembodied
friendships that are truly nothing but the smallest of talk. And I can't make myself believe they can become a source of contacts that can help me get a job.

Sometimes I don't understand why someone as smart and sensible (and old) as Ken belongs. Is it simply preferable to a tattoo to show how young and hip you are?

Edward Copeland said...

Unless they are someone I know well or they've indicated that they are nearing the Facebook friend limit, I automatically de-friend anyone who sends me a Person A suggests you become a fan of Person A. It's just too egomaniacal for me. Also, if someone proves they are just there to start fights, I let them go. As for Twitter, I only signed on Twitter to follow a live event a friend was covering. Ever since, I keep getting messages that new people are following me on Twitter, yet I hardly every put anything on there. I wonder what attracted them and feel guilty that I'm not doing anything. FB I kind of understand except for their constant attempts to remake it and make it worse, but I've never gotten into Twitter. That seems built for people who are out and about and have things happening to them and I don't fit that criteria.

Anonymous said...

I am huge about Twitter. I follow most people that I enjoy reading.

That being said, the reason that I have never followed you is because the majority of your tweets are you posting when you update your blog. I have your blog in my RSS reader so I don't need two reminders.

carol said...

With Twitter I 'follow' famous, or at least 'kind of' famous people, who, in theory, would see something I might tweet to them, but the odds are that they won't. It's sort of an illusion, following famous people on Twitter. I rarely post there, though - I can never think of anything clever enough to say. When Neil Gaiman, Mitch Benn, and Stephen Fry are on your list, it's hard not to want to be clever.

willieb said...

Back when e-mail was first taking off as a way to communicate, my father saw his sister at a family function. She "had a bone to pick" with him. "Why don't you ever answer my e-mails?" she asked. "I never get e-mails from you," my father replied. "I send them all the time," she said. "Haven't you seen e-mails marked 'donna@hotmail.com?'" My father blushed and admitted he'd seen those e-mails, but deleted them. "It said 'hotmail.' I thought it was porn."

Mary Stella said...

Clearly I'm a horrible, unfeeling Facebook user. I ignore a lot of friend requests.

Since I'm not using FB to promote my somewhat stalled novelist career, I really do want to limit to family, friends or people who entertain me. So, when I get a friend request from someone who I met once at a conference, or a stranger who's a fan of a friend's work, or someone who was a volunteer where I work 8 years ago but whom I haven't talked to since... I don't add them.

Rule of thumb for author friends -- I'll friend your personal page but not the page you set up under your pseudonym. You don't have to promote to me. You're my friend. Of course I'm going to buy your book. :-)

I've never defriended someone. The Hide option is effective.

wv = eliti = the collected FB users who have such high standards they don't even friend their own mothers.

RolloSuplex said...

I always notice when people leave "groups" on last.fm. (for the uninitiated, last.fm is like Facebook for music. Not only can you be friend rejected like Facebook, you can be publicly mocked for listening to Barry Manilow and Creed.) I mean, it doesn't cost you to be in the group and you don't really have to participate. Are you leaving the group as a way to publicly snub the other members? I guess some of are not worthy of the ones and zeros that make up our digital identity.
As for actual Facebook, I have an account, I accept any friend request but I'm upfront with everyone about how I never post a thing.

I will never tire of MASH posts.

Jo Anne E said...

I'm a very new reader of your blog and found it by accident when it was a hyperlink on a wikipedia search I was doing on some actor (I don't remember the actor, but I remember and bookmarked your blog since I find it well written, informative, and interesting.) I am not in the industry, in facat work for the state government for the last 29 years. I rarely watch any network sitcoms since few offer what we were used to before the cable age. Finding your blog reminded me of how much I loved M.A.S.H. (I now am addicted to reruns on Hallmark channel.)

Anyway, I'm sure you've seen it by now, but The Daily Beast" today (10/27/09) has an article of excerpts of a book written by Mitchell Zuckhoff regarding Robert Altman and others on the making of the movie M*A*S*H. I would love to read your take. Thank you for intelligent and interesting commentary!

bettyd said...

I admit that when I post on my own Wall, my "friends" rarely comment. But some of those same friends get tons of comments on their posts... I must be hidden and secretly scorned.

OTOH, I few of my "friends" post 10-15 times a day and it is so annoying. Don't they work? Who has time for this in the office?

WV- etrabidd - spent for the extra D not the X.

get info here said...

wow. this is a great issue. how could this happen? actually i've also twitter and facebbook, but seems ok to me.

denise said...

Intereting topic. But since I know about social network, I still never join any of these.

blogward said...

Twitter and Facebook....love 'em or hate 'em you can't ignore them. Oh wait a minute... but it's the goddam 'What's your Animal Starsign?' applications that put people on my cut 'em off list. Even my brother.

WV: yogies, so had to post, however inane.

45 is the new 30 said...

Facebook has certainly shifted the parameters of how we define a "friend". Presumably, one should have had at least a conversation with someone they consider to be in the "friend" bucket, right? I've seen FB accounts that belong to kids - middle school, high school age kids - that list 500+ friends. Who the heck *knows* 500 people, much less 500 who they'd consider to be friends??? These kids can't even drive; where the heck are they meeting so many people?! I suspect that my 13 YO son wouldn't even be able to pick out some of his FB "friends" in a line up.

Regarding "friend rejection" - I plead guilty, your honor. I have my Facebook account set up so that only people I've "friended" can read what I post - probably like most others here. Still, I tend to self-censor what I put up on FB. But even though I don't post a lot of truly personal or "sensitive" info, there are still things that I don't wish to share with everyone in my personal "circle". I have actually ignored "friend" requests from professional colleagues (who I pretty much don't "friend" as a blanket policy) and relatives (including my husband) because some "circles" are best left un-overlapping. (I explained to my husband; I think he gets it: If I want to refer to him as a "lazy PIA" in a moment of temporary pique, it's probably best for all concerned that he not see it. Not that I'd ever say or think that ...) Yeah, I think you can create "groups" and filter who sees what that way, but it's just too much of a pain in the tuchas.

BTW, Ken, I sent you a "friend" request ages ago. It was summarily ignored. I'll be sending you the therapy bills ... ;-)

Anonymous said...

I unfriended a cousin on facebook when she started harping on Socialist Obama reading to her kids at school and she was having none of that. Family or not, I don't do crazy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting this into words. Few things are worse than discovering that someone you thought was an actual friend has "unfriended" you on facebook.

Tom Quigley said...

I twittered someone yesterday that I knew, telling him I wanted to add him as a friend on Facebook. He twittered me back with "Fuck off!"...

Sent him the Facebook request this morning...

JGJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JGJ said...

@Jenn: Who cares about the friend who wouldn't add you twice? I don't know you or maybe I do in real life--who the hell knows for sure? I digress--We might have mutual friends in common--who the hell knows for sure? Or maybe we don't, difficult to know for sure. I digress. Again--Anyway, doesn't matter. What DOES matter is I need to be on the short-list. I'll follow you all around the internet, around your neighborhood, what ever you want. I need to be needed...

Geez.

Now I'm sounding a lot like a stalker.

But I'm not. Really.

Add me. Or allow me to add you. I promise I won't drop you. Honest.

Please don't reject me. My ego won't stand it if you do..

Brian Doan said...

This is a bit off-topic, but maybe I can work it in as an example of "social network accepting"?? Anyway, I was reading Nicholas Meyer's new memoir on a plane this weekend, and he has very kind things to say about the script you and David Issacs wrote for VOLUNTEERS, how much he loved working on the film, and how he remains proud of the movie, even if it wasn't the big hit everyone wanted it to be.

Just wondering if you have memories of working with Meyer on the film, or stories you might want to share?

Beth Ciotta said...

In addition to using Facebook to keep in touch with family and 'genuine' friends, I also use it as a promotional tool to connect with readers of my novels or... potential readers. I pretty much accept any request for friendship. I have only de-friended a select few--men who sent private messages that made me uncomfortable. I'm not on FB to flirt. I don't feel bad about de-friending them and I'm sure they barely noticed that I did.

As for Twitter... when I first started I felt obligated to 'follow' any one who 'followed' me--whether I knew them or not. It's the polite thing to do, right? But after awhile I couldn't keep up with the bazillion Tweets every time I signed on. I had to weed through tweets I didn't care about to get to the ones I did. So... I confess, a few days ago I blocked tweets from a few people who Tweet every flipping minute about things that are of no interest to me. (You're not one of them, Ken.)

As for being on the receiving end of being de-friended or not accepted on FB or being 'blocked' or not 'followed' on Twitter, I'm sure it's happened to me, but I'm blissfully unaware. I don't follow up on things like that. I guess I feel like, if you want me, woo-hoo! And if you don't, whatever.

Did I just ramble? I did. Sorry! That said, I've really enjoyed everyone's take on this.

Roger Owen Green said...

I have both Facebook and Twitter. people friend me or don't; don't care. Just don't have the time to worry.

Good Dog said...

At the moment facebook is suggesting that I "reconnect" with people.

Quite frankly I'd prefer to swallow my own head.

Heather Moore said...

Hey I'm Heather! ;)

Tom Bailey said...

With my email alone I get 15 requests a day from people I sometimes feel like my email address is a social network hub.

I meet more people through blogging than through other things like facebook and twitter.

Great topic.

Susan said...

I like facebook, and don't feel that I need twitter, so I won't go there. But yes, I have sent friend requests that have been ignored by people I was very excited to find - obviously they don't feel the same way in return. Oh well. I have accepted friend requests from people that I was happy to hear from, but then found that their posts were so far removed from my reality that I had to hide them - I occasionaly drop in on their page or send a message. And I appreciate that many of my friends use applications that I do not want to see - but they enjoy them - so I hide the applications, not the users. I like playing some of the games, I enjoy some of the quizzes - the biggest drawback on facebook is that it insists on posting everything everyone does on their pages. I know my friends are not interested in how I am doing in Mafia Wars, or how many mansions I have on Farmtown, and I can elect to NOT post the updates to my page. I work hard, I live alone, and facebook allows me to have some idea what people I care about are doing, and gives me a harmless way to unwind. Is it time wasted... probably. So do I care - not really. It's an opt in process, and people that think its a harmful time waster need not apply... As for ex boyfriends, at this point in my life I seem to be adding them as friends, not deleting them!

canadianfoodiegirl said...

On the small world of Jews (there's a blog post topic that's probably already been done): I knew Earl's name sounded familiar, and not from TV, so I looked him up on IMDB. My mom went to high school with his brother. Sometimes it seems that not only are all Jews within big cities such as New York, LA and Toronto connected, but they're connected with each other because people move and know people in other cities.

On the topic of social networking: I checked your Twitter feed and, as someone else pointed out, it's mostly updates (likely automatic) when your blog is updated and for those of us who follow via RSS, that's redundant and adds to the bottleneck of tweets that we already don't read.

Everyone's got their rules for Facebook - what they post, who they follow. Many rarely log in anymore, maybe only when they get notifications in their email inbox of event invitations. People are too busy or not interested. "Facebook fatigue" is common. Also, people tend to try new things and abandon them.

Then there's all the social bookmarking websites, aggregators such as FriendFeed... oh my.