Sunday, November 11, 2012

Social Network Rejection

Hello from the SITCOM ROOM where everyone is having way more fun than in Robert McKee's class.

Meanwhile, I've been subjected lately to the heartache and horror of “Social Network Rejection”. You might suffer 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 CHEERS 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 his writing. Then I started getting a hundred updates a day on the Kansas City Royals. 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. 

I'm in a weird Facebook situation in that they say I have too many friends and I can't add any more without dropping people.  Well, I don't want to just drop people.  Again, what did they do other than show interest in me?    I'm told I can start a "fan" page but come on.  I'm a writer, not an actor.  Isn't it a little egotistical to start a "fan" page for yourself? 

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?

And don't even get me started on "LIKE"...


Wendy M. Grossman said...

Ken, you should look into creating a public Facebook page. Then you can have more followers while still having a personal page for your real-life friends. It's a common arrangement for people in the public eye.


Mac said...

I'm not on twitter/facebook etc so I don't get that kind of rejection. But even being a total sociopath can't save you from hurt feelings. Sometimes people change their email address without sending you the new one. Especially the guy whom I'd sent a script to and was waiting for him to get back to me with a six-figure offer. He could have just told me it stank and I could have told myself he was an idiot, but going to the bother of changing his email address and leaving me out of his contacts - that stung!

Good luck with the Sitcom Room - it sounds great, would love to be there.

Jim Prichard said...

I know exactly what you mean, Ken. I've had a few Facebook friends I've known for many years and considered good friends who "unfriended" me out of the blue. In one case, I found out that I lost a FB friend because in one of my posts, I mentioned that my son was selling popcorn for his Boy Scout troop in case anyone would like to buy some in support of him and his troop. What a crime!

Beth Ciotta said...

Great post, Ken. Although I have a Twitter account, that venue is too fast moving for me, therefore I don't spend much time there. However, I practically live on FB. It's how I stay in immediate touch with friends and family these days. And as a published author, it's how I maintain an on-line relationship with readers. Readers don't send me emails anymore. They send me messages or posts on FB. I'm a pretty sensitive person, so if I knew people were disconnecting with me, I'd no doubt feel the same as you. "What did I do/say?" I choose to guard my feelings by never checking to see if anyone has de-friended me on Twitter or Facebook. The same way I avoid sites that tend to foster snarky reviews. You can't feel bad if you don't know someone doesn't 'like' you, right? ;)

As for the "fan" page on FB, I started one because one of my publishers asked me to do so, but I prefer to think of it as a "Pro" page, because, yes, it felt uncomfortable to think of myself as "fan" worthy. That said, I wouldn't bother with the "fan" page, if I were you. It has limitations and doesn't allow you to interact with other people's personal pages. I have ten times more followers and interaction on my personal page. And reaching that 5,000 limit is no longer a real concern to me as now people can "subscribe" to your personal page. Those that do can interact on you page, the same as official "friends".

My advice, keep on keepin' on with your social network pages as they are, and stop looking to see if anyone rejected you. Better to focus on the people who DO want to be a part of your world. My .26 cents.

Enjoy the SITCOM ROOM!

Eitan said...

I started a fan page for my acting/writing (ahem Facebook/EitanFanPage) because I wanted to give people who liked my work a place to find me on Facebook but I wanted to continue sharing pictures of my adorable children with my high school friends.

My friends are all people I know in real life (industry or not) while fans are my friends who want to know about my career happenings and random people who've found me on the internet who want to know about my work.

My twitter feed (ahem @EitanTheWriter) is all industry stuff and other random rantings. No personal/family things.

This way if someone unfriends me on Facebook I know it's because they're actually being a jerk, since it's all people I know in real life. And to be fair, most of my friends are jerks.

Markus said...

People have all sorts of different standards and definitions of "friend" when it comes to social networks. For some, it means adding only people who truly are their closest friends. For others, they extend their acceptance to "distant acquaintance" or people who they've at least met once. Others accept, or "friend", literally anyone and everyone, and axe people just as quickly. And what's more, this also differs greatly between networks and their inherent habits and the "friend level" options they offer. There is no deeper meaning to it and absolutely no need to worry about individual de-friendings, unless you're about 15 years old.

Eric J said...

When you join something that is meant to simulate the short wall in the high school quad where all the cool kids sat, then you have to assume you will sometimes be ignored or asked to sit somewhere else.

Mister Charlie said...

I doubt a fan page would be a bad idea, you do have fans, and people who are discovering you every day.

Johnny Walker said...

Welcome to the modern world we've created for ourselves. It's a neurotic's nightmare! Sorry to go all Cliff Clavin, but I've done research into this sort if thing when I was running an online social network, and studies have shown that for people who are lonely in real life, online social networks can make them feel less alone. Those who already have a good social network (the old fashioned kind) can be made to feel MORE lonely by the online variety, oddly enough.

Because of this, I just see online social networks as tools now. When I'm feeling lonely (not terribly uncommon) I will branch out and get in touch with people. When I'm sated by my relationships in real life, I'll send less messages to new friends in cyberspace.

The big problem with this new form of communication is how unnaturally ambiguous it can be. If someone ignores you when you're in the same room as them, it'll hurt, but at least you have the opportunity to ask why. When they do the same thing online (like if they unfriend you, or if they don't respond to messages) you feel a nagging doubt about what's happened, wondering if you've upset that person, but you have no way of finding out what's going on.

And people, naturally fearful of confrontation and wanting to avoid uncomfortable conversations, now use technology to keep such queries at a distance. Angry with a friend? Screen their calls. Don't feel like answering questions about how you feel about someone? Ignore their emails. Technology has now given us the tools to avoid perfectly natural and normal confrontations. It's not good.

I have personally find this sort of situation crippling. When I feel I'm being ignored, I have a tendency to wonder why, and worry about it. Usually, of course, it turns out you've done nothing wrong, the person is just busy, or they have something else on their mind, but until you know, it can eat away at you, especially if you're already feeling lonely or insecure.

For my own part, I'm getting better at not immediately leaping to bad conclusions, but I'm still not immune. Big cities (like London) are notorious for making people feel lonely, so I now grab friendships wherever I can. Online or off.

I have to say that I'm surprised to hear you affected by this Ken. For one, you seem to have a balanced view about life in general, but mainly because the last chapter of THE ME GENERATION pretty much described my own worst nightmare. The fact that you felt completely content and happy in such a situation amazed me!

I would have thought you were immune to feelings of rejection.

Bill said...

There is a product called "qwitter" or something like that, that will let you know who dropped you from Twitter. Usually it is some spammer who was following you for, who knows what reason.

It is easy to set up a fan page and is the best way to go to publicize your stuff through. Especially the book.

Cap'n Bob said...

I recently unfriended about three dozen people from Facebook. Most of them were strangers whose conversations didn't interest me. Others were just too damn prolific for comfort. They'd post 50 times a day. My scrolling finger got cramps just trying to slog through their blather. A few kept bugging me to play games, which I announced I wouldn't do. Frankly, I don't find much value in Facebook, but I'm sticking with it for the few people on there I do care about.

Mike Barer said...

I rarely unfriend someone but when I do, it's because they show up in my e-mail inbox inviting me to play some studip game. Wendy, you actually can start a fan page for Ken.

Mary Stella said...

I haven't dropped friends from my personal page although during the election rampages, I unsubscribed from several newsfeeds. I just didn't want to read any more rants about Obama not being born in this country, wanting to sacrifice old people, and kicking puppies.

Ken, I tried to join your FB page, but got the message that you're maxed out. I was ticked at myself for arriving so late at the party. *le sob*

Mike Barer said...

Survivor Jerri Menthey solved the problem with a second facebook page.

YEKIMI said...

@ Mac: But even being a total sociopath can't save you from hurt feelings.

Yes, but he can hunt you down and kill you without any remorse.

Had a Facebook, page for about a minute and a half and then deleted it. #1] Don't like their privacy rules; shouldn't have to jump through hoops to keep things private that you don't want people to see. And the they have a "glitch" that makes everything you wanted to be kept private public.

#2] People that basically treated me like shit to the point of even beating me up in high school [which was solved once I began wrestling] now wanted to be "friends" Really? Fuck you! Maybe when you come up and apologize to me IN PERSON I might consider it.

#3]Spam! Sick of it and the banal crap that people would post. I don't care if your cat vomited on the rug and your parrot pooped on a picture of Rush Limbaugh you put in his cage.

Getting even worse is LinkedIn. I have professional people I know [and even some I don't know] asking me to join their LinkedIn profile and list my business accomplishments. Unless being "unemployed" for the last 3 years can be considered a "professional" accomplishment, I'm not joining. One friend sent me a request three times, I finally told him "You actually want people to see ME on your LinkedIn account? They'll think you're not much of a professional!" He quit sending me requests to join.

Twitter works fine for me, even though I get the occasional person that basically just spams what they're next project is going to be over and over and over or exhorts me to buy their latest album, book [not that you would do that, Ken], etc, etc, etc. So I just delete them. If they delete me, I don't care!

Edward Copeland said...

Some of the ups and downs on Twitter actually have to do with followers that actually what I've been told are referred to as "spambots." Periodically, the accounts die out or get suspended so it appears that people have unfollowed you when it's more a matter of the account not existing anymore. Just yesterday, I suddenly added two new followers but when I went to check them out, I got messages that both of the accounts had been suspended by Twitter and now I'm back to the previous counter. I don't pay that close of attention to the ups and downs and Facebook though sometimes I'll notice when someone's birthday pops up that I have no idea who they are.

Muzza said...

I can most certainly relate. Late last year, I attended a Hollywood shindig called 'The Sitcom Writer's Room', and having met some wonderful people, connected via Facebook. Now as a stretch, I do recall sending a friendship request to the guy who ran the writer's room, 'Kevin' (not his real name). Each morning I'd race to my computer to see if Keith (also not his real name) had accepted my request, and after a while, I assumed that he likely had too many friends, and who was I to consider myself a friend of his anyway?! I figured we'd always have the LA airport hotel. I decided it was going to be OK. I could still read Kyle's blogs.

And so it was with some envy and heaviness of heart when I saw that some of the others from this particular weekend had been accepted as his Facebook friends! But not me. Was it my profile pic that turned Kelwyn off? Should I have used a photo of Natalie Wood instead? Did I eat too many of the writing room cookies? Were my status updates of 'I'm eating porridge' not sassy enough? Was it my 'Like' of Paul Reiser that sent him scurrying?

Oh well. I've learned to cope. I'm just hoping I get a more favourable response from Ricky Gervais.

-bee said...

Things could be worse Ken, look at what poor Mitt Romney is going through:

D. McEwan said...

Well, I haven't unsubscibed to anyone's Twitter feed, except for Harry Shearer's since he felt it necessary to post 1,000,000,000 tweets each day, and wadeing through them to ones that interested me was getting old, but I got bored with twitter overall, and frankly, haven't checked it or posted anything on it in months now.

Generally when I'm unfriended or blocked on Facebook, there's no mystery as to why. Believe it or not, many find me abrasive and mean. Frankly, that there are still at least three Republcians on my friends list who are not relatives amazes me. What do I have to do to offend these people enough to get them to flee?

My FORMER Best Friend of over 20 years unfreinded me on FB a while back acting on orders of his husband, who loathes me. (My ex-friend is the most pussy-whipped man I've ever known, worse than my dad.) Now he's "hurt" that, when he calls me I hang up on him, and when he emails me, he gets insults back.

Sometimes it's Anti-Social Networking.

Tom Quigley said...

I don't have enough friends on Facebook to care about, or who care about me. The only people I'm concerned with are my neighbors who might "unfriend" me by calling the police if I turn my guitar amplifier up too loud...

GC said...

Hi Mister Levine,

I lost many followers along the way too. For me it's no big deal. I'm probably the only guy on twitter who doesn't want followers. They tend to want you to feed them with tweets and i don't have time for that.

Now facebook, i have been on facebook for 2 years something like that, just for curiosity. People are so pretentious out there. I don't like facebook!

Your blog: i don't leave a comment all the time, but i keep reading it

Good week

Justin Murphy said...

Ken, I feel your pain...

Certain times it does not bother me at all, with others I've become close or good friends with it HURTS!!!

For the past year or so, I had FB friends with the creator and showrunner of a long running cable drama. During the longest time, we got along so well, but after January he became more and more scarce online (maybe due to busy schedule or other factors), but things were still great when we talked.

After this recent election, we got into a spat over political matters. I called him on his B.S. and that he should focus on storytelling and try not to let things get to him.

Sure enough, he unfriended me.

Steve Ray said...

Ken you haven't had any real fun until you unfollow/unfriend people for absolutely no reason and then a day or so later follow them/send an FB friend request with a note saying, "Hey, I thought we were already friends! Facebook must be screwy today!" ...two or three times a year keeps them on their toes LOL

Michael Fox said...

I've rarely dropped a twitter feed, but then I don't use twitter that often. I have a facebook page, with friends and subscribers that I use all the time, and G+ for everything else. I don't worry about people who drop me.

Paul Duca said...

Actually, I think people continue with Heather's tweets because they want to keep up with her manhole cover collection...

JT Anthony said...

Just like one can't boil the sea, it's impossible to carry on a "relationship" with 5,000 people. Focusing on the RIGHT friends seems more important than the number. You can be friends with people but not want to travel or date them also, right?

John from Bahston said...

I certainly hope you don't think anyone would drop you because of another Cheers reference. I enjoy your musings but love the inside scoop on Cheers - and Frasier!

Anonymous said...

Actually the worst kind of rejection is when someone is your best friend for 10 years and you are one of their friends, (note you are NOT their best friend, but they are your best friend), you have an unbelievably stupid falling out over e-mail over the death and surrounding hubbub about Princess Diana, then a year later you have the worlds most uncomfortable phone conversation about whether or not your now obviously former best friend will be coming to the 10 year high school reunion, followed by ten years of non-contact until your 20 year high school reunion rolls around at which point you get in touch with your former best friend via a fairly unknown social network and they inform you by e-mail that while they will in fact be going to the reunion, if I happened to be there I would be allowed to come up and chat with them for a few minutes but that was it and oh yeah, by the way our friendship is NOT going to be renewed because your former best friend is not going to allow the 'sickness' that I apparently carry around with me to infect his wife or family.



YES. I am still bitter and upset and hurt by this, and our 25 year reunion is due next year. Any and all attempts to get even the merest crumb of an explanation as to what it was that I said or did to cause this rupture have gone utterly unanswered.

Unknown said...

My two cents: don't be shy about creating a fan page. It's just a practical tool for keeping people informed. And plenty of popular bloggers, wannabe writers, and nobodies have them. Hmm I think I just convinced myself to start one.

PS If you need to unfriend people, I heard Jimmy Kimmel is promoting National Unfriend Day this Saturday.

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