Unfollowed & Defriended: Online Rejection Sucks
The hefty bovine heartily clearing the moon had nothin' on you when you located your closest chum from elementary school on Facebook. The only glee rivaling yours was that of the dish skippin' town with the spoon when your hometown sports hero followed you back on Twitter.
But months later, a Captain Planet episode -- featuring the lusty Planeteer Linka the Russian that you and Closest Chum salivated over after school -- jarred your brain back to that friend request. A friend request that Closest Chum seemingly never accepted, verified by the fact that his profile remains inaccessible to you. And then, following a victorious play that crowned your team league champions, you attempted to direct message your congratulations to Hometown Hero on Twitter...only to find that he had unfollowed you at a date and time unbeknownst to you.
Say what? Who the fug...? How could they effing...? Why, you oughta...!
Yup, brah. Color you cyberdismissed.
A recent CNN article explored the idea of defriending and unfollowing, concluding that "our 'digital egos' can bruise as easily as we do in person. In fact, rejection online may have the potential to sting even more." What? Why? 'Cause "people tend to think that these relationships are trivial and not very deep, but this is what we're moving towards, having a lot of our communications play out over the Internet," Purdue University social psychologist Kip Williams said. "That's the way it's becoming; this is how we interpret our worth. People care how many [online] friends they have."
Obsessives of Twitter follower numbers, fear thee not - you are not alone (although yes, we will still use you as fodder for jokes about pathetic Internet behaviors, oh yes, we will). So what happens if you've been wearing your digiheart on your digisleeve, and all of the sudden, someone comes along and cyberslices and cyberdices it to cybershreds? How do you pick up the virtual pieces and move on?
It's not you, it's them. Look. People use their social networks in many, many different ways. Some want to isolate their connections to people they know in real life. Some people want to use these networks for spreading a message, product, or idea, and anyone with a Facebook account, half a brain, and the right geographic location will do. So you're not cool enough for Suzy Social Media Guru. She's a tool. Easy as that. Move along. There are plenty of other fish in the social networking sea.
Treat it like a fart, and clear the air. Are you beside yourself with agony over being inexplicably axed from a friend list? Does the very sight of Facebook or LinkedIn make you want to curl up into a ball and sob inconsolably? Write your former connection an email or a message. It's okay; this is permissible behavior, we swear. Don't be an asshole about it, though. Say something akin to, "Hey, we used to be friends here, but now we're not. What happened?" Short, simple, sweet, and unassuming. It'll warrant a response. Trust us; we speak from experience.
Hate blogs are the new black. True, it's not like this is a healthy move or anything. But launching a blog dedicated to all the jerkoffs that rejected your friend requests or discontinued an existing friend connection will probably make you feel better. In a passive-aggressive, ripping-off-the-Band-Aid, thanggod-they-defriended-you-anyway-you-effed-up-psycho sort of way, that is. But hey, it's totally your call.