Friday, October 30, 2009

Don’t You Love Me Anymore?

With the rise of social media like Facebook and Twitter, we have a corresponding rise in digital rejection. Not surprisingly, this CNN article explains that online rejection feels just as bad if not worse than real life rejection.

"I think the thing that is often clearly worse online is when it's relatively anonymous, and people use that as a cover and are more cruel than they would be otherwise," said Jean Twenge, a University of San Diego psychologist who has studied the way social networking affects personality development.

And then we have this UCLA Researcher;

"If you'd asked me a few years ago if you'd get the same effect online as you would in person, I'd say no way," Baldwin Way said. "I thought doing something in person would have stronger effects than doing something online, but interesting data has come out in the last few years that show mental representations are just as powerful as the real thing."

Of course since I started this blog and using Facebook I have experienced various forms of online rejection, but I know I can be an obnoxious a-hole like all the time so it is to be expected. That said, two stand out particularly.

A former sister missionary from my England Coventry days that I didn’t know very well had friended me through the mission facebook group. Now I generally I do not keep up with people’s facebook accounts beyond the initial checking out of the photographs (just to see how many kids they’ve got and how old they look). What I usually do is to read through the recent status updates on my front page and make comments where appropriate.

One day I saw a post by this woman about how tired & rundown she was, plus she also needed to lose weight. Did anyone one have any suggestions? So I naturally commented that I had heard good things about Crystal Meth. Ha ha – I know. Pretty much the standard drivel I am known for, but by the end of the day she had defriended me. Now that doesn’t bother me much at all because I didn’t know her very well, but at the same time she justified every stereotype about the uptight, persnickety, self-righteous Utah Molly Mormon ever said. So I find it very funny and I will get a lot of mileage out of that story for years to come. (To be fair I was using a heavily tattooed and pierced face as my picture too – very scary to the MoMo behind the Zion curtain).

Case two involves a church member from my teenage youth. They are a year younger than me and even though I have tried to make contact with them over the years they have always just ignored me. I used to excuse it by saying they obviously are not involved much with the online community, but alas they maintain an active blog and participate on facebook. They are also friends with just about all the people I am from that same time period. The only conclusion I can draw is that at sometime I really offend them – I just do not know how. I do not doubt that I did something; it is just frustrating knowing that I can’t even try to make amends.

The article finishes with this advice:

"You have no facial expression online; you have no tone of voice online; it's very easy to misinterpret phrasing in an e-mail. You have to be very careful about your wording and be more explicit with people when you're making or removing connections," Sepp said. "That's why it's so important to connect with people that you actually know."

So please remember I never intentionally try to tick off specific individuals online, so if you think I was just ask for an explanation. More than likely it was my self amusing sense of humor falling flat with the masses. Remember ME = OBNOXIOUS… If you don’t believe me I can give references (like Lisa).

As far as facebook goes, please feel free to friend me. I maintain two accounts, one for personal stuff and photos, and one for all mafia wars all the time. If either of those interest you just email me and I will send you the information.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I guess we have learned that people choose to be offended. Being a frequent offender myself, I would like to add that WE DON'T MEAN TO DO IT! Wait...did that tone of voice come off right? I don't want anyone to misinterpret my intentions.