A PUNCH IN THE FACEBOOK

Bruce McArthur Facebook, News, Social Networks

Mark your calendars. November 17 is National Unfriend day, according to Jimmy Kimmel.

He says it’s gotten out of hand and it’s time to trim our Facebook friend list. By the time the 17th has passed, someone will be blaming, if not suing Kimmel for anything from emotional distress to suicide.

There are even guidelines for proper unfriending etiquette. CNET suggests you evaluate your Facebook contacts in a more Machiavellian way. Sure they may be annoying nitwits posting hourly updates of their kitten videos, but do they serve some utilitarian purpose? Can they benefit your career? Maybe the incessant flow of information about their mundane lives helps us feel more like self-actualized swashbucklers. CNET also suggests instead of de-friending, you merely hide their updates from your newsfeed, putting them on visual “mute.”

When you do trim the roster, it’s advised you not do so with a post like “if you’re reading this, you’re still my friend.” CNET says this will come across as rude and cocky. Au contraire, we think that’s pretty funny. More so if it’s being read by 1,400 of your closest friends.
As Facebook evolves, its commercial uses seem to be outpacing the personal. Starbucks now has a staff of eleven full time employees devoted to handling the company’s Facebook correspondence. That wasn’t news, but the National Labor Relations Board suing a Connecticut ambulance company over a Facebook post, is. Dawnmarie Souza was canned after “using vulgarities to ridicule her supervisor” on Facebook. Souza also wrote, using the company’s code for a psychiatric patient: “Love how the company allows a 17 to become a supervisor.” We admire Dawnmarie’s pluck and profane, sarcastic prose. (We’re foam-at-the-mouth 1st Amendment fans here at VMG). Note to Dawnmarie: next time, head for the ladies’ room with a big Sharpie and post your thoughts about that lousy 17 there. And remember not to sign it.
Maybe the 17th is a great day to off-load all the 17s in your cyber life.
The genie’s out of the bottle, folks. We’re here to help you tame it and make it work for you.

LARRY BLEIDNER