Jan 19, 2015

If The Shoe Fits...

A little while ago I had an unpleasant experience with someone over a social network. Yep, Facebook, where all the problems seem to be grandized by all the stupid "likes" and apps and whatnots. It wasn't like that big of a deal, but the person involved pretty much thought that her case should take the headlines and suppress all other news in the globe. Yes, a Drama Queen. To put you a little bit in context, this is the case of someone that might or may not suffer from a psychological disease. I say "may or may not", because she claims so and claims to be so "super sensitive", and in my experience, people with actual mental or psychological issues rarely mention them or aknowledge them. Sure, I'm not a psychologist, so she might be a crop of crazy I don't know yet, but be it as it may, she is... special.

I met her through a Community some of the girls and I have, in which we talk about books, and where every once in a while we organize a bookswap. She was presented like a friend of a friend, and she immediately added me to her friends. I friended her back at the moment, but after a little while I unfriended her. Why? Because I can. We are not that close friends, and some of the things she was sharing where, frankly, disturbing. Not in the "crazy" sense, but in the "overwhelming" sense. She was basically picking fights with people over either unknown reasons or rather meaningful reasons and then making way too drastic decisions and wailing about it on the net for days and days.

Anyway, this year, I organized the Christmas Book Swap, and she signed in, but from the begining she was coming up with all sorts of troubles, and all of them troubles where she made sure to flaunt her financial status, which was uncomfortable for girls who can't afford that kind of lifestyle. Not to mention she made it in a way, where she pretty much demanded people to have and commiserate with her first world problems, which was even more troublesome. Soon after, she started imposing on people, among them, on our common friend, so I decided to rather keep my distance. Having seen what I have seen on her profile, I noticed that no words are better than anywords, for she can't twist and turn a no-reply. As result, I started flying over her comments, and when she directed a question at me I either reply it with as scarse words as I could, or would wait for her to realize the answer. Like, she asked who was the person who had lended her the address for the book swap, and I had made sure to give to all of the participants a calendar and a list of all booklists and addresses.

Here I was, following the non confrontational path, when one day, out of the blue, she attacked me (yes, she mentioned me by name), saying that I had "just unfriended her" and since I don't "like her anymore", she would leave the community. By then she wasn't an FB friend for two months but didn't realize, and I wasn't going to clarify. Oh, she did a big humbug, waited around (after saying there was nothing else for her and she would leave right at that moment), collected a few sympathetic comments, wallowed on the silence her comment received, and then was gone. After the big drama, I felt compelled - given my very notorious role as Book Swap Organizer - to explain to the girls some of what had happened.

The group quickly went back to normal and the matter hasn't been mentioned again, in which sense I believe the Admins, and I managed to contain the case. It also helped that the rest of the group is very mature. However, one thing that can be rescued from the case is the kind of people we meet on social networks, the kind of people we also have around us and the rights we actually have.

Social Networks have become a minefield, where thought and action can no longer be so freely shared as it used to in the days before the Internet (Yes, I remember those days). When you meet people in person, you have the chance to ignore them, to let the connection die when you don't feel the chrmistry, or when you realize there's nothing in common. Your words are usually surrounded with a context of gestures, or even in snailmailing, by the context of the rest of the letter. Relationships are organic. Yes, they can be difficult, but social networks add an extra difficulty. The "friend" or "unfriend", the need to add likes, and using likes as a quantitative measure of love received, the interpretation and misinterpretation of a comment, and then the pier pressure and the stupid pressure where you can't unfriend someone or stop following them because "they might get mad", so you must keep tracking on things that tire you, offend you or even overwhelm you. Why do I owe this woman and explanation about why I unfriended her? I actually don't. Why does she get mad because I unfriended her? She shouldn't.

Social Networks have become a dangerous thing where whatever you read, you could believe it's about you, even if it isn't, where someone's personal decision could be interpreted as an attack towards yourself, when there might be nothing further from the truth. Yes, we spend a lot of time online, but have you considered the chance of unplugging a little, limiting your exposure, and particularly your exposure to social networks, and go back to the way life was way back in the begining of the eighties? When social networks were an organic, live thing, and internet was for research? Maybe it could do wonders for us, less kids would feel attacked, and we all would be happier.

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