Thursday, October 8, 2009

Social Networking: Things I Don't Understand

John Marine | 10/08/2009 07:04:00 PM |
I am compelled that I'm dropped by people. Now it's natural that friends get dropped from friend lists, but I really wonder how exactly this all works. My social networking escapades began with Hi5 followed by a brief time on Friendster. Since late July 2005, I've been on Myspace. Then came Facebook. Despite my lengthy experience, there are still a number of things that scare me, concern me, upset me, anger me, and confound me about social networking from all of the experiences I've endured. Using these experiences, I'll create this blog entry to express my points the best way I can.

NOTE: Composing all of this was not easy as I had fears that I'd lose more friends of mine online, only adding to my depression and loneliness. None of what I state in this blog entry was mentioned with an extreme degree of confidence or any extreme degree of consequence. So please be fair in assessing this blog entry.

--- Beliefs and Opinions ---
This section pertains to things I've kind of learned being online and how I would respond to items in question.

BELIEF: "Not keeping constant contact means we're not friends anymore."
This is kind of a pop culture thing I don't really understand. It sometimes seems like depending upon the person, I become a bit unsure as to what qualifies as constant contact. And I don't want to lose a friend online just because I'm not in constant contact with someone. I think some people feel that not consistently chatting with others results in losing a friend online. I don't constantly text people, so it's not like I keep up with others via cellular phone.

I try to make every possible effort to chat every now and then. Trouble is, I don't know what qualifies as constant contact. And I don't want to say, "I just came along to say hello" between weeks and months. The thing I hate most about this? It's that somehow not making constant contact and such means we're no longer friends. I'm still glad we're friends. I don't try to make friends just to be popular. I do this because I cared so much to even send out a Friend Request in hopes that we can chat and be online friends.

BELIEF: "Just because we're friends away from the computer doesn't mean we're friends on the computer."
The thing I've believed in is that such networks exist to try to bring friends together. I feel my reputation with others get damaged as I try to find as many old friends and people I've once known. Then, when I try to re-connect with past people, it only makes a bond worse. It comes down to a "I thought we were friends" deal. Having experienced depression and loneliness, the last thing I want to feel is to feel like I have nobody in my life besides God and my family.

Many times, I feel like it's hard to make friends... but too easy to lose friends. I don't have to do too much to ruin or jeaprodize a friendly bond. Especially with people whom I thought I had a good bond with, I've easily lost respect among people I've once known. I do a lot of dumb things at times. And just giving me the silent treatment or failing to acknowledge me only makes things worse. I sometimes say kind things, with no kind of underlining that just saying something kind and respectful ends up working AGAINST me. When I feel I've ruined a bond shared with someone else, it always seems my fault because I am always a magnet for failure and shortcomings, and hardly ever is it that someone else's feelings and actions have ruined a friendly bond I thought I had with someone. When losing someone online, if I know him/her in person, the trickle-down effect is simple- I treat someone a friend, I get the cold shoulder in return, and I go back to feeling like I have nothing positive to live for. NOBODY wins. There are still times where I feel I could have established a better bond with people so that I never feel so alone and disliked. I've already experienced what it's like when people who you love like family end up leaving you. There are still a number of old friends who have dropped me as a friend and want nothing to do with me anymore. Even when I've been disregarded as a friend, I still honor people who don't like me anymore because something inside tells me that they are still great people even if I am seen more as a nuisance than a friend.

BELIEF: "Because you're not on this service often, why should I bother keeping you as a friend?"
I admit that I've been more active on Facebook and having some better days on Facebook. However, I still call Myspace home. Just because I'm away from *home* doens't mean that I no longer care about anyone on Myspace. It just means that I'm not as online often. I still love and care about people on both Myspace and Facebook (and even YouTube) even if I'm not on all the time. Some people just really think that I have to make constant contact with ALL of my friends (which is harder on Myspace since I have so many friends). Worse than this, I have friends that I know only on Myspace or Facebook. So if I lose them on either service, I may never connect with them again.

BELIEF: "Just because you won't play (this game) with me online or respond to chain letters, we can't be friends anymore.
I don't play FarmVille or Mafia Wars or anything online. Not because I haven't tried it, but because I just don't do that sort of thing. I don't do chain letters at all. I don't know/care what happens if I don't send a message to others. I CERTAINLY don't take part in anything that's full of spam. I am NOT going to complete some misleading task just to help somebody get an XBOX 360 Elite. I just think and do things a bit differently.

BELIEF: "You hate what I love! I thought we were friends..."
I am not a rock music fanatic. I'm sick of and hate the '80s while most others gladly brown nose this overrated decade. I don't wear anything with skulls or mean messages. I hate open-toe boots while most fashionable types love these. While friends, we all have things that make us different. It's almost as if to some people, people look beyond me being a good person and only hate me for what I like or (especially) dislike. I sometimes feel this is why I can never get along with people sometimes. I'm different, but too different to be worth anyone's time. Almost as if I far overstep my boundaries on a number of things.

--- Other Things I'm Unsure/Scared/Upset Of in Social Networking ---

Missing Friends. When you have a lot of friends, as I do on Myspace, it becomes to realize who all are gone. I think the only acceptable reason as to why a friend is gone is because he/she/they cancelled an account or started a new one. Believe me when I tell you this... I become scared when I don't chat with someone in a long while. For most people, this can range from a few days to weeks and months and even years. I don't want to keep saying something along the lines of "I just came along to say hello" all the time regularly.

And as far as making friends is concerned, I don't try to make friends to become popular. It's to show respect to people. I want to be friends because I want to meet new people and communicate with people. Sometimes, I think I'm friends and still friends with someone... only to find out that he/she/they is/are missing from my friends list. Some friends even add me again. The feeling I dislike is trying to re-add people as friends, only to be dropped again from that person, then never be able to be added by that person again. That's when I start feeling like I could have done more and done better things to maintain a friendship online.

Sometimes, even... people whom have dropped me request me again to be friends. I gladly accept past friends who want to re-connect with me online. But if I try to re-connect with friends, it becomes a harder task.

Disconnect in Communication. As much as I get dropped for not making constant contact to others, I begin to feel terrible when I don't get any sort of communication in return. It is almost as if I become concerned if people don't chat with me. With certain friends, I try to check to see if certain online friends of mine are still friends with me because there are people whom I hate to lose. Most of which are people whom I really respect and honor as friends and as amazing people. When you give and don't get much back in return, these are the making of sad circumstances. I look at if I'm unable to post comments online about a profile or photos and videos. When I'm disabled from making comments, it can really mean that I have been disregarded.

The thing I keep in mind is that not everyone checks their profiles online all the time. Having dealt with making and losing friends and knowing WHY I've lost them can make a great difference. I've committed too many sins with friends, even if by accident. All I ask if I'm a guilty party is to be vindicated of my guilt.

--- What Scares Me About Social Networking ---
The thing that scares me most is that I tend to make a parallel between being friends with someone in person, then try to connect with them over the Internet and all the while, trying to maintain a friendship both in an online medium and in the medium of real life. Wherever there's a disconnect, I feel like I've lost someone's trust. I hate losing someone's trust when I feel I haven't done anything seriously wrong. Maybe I say something that's meant to be a compliment, and I get dropped. It's why I (for example) avoid using the word "sexy" to describe a female's looks. And if I don't use that word when someone is very visually appealing, I still feel I'm liable for dislike. It's just the feeling that I'm liable to be dropped from friend lists for my actions, be intentional or unintentional.

But for almost everything in my life, I've been a liability. Very few people believe in me or have patience in me to where I actually feel humbled and welcomed.

All of these things I've expressed are true. Would I ever lie about something I've passionately spoken of? These are just a number of things I don't understand about people and social networking. I may never understand things fully, but I don't want to ruin any kind of trusts or bonds. Especially not countless bonds and trusts from people the world over.

On this personal bombshell, I bid you farewell.
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