Over the last month or so, I’ve had an inordinate number of friend-requests on my Facebook page. My policy is to accept all of them — and then immediately unfollow those people. If you want to keep current with what I post on Facebook, you’re welcome to, but I’m not going to reciprocate. Same thing with my Twitter account.
It’s nothing personal. I just don’t have time to scroll through the posts of the more than 1,300 folks who have befriended me in that artificial world, where “friend” means everyone from lifetime pals to one-time acquaintances to someone I’ve never met but likes my work. I do follow a select number of people I work with, some former colleagues, longtime buddies, and several family members — and that’s it.
I’m pretty thin-skinned about who I allow to continue as a “friend.” For the most part, it’s people who never bother me about anything except an occasional comment on my radio show or blog posts here. On the other hand, don’t add me to your group that sends me announcements about when you get together every other Thursday for bowling and chicken wings. I’m not interested in every charity you’re involved in. Don’t invite me to like your business. Don’t send me Facebook Messenger messages full of videos you find hysterical. I ignore all of that or, if you abuse the privilege, have no qualms about un-friending you. Again, it’s nothing personal, simply a way to better manage my time online.
Now, here’s the ironic part of all this.
Because I accept every friend-request at first, I’m sure I’m allowing some bots access to my account. Someone told me that this is dangerous because it gives them entree into my timeline, where they can post all sorts of bogus information (e.g. Russians poisoning our information stream). I’m not worried about that because, since I don’t follow them back, I never see that stuff. And if they do post it on my timeline, I simply delete it — and them.
Some of those friend-requests have come from accounts with pictures of very attractive young women. Fine, I still don’t care. But the other day, one of them private-messaged me, “Hi there.” Curious to see if this would turn into some fodder for my radio show, I replied, “Hi yourself.” Then she/he/it followed up with, “Have you heard about the new federal grant program?”
I could have continued and played along, just to see where this was going, but I wasn’t in the mood. Instead, I responded, “And…you’re blocked,” followed by unfriending them and removing all evidence of their presence from my cyber life. And then I told the story on my show the next day.
In retrospect, I should have given them the Facebook account info of this Nigerian prince I’ve been corresponding with who’s going to make me very wealthy once he’s released from prison — at which point I won’t need any grants, federal or otherwise.
But even when that happens, you can still be my friend, if you play by my rules.