In the early days of the social media explosion it was the done thing to "make friends" with everyone.
There were no real boundaries or conventions in place. There's wasn't even much security in place.
The name of the game was to have the most "friends".
The problem with this was that we all ended up with a bunch of arseholes we don't know clogging up our feeds with racists, sexist and all the other "ists" that are unsavory.
So with my first wave of social contacts I went on a culling spree.
I disconnected, unfriended, un-whatevered everyone I didn't really know...and some I did know who I knew were arseholes.
But the nasty stuff kept coming through my news feed.
So I decided to delete most of my social media accounts.
I'd determined which ones were complete wastes of time i.e. not even fun, which ones were obsolete/redundant and just cancelled the subscriptions.
Facebook wasn't so easy.
Unfortunately had/have some assets on Facebook by the way of Pages for business and such that I didn't want to lose.
So with that I created a new user, with no friends, and made that user the administrator of the pages I wanted to keep.
I was then able to delete myself, the one with the bad news feed, but keep going with my pages and the friendless new me.
Of course, over time I started adding friends who I thought would be OK.
But it isn't always your "friends" who cause the problem. It is friends of friends. But sometimes it IS your friends who cause problems.
So I upped my privacy settings to keep strangers out to a level I was comfortable with. I make most of my posts just to my circle of friends i.e. not public, and block problem people fast and hard.
Now my definition of what constitutes a problem person is going to be different to everyone else's.
I reckon that everyone I've blocked considers me, not themselves, to be the problem.
I've got to say I am very fine with that. It doesn't bother me at all. As long as I don't have to see, or be part of, their dramas, misunderstandings and nastiness I really don't care.
For me social media is a tool. It is also entertainment and it is also, most of all, disposable.
For me taking social media seriously is like making deep fried food your primary dietary intake. It is your choice but it is going to kill you.
I've spent all of my life, professional and recreational, writing. I've written stories, articles, books, manuals, courses, music....you name it , I've had a crack at writing it.
The one thing I repeatedly keep learning is that, as an author of written words, no matter how well crafted, everyone is going to interpret them in their own way.
Be that interpretation be good or bad, we have no control. Then, suddenly, we find ourselves in a mess of someone else's interpretation and hang ups.
Suddenly, any extra words we add are also now "bad" in their minds. Things escalate quickly and whatever was originally said pales in comparison to the flame war that then takes place.
Even these words right here, I am betting, will be viewed with more than a little cynicism. I know they will be. They have been before. People are quite happy to tell us exactly what is going on in our heads and our thoughts. It must be wonderful to know people better than they know themselves.
But still, the reader's context, which we cannot possible know or understand, has been applied and our words are no longer ours.
So yes, for the sake of real world flesh and blood relationships, I have blocked some of my actual friends from my Facebook account. I would like to think I have been blocked in return for the same reason - 'the greater, real world, good".
And I have to say, it has done me the world of good.
No more worrying about what they think I said. No more worrying about how to reply so as not to inflame whatever the hell it is they've objected to. No more wishing I'd done something else instead. No more explaining myself even though I'd done nothing wrong and would in fact do the same thing again. No more wondering what I am going to have to defend myself for next. etc. etc.
So for the sake of your mental health, I strongly suggest that you too block hard and block fast.
It prevents escalation. It prevents accidentally offending people again in the future. It prevents a stream of negativity. It prevents passive aggressive posts designed to garner attention I don't know how to give. It prevents all the "what ifs" and it keeps your news feed free from the stuff that brings you down.
I have to tell you, I'd delete my Facebook account and all other socials in a heartbeat if they weren't providing some benefit to my business.
I much prefer spending real world time having a laugh with actual flesh and blood friends.