Thursday, 18 February 2016

Tackling the FaceBook Pest Friend

Facebook is for me a wonderful means of both keeping informed in one place, and keeping in touch in a single directory. In fact it has become the main channel for just about everything on the electric internet for me, a prediction which many made years ago about how things would go, into channels rather than googled anarchy.

However of course, Facebook is also the worlds worst anti-social media. How do you cope with the sarcastic, the obtuse and the partonising friends you have gathered on FB whom you don't quite have the heart to de-friend or block ?

Luckily FB have a few new, subtle tricks up their sleaves. . .     which are not very publicised perhaps sothat they can offer advice in the background and the main defence is below the bully and face book clown's radar.

A Two Way Social Street Of Irritation

Amongst the new s stories, albums of UK freinds children's midterm holid ays, who likes for liberty, who likes for racism, etc there are my own posts which are both personal, political and ecle ctic by nature. I used to post very often and Like in a scrolling daily session, but that is the absolute turn key solution to having most folk set you on what used to be the rather bluntly called 'ignore'.

I don't know how ignore evolved into today's selective news-feed, where highly liked posts of mine obviously appear on folk who otherwise ignore me. FB is a two way street where you both expose your life events and opinions to an audience, while exposing yourself to the whit of old pals and outright bullying from people you maybe should be more selective about befriending.

Yes, Very Funny....How is the Divoce Going btw ?

Perhaps you have an eternal smart alec pal,  who likes to think they are cutting you down to size with their sarcy or slighly overly personal comments on your posts?  Or you have a purile freind who never got beyond the front bottoms and who may have shagged who innuendo phase? Or someone who is outright patronising and wants to belittle your interests in a greener future and better rights for refugees? How do you manage them away without telling them to, well, piss off?

There is then the place for my oldest pal, who behaves the same almost in social media as after a few beers at a party over his social standing. He is mildly put the most antisocial person I  am good friends status with. We follow each other with a brother like connection since 1972. Many good memories, those car crashes, the ambitious mountain tours and the 'went large' drinking sessions of the most formative years of our lives, shared in technicolor memories often best kept between the two of us.

Old Friends, Old Issues, New Media.....

Being dear old friends (my longest standing at over 40 years) aside, as from the very day I met him, he never fails to disappoint or irritate. He has always wanted to get one up on me, from the day he learnt he could turn on the hot tap, wash his hands first and leave me with scalding hot water to contend with. It took me two years to realise he was rushing to the hot water first  in order to pull this rather odd little  'I win!' trick.

On Face Book this one-upmanship continues from time to time.  He goes through phases of making sarcastic and/or lewd comments and innuendo on any of my posts., Sometimes all my posts over a whole week have some of his remarks which are just embarressing -I mean do I want to be associated with him and dragged down to the level of a smutty fifteen year old with attention deficiency?

If I deleted one of his more tasteless comments or outright porno-posting or tagging, i would get a PM "ooh, didn't like my comment, wee shame that" or another public comment. He got with that fad for posting really repugnant comments of which the first line  appeared in the warning bar, and i had to rush onto FB only to find an edited or deleted post in its place. I reciprocated as no harm was done.

A year or two ago it came to a head though,  with him posting more or less porn and anti cyclist (he is a mad motor cyclists who resents our tax free status!) onto my time line and making increasingly irritating and sarcastic comments on everything and getting into arguments with some of my couthed pals on FB. His messenger PMs became perverse, some promoting violence against women and even some questionably legal images popped up.  It was more than embarressing and irritating, it was infuriating and non stop. So not only did I de-friend him, I blocked him.

Going Nuclear - The Block

Blocking is very finiite. It is the FB equivalent of going ex directory and moving town, only in a virtual form which is of course very specific between two people. A kind of ersatz witness protectuiin button for Cyberia's main metropolis- FB.  It was the best answer given how far over the mark he stepped,  and life was blissfully quiet in th comment field sense. Posting with inpunity. Persona non grata.

Time passed and we skyped or something, his tail maybe slightly between his legs, but mostly he was curious and his ego was a bit bruised. I burried the hatchet while he had some sense of how irritating he had been yet how he miased having me on FB. I PM'ed him an 'unFuck You'  jpeg.

It struck me that all this brash and stupid posting and PMing had been around the time he was splitting up with his wife, and many of our old real life pals turned FB conacts chose her side. He was kind of lashing out at someone close to him as a form of keeping his ego goign while all around were sending him to the preverbial Coventry of socially not accepted for pushing your wife around.

So befriended we again and it was good to use FB and FB messernger to keep in touch and eventually plan a meet up in an old Stomping ground in Scotland when I took the family there. He had rented a dilapidated places with an astounding veiw and atmosphere by a beach with an island and a view over to Ulster on clearer days. It went great for the first 24 houurs, then he grew irriated at having us there and me being assertive with the both our kids.  Worse, he started trying to keep tabs on how much he was spending on the week he had, versuis maybe how little we were contributing. We bought dinner at the pub first night,  all the food and most of the drink for two days stay while he, credit rating 'nae chance pal' went empty for money.  He got irritated at having company and did his usual crap of ignoringnother people,s conversation and paying attention to rolling fags or collecting wood-  the only worth following being his own chosen topics and chances to either deliver opinion, or satisfy his curiousity.

After hols on my birthday, he posted a very unflattering piccie of me in my current fatness, and it was kind of a sign that yeah, thats what old pals do to each other, but on FB and actually staying under the same roof,  very small doses were what was required. 

How then  do you manage such a freind on FB? Keeping in touch, but on your own terms ? Reserving a large degree of privacy, maintainng dignity and standards on your own timw line, by avoiding them subtlwey yet not quite ostrecising them and maybe letting them

New Tools Hidden In FaceBook's Inner Account Workings

It is very similar to some teenage bullying situations where a 'pal' wants to bully you but will always humour you enough to keep you from going nuclear ' block' It is as I did, worth blocking if it goes over the mark and you  feel embarre ssed or even harrassed. Exclusion bullying could of cource continue because the block is reciprocal - you are evaouprated to each other from the ether o f th is duplicit media.

I am very glad that I didnt have FB and snapchat and Whats app when I was a teeneager. I was on the fringes of most social groups and could be taken as being a bit weird, being crushed by shyness and a resulting teen social anxiety which crippled much of the young me until I blossomed at uni. I seemed to spend a fair time at uni avoiding one night stands later, which would have been able to FB me and stalk me today., However, Old I will grow on FB and I just dont like the idea of having to cut some people off altogether, while I cannot stand their attitudes in some respects.

When you have a pal who is a bit of an arse and yeah, maybe a bit of a bully who takes advantage of peoples better nature to irk and tease to their own ego's fulfillment, how can you tackle this without the de-friend or the atomic Block!? 

Facebook has luckily evolved a couple of very subtle settings and a listing which help you manage these rather tiring smutty, rude and obtuse pals. Firstly of course a common form of bullying is tagging and time line posting. It is pretty much a carte blanche for bullies,  or just having a lauigh at some ones expense on the lighter side. Here you can set both of these on review, which is more sub tle methodology than just switching it off, which lets the bully know you are vulnerable or the friend know that you are less social tghan they thouuoght and dont take a joke. To the friend posting or tagging, it looks like it has worked but in fact it is only the t wo of you, i believe,  who can see these until you approve them...or choose to leave them i n a  little private limbo.

Changing FB Mechanisms as Cyber Bullying Evolves

This of course doesn't stop a bully or irksome freind from commenting on your posts. In the old days you could divise lists or use "all but xxx' as an option which later would appear in the pull down option for privacy setting for new posts and indeed be default after first engaged if not swapping back. This feature was used though for an insidious type of bullying where of course the victim was excluded from say an embarresing or even naked photo of them. The fearure is away from my versions of FB app and web at least, probabkly due to this blind sided bullying. What left"

Well there is a very nice subtle feature which is a people-list  called 'restricted' (begrenset in norsk) When you place an FB contact into this list, they only see your public postings and posts which you are tagged in which also have public setting. For me this means that my tiresome pal, who is splitting up with his next live in girl friend now, cant harrange me and have his favourite hobby every smoking break of making stupid comments with a snigger under his breath. From his side, he probabbly thinks I have fallen off FB, perhaps he feels he has been successful in stopping me flood his news feed or even in bullying me off personalia and stuff on FB. The victory is all mine though.

Coupled to review posting to my time line and tagging he is in presumably ignorant bliss, while I am in sarcasm free space with the 'bad smell' freind both brushed off my social side on the internet. He doesnt get the satisfaction of being able to turn on his samsung FB in a fag break and finding some way of taunting, irritating or just making a stupid comment on my posts. Also of course I no longer have so many dumb like notices popping up red, and know that I no longer have to sidft thorugh his crap after a day awauy from looking at updates.

Real bullies are best blocked and a good off line friends should also be encouraged to evapourate them such that thwey feel the cold shoulder. Also they should not be let back into a circle of close friends on line again. However we all have people we want to kwep up with cia FB, yet would rather maybe not let into our complete lives we otherwise find joy in sharing with old freinds and family.

There are ex'es who looked us up and either hold a candle or just still think it is ok to have you on their list of digital aquaintances. Then there are of course also bosses, and prospective employers who are ideal for this type of 'look warm shoulder' treatment. You can nurture a more sober profile, keep family out , or make an outright professionalnpublic image towards this list of colleagues for example.

My mate has stopped commenting on even my public posts now, they are quite infrequent. It is pretty apparent that really I had become the focus of 90% of his FB activcity in a kind of obsession linked to being bruised in ego in other areas of life. I am the lsst person who bothers wit him when he has had a shouting match with his other-half and shes kicked him out. He kind of measured him self up against me, and in that very scottish way wanted to knock me off a perciweved high horse down into the shit with him. With his latest 'serious' , cohabitant GF  he had  to face the reality of his in the flesh bad , arrogant, self  centred and self righteous behaviour. Not that he tellls me what has happened- he retains an ounce of power against someone in his ever decereasing circle by that of course.

On balance living in the same house for more than a night, takin him to social events above his purile station and of course his intolerable crap on FB are all that is wring with being a mate with him. All three can be managed by me . now, so i restrict him to where the common ground lies which i am comfortable on with him.

He can sort out his bruised ego and cold shoulder from others off line, while I am in a new happy place - still freinds, still in touch, still apparently available but very much in the comfort zone on FB.

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