The Eight Types of People to Unfollow on Twitter or Defriend on Facebook
by Brian Moylan
Everybody has a few people clogging up their social networking sites with frequent updates, annoying pictures, and general stupidity. But there’s often guilt about offing these former friends. Feel bad no more! These are the people you must ditch now.
Now, to be fair, you should probably consider your relationship with these people before you go deleting them from your electronic life. After all if it’s your partner, parent, boss, best friend, or the guy you’ve been seeing on and off for the last few years, they might notice what you did and take it as an affront. If you’re close enough to this person for them to notice you went out for a pack of eCigarettes and never came back, then it might be better to just have a talk with them about fixing their obnoxious internet behavior. Or you can do the passive aggressive thing and defriend them and then when they say “Yo, what’s up?” tell them that they suck. That works too.
If you know any of these people below, it’s time to cut the cord. Hopefully they’ll know what they did.
The Overuser: Their thumbs are practically shackled to their Blackberry and their fingers never leave the keyboard. It’s always some new update about where they are (fucking Foursquare!), what they’re doing, or other similar inanities. It’s like someone tweeting about their work out. Oh look, Bill is on his first set of bicep curls. Now Bill is on his second set of bicep curls. Now Bill is on his…we don’t care, no matter how good his guns look. We don’t want to read the seven million articles about Robert Pattinson someone thought were so revealing they had to be shared with the world in rapid succession. We don’t want to hear a critique of every American Idol contestant’s wardrobe, song choice, and singing ability in separate dispatches. This person is like the cyber version of the guy in the Micro Machine’s commercial. Just shut the fuck up. The noise is drowning out the conversation we’re trying to hear.
The Oversharer: The minute one of your followees says anything about a bowel movement, it is time to go. Period. Some people use Facebook to share what they’re doing and how they’re feeling in a fun and interesting way. It’s like running into them at a cocktail party and getting the quick rundown. An annoying few use it for their disgusting confessional full of graphic biological, biographical, and sexual information. We don’t want to hear about yellow toenails. We don’t care that this is the heaviest flow that the world has ever seen. We don’t want to hear about every petty slight, bicker, and squabble with a significant other. We’re not a couples counselor, we’re a friend. Sure, if the results of the biopsy come back negative, please celebrate and share it with the world. But a constant stream of gross overshares won’t just make us flinch, it will make us click that little X next to your name.
The Proselytizer: These aren’t just the people who are constantly sharing Bible quotes with the world, it’s any person who is constantly nagging other people to join their causes, political battles, and groups. Guess what, if we cared about stopping the deforestation of the Florida panhandle, we would seek the group out and join it ourselves. We don’t need you suggesting that we become a part of it every time we log on to the site! And just because we were guilted into joining “One Million Smooches for Gay Marriage” doesn’t mean we’ll have the same magnanimity when it comes to “Make Gay Marriage Happen Or We’ll Stop Arranging Your Flowers,” “A Petition to End Oil Dependence in the Middle East,” or “Save the Owls of Tuscaloosa County.” These people might as well be one of those horrible college kids who stand on the street with a pack of pamphlets and say, “Do you have a moment for environmental rights?” No, we do not. It’s bad enough when it’s something we already agree with. If someone is spreading crazy Christian nonsense, creationist magic, or right wing political propaganda, they’re so dead to us.
The In-Joker: Have you ever gone to someone else’s high school reunion? Unless you are the world’s most patient partner, of course not, because who wants to sit through hours of people sharing stories that you can’t put into context, understand, or enjoy. But that is just what following an In-Joker’s Twitter feed is like. “Like Mark is totally eating a shrimp taco, wink wink @Mike Totally makes me think of that guy in Cancun: ‘Por favor’ Am I right?!!” We’re glad @Mike chuckled because we have no fucking clue what you are saying. No, we don’t know what is so LOL about a cruller in a Corolla or what is so LMAO about karaoke in Bangkok. (OK, that is kind of amusing.) Sure, those might be hilarious for a small collection of people, but it’s a total confusing bore for the rest of us. And please don’t leave in-jokey comments on our page either. Sure, you just want to show how close we are by reminding us of a great moment we shared. We get it, but we want to propagate an open conversation among people we know and like, we don’t want our little slice of the internet to be the back of a 13-year-old girl’s yearbook.
The Replyer: There is nothing more annoying than looking at someone’s Twitter page and every burst of characters starts with either an @ or an RT. This is especially true if the response has no context of what the original comment was about. If we don’t follow that other person, we have no idea what the reply is all about. It’s like turning on a David Lynch movie 45 minutes into it. You will be lost, frustrated, and possibly on the verge of an LSD flashback. These are also the people who have something to say about every status update, every picture posted, and every event invitation confirmed. To the casual observer, he is your only or best friend only because he is always there, lurking like two-day-old onion bagel stink in your trash can. He never has anything to say for himself, he’s just feeding and living off of what everyone else has to say. Come up with something of your own or go away.
The Meme Lover: The only person who should be sending you weird forward chain mail letters is your mom. Some strange neurotoxin must be released when a woman pushes a baby out of her body that makes her send these to her offspring years later. It can’t be helped, only tolerated. However, if anyone other than your mother is bothering you with “25 Things You Don’t Care to Know About Me” or #sometimesiwonder or tagging you in one of those stupid grids of Little Miss characters, then they need to be cut loose from your life. Yes, a Blingee kitten every so often isn’t the worst thing in the world and can brighten a day, but for those people who fall for every retarded Avatar Week tomfoolery the web dreams up, there is a special sort of banishment.
The Fisher: These are the people whose low self-esteem needs to be bolstered by other people wanting to know the details of their life. “I just feel like crying right now” or “You’re never going to believe what I just bought!” or “Can’t wait to tell everyone the big news.” People who say vague and leading things like that want someone else to say, “What?” or “Why?” or “How Come?” That is what The Fisher makes you do, but what they’re really saying is “Tell me I’m good enough to care about.” You probably are, but you don’t need a bunch of anonymous affirmations to tell you that. And sorry, Al-Anon taught us how to not be an enabler so we’re not taking the bait. We’re just going to ignore you and let some poor Replyer feed your madness.
The Nobody: Face it, everyone’s Facebook friend list is bloated. It includes people from high school you haven’t talked to in eons, people you you met once at a cocktail party and never talked to again, people who you have 90 mutual friends with but have never actually met in person. And you have to listen to all these things that people say. More often than not, these are the folks who are the types above that you have to get rid of. Your real friends don’t annoy you. Well, they probably do, but you put up with it because, as Dionne sings, that’s what friends are for. Just cut out all the fat. If you don’t recognize someone’s name or face, let them go. It doesn’t make you any less of a person that your numbers are dwindling. You are still important, people still know and like you, and it’s going to be OK. Just take a deep breath. These tools are here to keep you connected, share information, and have fun. Just like the winner of The Biggest Loser, life going to be so much easier to do that once you get rid of all the excess.
Send an email to Brian Moylan, the author of this post, at firstname.lastname@example.org.