Have we gone too far with social media politeness?
May 13, 2014
We have all inadvertently added or followed someone on social media to keep the peace, whether it was a family member or a work colleague. Eventually you begrudgingly agree to become “friends” or “follow” them through gritted teeth and mainly because of good manners. Soon enough you’re bombarded by several hundred social media posts including inspirational quotes, re-tweets and ‘happy hump day’ images.
Facebook has been ahead of the curve on this for a while with the “hide” feature; meaning, while you can still remain “friends”, you no longer need to see what they are up to. It’s the digital version of, “It’s not me, it’s you.” Without having to ever actually say it.
Twitter has now launched the long-awaited “mute” and “hide re-tweets” buttons, bringing a big sigh of relief to those who are just too polite to hit “unfollow”.
However, are we being too civil? Surely the follow button is an agreement that you shall read all 140 characters of genius your chosen person has written. Is there a point of following someone and never knowing what they are saying? Is it a case of social status and more important ‘who’ you follow, not what you actually read?
These new features, without a doubt, are the new social etiquette of the 21st century, but in a time when being vocal with your opinions (is this not what social was invented for?) has never been more important, are we just avoiding what we really just want to say. “I just don’t want to follow you anymore.”
(*As long as you haven’t hidden or muted us.)