An article published on Slate yesterday quotes a study from the University of Waterloo that ” found that people likely to see [Facebook’s] virtual community as a haven are also more likely to annoy their contacts.” The article, titled “If You Think Your Facebook Friends Don’t Like You, They Probably Don’t,” draws a distinct correlation between self-esteem, Facebook updates and personal likability. There’s also a link to the original Science Daily post that describes the study in more detail.
The surprising thing for me was that, well, this wasn’t all that surprising; it simply put research behind a phenomenon I have been witnessing for a while. I call it the “Debbie Downer syndrome” (see above): if all you ever heard from someone in real life was negative you’d stop hanging around them, so it stands to reason that you hit that ‘delete’ button in your virtual life as well.
This made me think about all my Facebook friend-breakers– that online behavior which constitutes instant deletion:
1. Consistently negative posts, either about oneself or the people in one’s life
2. Shameless promotion of your lame day job (bartenders, marketers, I’m looking at you)
3. Consistent posting about how the world is going to hell (politically, ecologically, religiously)
4. If we haven’t had “real” (read: personal) contact in over a year
5. Consistently narcissistic posts about your dog/cat/rabbit/partying lifestyle/fiance/wedding/children). This includes bragging about the bad decisions you made in regards to all of those things.
So this is my personal de-friend criteria. What is your criteria for de-friending someone online? Is choosing to de-friend someone because of negativity cruel?