I un-friended someone on Facebook today. I’m not normally inclined to cut someone off simply because we disagree. But this person was offensive in a way that made me wonder why we would consider one another “friends” in the first place. He’s someone I knew when I was a kid. He went to the church where my dad was a pastor in Oakland back in the late 60s, 70s and early 80s. I don’t consider him a close friend in real life, but his mom hired me to babysit for him a couple of times when he was little, so when he sent a friend request a while back I clicked to make the connection.
Admittedly, the photo I posted on Facebook was provocative. It was a picture of two presidents, the very first Republican president and the current president. Adjacent to the pictures were a quote from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and a quote from the current Republican president, bragging about being a sexual predator. And this man’s response was fairly predictable for someone who supports our current president. After this “friend’s” first response I suggested that I didn’t understand his fear and anger, and wished him peace. He persisted in posting a couple more offensive items, I assume to tempt me to engage. Fortunately an actual friend, intervened and reminded me that I needn’t argue with someone like him. It was then that I realized that the “un-friend” option on Facebook has a perfectly valid use case. Thanks, Facebook!
Update, Tuesday, Feb, 21
Apparently unfriending someone is not the only step you need to take on Facebook to prevent other users from invading and polluting your timeline. This man kept adding to his sophomoric diatribe, eventually drawing the ire of my actual friends and relatives. What was especially odd about the guy’s comments was the total irrelevance of anything he had to say to the original point of the post.
For future reference, if you want to keep a troll out of your face you need to change the visibility of your post so that only friends can see it. When I did that it stopped the flow of hatred.