So I really don’t keep up with the numbers of Facebook friends I have. I count that number to be as significant as the numbers of grains of sand the ants outside my front door are making. The amount of friends you have on Facebook, or amount of followers you have on Twitter and Instagram, or the number of YouTube subscribers that watch you have nothing to do with the quality of the relationships in your life. Those numbers are just that, numbers.
These numbers do have power in moving currency however. If you have a large enough following of those who value your opinion in this millennial age of social media, you can receive anything from free products, to book deals, to fame. The reality though is those legions of followers or the vast list of friends don’t hold you at night. They don’t help you nurse your sick child. They are not ever present in the everyday mundanes that make up life.
Now having said that, people who are connected to you through social media can be a beautiful presence in your life. I cannot count the times I have championed someone on after their studies lead to gaining a degree, or I sent viral confetti in their direction for their new baby, new promotion, new marriage, new good thing in their lives. The same has been true in return. It’s amazing how many times I have had support from all across the country from those who have experienced some of my “ups” shared on Facebook. Then there are the people I’d lost contact with, who were friends from year 19whatever. We wouldn’t be in contact if it weren’t for social media and now we’re apart of each others everyday lives. Lastly there are those who’ve I’ve never met in person but have become sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles though some interest, cause or goal, who I would not have known in any other way than the byways of the internet. Social media is a powerful tool when used for real connection, and that connection is real.
“Rejection is a gift to where you’re going.”
Now this brings me to the purpose of this piece. Although I dont pay great attention to my Facebook friend numbers I did recently notice a change in them. I took notice to this after I was recently unfriended by someone who I considered a friend. Never an ill word was spoken, no awkwardness, no beef. I noticed I was blocked only after attempting to tag them to a post I thought they could relate to. Here I am thinking of them while they were busy blocking me. I know they are still active on Facebook because you can see other people talking to them in different streams. Oh the hilarity! They were suddenly missing in action on Facebook, which by many people’s accounts means to be missing from the earth. This was just a couple of months after I realized that a younger cousin of mine also unfriended me. Okay so this is where it gets sticky. I only realized that he’d blocked me, (otherwise I would have never noticed), because he tagged himself to a picture of mine prior to him blocking me, and when I went to comment on this picture I could no longer do so. Did you get that? I was blocked on my own picture… that I took… that I owned… that he posted on his timeline…. that he’d taken from my timeline… that I know longer had access to… because he blocked me. Again, never a harsh word between us, just a block. Oh the foolery!
So all of this got me to thinking and seeking, which I do a lot of both, wondering if these were just isolated incidents or if these unfriending sessions were of epidemic proportions. Well not quite national crises level do they reach, but the number shift is a noticeable one, and among certain “clicks of people”. So here’s what I’ve concluded… play dramatic music please… my case analysis as to why people have unfriended me, no holds barred.
- Because I talk about Jesus. Yep. Okay so I love the Lord. I’m not ashamed, I’m not embarrassed. I find that his name bothers some people. Jesus. Yeah it does something to some people. I count myself as one who has a lot of interests and shares them on social media. I’m not one where every other word out of my mouth is an induction of beat you upside the head with the Bible. I would much rather have my life, my character, my integrity, my personality, my being be the showing of who God is to me and in me. I share subjects that dance between funnies to politics, from cultural matters to artistic pursuits because those are my interests. I am blessed to have balance because some church folk don’t, but I do. However I do not apologize for the love affair I have with Christ. It bothers some. So they unfriend me… and that’s cool.
- I just mentioned I talk about a lot of different things on social media, sometimes that’s a bit much for some people. They like to be your friend for one specific reason and nothing more. They like seeing pictures of your special recipes but don’t want to see your pictures of the times when you’re sick. There are some who like that I love to write but do not want to hear about the path of development for my special needs son. Then there are the church folk who can’t to bear hear that I love the new Jill Scott album. Oh so deep aren’t we?. And lastly there are those, and especially in today’s climate, who do not want to hear a word of my adamant voice against the social injustices plaguing Black and Brown communities nationwide. How dare I be so varied! How dare I not fit into their box. So they unfriend me… and that’s cool.
- There are those who heard somein’. Yes I did intend to type “somein,” not something. Because when you hear “somein”, you heard what someone said that they thought they heard, or what someone made up that you heard. In all their doom and gloom, they presumed and assumed. They jumped on some bandwagon to the land of NeverNeverTruth and took a stay for a while. In all their prudence 80’s rap group Whodini said it best by simply calling out the Big Mouths among us.“Then you stick out your tongue and start spreadin’ lies and now somebody else has been victimized… They call you mouth almighty, tongue everlastin’, you ain’t satisfied unless somethin’s happenin’.” These Big Mouths are people I once called friends and many are kin. These confused souls never pounder how all this reflects on them. They never ponder why the person spreading “somein” feels comfortable enough to spread it with them. They never ponder how they themselves could be the next to have “somein’s” spread about them. The never ponder that the somein spreaders could have the pure goal of sabotaging someone’s character. And better yet they never ponder the bridge they burned with you and how they may want to come back across it one day.
The idea that extreme falsehoods could be believed about you is in and of itself amazing. But to then not be given the benefit of the doubt to someone you had connection with, or to not question the credibility of the person spreading the falsehood, is the error of ways that for me cannot be repaired. If assumptions and presumptions can sway some people into deception, then we didn’t have much to begin with. Even after forgiveness, reconciliation is not available after integrity assassination has taken place. Relationships are made of the stuff of trust, loyalty, believing the best in a person. When you don’t have bare bones basics then what is there? When fallacy is embraced by those who were kindred and sacred, one is not left just left with wounds, cuts and scrapes, but hemorrhaging takes place. People die from bleeding out all the time. So you’ll excuse me if I allow some people to exit as I continue to live with full blood supply in flow. They can give me whatever title, however unfitting. I’m the type who will allow you stay in your deception, I can do it without ever saying a word. So they unfriend me, and of all the unfrienders on my list, I’m most happy to say to these… and that’s cool.
So all of this leaves me with the understanding that as the numbers decrease or increase my peace does not. As the numbers eb to and fro like ocean waves, my sense of worth does not. Rejection is not nice, and ultimately that’s what this is really about, however, the reality is that the rejection of a few misdirected people cannot in any way add or take away from the value of who you are. We gained our value from other things way before 2007, it’s only been that long since social media took over the masses. So I’m swayed to believe that our value is not based on likes or retweets.
“Our value is not based on likes or retweets.”
Leonardo DiCaprio once said he doesn’t believe his public (paraphrased). What he meant by that is whether they were applauding or they’re booing, he held on to a sense of who he he was. People’s opinions will change, they might like you, they might not, but do know that rejection is a gift to where you’re going. You really don’t need a lot of weight for your journey. It’s better to get rid of loads while your territory is small. Once your enclave increases you will be grateful for those who got out of your way during your day of medgar things. Thank them now for showing who they are while you have less to lose. As to not waste good bread in your days of plenty you’ll only want those who are allies and not foes at your table.
Shout out to the folk who are for me, I wouldn’t dare speak only of the bugabats who’ve walked away without acknowledging those who’ve stayed down. I’m down for you too.
Dedicated to Michael Eric Dyson who was egging me on as I wrote. Not literally but for real. He gives me permission to play with words. I like to pretend that I can do so like he does. This is like a preschooler playing along side an NBA all star, but I am in the game because of him. Thanks Michael!
Whodini, Big Mouth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ci8-M5JaHBQ