I recently ran into two songs that discuss issues with an online friend list. The first song Unfriend Me, by Sandy and Richard Riccardi, talks about how on social media people like all the cute pictures, all the happy things. Yet as soon as there is a post where they are expressing an actual opinion the other person gets upset and start trolling and name calling. The twist at the end of the song is that the person being educated on how to “un-friend” is the mother.
I’ve seen this happen on some social media platforms more than once. The majority of the time people post the safe, positive, entertaining, advertising, agreeing, etc. posts. When a person posts a comment or opinion that isn’t safe; or presents a different point of view, it can cause some people to get upset. I’ve seen some people then start name calling and make negative comments about the person. All because their opinion is not the same as theirs. The one thing that social media does is allow us to isolate ourselves with people who agree with us and who always play it safe. If a person one time says “sorry I don’t agree with that” or doesn’t like enough of your posts; and all you have to do is click the “unfriend” button.
The second song “Unfriended“, by Garrison Keillor, discusses a situation in which a person is unfriended out of the blue by someone on social media. The song then compares the types of posts, the number and types of friends, and how each person thought about the relationship. It also points out how the online world impacts the offline world; because, as soon as they were unfriended it ended the offline relationship as well.
I’ve seen this situation on social media as well. A person online doesn’t agree with a post, or the types of posts, someone else makes and they call them names and/or troll their posts. Shortly thereafter they have removed them from their friend list. In rare cases gossip soon follows in a campaign to tarnish the other person or to get everyone to take sides against them. Like the line in the song says, “But now I’ll expose you for the jerk that you are.”
Both songs highlight how communication didn’t happen. The first song shows how the person didn’t pick up the phone and call their mother to discuss what happened online. In the second song they didn’t communicate with the person either. Maybe there was a reason why the person unfriended them. It could also be that with three thousand friends they meant to unfriend someone else and clicked the wrong button. Perhaps they only wanted friends who had a hundred or more friends in their friends list, and everyone else was being removed. Who knows. At no time does the song mention that they asked the person who removed them from their friends list why they were unfriended.
Lyrics to the song “Unfriended” Oct 3 2009 http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2009/10/03/scripts/unfriended.shtml