My OCD has found something new to zero in on: The Facebook friend count. Ridiculous, you say? Of course. But having OCD is all about worrying about ridiculous things.
My current Facebook friend count is 1,169. (Author’s note: the current count is 2,016) That may seem like a freakishly high number, but it makes sense when you consider that those connections are a broad mix of family, friends, associates in the security industry and people who “friended” me simply because they read this blog.
Here’s the stupid part, though: It was 1,174 a few days ago. So now I’m worrying about who I might have offended. But I have so many connections that it’s pretty much impossible to go through the entire list to see who’s missing.
The reality is that this shouldn’t be about the number of friends you have. I see people on Facebook all the time who friend everyone in sight because they want to broaden that number. In my case, I just happen to know a lot of people.
If I remember someone from high school or from Revere, I friend them because I want to see how various lives have evolved in the last 25-30 years. On the security side, I’ve met a lot of people in six years and they’ve all taught me something valuable about the industry, so I want to stay connected.
I’ve imposed some rules on myself when it comes to using things like Facebook and Twitter:
–Don’t bitch about the little things. There’s a ton of drama on Facebook already, and there’s a lot of drama in this blog. I’m not going to complain about the little things on top of that.
–Never complain about work. I wouldn’t anyway because I love my job, but I see work grievances on Facebook all the time, and it’s just not smart when you consider that the boss is probably watching.
–Keep the sex life to yourself. The reasons for this are simple. I’m an ugly guy with a hairy back and a bald head. I’m not about to gross people out or scare them. Hell, I get scared and grossed out when thinking of myself in a romantic context. Yet there are folks out there who think people really want to know about their sex lives. I’m not talking about someone who shares their joy over a new romantic relationship or the sadness of a romance that dies. I’m talking about those who give the several-times-a-day, blow-by-blow account of the ups and downs. I’m happily married and my wife loves me despite the fact that I’m funny looking. That’s all anyone needs to know — or would ever want to know.
–Do you really care about what I ate for dinner? Well, given the nature of this blog and the fact that I focus a lot on my binge-eating addiction and the food plan I live by today, I guess you would care. But I’m also sure I’d piss you off if I mentioned what I was about to eat before each meal. I get annoyed when other people do it. My younger brother is a chef and he talks about it a lot. But that’s different, because cooking is his craft.
–Politics. I love to talk politics with people, especially those who really know what they’re talking about. But some folks will take their disdain for Democrats or Republicans too far. Being a moderate myself, I think both political parties are damaged beyond repair. But I try not to get mean, arrogant or hateful about my positions. I’ve un-friended people for being that way.
— Religion: I’m pretty sure people have un-friended me for sharing my Faith. I can’t get around it because my Faith is at the core of everything I do, especially when it comes to marriage, parenthood and my program of recovery. If someone has dropped me because they don’t believe in God and they think I’m an idiot, I don’t care. I’m not about to change on this one.
Here’s what I will continue to do on Facebook and Twitter:
–Share some of the things my kids say. Because my kids are pretty damn witty.
— Post my blog entries, three times a day. The blog is one of the things I have to offer people. It’s one of the things I’m on here to promote. I push out each entry three times a day, to ensure it’s seen by those who do most of their social networking in the morning, at lunchtime or in the evening.
–Post my security articles. This is my livelihood. Many of my connections are security people, so there’s no getting around this one. If someone un-friends me because they don’t want so much information about information security, I’m cool with that.
–Share family and travel pictures. Who doesn’t do this?
So with all this in mind, you would think I wouldn’t care to keep such careful track of my friend or follower count. But the truth is that I do. It’s definitely an OCD trigger.
I don’t care about the number itself, but what I do obsess over is why someone un-followed me.
Was I outright offensive?
Does someone think I’m stalking them?
I guess I just want to be sure that I was un-followed — and that the connection was initiated in the first place — for the right reasons.
But what’s right to one person is wrong to another, so you can’t really measure this sort of thing.
I will also admit straightaway that some of these concerns are about ego. As I’ve mentioned before, OCD cases almost always have runaway egos. Especially me.
If you’ve un-friended me because I was being an asshole at some point, or you decided you didn’t know me as well as you thought, or you realized my writings aren’t for you, I understand.
If it’s because my religious beliefs are beneath you, I don’t care. I’m not about to change.
Social media can be a bitch for someone like me.