I did not know until recently that Facebook has a limit of 5,000 “friends” for personal accounts. I discovered this when several readers tried to “friend” me but couldn’t because I had hit the maximum.
So, I decided to browse through that massive list of people who have voluntarily chosen to read my posts, and decided to do some manual winnowing to make a little room. In doing so, I “unfriended” a little more than 300 accounts — notice I don’t say people, because in some cases, I don’t think there were real humans associated with them. But my purge went beyond what I believe are bots or bogus accounts.
During my years as a radio host, I had to deal with people who held all sorts of opinions. Sometimes, they made for compelling radio. But more often than not, they gave me a headache. Since I’m no longer in that business, I have no obligation to interact with anyone. I have nothing personal against someone who disagrees with me. This is more about tone and ferocity and annoyance.
My actions on this front were provoked by recent vitriolic comments on some of my posts, especially when I’ve written about politics on this site and linked to those columns on Facebook and Twitter. I decided to begin unfriending, blocking, and deleting because life is too short to be exposed to people who wake up angry and get angrier. Spew that garbage somewhere else. When you deal with me, I expect you to be civil, or be gone.
I have no interest in engaging with anyone who promotes Trump or his acolytes. I also want nothing to do with anti-vaxxers, promoters of pseudoscience, or advocates for any religion. I don’t care about right-wing media loudmouths, scare mongers, or anyone refusing to wear a mask in public while insisting we “reopen the country” during the COVID-19 crisis. If you head down any of those paths in comments on my posts, I’m going to delete you — and if I see any of that stuff in your timeline, I won’t “friend” you.
A couple of weeks ago, I heard from a longtime listener of my radio show who wanted to lodge a complaint. He was upset that I’ve been writing “too many political posts.” I know what that means — he’s a Trump supporter, and doesn’t want to read any criticism of his Dear Leader. I replied that if he doesn’t like what I write, he can stop clicking here, or do a better job of picking and choosing which of my items he reads.
While I appreciate that he enjoyed my radio show, his visits to this site (or lack thereof) have absolutely no effect on me. In broadcasting, my job was to attract as many listeners as I could, and keep them tuned in for as long as possible. That allowed the station to charge more for commercials, which is how they made money and paid my generous salary.
But I’m retired and no longer in the ears-and-eyeballs-gathering business. I have no ads on this site, so I make no money from it. I keep creating the content as a hobby, a platform for anything I’m amused, upset, or intrigued by.
If you like it, I’m glad. Let’s be “friends.” If you don’t, that’s fine, too. Either way, I’ll continue to write at my leisure, on no deadline, and with no idea who or how many people read this stuff.