Shades Of Gray

Good or bad.   Right or wrong.  Black or white.  Sometimes it seems to me that far too many of us far too often think in terms of absolutes that really don’t apply.   Computers are really good at keeping track of numbers.   And the fact is that most numbers can be managed or manipulated.   Humans, by contrast,  are much better at judging subtleties and placing information in context.

And yet so many times,  we humans just get it flat wrong.    And so it seems to me that if one is doing social networking,   one is probably better off establishing some rules,  so as to keep one’s networking effective.     At this point,   Facebook is pretty much my main networking site.   If we are connected at all,   I want us to be connected on Facebook.     I downloaded a great little Chrome add on for Facebook that lets me know any time someone stops appearing in my friends’ list.   For me,   de-friending on Facebook always leads to selling and blocking on Empire Avenue,   assuming we had been connected there.

I’ve often said that with the billions of people on this planet,   it really isn’t possible for all of us to be friends with each other.   And it seems to me that what everyone really most needs is a good way of sorting people into those one does and does not choose to become personally acquainted with.      I believe that anyone who denies there is  real need for sorting criteria is quite mistaken.      It really isn’t possible for everyone everywhere to all be friends with each other.

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44 comments on “Shades Of Gray

  1. Not sure it is as simple as this – there are F R I E N D S, FRIENDS, Friends, friends and so on – we also might be friends around sport – but never discuss politics – hate each others music – but love mutual books etc – I have written a similar and related post just today that touched on all of this …. more needs to be built – http://beyondbridges.net/2012/05/heres-why-google-and-facebook-might-completely-disappear/ – suffice to say I know who my F R I E N D S are – some of them I haven’t spoken to for 5 or 6 years – but we have known each other for years – and will be there for each other – meanwhile – I hold mutual stock of 800 in many GREAT people – we get on well – but more needs to happen to get to that level I have with my F R I E N D S 🙂

    • John, I definitely agree with you that relationships have many levels. There is a big difference between someone you accepted a Facebook friend request from because you both play an online game and someone you know enough to count on if you have to ask for major help at four in the morning. Certainly, there are all sorts of “friends”. How far each relationship goes, is it seems to me a combination of both what both parties bring to and put into the relationship and what might be called fate,

  2. I think its possible to friends of people that share mutual interest with one another provided you’ve communicated with the individual regularly. Nice blog

  3. In real life, the number of my friends can be counted on one hand. In addition to which, despite coming from a large family, I enjoy a positive relationship with only two of my siblings. There is a criterion upon which my relationships live and die. Trust. As for my social networks, 90 % of it I treat with a light touch, indeed I consider most of those connections to be transient. I view the online world a little like the wild west, most people are passing through looking for gold. Too much of what takes place is open to misinterpretation, and misunderstanding. For instance, I was recently blasted to kingdom come for continually following, and unfollowing one particular tweeter. He abused and blocked me. I sent him an email to let him know I didn’t even notice this had taken place, in fact a number of my closer connections, who I know personally had unfollowed me, and I hadn’t even noticed, until they brought it too my attention. It was all part of the recent unfollow twitter bug. Needless to say, I was aghast at his aggression, however his behaviour does bear out the need for a flexible attitude to online activity. I don’t suffer fools easily, but I do concede everything is not always as it appears.

    • I think we disagree that online interaction _is_ “real life”. I do agree with you that technical issues can cloud online relationships, though it seems to me if the connection is deep enough, both parties can work right past most technical problems.

  4. At this point, I’m not touching Facebook unless it’s necessary. I installed the same program and knew exactly who and when un-friend me. But, I only see it when I complete a Facebook related EA mission.

    On the other hand, Google+ is my main contact. Anyone want to communicate with me should drop a note there. There’s no friend to worry, no group drama. Just freedom. I do everything I like over there, photography, quote, discussions, and so on.

  5. This topic (what are friends, how much are we manipulating, and should we care?)seems to be floating around, Ha! we should brainstorm one day 😉 I actually wrote a post (“Stop Everything You’re Doing In Social. You’re Fired.”) about this new sense of “friendship”. I would share the link with your readers, but I’ll let you do that if you find it worthy. Enjoy your week.

  6. Agree with you Alan cannot be Friends with Every body but just in case you needed more I shared the Blog ! LOL Have a Great Day !

  7. I do not normally add ‘friends’ from the EA world to my facebook world as there are all sorts of craziness that is to be had on my walls, but on most occasions I have had I have found decent relationships out of some of them. I rarely try to delete people off my list, but in the chance that I am deleted, I try not to pay notice unless its a really close friend. overall, I am loving having conversations with all sorts of strangers across the planet, I don’t agree all the time, but my life is richer with these conversations happening than not.

  8. My girlfriend thinks I’m nuts talking to people “you don’t even know”. I got tired of her complaints that I was Facebooking too much but because I knew what her kids were doing and she didn’t, she begrudgingly joined FB. As much as I love her we cannot talk about religion or politics without psycho drama but one thing is absolute…you must be a friend to have a friend.

    • I almost never talk about religion or politics with my spouse either. For me it is just so easy to get sputtering angry when I start to talk about these topics, and that just does No One any good, least of all me. I’m open to talking about almost anything, except religion or politics 🙂

      • My wife and I rarely talk politics, and religion only when I comment on something we come across (tv show or movie) or I mention is being a holy holiday or saints day and she doesn’t believe me.

  9. Bravo for creating rules for your social media. Of course your rules may not be the right rules for someone else. I do grow tired of some social media types that insist their rules are the only right rules. Not everything is black and white; nowhere is that more evident than in social media..

  10. I just let em’ steal my mission Eaves cuz I don’t know how to track down and drag them across my wall like you (you did say that right?)… LOL, hey, I’m the numbers guy – I should be able to figure that out. I wanna blog post on how to see who the EA thieves are – it’s all the rage I hear !!!

    • Mission eaves are pretty easy to track, Stu. When you create a mission, look for the green field (on the mission page itself) that says ## Remaining. Clicking on that field shows you who took the mission eaves. Since the request was a blog comment, it’s really easy to see who complied and who did not. #justsaying

      • doh. I’ve become an armchair Eaver… but I do login at least every other day to stay afloat, and the income finances client page likes:) dang I thought I had inspired you to write a whole story but thanks for the hot tip anyway !

  11. hmmm lets see what keywords I can put in here…. arrgh can’t think of any sorry 🙂 will just have to reply on your post. Alan, I am not sure if we are friends or not, but I am happy that I haven’t appeared in your Chrome add on yet 🙂

  12. Different interest can’t make me un friend somebody from my list, first of all i think that if “he” is in my list there is some reason. Before all need to learn to respect other people interest.If i disturbe somebody with my post he can unsubscribe from my status updates. And friends in some cases is too big word, we are people share same interest, same needs.What you found today, what you learn and how…

  13. I kind of just bumble around and see how it goes. some people want top connect, some don’t some want to interact others not so much. We can’t get on with anyone and the only time and ‘unfriend’ or ‘unfollow’ bothers me is if it’s someone I interact with. I don’t use tools to tell me, if I don’t notice, it doesn’t matter!

  14. This is very interesting. I actually hate Facebook but it is where most of my friends/customers are. Also I have had many complaints about spam so I disconnected my Facebook and Klout accounts with Empireavenue.

  15. Dear Libdrone,
    Thank you so much for this great blog that I’ve reblogged on my Tumblr!
    What can we learn from quarks?
    Quarks are elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter that combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei.
    Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly observed or found in isolation; they can only be found within baryons or mesons.
    For this reason, much of what is known about quarks has been drawn from observations of the hadrons themselves.
    There are six types of quarks, known as flavors:
    – up,
    – down,
    – strange,
    – charm,
    – bottom, and
    – top.
    Up and down quarks have the lowest masses of all quarks.
    The heavier quarks rapidly change into up and down quarks through a process of particle decay: the transformation from a higher mass state to a lower mass state. Because of this, up and down quarks are generally stable and the most common in the universe, whereas strange, charm, top, and bottom quarks can only be produced in high energy collisions.
    What can we learn from particle physics, from quarks, from ups, downs, stranges, charms, bottoms and tops?
    That they are like left and right, right and wrong, good and bad, black and white, as well as all shades of gray, integral components of the nature that compose our universe and that we need all of them, without exception and in permanence!
    Have a great and happy new week!
    Best,
    Lucas

  16. The whole FB “friends” thing is friends of the non-absolute variety. While we can be friendly with many, it takes too much time out of the day to concentrate on really getting to know many people. RL relationships should not be made to suffer because we are on the computer. I appreciate participating in conversations, chats and groups as time permits, getting a sense of the people I play the game with – I’ve been delighted with what I’ve learned about social media and the generous nature of many people I’m in contact with. I tend to agree with your statement that we too often think in terms of absolutes. Many of us make “yes” “no” decisions all day, every day..it gets to be a bad habit that can lead to wrong-headed thinking;)

  17. I never unfriend people, personally. I’ve gone as far in a couple of cases as telling facebook.com to ignore certain elements, like pleas for help in whatever game people are playing online; but I don’t see a good reason as yet to drop anyone. Of course, I’ve currently got about sixteen hundred friends there, and I’ll run out of space at five thousand. So, eventually, I might have to go through and drop a couple people I don’t really know, just to make room.

    • You are correct of course, that there is a rule of grammar that sentences should not begin with a conjunction. However, one of the things I learned about composition is that occasionally one can break the rules and get away with it. Whether I am too liberal in applying this exception, only my readers can judge 🙂

  18. FB “friends” are that shade of gray – no we can’t be friends with everyone, and there are limits to the time we have. Real life awaits. It seems correct as you say that we think in absolutes…many of us make “yes” “no” decisions every day, all day. That habit can lead to wrong-headed thinking. Gray matters.

  19. I personally feel that so very little is indeed black or white, yet over time most simply become too conditioned and complacent to allow themselves to believe that something in the shadows could be good. I don’t even have to go any further than the title of this post for the perfect example. You say gray, I say grey. Ask 10 people to spell the word, and then see how each reacts if you tell them it is spelled the opposite way. I venture a guess that a high % of people will fight that their spelling is the correct one even though both are proper.

    Growing up in Salem MA I was certainly no stranger to how closed minded people can be, and why I choose to live in the grey with black and white not being the norm. Grey is even how I describe our store, “The middle ground where the left and right hand paths meet” I am constantly reminded of the amount that see things as black and white.

    I’m my own worst enemy when It comes to our business. I have the word witch as part of our business name. This keeps about 85% of all residents from ever crossing the threshold as they automatically assume I am a witch shop, and when a witch comes into the store they generally give a cursory glance and go purchase the same item I have at a witch shop at a 50% higher price then we charge. It sadly is worse outside the store’s walls.

    When Haiti suffered that devastating earthquake we experienced the greatest black and white ridiculousness. I decided to donate half the sales from a weekends business to a Christian organization that had been in Haiti for over a decade. We took flak locally for supporting a Christian organization, and some good Christians involved with the organization were screaming left and right that the monies should not be accepted from the vile Satanists. Stupidity abounds everywhere!

    It wasn’t until becoming involved with EA that I encountered what I considered to be black and white extremism in the form of being blocked by some of our more religious EA members just for existing. It never dawned on me until your post along with one of the respondent’s comments that friends of friends would remove their involvement with one who was involved with myself. I am not surprised by the action, it just didn’t dawn on me. One wonderful person had the decency to contact me and apologized that she couldn’t be involved with me. I wrote a nice reply to say she needn’t apologize. She contacted me shortly after to let me know she was now going to connect because something from me showed up in her summify. She clearly was an individual for whom grey existed.

    I find your comment “what everyone really most needs is a good way of sorting people into those one does and does not choose to become personally acquainted with” a valid tool in a black and white world. Let’s put aside the fact that the greatest tool of this kind already exists. (If you don’t like what’s on the TV, change the channel or hit the off button) Do you envision such a tool working pre or post encounter, or should it learn from the users habits, like some virus software does? I think it would be very hard to factor in the grey.

    I very much appreciate your sharing with us this post.

    We’ll see you on the Avenue!
    Enjoy
    Bill, Lynn, and Friends of Bewitched.

    • Bill,

      I lived for several years in Lynn, MA just down the road from you. It always amazes me the way even the most charitable impulses and actions can be construed so negatively in accordance with the observer’s own prejudices. And it seems the only tool that can work for this great sorting process, are the hearts and minds we each of us possess. Thank you so much for leaving such a thoughtful and substantive comment. Hope it’s a great weekend for you, Bill.

      • Thank you very much Libdrone.

        It wouldn’t be life without. To not encounter these situations is to not live, and certainly to not grow!

        Lynn that’s cool! This is another example of just how small of a world we live in, and how smaller it becomes as as we grow older. Maternal side of the family is from Lynn (Jenness St. area).

        I’ll part today with a personal funny ha ha!

        Having lived in Lynn I imagine you had encountered the old ditty Lynn, Lynn, city of sin……
        My wife and her siblings were all adopted as babies. At adoption she was I believe 2 weeks old and her name was Tara. My in-laws felt that being named Tara she would be teased due to the “Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay” song. So they changed her name Lynn. Having lived in Lynn and then Nahant they were no strangers to the Lynn ditty. How they thought she wouldn’t be teased with the name Lynn gives us all a hearty laugh when someone brings it up at a gathering!

        Enjoy
        Bill, Lynn, and Friends of Bewitched!

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