Screen Shot 2012 05 27 at 3.00.30 PM Improving the Signal to Noise Ratio in Life and Social Media

In the several months I have had two people tell me, "Leave it in the mailbox." One was a disgruntled personal relationship: the offended party still had an unopened bottle of tequila we were planning on sharing. The second one happened today with a "friend" who was a former potential business partner, but who has gone out of their way to actually BLOCK ME from their social channels.

Only today did I do the actual exploring to see what was up with this second person. I'd been calling, emailing, txting, trying to get together to smooth over what had seemed like a rift between us. I supposed I may be blocked by others on Facebook, but I'd never seen evidence of what that looks like until today. You see this person's significant other and I are still "friended." (I guess if they read this blog, that will be taken care of shortly, too.) And the odd thing is, several months ago my un-friend's facebook profile disappeared from my view. And it wasn't that this person had unfriended me, that happens, but somehow they had actually vanished from my view. Their profile simply didn't exist.

So today I made a mistake online and logged into my former partner/friend's hosting registrar account and bought a domain for my 11-year-old son. You see I had been helping organise this person's online presence about 6 months ago. I realized my mistake and texted them about my error. And when I offered to bring the $11 by their house, I got the message loud and clear. "Drop it in the mailbox."

Oh, okay.

So now I'm wondering how deep the negative attitude ran so I went back to Facebook to see what was up. And again, no profile at all. And today, I thought I would see if this person had been posting to their business facebook page. And again, the page simply did not exist. So at this point I knew something was up.

I could visit their online store, and LIKE their page. But I could not find it when I logged into Facebook. And while their significant other showed "MARRIED" their was no "to" or link to this other person's profile. I had never seen this on facebook before. So I simply logged in to a different FB account. And simple as that, this persons profile was up, primarily PUBLIC meaning anyone could see the activity, and seemingly alive and thriving. Same thing with this person's business page. And sure enough on their significant other's page there was the "married to" like with the person's name and link. Of course if you are going to conduct business on social networks, a good portion of what you do is going to be public, that's how you do business. I was being locked out of a public area.

It was an odd moment. Finding out that this person had actually gone to great lengths to block me out of their social media life. I mean, even the unrequited relationship interest simply unfriended me. No biggie. But this person had actually BLOCKED ME from their personal profile and their business profile. As if, to keep me from prying into their personal and yet entirely public social life.

Little things began to dawn on me. This person had told me several stories during our business exploration period, of business associates who had done him wrong. And I assume now that I have fallen into that category. And so the drama and futility of asking this to have coffee again, or to go for a walk, was no longer quite so ambiguous. And even the direct message I sent this person's significant other that went unanswered is now more understandable.

For some reason this person decided my signal and friendship had become NOISE in his network. And rather than simply unsubscribe they needed to block, kill, and silence any possibility of contact or connection. But of course that is hard to do in social media. There are a lot of loose connections. Linkedin profiles, friends that I introduced them to via networking, Twitter… etc.

Personally I went through a moment of silence last summer around this time, and when this friend vanished from my network, I assumed they needed to take a break as well. And in my social media pause, I rediscovered why I was writing and posting in social media. From that period I rebuild this blog and this time I deleted the NOISE (anger, sarcasm, unbalanced criticism) from my SIGNAL (social media, positive momentum, teamwork, and leadership). And my renewed commitment and success in social media is a direct result of that refocus.

My un-friend at this point is not taking a pause, they are merely trying to erase me from their social network. I will leave my friend their check in the mailbox. And now I will walk away from that situation with a bit more clarity. Whatever happened between us had deeply wounded this person to the point of striking me from their networks. And the last revelation of this episode came to me a few minutes after I got this person's text.

It only takes one person to hold a grudge.

I guess in some ways my signal has also been cleaned by this person's clarification today. I will no longer offer the walks or connections that we used to share. It simply is too painful for them to have me in their lives. And I guess if I need to see that they are okay, which we as humans do from time to time, I can log into a different account and see what they are writing about on their public profile. I probably won't. But it was good to see that this person was still as lively as ever on Facebook, and working the same social channels we had worked together for a brief period.

In all humbleness, I wish them well. Always have. And I can do it from a more comfortable distance now. Pushing my desire for closure or connection was obviously noise to this person. And now, like with the once-girlfriend, I am filtered out.

Live long and prosper, old friend. I will now quit bugging you.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2012/05/signal-to-noise/

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Most people don't really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can't help it. (from Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement)

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