The Social Network


Like a billion other people, I have a Facebook account. I don’t like Facebook. Never have. My account is purely for amateur radio, none of my family are my “friends”. I’m uninterested in building an audience on that platform or using it to promote another.

Its single value to me is that many ham radio clubs, vendors and other organizations make use of it. Some have out of date Web pages but their Facebook page often provides a fresh, steady stream of information.

Honestly, while the ARRL maintains a great Web site, their Facebook feed is more interesting.

When it comes to individuals, I often find it’s just too much information.

You get to know someone via ham radio, either in person, over the air, via mailing lists or during club events. Or you think you know them. You may even come to think of them as “friends” and believe them to be genuinely nice people. Then you read their frequent Facebook rants and realize, these aren’t the kind of people you would ever align yourself with in real life.

Why pretend to be “friends” with them online?

I un-friended more than 400 people last week. At least that’s what they call it. Truth is, I didn’t know any of them. They were, at best, friends of acquaintances. And to be fair, most of those didn’t fit the description above. I just made a decision to only follow certain clubs and organizations, and only friend a few individuals that I actually know or have met.

It’s what I should have done from the outset but I didn’t know then what I have since discovered.

None of us will ever agree with everyone about everything, but like-minded folks do tend to congregate. When I sit down in the lunch room at work it’s almost never with those who are outspoken about their politics or their religion. I intentionally avoid them because they won’t change my mind, I won’t change theirs, and who needs that kind of aggravation at lunch?

Same goes for Facebook.

Unfortunately, you can’t “un-friend” radio hams on the air. Well you can, but eventually you end up with no one left to talk to and two-way communication kinda needs at least two people to make it work.

Perhaps that’s why they invented contesting? You can makes tens of thousands of contacts without having to endure the world view of others. You just trade 599’s and move quickly along to the next one.

Author: Jeff Davis