Thursday, February 9, 2023

Social media. Grunt.

I hate social media, I really do.

A few years ago, when my literary agent first accepted me as a client, I had to put together a marketing proposal which included, among much else, my "platform." For many modern influencers, this includes having a social media presence on every platform under the sun.

Because I was trying to write fiction under a pseudonym at the time, the initial difficulty was trying to create a platform where none existed. I had no clue how to navigate Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, or whatever else is out there. Oh, and more crucially, I had no interest in learning.

Fortunately wiser heads (my husband and my agent) prevailed when it came to the marketing plan, with both urging me to simply write under my real name rather than trying to create a new platform using a pseudonym. That way I could incorporate this blog and all you wonderful readers.

Anyway, that's a long explanation for why I still don't have (and still don't want) a social media presence anywhere else.

That said, I do have a Facebook page, mostly for the purpose of communicating with Younger Daughter (who is in the Navy) when she's overseas. A generic Facebook page is also a good landing page for new readers trying to find me. I have a notice on the page that I'm not active on Facebook, and invite them to come here to the blog.

However I keep getting "friend" requests on that page, and frankly I'm tired of it. Why? Because these "friends" keep turning out to be creeps.

No sooner do I "friend" someone than I start getting icky messages. Samples:

• "hello beautiful lady, you got me crazy with your photos i wish we can becoming friend have been trying to send you a friend request but is not working please send me a friend request"

• "You are cute. Gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous!"

• "Hello beautiful woman how are you doing today I hope you are having a great day today. How's the weather conditions over there now?" (and another message later) "I believe you are feeling skeptical speaking to strangers..."

(And yes, I "unfriend" people as needed.)

I've had perfect strangers try to Direct Message me (I don't reply to Direct Messages unless it's absolutely someone I know.) One woman even tried to phone me on Facebook! I made the mistake of answering at first, thinking it was Younger Daughter, then hung up instantly when I realized my mistake. She then spent several minutes lambasting me via Direct Message before unfriending me (to my relief).

Am I the only one who finds this stuff creepy? 

What baffles me is why perfect strangers would do this, especially the men. Look, guys, I'm a happily married woman who is not cute, beautiful, or gorgeous except in the eyes of the man I love, which is all I care about. I'm also old enough to be a grandmother. Quit with the ick, okay?

And apparently I'm not alone. I'm part of a forum for Love Inspired authors, and one woman posted this as a warning:

"Hi ladies,

Just a quick warning about a woman who contacted me earlier on my author page. She's a new follower and aspiring writer. She message me asking if I would like to buy her unpublished works and retweak them 🙄🙄 I politely said no that I create my own works and she persisted saying she needed the money and that she was willing to send me the copyright at a low price. I again told her no and that it would be unethical. I ended up blocking her. Her name is [redacted]. Quote from this lady: 'I follow your page. I was thinking you could retweet [sic] them to suit your own style. I have an emergency so wish u can consider the offer. I'm not selling them for much. I also see the type of books you publish. This is reason why I reach out as my style of writing is also similar.'"
 
This author concludes, "Seriously, is there a full moon tonight?"

So apparently this is pretty common.

Therefore I've decided, no more. I'll keep my Facebook page simply because it's the easiest way to communicate with Younger Daughter, but I'm never "friending" anyone ever again. Nor will I open accounts on any other site. I'm not familiar enough with social media to navigate its shoals without going aground on dangerous reefs, so I'll avoid those treacherous waters altogether.

Okay, rant over.

Well, sorta over. I'm curious. How many of you have had icky creepy experiences on social media?

30 comments:

  1. Your first sentence "hit a chord" with me.
    Years ago a very good friend, that I communicated with by computer personal messaging, requested me to "friend" him on facebook. My answer was: John, I'll be your friend forever, but I don"t "do" facebook. I never again heard from him.
    I can't imagine my "spilling my guts" of personal information on a web page for all the world to see. My wife tried to convince me that I could restrict who viewed my page, but I can do that communicating by e-mail, and choosing who I send it to and send copies to. Most (perhaps all) of my family communicate by facebook but I have not ever signed on to any of the "social media" outfits. They are an abomination.
    I read your blog and your WND column regularly. I am grateful that they are available, and usually agree with you. But on this subject, I am sorry that you compromised by having a facebook account contrary to your own feelings on the matter. You are the "voice" for much of the conservative world. I look forward to reading your readers replies on this issue.
    Duane

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  2. I am a visual artist and have an instagram account strictly for displaying my artwork and/or art related memes, etc. I only use it for art. I get messages nearly daily from profiles claiming to be single men, usually with a military background and a love for boats, puppies, and working out. None of these things are even remotely hinted at as being interests of mine on instagram. I usually ignore them and they go away or I'll just block them if they persist. I have also received friend requests on facebook from people I don't know, and have no mutual friends. I usually refer them to my Facebook artwork fan page assuming they are responding to an artwork post that I made. Sometimes they follow my art page, and sometimes they disappear.
    My husband and I often wonder if there is a good way to connect the bikini clad chicks who request to be his friend with the well-dressed yacht owners who keep contacting me. I think they would be a great match for each other!

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  3. I too used Facebook Messenger to keep in touch with my military son but when he went overseas to a sensitive place they were only allowed to use the Whats App as it is more secure. It works the same as messenger. You might want to look into that and then you can delete Facebook. The whats App is not connected with any social media.

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    Replies
    1. META owns Whatsapp. Supposedly though it does have better security for the military. My son also said that is all they were allowed to use and that he would contact me when he was back to facebook area. That took close to 5 weeks. He had landed in Turkey and was given enough time to call (and leave a message on the answering machine since we were out) to let us know he was being forward deployed to somewhere where he couldn't tell us. Never racking 5 weeks that was but I did know he was in God's Hands so that helped a lot!
      META is the parent company of Facebook also. They also own instagram and another also I think.

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  4. Surely there must be other ways to communicate with friends other than social media, right? Email works for me. I will not be part of Facebook, Twitter, etc. Instant communication is not important to me. If someone really wants to talk to me right now, they can call me.

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    Replies
    1. Mu oldest doesn't like to come to our house since we have no cell coverage. I won't go to his since they want us to wear masks since we are unvaxxed. I said okay, that is all fine, call when you can.

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  5. I am on FB but set it up with the name my cousins and family use for me for 'first' and 'last' name - if that makes sense. And using a throw away email address that is only used for FB. And a burner cell phone number. It creeped me out from the very beginning.
    SJ now in California

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  6. I was on facebook for exactly 5 days. My cousin said that way we can keep in touch. Then one day I went to her page, to keep in touch, and she has lots of friends and all this stuff she was saying and her friends (nothing bad) was scrolling by me. What! I had no idea. I thought it was more like email not like a billboard on a super highway. So I left facebook.

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  7. I was talking with a Cousin a few years ago when everyone was getting on the various Social Media platforms. Told him it was a waste of my time. He said it was safer to keep it that way. Red

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  8. Just to be different I love facebook. I am a member of knitting groups, weaving groups. writing groups, chicken groups, christian groups. Daily I learn so much about my hobbies and interests. You do not have to keep a running commentary on your life. Today I found out the existence of latvian braid- tomorrow i may find out how to knit it.

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    1. I’ve never had a Facebook account, but I’m on Instagram, and like the commenter above. I follow fellow sock knitters, chicken keepers, and gardeners. It’s been good fun until the past year or so. My username is not related to my real name and I’ve never posted anything remotely political or controversial on my IG page. Unfortunately, my fellow knitters especially are a spicy bunch, many leaning in a different direction from me. I quietly unfollow those who pepper their posts with eye rolling rhetoric having little to do with the fiber arts or poultry and I find myself posting with less and less regularity. I’m also inundated with private messages of every ilk, ramping up in the last 18 months or so. It’s icky like poo on the sole of my shoe. Bottom line is, as a woman in my 50’s I feel like perhaps the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. When I can dedicate a block of time to learn how to save five years of photos on that IG account I’ll delete it.

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  9. I joined fb strictly because of peer pressure, never posted a profile or pictures, and almost never went there. But my email kept getting friend requests, which I mostly knew so those I accepted (not wanting to be rude) until I just turned notifications off. Before long my account got hacked and I couldn't even get back on to delete my account. Then something happened to someone else's account because of something the hacker did, and a friend was very mad at me until I told them it wasn't me, and that I was blocked from getting on to delete my account, and to unfriend me on fb. I have no idea what happened since then.
    I've never been on Twitter or any of that other stuff. I am utterly stupid when it comes to anything techno.

    The thing that frustrates me the most about fb, is that I like face to face communication. And that seems to have taken a nose dive where interpersonal relationships are concerned. And as much as I like pictures, these things take it too far. I've never liked being photographed. My father used to tell me I'd be a good Mennonite, and that could be true except it would be confining not having grown up that way. And I vote. The ones I know don't.
    It's hard to believe this stuff has gained such influence but it has.
    Unfortunately.

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  10. My wife had a very good friend that was on facebook so I joined. I did nothing with it and later decided that I wanted to kill facebook. I saw the steps that were required on line and went through the 7 or so steps and when I was done they said they would leave my account alone for 2 weeks in case I wanted back on. What a bunch of scum buckets!

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  11. I'm a Realtor here in Idaho. My company strongly encourages us to have a presence on all social media. I'm not comfortable with that, so I don't have any business presence on any social media platforms. I have had a personal FB account for several years, but have limited my "friends" to very few, and have little activity there. I do belong to some groups, and use Messenger to communicate with friends in the US and other countries. I haven't accepted friend requests in years.
    It's the easiest and fastest way for me to communicate with friends in other parts of the world.

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  12. Nope! I never have. I am a 54 year old grandmother who is fairly savvy to social media, but I only have a facebook page so that I can access some features like Marketplace and Messenger, where the only two chats I have are with my six children and our church members. I don't have any "friends" on facebook except the one daughter who invited me to be on the chats. I communicate with anyone else by phone or email. If anyone in my past wants to find me, they have to be better at sleuthing than doing a search on facebook or Instagram or anything like that, because they're not going to find me that way!

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  13. Patrice, I have a very basic social media presence under my "real" self which originally I had to communicate pictures with my parents after we moved. Even now, I post very little beyond my hobbies. I cannot imagine the effort having to keep one for business purposes.

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  14. While I was active duty I purposely stayed off social media. Didn't need any of my subordinates being able to see into my private life. I was also concerned some grievous-monger would get all butt hurt if some of my underlings were "friends" with me.

    After I retired I opened up account. Within a day or two an old girlfriend from years ago sent me a private message wanting to reestablish a connection. Mind you, before this event I had pleasent memories of our short time together. But after exchanging a few messages it started to get a little concerning. I quickly cut her off and blocked her.

    What really set off the alarm bells was how quickly she knew I was on social media. I made no announcements and I think I had two friends at that time. How did she know i had opened an account?.

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  15. I've used facebook for years, initially as a way to keep in touch with my old Army buddies. Now I am also a member of many of my hobby forums. It's a good time waster.

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  16. I opened a fb page in 2017, limited myself to a handful of “friends”, and rarely used it. Never had any other social media accounts. I did like fb for going to public access pages of people who I enjoy reading what they have to say. I didn’t need to be their “friend” to have access to their posts page. The shenanigans of the last few years, along with reading Edward Snowden’s book titled, Permanent Record, prompted me to drop FB like a hot potato. In addition, we tightened up our online security in various ways. It may be like taking supplements. You don’t really know if they’re working but hope for the best.

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    1. The question we need to ask ourselves is how much aggravation (creep exposure, account hacking, site management), along with the donation of personal information to the powers-to-be that may eventual be used to “manage” us, are you willing to put up with, in order to have fun, communicate with others, do business, etc.? At the end of the day life is a series of trade-offs, and each individual determines their own.

      For my family, the creeps aren’t the glaring problem of social media. I believe the scariest problem with it is the tracking and collecting of information, and how and who is censored. And, yes, many people say “If you’re not doing anything bad what’s the harm?” I used to say that too, until I read Snowden’s book, along with works of online technology security researchers.

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  17. On Facebook, but thinking of adding Instagram to keep up with the kids. I used an email that I have for junk mail. I didn't give my phone number and don't use it on my phone. It's been helpful to keep in touch with family although politics has led to some of them dropping off the site.There has been less politics in the last year or so, but also less family/friends posts and more "entertainment" and ads. It's been especially good to use to assign dishes for family get togethers.
    Dave

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    1. We like to use Sign Up Genius for assigning food for family get togethers. It even sends out reminders. This might be an option so that you don't need to use fb.

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  18. all of the sites, but then I have had just as many icky creepy experiences in real life, too. Humans, especially men, are creepy to women. However, business requires social media these days so just deal with it.

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  19. You are not alone, seems like these sick, or whatever kind of people they are have LOTS of friends, LOL they are all over and some just want to do nothing but argue and or scam you! I don't do farcebook for that reason, I have an account but rarely is it used. also since your daughter is in the military she should know about "signal" that is what MOST military people use to communicate with their families with. If she or you don't know about it then ask her to find out, I have used it for years and it is SAFE!

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  20. I don't have a problem on Facebook because my settings only allow friends to see my posts, or contact me. That eliminates about 95 percent of unwanted contacts/friend requests. I delete any friend requests from anyone I don't know. I opened a MeWe account, as did many of my FB friends, when FB started getting really restrictive on what you could post. Most have abandoned it now, but I still check it. I get requests on that one anytime I post something, which is rarely. All of them are from people whose names I wouldn't even know how to pronounce. I just decline them.

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  21. I am "on" a lot of social media, at least technically. I haven't logged into FB in five years, and I refuse to put it on my phone. Some of it I use to try to "amplify" my blog, and some of it for other reasons. Telegram, for example, is/was great for alternate sources of news, all in one place. Instagram seems to be where an awful lot of women have migrated to. If one still wants to "discuss" topics, there are actually some well-moderated groups on Reddit where that can still happen. It's just that it certainly is different than back in the "old days" when people really thought nothing of putting their whole life up under their real name for the whole world to see.

    As for icky-creepy experiences, I don't even pay attention to messages like the ones that you posted when I get them. From my original blogging platform, I think I ended up meeting something like 30 people from it across four countries. On the other hand, I have a cousin who is a dyed-in-the wool leftist, and when I disagreed with her, a bunch of her friends ended up jumping on me, including a quasi- death threat, and she was more or less okay with it, because of my "unpopular" opinions. After a couple of instances, we don't talk anymore and we haven't for a decade, but neither do me and her parents, which is very sad, because once upon a time, we were quite close, and I miss them.

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  22. I only have a FB page for Rebel Canning group and Indira Vanilla Bean co-op sales. No friends, no followers.

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  23. I got off of social media shortly after I started homesteading full time. I didn't want the distraction, and was uncomfortable with the political agendas and restrictions of free speech on the major platforms. I ended up eventually returning for a few reasons.
    1. I was having a hard time sourcing quality breeding stock for my rabbitry. I didn't know anyone else with rabbits, web searches led to dead ends, and craigslist was hit or miss, mostly miss. The few breeders I managed to connect with recommended joining local rabbit breeder groups on Facebook.
    2. I had a lot of questions about farming, homesteading, animal husbandry, and wanted to connect with other likeminded people.
    3. I ended up with a business and needed to be able to connect with customers.

    So, I ended up back on a couple of the mainstream platforms. However, I ended up stumbling across Ladies Homestead Gathering. It's a national group for homesteading women that has local chapters that meet in person across the country. The group also has a free alternative social media platform for women to talk about homesteading topics. I love LHG and would recommend it to any woman who is craving connection and community with other likeminded women, whether in person or online.

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  24. I had that problem. Several years ago I somehow wound up with over 400 "friends." Took a couple days and sorted out these "friends" and came out with 83 friends (I know them all). Even so I usually only communicate with 12-15 of them and rarely read the posts of the rest of the friends if they post at all. I have my setting on which only allows my 83 friends to see my posts...

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  25. I’ve been “facebook sober” for six years. I felt like a recovering alcoholic checking bottles for last drops during the first weeks I quit, checking for the “new notification” indicator on an app I had deleted. I had withdrawal symptoms, which solidified my resolve to never again!
    The toxic mommy groups drove me to the edge of my sanity when I accidentally outed myself as a conservative immigrant in a blue city suburb. Those women even shunned me in town, dragging their children away from mine at the park, saying “we don’t play with THOSE kind of people”. My daughter was not even three and can’t remember. I can, and the sheer immaturity of supposed adults under their own names to boot still rattles me. These people are raising the next generation!
    I have found a way to fill in the void of the homesteading and crafting groups I enjoyed on facebook by joining “MeWe”. It’s a bit clunky, but I found places where there is camaraderie among hobbyists with mutual interests. I can send a photo of a tomato with a weird blemish and get a near instant reply to my inquiry about what I should do to remedy it, or just show off my cooking to other home cooks who appreciate it.
    There have been some groups that were duds, too, but I didn’t stay in them of my own choice, before I let it get to me. I might start my own herbalism group, not because I am an expert, but because I can be a referee and encourage civil discourse. The contention point in a natural remedy group I attempted to enjoy became that I eat animals nose to tail (I have been managing a lifelong chronic illness without pills for over 10 years by eating beef. Something in red meat replaces something in my body that I can not produce myself), and many many people have bought into the belief that “plant based” is the only way forward. Sadly, this means they would not accept we were different and move along cordially, when I am willing to say “good for you if it works for you” and move along.
    I have a small instagram presence, but don’t try to be a big account, or “influencer”. It’s more for “look at this cute hat I made”, or “I baked this!” and it doesn’t matter to me if only two people see it, and I follow crafters that show off their work, and techniques.
    It’s all an illusion. I helped a girl who had just started homesteading troubleshoot her first sourdough starter a couple years back. Less than a year later, she was teaching people how to bake sourdough, and had 100k or more followers. She markets her business there, I don’t need to.
    I did not intend to write an essay, but it feels good to get this off my chest every once in a blue moon.
    Social media is what you make of it, and I find myself happiest with less of it!

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