BOTHERED

It really bothers me that I’m bothered about this subject, but since I’ve been using my blog to complain lately (sorry) I’ve decided to get something else off my chest.  I was reading Arthur Crandon’s blog this morning and something he wrote really struck a nerve with me.  Quoting Arthur—and I hope he doesn’t mind—he wrote, I just want to start this weeks’ blog on a personal note.  I am usually a very understanding and forgiving person.  But yesterday someone ‘unliked’ my fan page – http://www.facebook.com/arthurcrandonauthor.  Whoever you are, I just want you to know that I will hunt you  down like the dog that you are, imprison you for many days of excruciating torture, then set packs of wolves on you to tear you limb from limb.  I mean that, of course, in a very loving way.” 

Although I giggled when I read the opening paragraph of Arthur’s blog post, I could identify with every word, in a very loving way, of course.

It’s not like I don’t have enough to worry about in my crazy life, but for some unexplained reason the fact I cannot entice people to join my Facebook Author Page drives me even crazier. I agonize over the fact that I have 839 friends on my personal Facebook page, yet; only 299 of them have joined my author page.  Yes, I know, I shouldn’t care. But, sadly, I do care enough to write this blog about it. It’s not like my friends don’t know about my writing page…I post the link to it on my personal page at least once a week with a little blurb, “Please ‘like’ my writing page, because I want to share all aspects of my life with my friends.” Shouldn’t that be blatant enough?  Shouldn’t they want to follow my writing life if they are my friends?

I’m not totally obsessed with the idea of having lots of fans on my Facebook page, but, I do keep a watchful eye on how many people ‘like’ my page, and when the number goes down rather than up, I do experience a little biting sting of rejection.  And, trust me, as a writer I’m used to rejection.   Everytime someone ‘unlikes’ my page the same questions arise:  Why have they left?  Am I boring?  What didn’t they like?  I try to be witty;  maybe that’s why they left.   I’m probably not as witty as I think.  Less silliness and more serious writer talk, maybe?  Sometimes, I post things to get creative juices flowing for myself and for the fans on my page.  I’ll write a scenario and ask people to continue on with the story, and that will spark some interest occasionally. My favorite song lyrics and romantic pictures will get a good conversation going once in awhile. Love poems seem to fall flat, and promoting other writer’s pages doesn’t seem to draw any attention to my own page.  If I just post reviews and excerpts from my own books I start to feel way too egotistical. I really do try to post something for everyone; okay, I admit it, the drop-dead gorgeous men on Hump Day are mostly for me.

So, once again, if you aren’t too bothered, would you mind ‘liking’ my author page on Facebook?  It would mean so much to me.  And, if you do ‘like’ it, please don’t ‘unlike’ it.  I really don’t want to hunt you down like a dog…in a very loving way, of course.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veronica-Blake-Author/224473460912244

(Thank you to Arthur Crandon.  His full blog post is at: http://www.arthurcrandon.com/blog-blog-blog.html)

HOW MUCH INFORMATION IS TOO MUCH INFORMATION ON FACEBOOK?

When it came to joining Facebook, I was a bit of a late bloomer.  My daughter kept trying to get me to join and she was always telling me how much fun it was to connect with old friends, but yet, I resisted.  Truthfully, I was a little scared.  What if no one wanted to be my friend?  What if I wrote something stupid on my page?  What if my profile picture made me look too fat?  After months of resistance, a co-worker commented that Facebook would be a good place to promote my upcoming book release.  This got my attention.  It had been years since I had written and sold a manuscript, and I was anxious to learn how to promote my new book using the endless resources on the Internet.  Facebook seemed like the perfect place to start.  Within weeks all my fears were forgotten.  I was having a blast finding old friends I had lost touch with through the years, classmates and teachers, past co-workers, as well as making scores of new friends. Before long, I had not one, but two pages!  One page was for my writing information and updates and one was for my personal life, where I shared every little detail about my day-to-day life and the happenings in the lives of my family.  That’s what one does on Facebook, isn’t it?

As the years passed, I added another page for my Twilight obsession to my list of pages on Facebook.  The friends I made on the fan page crossed over to my personal page and my friend count kept climbing upward.  I began to talk on the phone, Skype, and had the opportunity to meet some of my new online friends in person.  I even went on vacations with a couple of them.  Several of these new friends, whom I was meeting in person for the first time, came to visit me and stayed at my house.  That they would use their vacation time to come and meet me meant more than I can tell you.  I truly cherish the new friends I have made through Facebook, as well as the old friends I am in touch with again.  Still, the majority of my Facebook friends are complete strangers who live in every corner of the world and all places in-between.  Yet, they are usually the first to comment on my status updates, notes or photos whenever I add something new.  They have offered encouragement when I needed it, sympathy when I was grieving, and shown me more kindness, consideration and understanding than many of the people I have known for years.  I never want to lose the closeness I have felt with these so-called strangers.

As my comfort level on Facebook and my circle of friends grew, I shared everything from what I was having for breakfast to how long we would be gone on vacation, along with every tiny or major event in my life, or that of my family.  Facebook is for socializing, right?  Well, I was a ‘virtual’ social butterfly!

It didn’t seem like a big deal to me when a family friend made the comment that if anyone wanted to know what was happening in my town or with anyone we knew they only needed to go to my Facebook page.  But, that comment made my live-in boyfriend nervous.  He told me I was not to write anything about him, and especially about the times when we would be away from home on my Facebook page.  Okay, I get the part about not announcing when our house would be empty.  Hello house burglar?  I tried to limit my posts to just the major things like how proud I was of my children and grandchildren.  Then, my youngest son got mad because he didn’t want me telling strangers personal things about his son.  But, I want everyone to know that I have amazing grandsons.  What is wrong with that?

When both of my parents had health problems, of course, I shared this on Facebook.  And, apparently friends and relatives on Facebook told other friends and relatives who weren’t on Facebook.  Everyone started calling my parents to ask about their conditions.  So then, the parents are not happy with me for sharing too much information.

I was starting to notice a pattern now.  But, I was still a little clueless until I start reading posts from another person I had befriended on Facebook (and never met) that were even more personal than my own posts were.  This person was losing a parent and they were sharing all the intimate details of the illness, and posting last pictures of their loved one in the hospital.  In the past I have always given sincere condolences on many friend’s pages when someone I was friends with had lost someone (or even a beloved pet), but it was always after the fact.  This time I felt like I was intruding on a very personal tragedy that was still evolving.  I was heartbroken for them, and yet, it felt awkward to even try to express my deep sympathy to this person I knew only through a few casual comments on different posts.  This was my wake-up call.  How much of our personal lives should we share on social networks?

I believe everyone has different standards when it comes to how much or how little you post on Facebook or any other site, and I respect that completely.  Although I will always want to share the big events in my families’ lives, I finally realize there is a fine line between being ‘social’ on social websites, and spilling your family secrets to the world, which is basically what all of us are doing once we post anything on the Internet.  All the security measures on Facebook mean absolutely nothing if your personal account gets hacked.

In the future, I will respect the privacy of my loved ones before I share any details about their lives.  As for me, I will still post all the dirt about myself…I can’t help it…I’m an open book.  No pun intended.  So, please forgive me if I must share the big events and the little pleasures with everyone.  I mean, who doesn’t want to know that I’m sitting on my deck watching the sun go down, while sipping a cold one?Image