Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Just Friends.

By Kristin Owens

Although Facebook was founded in February 2004, I requested my account less than a year ago. Apparently, Hell froze and pigs took to the sky, since I publicly exclaimed on more than one occasion this would never occur as long as I drew unassisted breath. 

So, why did I wait twelve years? I thought I had enough friends. I was wrong.

Please Don't. Really. I Don't Want to See Photos of Your Dog.

In the publishing business, agents and editors look at your platform . . . your online following. This consists of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked-in and other social media sites that infringe on basic privacy. 

New writers need to start building this platform for future credibility. The ability to demonstrate 5,000 people care about what falls out your mouth (or keyboard) is not only egotistically dangerous, but apparently can sell future books. It’s all about the money, honey.

I’m an extrovert and have no trouble talking loudly and tooting horns, but some details I just like to keep to myself. Or more importantly, items I don’t think important enough to communicate world-wide. 

Like the cool foam design on my Dazbog cappuccino. Or the Jockey underwear on sale at Kohl’s this weekend. Who cares? It turns out many people not only care, but can’t wait to comment, post, and send a photo documenting their news into perpetuity.

I succumbed. And Facebook made it easy. Once I registered for my account, Facebook asked to import my various email contacts and invite them to be friends – how kind of them! 

In only a few minutes, my closest friends were on board. In a few hours, friends of those friends were asking to be my new friend. I had no idea I was so popular! In less than twenty-four hours, I had over 200 friends. 

My new friends had really nice things to say about me. And they hardly knew me, so they must have been awfully smart. The euphoria reading comments describing me as incredibly “beautiful” and “funny” was not only exciting, but ego-boosting. 

My new fabulous friends accentuated my self-worth. I boasted to my husband about my popularity. See, they get me! I fell asleep smiling, thinking about my high school prom and rewrote history in my dreams.

Trying to Decipher Twitter? Check Out Our Workshop in August. 

The next day, after sorting through a deluge of posts, photos, and messages, my new friends welcomed me with more than open arms. A friend from Tunisia sent me a naked picture. A friend from Texas asked for money. A friend from Saudi Arabia tried to call me… twice. A part of me felt squirmy and unfaithful. How did it become so un-fun so fast?

Be Careful with Emojis. One Wrong Keystroke And You Might Send The Wrong Message.

Feeling unsure and uncertain about my newly lost anonymity, I spent several hours scouring through privacy settings . . . arbitrarily turning on buttons that looked like protection. I wasn’t sure if it helped. Before bed, I dead-bolted the doors

I don’t know how it happened, but to date, I have over 1500 friends. I don’t know 1500 people.

I have arrived at an inevitable tried-but-true social media conclusion: these people aren’t my friends. They’re not even acquaintances. So, I’m going to ask Facebook for a new category, ‘Strangers.’ After a few years spent on stranger-status, if people still like me without make-up, my un-retouched photos, and when I post not-so-funny things . . . we’ll see about becoming a "Friend." In short, they’re going to have to earn it.

Sorry publishers, that book deal will have to wait.

Don’t be a stranger! Friend Kristin Owens on Facebook, where she only posts professional items. Her most famous Twitter follower is Boy George. Seriously. Check out her website for more of her writing.


David Sharp said...

Hilarious! And so very true. Oh, the necessary evil of social media.

Kristin Owens said...

Thanks David!

Laura Mahal said...

Dear Kristin,

You are a lovely person, a talented author, and a natural comic.

If you ever need someone to tell you so, I'll gladly write you a snail-mail letter, or treat you to a coffee in a face-to-face setting. I'll even go on a cruise with you, which is saying a lot, since I have a distinct dislike of large bodies of water.

But you don't need 1,500 people in your life. They'll suck the writing right out of you.

Yours Sincerely,

A friend who is offering an immediate intervention

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