Tag Archive | facebook

Social Media Stalkers

IMG_0325 (2)Last week I wrote about voyeurs and this week I want to tackle what I will call the “stalkers”. Here’s an example of a private message sent to me on Facebook:

hello dear i did some criteria search for singles women and felt you was interesting so why not check out mine and get back to me if you like what you see,still new to this,a old friend told me about it,he actually met his wife through facebook so i thought i should give it a try,i hope this doesn’t sound like an embarrassing to you because i do know not everyone uses facebook for dating but i hope you are also single and searching like i do,i also notice the distance between us so don’t let it scare you away Love will always find you

I’ve had them from all over the world. Some telling me how beautiful I am but mostly wanting to hook up. I’m not the only woman to get them (I have not polled men on this though!) At first they seemed to come mostly from Africa and I though “green card?”

Here’s another one:

Hello babe am here with you now  How was your day?And what have you been doing since morning ….My name is  . . .

Babe? I’m no one’s “babe” much less his. It’s hard now for these people to send a message on facebook (many go to my spam folder so I don’t even see them) without sending a friend request.  When I get these I tell them that I am married with three kids and a Christian author. Not looking for “that” kind of relationship.  One man responded with “Whatever” and then three weeks later asked “Are you married?” Wow. Guess I must have really made an impression on him or he’s desperate!

This all points to the need for wisdom of who you choose to “friend” on Facebook.  When I first started I only “friended” people I knew (how’s that for turning a noun into a verb?). As I decided to use my Facebook page as part of my platform I began to “friend” other writers. Now I typically won’t friend someone unless we have mutual friends or I can see a logical reason (they are a writer too – or a fellow believer). Every once in awhile someone will have already befriended other writer friends of mine so I’ll give them a chance. Once I ended up blocking when it seemed that person was possibly a hacker.

And that’s always the final option. Someone crosses a line and I give them the boundary. if they can’t respect that then I’m like the old N’Sync song: “Bye, bye, bye!”

So, have any of you been “stalked” on facebook? What’s been your experience?


Social Media Voyeurs

Wes cropped 18 mo peekabooI’m doing a workshop this weekend on social media for people who are afraid of it and the rise of social voyeurs is part of the problem.

Facebook and Twitter were designed for people to interact with each other. Hence the word SOCIAL in “social media.”

Some people are on these sites and browse but never interact. It’s the equivalent of someone with a binoculars looking in the window of your party but not coming inside to participate, even though they have been invited to.

Now, granted, one cannot respond or engage in every status update of every person who posts something on facebook. Voyeurs rarely even post anything themselves, much less on ANYONE else’s walls.

Why? Maybe they are shy? Maybe they are kind of like the snoopy town gossip that was once humorously characterized in old television shows. Wearing a hat and a self-righteous expression she listens to every conversation to be “in the know.”

So how do you handle voyeurs? This can be hard for several reasons, the primary one is that you don’t often really know they are there. Until they say something to you.

I had one voyour tell me my facebook posts were all “bragging” and “prideful.” Hmmm. Well, I always check out criticism and from those who do follow me on facebook the unanimous concensus was that no, that is not me or they way I come across on social media. Do I sometimes share happy events or successes but I also share the less than favorable aspects of my life. I’ve had people say “Oh, you’re the funny one on Facebook! I love reading your posts!”

Well, I’m not funny ALL the time. I’m not a comedian. But I do sometimes have an unusual slant on life.

So what do I do with a person who would so harshly criticize me to my face? Well, for one they seem to forget that I am an author and  this is my platform. Obviously there are going to be “haters” out there no matter where you go. I could have unfriended this person, but instead I “restricted” her to only my public posts. Almost all my posts on Facebook are for friends only. If I tweet and it posts to facebook, those are public. Those are comments that I cannot control WHO follows me. I don’t necessarily get as personal in those venues.  This person doesn’t even notice (I doubt) that there is a difference. They are probably patting themselves on the back for how they made me change my ways. They didn’t change anything at all except what I share with that person.

Now, there are other voyeurs though that I don’t mind. One who has been a friend for over thirty years will actually ask me about things he’s read on my Facebook page. He doesn’t interact with me on-line, but when I see him he interacts. He stays up to date with me and he’s interested. Wait! Oh, no! He’s being SOCIAL! Whoa!  I call him my favorite Facebook Voyeur. And he is. Love the guy!

The rest you really can’t do much about unless you want to cull your list down and decide that no interaction at all is your litmus test for deleting friends.

Generally speaking, I allow the voyeurs to stay. I can’t judge their interest in me or my writing and that’s fine. But someday they might help me when a book comes out. They may never tell me they have but then some of the best blessings are done invisibly. Maybe they will be one of those. I can only pray so!

Are you a voyeur (yeah, like you’re going to respond here?), or have you had a negative experience with one?

Fact or Fiction? Coy: Out to Change the World

This story is a work of fiction.  Any likeness to a real person is intended and only for fun.

Coy was not young anymore but she was thin and fit and her straight blonde hair shimmered with health. Her eyes sparkled as she logged into her laptop from her home office.  What seemed like a dreary thing, checking in on her students, today seemed to take on more significance.

She looked at her computer screen and felt herself sucked into Facebook.  Yes, it was a time waster and Farmville definitely was an addiction for her, but helped her pass the time when she couldn’t sleep at night. The shifting lights as she seemed to become absorbed into her laptop and travel the World Wide Web was a bit confusing and overwhelming all at the same time.

Maybe there was something strange in her coffee?  Or was she in some bizarre dream?  Coy seemed suddenly able to travel into the pages and enter the worlds of some of her students in class and found herself amazed at what she discovered.  First of all, it was no longer 2010 – but many years in the future if the profile pics and information on the pages were any indication.

For instance, there was Andy.  The paper he had just submitted showed a sharp mind.  Coy often pondered his insecurities when he talked in class.  She had been seeking to encourage him. She was surprised to he had graduated with honors and was now a father of two and held a good job at a promising company.  Had she possibly helped him toward that?  Something in her spirit said, Yes!  She smiled.

She was sucked into another page and saw Sharon. In class this woman was young and full of energy and ideas, but a bit scattered.  Coy wondered what this young woman would do with her passion if it were a bit more focused.  Looking at her information page, Coy discovered that since graduating, Sharon had started her own not-for-profit company and was having an impact on the poor in her community.  According to the comments posted on her page it looked like Sharon had managed to corral some of those ideas and was quite successful and even recently engaged to be married.  Did anything that Coy had taught or invested in this woman help her to get to where she was today?  Most likely.

Coy was sucked back to the present and shook her head, a little dizzy, and sighed as her puppy came to lick her hand, begging to be petted. Maybe she was making a difference in the lives of those she was teaching and through them impacting the world in a positive way.  Maybe, just maybe she was modeling and encouraging her students just enough to make that mild shift that took them on a course they might have otherwise missed if they had not walked into her classroom.

It was then that her dog spoke up to chide her in her feelings of insignificance: “Hey!”

Coy was startled, “Who is that?”

“It’s me, your dog.  You would make a difference in my life if you let me go out to use the yard to do my ‘job’.” 

Coy smiled and rose to let her dog out, and gazing into the sunshine felt encouraged that every little thing she did, as a mom, a wife, a friend and a teacher, (and a pet owner) really truly could be used for things far greater than what she could see right now. 

Time to get back to emailing those students who were late turning in their assignments last night.  Coy had a job to do and she wasn’t going to let them down.