Hands Against the Wall

I usually try to keep my blog posts limited to writing related stuff, but today I’m going off the reservation.

I’m going to vent.

I’m kind of pissed…a little perplexed…and somewhat amused.

What could cause this mixed bag of emotions?

Facebook.

You know – the “social” network…

I’ve been on facebook since 2009. To date – I have 844 friends – and most of them are people I either know or at least share a mutual friend (or 12). I also have a fan page (https://www.facebook.com/BlindoggBooks) with 981 followers. I don’t spam people, I rarely post anything objectionable and I try my best to be a good cyber-citizen.

Imagine my surprise when I was notified recently that my account was locked-out from sending friend requests for 7 days. The reason? I sent a friend request to somebody and that person, instead of simply ignoring or declining my request, clicked the little box that says “I don’t know this person”.

lockout

Perhaps it was done innocently. Maybe they didn’t realize that by checking that box it sent a message to facebook that I was basically a stalker.

Here’s the biggest irony…this person (I don’t know who it was) was most likely recommended to me by facebook. You know – in the side bar where they list “people you may know”? At the very least I share a mutual friend with this person; otherwise I wouldn’t have sent them a request.

I don’t put the blame solely on this person for dropping a dime on me, as I said, it was probably done innocently. Maybe they didn’t realize what the repercussions would be if they checked the box. On the other hand – maybe they did it intentionally – which makes them a bit of a jerk and I’m better off not being friends with them anyway.

Facebook has a larger share of the blame, in my opinion.

Facebook bills itself as a “social network” – so let’s take a close look at that title.

The word Social is an adjective which means (among other things) of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society and tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others.

Network in this context is a noun meaning an informally interconnected group or association of persons.

So given the definition of facebook, you would think the mission statement would read something along the lines of…

“To promote interactions between people previously unconnected and to nurture friendships through encouraged mingling.”

Instead facebook seems to have more of a “you can be friendly, but only to the extent to which we allow.”

jail cellMy friend Armand Rosamilia seems to get locked up once a month…and another friend of mine had to start a second page because her first one reached the “friend limit”.

 

 

I’m not a political science expert, but that seems like fascism or communism, or some other –ism.

dictators

Anti-socialism.

They have essentially established unilateral control over our interactions and mingling by instituting rules which punish people for doing that for which the site was created. It sounds more like a twisted social experiment than a social network.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m sure there are people out there who abuse the site and it is necessary to regulate them, but I am pretty damn sure I’m not one of them.

I think there is a very simple way to solve this problem…If a person decides to check the “I don’t know this person” box they should be prompted with this question – “By checking this box you are labeling this person as a stalker and sentencing them to facebook jail…are you sure you want to do this, or is this just somebody you don’t recognize and you’d rather not accept their friendship at this time?

Then as a failsafe if they still want to check the box they could be prompted with “Seriously? Just say no and go back to posting pictures of your friggin cats and telling us where you ate lunch. Idiot.

Maybe if this post is shared, reblogged, retweeted and passed around enough it will reach the facebook lawgivers and they will revisit a policy that is, for the most part, counter-intuitive to everything a social network should be.

That is all…I’m through ranting.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Hands Against the Wall

  1. Pingback: Hands Against the Wall | RJ Kennett - Author

  2. melissa nacinovich

    i just totally abandoned my personal facebook page. I use my fan site and that’s about it.

  3. I did not know that about the “I do not know this person” selection. Thanks for ranting, Tim. I will repost, because I don’t think most people know of this.

  4. Pingback: Hands Against the Wall | Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

  5. Reblogged this on Armand Rosamilia and commented:
    Anti-Social Media…

  6. Erik

    I’m going to play a little bit of Devil’s Advocacte, if you don’t mind. I happen to be one of those “I don’t know this person” clickers, and while not justifying locking someone’s account, I am justifying hitting the button.

    Quite simply, I don’t know the person. I have a friends list around the 160-180 person area. I routinely go through this and delete people that I simply don’t talk to or have any need to have them. And I certainlu do not accept requests from people I don’t know. Even if they have 5 mutual friends of mine.

    To be classified as a social network, the site merely needs to encourage social behaviours. To be fair, that’s my own opinion. Spam friending 800 or so people who just happen to have been recommended because they know someone you know is not the only way to be social (hyperbolic generalization, I know). Besides, when I look at the “people you may know” bar, I probably have never even heard of 90 percent of them. And I certainly don’t go friending every single one of them.

    I see no “ism” here, or Facebook as some evil corporation out to destroy people’s friendships, and can’t help but wonder how many of the 844 people on your friend list are actually even remotely aquaintences? I certainly would have trouble even calling to memory the 180 people I call friends.

    The long and short of my counter is sinply: if I have not met you, or if I have not met you in a memorable way, there’s probably no reason for either of us to “friend” one another just to make our lists bigger.

    PS. I realise you have a fan page, and that’s excellent. But if the fan page is running into this same problem, perhaps a change in technique is in order? Find other similar pages and see if they will do shout outs. Ask followers to post links. I honestly have no idea who you are or what your fan page is for, but I came here because a link a friend posted had an interesting tag headline that I couldn’t quite see all of. So that clearly works, and while I’m not going to your fan page right this instant, who’s to say you haven’t intrigued me just a little?

    Keep doing what you’re doing.

    • All of your points are totally valid, Erik. Naturally the way we each use facebook is our own choice and preference. There is nothing wrong with declining a friend request, I hope I didn’t suggest otherwise…my point is that – unless somebody is harassing you with requests and spam – there is no need to report them to the facebook police. (my fan page has not had this problem – yet…but that is probably due to the fact that I can’t send “friend requests” from there)

  7. Erik

    Ok, maybe the penalty is a bit jarring for the so called infraction, and may be a knee jerk reaction. I personally see no issue with having lack of facebook for a week, but then again, I often have to do that just because some of the places I work have no internet or cell service. Again, that’s a personal basis, I know that some people truly help make their living off of social media.

    But for those who suffer from this particular knee jerk, at least the account hasn’t been deactivated, you probably haven’t been red flagged as a trouble maker in facebook land and are about to be deleted imminently. I just feel that if one finds out about the penalty, stiff as it may be, they may just revise their tactics? Only sending requests to people you actually know first hand, or maybe sending a message prior to the invite stating who you are? I don’t know if this is still possible, but it used to be for sure.

    Also, kinda sorta not really in defence of Facebook, I would bet they got complaints from from people saying “I keep getting requests from people I don’t know!!!!! Do something!!!!!” Or something along those lines. Obviously Facebook can’t stop that, but put in a new punishment. I wouldn’t say it is for stalkers, though. For example, I have a cousin and she has a friend. This friend goes through his friends’ friends lists and invites everyone. He’s not a creep, he’s not evil or up to no good, he likes meeting new people. I like meeting new people too. In person. I have some information of my facebook page that, while not particularly private, I still mainly only have for my benefit or a couple target friends. I would not have a problem with this one person doing this, but over the course of 6 years on facebook, I’ve seen it as a recurring issue with many different people. Some people just want to swamp their friend list numbers to feel popular. Others just want to meet new people, but it’s become a habit for them, and these are people that maybe should be deterred from thia tactic?

    • The only thing they did to me was prevent me from sending friend requests for 7 days…a very minor penalty. My rant was mostly hyperbole because – as I said – I have friends who have had much stiffer penalties imposed upon them.
      I think I was more offended at having a blemish on my record than anything else!!

  8. “By checking this box you are labeling this person as a stalker and sentencing them to facebook jail…are you sure you want to do this, or is this just somebody you don’t recognize and you’d rather not accept their friendship at this time?”

    But,,,I assumed that’s what was MEANT! He’s correct; this IS a necessary heads up! FB should warn us–or if they refuse, maybe they should even face legal charges, such as slander? Defamation? This “charge” they make IS NOT going to be erased from the INTERNET, after all, & MIGHT interfere with the “accused’s” future job searches or anything else!

  9. The exact same thing happened to me. It’s pretty ridiculous. Even with spammers, I just ignore them (is it pathetic that I’m that FB courteous that I don’t want to get those nimrods in trouble?).

    What sucks even more is when you’re getting unnecessarily spanked & punished by the company that you were one of the dumbasses who bought into them & are now trying to hang in long enough just to break even so you can turn around & kick the stock in the nads & dump it.

  10. A simple pop-up when you go to hit the button would be nice… we all use Facebook for different reasons, and many of us use it to meet cool new people we wouldn’t ever get to meet in person, because I can’t travel all around the world and have a cup of coffee with them. As an author I am also making contacts with other authors, publishers and potential readers. Some of them eventually get over to my Fan Page and then we talk there more than my personal page, but I need to be able to talk to new people first. I’ve been hit with 30 day blocks. A warning would be nice… not too much to ask, and letting people know what hitting the stupid button actually means.

    Armand

  11. Chris

    This unfortunately is the world we live in. Facebook has become this generations MTV in the sense that music television has no actual music on it,, so goes the same for FB when it comes to social networking. It is more about incessant whining, nagging and “oh my god I just went to the bathroom” posts every 4 seconds that makes FB unbearable to deal with.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think it has good social integration qualities. And after very many years, the author of this blog and I were able to reconnect thanks to FB. I tried to look him up for a long time and if not for this site, it might have been much longer. But when it comes to friends and people you may know, I do believe that it is becoming a popularity contest in terms of how many people can you add. That doesn’t hold true for everyone but I see it a lot.
    I also am a writer. And I’m in a band. Yea that’s right, I got the double chick magnet whammy going on, and I get so many – make that TOO many – requests from people that want to friend me because they think that just because they write or are in a band, then that must mean I want a social friend on a website. I will not typically click on that button because I do know what it does. I will report if I think it’s a spam account.
    Tim and Erik, you both have very valid points to this but I see no way that Facebook will adjust this rule because they will always have the whiners and the naggers that I mentioned earlier that feel they need to bitch about something else in order to make their meaningless lives have some sort of purpose.

    • You’re probably right…facebook has no need to change their rules to suit the masses because the masses won’t put up sufficient resistance, i.e. a boycott, because we’re addicted.

  12. That has happened to me a while back. I stopped sending out friend requests. I wait for them, then ask back. The wort part was last year. I have three accounts. The first one has my maiden name on it, the second doesn’t, which is the newest, and then J & H Junk Removal. Some how the second goes into my email along with J & H Junk. Anyway, long story short. It was spammed and I was locked out of the one without my maiden name for almost a year.
    The way they solve this, Tim, is by showing you pictures and you have to tell them who is tagged. Guess what, I take pictures of events. I don’t all the people at the event, and if that’s not bad enough, the one I do know are usually their baby pictures, or a friend’s kid, I even had pictures of objects. Hello. Are you kidding me?
    Finally, i tried one time and I got so lucky, the pics they showed were actually people I knew and as they look today. That was the luck of the drawer though. So don’t even get me started on the rules. What ever happened to passwords and weird questions only you can answer?

  13. Danielle Anderson

    Maybe I am naïve, but what is a spam account? How do you know that is what it is?

  14. Not very socially friendly of fb now was it!? All of a sudden they’ve implemented that. I’m not on there very much cept for book promo and animal advocacy but have received friend requests with this message to which I just ignore it. Sending you a cyber hug and thanks for the post. Nice meeting you. Paulette

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