One of the happiest days of my life was March 27 of this year. I received an email from Christopher Mathews Publishing, , with a subject line which read "Great news!" And indeed it was. Editor Jeremy Soldevilla had agreed to publish my first novel The Conjurer. I stared at the monitor for several minutes, unable to completely believe my eyes and afraid to blink for fear the message would vanish. Fortunately, I was not dreaming and the message did indeed remain before me, (I will never delete it).

Once the initial shock subsided and the publishing process began, I asked Jeremy, "What can I do to help?"

"Create a buzz," he said. "Tell everyone you know and when you've finished, find more people to tell."

Until that point, I had resisted the social media obsession. I had sworn a private oath to never succumb to the attraction of Facebook, Twitter and the like. To be honest, it all seemed pretty silly. Reluctantly, I subscribed to Facebook, but maintained very low expectations. Then, to my surprise, I started to understand the alure. I began having fun with it, meeting lots of new "friends" and posting comments on my wall. I even started a page devoted to my book. I was riding high on the social media bandwagon. Unfortunately, it did not take long for the honeymoon to end. Now it mostly just pisses me off.

For the legions of people subscribed to Facebook, I am the first and only person, of whom I am aware, that has been placed on Facebook probation, not once but twice. There must be other "outlaws" out there, but...WTF!

Every time a person navigates ANYWHERE within the Facebook domain, he/she is assailed with little tags asking to "+ one friend" John Doe or Betty Boop or whoever. Forgive my apparent ignorance, but it seems an awful lot like an invitation to me. So, I began clicking on all the little tabs. And, lo and behold people began to respond. I was making new friends. This is great! Until the day I received a notice that I had been using Facebook in an illegal manner and would not be able to request friends for 7 days. What? Yep. Apparently someone was upset about receiving my wanna-be-a-friend request. I can understand the hysteria caused by the Facebook stalkers and the highly publicized murder. But, I assumed everyone out there in cyber-friendship-land could figure out, if you don't wish to add a "friend" you can just delete the request. For Pete's sake, why is it such a %$ing big deal when that is precisely what the media was designed to do?? I don't understand.

Undaunted by my initial set-back, I did not waver in my determination to be "friendly" and I pushed on. But instead of randomly sending friend requests to just any stranger, I started sending them to strangers with whom I share "mutual friends" (10 or more in my case), assuming that would be safe. Guess again. As I sit here punching my hapless keyboard in frustration, I am serving out a 14 day probation for the same offense. If I had more hair, it would have been ripped from my scalp by now.

The response I received from Facebook was that I should look for feiends only through my email account. Duh. They are already my friends, and I already maintain regular contact via--are you ready?--EMAIL. Why would I need to subscribe to Facebook to make public the private conversations I share with my regular friends anyway? No-I subscribed to Facebook, as did millions of others, to make new friends and participate in the social tidalwave which is now a "global" phenomenon.

Please excuse me for missing the point.
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Published on May 25, 2012 16:52 • 128 views • Tags: facebook, marketing, social-media

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One Writer's Life (OWL)

Doug Christi
Writing is a lonely occupation, filled with rejection, solitude and frustration. My blog talks about the drawbacks and the rewards of our chosen profession and provides insights into the lifestyle as ...more
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