Dear friends and followers -today’s post is a bit of a rant, so be warned and feel free to skip my negativity, but this needs to come out. My apologies in advance.
I use Facebook for both, personal and publishing purposes, trying hard to strike a balance and to combine the two personas – the writer and the ‘real’ person. I get notifications on a stream on Facebook and sent to my phone. Despite turning off most of them, I still get an overwhelming amount about new developments, posts and comments and I am beginning to miss important information buried under an avalanche of the mundane. That can be challenging and frustating, but until recently this has worked very well for me, for my friends and my colleagues.
However, I find that bad habits have taken hold. Or is it just me?
I’ve been included in mass-tagging for book adverts, i.e. an author releases a book – or promotes it – with posts on Facebook and they tag as many random people as they can on it for maximum exposure. This results in a notification to my phone everytime someone comments on that post. Facebook assumes I should take an interest and keeps them coming. Of the 50 people who were tagged maybe 25 like the post and fifteen wish the author well. That is already 40 notifications. Then the author may talk to a long lost friend in the comments on that post and every time that triggers another notification for me, too. Often I hardly know said person anyway but suddenly they dominate my facebook day and are overloading me with things I didn’t ask for.
One time this happened I was away from the computer and had no way of untagging myself from the post via the phone. I was waiting for an important message from my solicitor and couldn’t switch it to silent.
For 4 hours I had the phone vibrating and peeping as said author had a great chat on the post with their friends. i messaged them to untag me but their response was far from understandng. I unfriended the vaguely known person in question, but the same thing has happened a few more times since with other people.
When approaching these people about it they were not only surprised that I preferred not to be tagged, they were ‘hugely offended and hurt’ by my preference and by my request not be tagged in the future. They see themselves now as the injured party and are resentful and hostile towards me.
Same thing: I have people involving me in private group messages and chats about their work or projects, resulting in continuous inbox alerts. It had nothing to do with me personally, they just wanted to shout about something to as many people as possible. By the time I muted or left the unsolicited conversation someone else had tried to contact me with an important message and I’ve missed it. The most recent message comes top on FB and it is very easy to miss new incoming messages during such group conversations that jump to the top all the time with every new contribution to the chat. Is that really acceptable? Am I the only one who finds this odd and … rude?
And last but not least there are people who send me ‘personalised’ messages, addressed to me, their dear friend, with help requests, review requests and sometimes just advertisements of their books or products. Often this is the first time I have heard from them in ages, if not the first time ever.
Everyone knows how much I like to support my friends and fellow authors but this forward approach borders on spamming and harrassment. Automatically assuming that I will and can honour every request I get does offend me.
Approaching these people about their actions and asking them to stop, however politely, seems to cause offence to them and damage to the ‘friendships’.
Sadly I have learned that the best option is to quietly unfriend or block these people to save myself abusive and angry tirades. What has happened for me having to do such a thing?
Maybe it is me living in old-fashioned, polite Britain or maybe I’m getting old and fussy. Call me a miser but where are good manners?
Is it likely that I will think favourably of these pushy people, wish to buy and 5* review their books or vote for their competitions and advertise their work on my blog and walls?
I try to avoid them and direct my energy at more agreeable people and their needs.
Please consider etiquette and style. Pushiness may get you short-term results but long term losses of friendships.
Apologies for the rant. Over and out and thank you for listening.