I’m Talking To YOU, Friend, Reader! It’s about time I addressed my Facebook mess. Yes, it’s a mess. You don’t see it, and that’s part of the problem. What’s worse is that finding a way out of the mess is not worth the time and effort, and so it will remain a mess.
I’m talking now to people — readers!— who have, over the years, made requests to be my “friend.” I apologize for not getting back to you, and for leaving much of what happens on my Facebook account in limbo. If you’re interested in the reason behind my FB mess, please read on. Maybe I’ll find a friend who has had a similar experience.
Can Anyone Out There Relate? Several years ago, I opened an account on Facebook because everyone had told me that, as a visual artist, it was beneficial to have one. It was to be for comics-related/self-promotional purposes only (I would not willingly be on Facebook if it was not for my cartooning career).
I began getting friend-requests from people who know my comic strip, but don’t know me personally. I thought the idea was to say yes to everyone— that was the point, right? So I did. As a result, my Facebook friend list expanded, but it was predominantly made up of strangers. I felt uncomfortable posting/commenting on a forum where strangers mingled with friends and family; where my professional public life suddenly intertwined with my private interactions. It felt wrong. Should my personal engagements with, say, my cousin, be made available to people I’ve never met?
The solution, some colleagues advised, was to have a separate “fan” page, just for readers. Great! I opened up a fan page. I named the page— which would encompass all of my work— “Cartoons by Rina Piccolo.” To simplify things, I would have liked to dump my personal account, and keep only my fan page— but that was not an option. Facebook did not allow me to have a fan page without also having a personal account, and so I was forced to keep both. The result? I had to post everything twice (there were still readers on my personal page). When you’re pressed for time, that could be a bit of a nuisance, but there was no alternative.
Some People Are Nutty The real trouble started when I tried to re-direct friend requests from my personal account to my fan page. Hey, I said, We can connect on my fan page! People didn’t like that. One guy—a total stranger— said he was insulted that I didn’t accept his friend request and refused to Like my fan page. In fact, every time I tried to re-direct readers, a great majority of them simply did not comply.
It Gets Messier Fast forward some years. Tina’s Groove was getting re-launched, with a new sales brochure. Some good friends at King Features Syndicate advised me to change the name of my fan page from “Cartoons by Rina Piccolo” to “Tina’s Groove.” That sounded reasonable, and it would make it easier for Tina’s Groove readers to find me on Facebook. However, Facebook did not allow me to do this. There’s a rule about the amount of Likes a page has, and being able to change the name of that page. Well, for all the good it does to someone’s career to have a lot of Likes (that in itself, is up for debate), my Likes, well above the limit, did nothing but make my Facebook experience ridiculously inconvenient.
I was forced to keep the page “Cartoons by Rina Piccolo” and create a new page titled “Tina’s Groove.” Now I had three places to post; three pages to maintain. As for re-directing people from one page to another, well— let’s just say that I felt the burn from the last time I tried that.
I’m Tired And Bored With It All Going on Facebook has became a dizzying haze of too many things to post on too many pages. It is, to me, a seemingly endless barrage of stuff to sift through, and a flood of notifications that are not important, i.e.: the status updates of people I don’t know. You know what? I have to be honest here — I have work to do. I find it hard to justify spending valuable time on something with so few returns. Thanks largely in part to Facebook’s algorithms, my posts, despite my efforts, are seen by about 1% of my readers, and friends.
You’ll ask if I used Facebook’s Help Center. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Ha Ha Ha! The one thing Facebook makes remarkably clear at their Help Center is that it is a center where users cry HELP!! Forget engaging with a person. Facebook could not manage to give me a dialog box that functioned properly. I wrote out my problem, and clicked “Submit” and it sent me right back to where I started. This happened a number of times before I gave up.
Engaging with Facebook felt as social, and as friendly as spending a night in a Siberian Gulag. I was Alice through the rabbit hole, except that this rabbit hole was littered with the remains of previous users who had come to seek help before me.
Let’s be serious We can all see what Facebook is today. What began as a social network has evolved into an advertising and publicity platform. Have you got money for advertising? Then Facebook is a good place for you. You can buy your views and Likes. (I can buy them too. I get emails from companies that sell Likes by the barrel full. If this purchasing of Likes continues — and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t — it will do nothing more than make Likes completely meaningless in the near future, defeating their original purpose.)
If you’re wondering— yes, I did post a link to this article on Facebook. It will get sent to the Unpopular People Table at the far end of the cafeteria. Seems I didn’t feed the “Boost Post” meter.
So, readers, that’s the reason why I have not responded to your friend requests, and messages. It’s because I am, and am not, on Facebook. If you Liked one or both of my fan pages, I thank you kindly, and appreciate the attention. I will continue to post stuff for what it’s worth. However, I refuse to play Facebook’s Boost Post game.
I’m sorry for not addressing this sooner. But here’s a solution. You can always find me— and I can find you—here at tinasgroove.com, and at rinapiccolo.com . You may also find me on Twitter @RinaPiccolo and, of course, on the friendliest site on the internet for comics fans: comicskingdom.com
(… who knows I may show up in other networks too. There’s a new one out that’s designed for artists, and creative content. I’ll write about it in my next post.)
Please share this. If you’re here, at my home site, I know I’m not invisible to you. Thanks for dropping in