Sunday, November 30, 2014

IRL - In Real Life Friends

By Kristi Belcamino

I'm going to say right off the bat that pretty much any dribble I come up with after Jay Stringer's post about Joelle Charbonneau's project to donate books to the Ferguson Library is going to be tagged as #goodproblems #firstworldproblems #whinywriterproblems.

In fact, I would actually suggest you go back and read Jay's post rather than this one. Here it is:

So, you've been warned.

This is about some of the differences I've found in begin a published author and the sudden request for friends on Facebook. (Stop reading now if you like.) I'm going to continue in case anyone has any suggestions.

So, here is the deal:

A while back I converted my personal Facebook page to an "author" page. The day it happened, I panicked. If you only have an "author" page you basically exist in a black hole. You can only see pages you "like" in your newsfeed and if you have friends who aren't authors or don't have professional "pages" they are invisible.

So the next step is to set up a personal page.

I did so mainly to keep in touch with my friends IRL (in real life) and my family across the United States. I also have a few friends that I've interacted so much with on social media, I felt like I knew them even though we had never met in person. So, I was pretty happy with my personal page, and focused all my attention on my author page and then checked in on my IRL friends and family on the other page, but rarely posted on that page.

Cue six months later. I was a total wimp and approved, oh maybe 100 people as friends on my personal page that I had never met, and several I had never even heard of. As a result, I shied away from more personal posts, including pictures of my two daughters (If you question why, you obviously haven't read my first book.)

Well, yesterday I cleaned house. Anyone I hadn't met IRL or anyone I hadn't had significant social media interaction with was deleted. It seems fair, right? I'm sure many of them are awesome and I would love them if I met them in real life, but since we haven't yet met and I'm never on that personal page ANYWAY, I unfriended them. Makes sense, right?

So, why do I feel like such a bitch?

I do. Absurd I know. Like I'm not some special person that everyone is dying to be friends with on Facebook and yet I'm shining them on, but still.

It made me feel like a heel. Like a snob. Like a jerk.

All because I only wanted friends on my personal page that I had met IRL or who I had significant interaction with on social media. Is that wrong?

Will everyone I unfriended tell all their friends to never buy my books? Will I lose out on the chance to make a great new friend at the next conference I go to because they are irritated I unfriended them? Am I worrying about something totally absurd and ridiculous when there are so many other things in this world and this life to even spend time thinking about? Well, yes.

So, my question to my fellow authors is how do you handle this delicate dance?

Because on the one hand it is ABSOLUTELY FREAKING AMAZING that strangers want to interact with me because of my BOOKS. NO FLIPPING WAY. Seriously the coolest thing ever.

And in fact, many of my "new" IRL friends I met at Bouchercon, were ones I had "met" on Facebook. But these are the ones I would've kept as friends even if we hadn't met in real life because we've had significant back and forth social interaction and I feel as if I know them.

I want to be able to have a personal page where I can put up pics of my kids and personal details to share with my family across the country without feeling as if I'm sharing private moments of my life with people I've never met and may never meet.

And here is a whole different side issue to this: how much do you as authors post about your family and private life? If you have kids do you have qualms about putting their names and faces out there or is it just me because of my interactions with the worst of the worst pedophiles?

I welcome any thoughts on this.


Thanks for indulging me.



Jay Stringer said...

I'm having few facebook problems.

I have an author page, but I don't use it. I like the interaction and the regular updates that I get from my main fbook account.

I decided ages ago just to roll with it and let family and (local) friends exist in the same space as my writing career and international friends. It felt more "me" to do that rather than separate things.

Problem is, I have to police my page. Every now and then I have to delete comments from family members and local friends who don't get that it's a public space, or who say offensive things, and I'm getting tired of it.

Kristi said...

I hear you, Jay.
I really find that the two pages I have work well if I'm not a wimp and only friend people I really know or really feel like I know ... by the way, finished OLD GOLD and LOVED it. xo

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

I am a successful painter, love reading Do Some Damage. I hope to publish soon, but that is not the only reason I read you guys.

My FB page is my personal page, only. I chose settings where only I can post to my timeline, no one is allowed to tag me without my consent. I never talk about my family or being a parent, ever.

It's all professional.

This gives me the liberty to friend people I don't know until I unfollow them because they bore the sh*t out of me or maybe I discover other intersting virtualities.

I do know people who've created fake names under new emails where they keep in touch with family.

Kristi said...

Thanks for weighing in, Angie.
And good luck with your publishing journey!