The other day I posted the following on my Facebook Timeline.
Dear Prospective Face Book Friend, I do understand that you may be looking for pen pals and maybe even a romantic connection, especially if you are posted abroad in a war zone. However, despite this being a public page, I use it to chat to my reader and writer friends and exchange hints, reviews, and other marketing information. So it’s probably not the kind of page you are looking for – besides, I’m a happily married grandmother, who’s rapidly losing the wrinkle war. I hate to decline friends, so I hope you’ll understand and not make a friend request.
Yes, I know I come across as hard, overbearing and pretty unpleasant, but I’m really a softie inside and I don’t like to refuse a friendship, my page is public after all. The problem is, I don’t like to be rude or offend, but then (like many of us) I get bombarded with virtual roses and bottles of drink and even more flowery comments.
I was also hoping my post would deter the ones from humans who, deep down, may not be genuinely interested in me and my books. For example I had one who asked me what I was wearing. Ah, I thought, s/he was curious about writers and their habits, so I told it (with a name like Alex it wasn’t easy to tell). I’m sitting here I wrote in my usual creative gear, my fluffy red and white pyjamas liberally adorned with red reindeer and Xmas trees (I bought them around Christmas time) under my red furry dressing gown with the rabbit on the pocket, a pair of free airline socks and my favourite reindeer slippers. (They may be mooses, I’m not quite sure).
I was then treated to a picture of my new friend. S/he wasn’t wearing very much at all and what s/he was wearing defied comprehension. DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!
So with the very best intentions, I hoped my post would not subject me to such heart-stopping shocks, (it’s not good to call the paramedics in too often), this post will do the trick I thought.
Sure enough a few minutes later I got a friend request from a dear little granny living in France. She looked so cute and cuddly, grey wavy hair, delightful smile, pretty dress. Great, I thought another fan friend who has heard about my brilliant books and can’t wait to read them, she might even buy one, or two, or three, or four. I cheerfully pressed accept and said how happy I was to connect with her.
In just a couple of minutes she private messaged me, telling me how thrilled she was to be my friend. She lives in France, and she was dying of cancer. How sad I thought, my fingers were poised to send her virtual hugs, hearts and kisses. She was a widow previously married to an English entrepreneur, (I hadn’t noticed at this point she had a German surname) and he had been killed in a car crash with their only daughter. I reached for my hanky
and upped my mental reply to include a bunch of virtual roses (I was trying to decide if a bottle of plonk would be suitable as well in this instance). She continued by telling me she had 10.5 million Euro in the bank and if I promised to donate it to various charities….I could keep 20% for myself.
I groaned. Yes, it’s what we called in South Africa a 411 letter – they want your name, bank account number, the date you stopped being breast fed, your inside leg measurement and all your pin numbers.
What a disappointment. Off I go to Facebook to do the blocking and reporting thing – DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! But FB do send you a nice apology don’t they – saying they’re sorry you’ve been subjected to this.
They can’t still be catching people out with this scam surely? Did s/he think I was born yesterday? Well maybe looking at my avatar…?
Now the big question of course is, she’s given me her private email address, so do you think I can add it to my Mailchimp list so she’ll get my monthly newsletter? I’m a bit worried she might unsubscribe.
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