I know. I’m supposed to have a Facebook page to market my book. But I have spent Facebook’s entire existence avoiding it. It seemed too intrusive; too much trouble; too…unrestful. But this morning, succumbing to earnest advice, I launched my page.
The first thing I did was omit to capitalize the initials in my name. I had managed somehow to type J. f. Riordan. So I went to edit it. You can’t. I couldn’t believe this, thinking it must be some personal failing on my part. But it wasn’t. You actually can’t. If you try, they want you to submit a copy of your driver’s license. I am not doing that. So I tried to ask Facebook for help. This was my first exposure to Facebook customer service. There is none.
Then, I thought, maybe I can put my author’s bio at the top of the page. I can’t. You can’t. No one can. You have to have the things they want on the top of the page. Like your favorite tv shows, and movies you watched recently. I went to the “about” section and removed things like favorite tv shows and movies I watched recently. But the tv shows were still there. TV shows have nothing to do with why I have a Facebook page. But it doesn’t matter.
Then I realized from my sister that my birthdate–which wasn’t my real birthdate–had been posted, even though I didn’t want to post my birthdate. “Oh yeah?” she wrote. “You were born only a few months before we were married? Hahahaha!” I don’t want to post my birthdate. Did I mention that? So I “hid” it. But when I look at the page it still shows in my timeline. I tried changing my birthdate. A Facebook message popped up: “You can only change your birthdate a limited number of times.” How many? I wondered. How often do people want to change their birthdates? And why can’t I change it whenever I want? Why would they care? What’s one woman’s vanity to them? (Answer: they are collecting data on you and want to tell their advertisers that they know everything about you.)
Facebook asked to access my e-mail contacts. Reluctantly, and against my better judgment, I allowed this. Should I send to business associates? I suppose. It’s marketing, right? To the vet’s office? Maybe. I write about dogs. The Dentist? Well, why not? They want me to like them on Facebook. A billion e-mails went out to people who will probably be wondering who this J.F. Riordan is who is sending random invitations to perfect strangers.
By this time, my 1 friend–a relative–had increased to 7. I had friends! But the reason I had built the page was no longer visible on the time line–namely, my book. My husband informed me that (oh, fond hope) once you have 5,000 followers you can’t have a regular page. “You shouldn’t have a regular page,” he said. “You should have a book page. You’re an entity, not a person.”
This sounded about right. I was feeling rather like an entity. So I went back to Facebook to create a business page. It wanted to link to my other page, to J. f. Riordan. I really didn’t want my book going out with an error in my name. But nothing I did, from private browsing, to creating a new e-mail account with a different name enabled me to escape from the original page. I deleted the account and tried all this again. I got an e-mail saying they would delete my page forever in 14 days. Was I sure I wanted to delete this account. I was sure. Very, very sure.
So I have spent my entire morning in my pajamas fruitlessly messing around with social media on the computer. I have become that person. My day is half gone, I am frustrated, the dogs are restless and unhappy, and I haven’t gotten one actual piece of writing done on my one actual day of writing.
And billions of e-mails have gone out to invite friends, associates, veterinarians, dentists, and miscellaneous others to a nonexistent Facebook page.
Facebook, I hate you.