Adventures in Facebook Land

Hello, hopeful ones,
I have succumbed to Facebook. I resisted mightily for years. I finally crumbled, cracked, surrendered. I think of it as “going over to the Dark Side” – not that it’s evil in itself, but for someone who already has time management issues, it’s a potential time black hole. So, if you hear a “giant sucking sound” it probably has nothing to do with jobs exiting the U.S. or Ross Perot, it’s just my life going down the Facebook vacuum tube!

When I first set up my Facebook account it was due to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and the need I felt to have more ways to stay in touch and know what’s going on with you all in Facebook land. So, I had typed in my name and a few other bits of information, barely anything, and then logged off because of another on-line commitment. When I came back to add some more information to my profile, I was told I could not use Facebook now because of suspicious activity on my account. It was being investigated. I was locked out. What?!

I felt like a criminal! And I’d done nothing wrong! I’d done almost nothing, period! And I didn’t even want to be on FB in the first place! Fine! Take your stupid book of faces, Zuckerberg, and leave mine out of it! Grrr!!! I was steamed!

Two days later, my account was unlocked and I was allowed back in. Within hours it happened again! The same thing with the same “suspicious activity” message. This time it was three days before I was allowed back in – to my own account! In my first Facebook week I was locked out for five days! I kept expecting it to happen again. It didn’t. All right. So we’re okay now, Zuckerberg, you and I? We’re good to go? Whew, that’s a relief, right? But wait! There’s more!

In my second Facebook week (FBw2) I received “Friend requests” from a person I know and a “friend of a friend”. Okay, I have to say something here, all of this “friending” and “unfriending” and “liking” – can you “unlike” something or someone? And Tweeting on Twitter?! Maybe we should Toot on Tooter?! That would be more accurately descriptive of a lot of things that are “tweeted out”, wouldn’t it? I mean, really?! How old are we?! Sorry, I had a little emotional, linguistic indigestion there. Burp! Excuse me.

So, I confirm the requests, I don’t want to be a total jerk. And, WWJWD? What would John Wesley do, since the world was his parish? He’d be “friending” everyone wouldn’t he? Within minutes they are both telling me about the big money they have received, no strings attached (one chunk was from Bill and Melinda Gates, no less!) and all I have to do is click on the link provided and a Fed-Ex truck will roar up to my front door with my check for “up to $300,000!”

Would this qualify as “suspicious activity”? I did not click the link, just as I did not send in my Publisher’s
Clearinghouse Gold Coupon entry form that would have positioned me to win $5000/week for life (odds 1 in 6 billion), just as I have not sent my bank account information to the deposed prince in Africa who wants to share $2 million with me simply for helping him get out of Dodge. Was somebody using my name and account at first, when I was locked out, to do something similar to somebody else? A scam in other words?

It seems to become harder and harder to trust, doesn’t it? And now with a viral assassin on the loose looking for victims, potentially hiding inside someone I know, someone I meet on the street, the guy wearing the clergy collar in the parking lot asking for donations to his program to help keep kids from getting into trouble with drugs and crime, well, it makes for a very wary time. And when some of our leaders deliberately, repeatedly lead us astray, what are we to do?

What was it Jesus said, “Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves”? Be careful, thoughtful, attentive, but peaceful, positive, open, faithful…trust. Yes, you will be fooled. I gave the clergy-collar guy $5. Maybe it’ll help some kid. Maybe it helped him get through the day. God knows fund-raising is hard work. And I didn’t do it because I’m so trusting and hopeful and generous, but because I want to be. To not be is truly to go to the Dark Side.

Peace,
Jeff