Social networks are cool places to meet new people. I've met loads of wonderful people on Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. Nice people. Friendly people. Some who have become good friends.
And then there are the not-so-nice people.
I had two unfortunate experiences on Facebook in the last couple of days. Both of them with (so-called) book reviewers. The first wrote to me in late August and asked if she could have an ARC/Bound Galley of my latest book. I told her "sure," but that I wouldn't be sending it out until the end of September. Mind you, I'd never heard of her before (hey, I friend just about everybody), and since she wasn't one of the BIG FOUR reviewers, I figured 2.5 months before the book's release would be plenty of time.
The woman HOUNDED me several times a week through early September, at a time when I was really stressed. (My Dad was dying, okay?) But, I sent the book out to her and didn't give it another thought ... until this week when I realized I'd never heard from her again (and she'd said she wanted to interview me to go along with the review). So I dropped her a line and asked if she'd actually done the review. Nope, reviewing Dan Brown's latest book was MUCH MORE IMPORTANT, and MAYBE she'd get around to reviewing my book in the near future.
I unfriended her.
Then I got a note from her. "Gee, how come you unfriended me?"
Well, you hounded me unmercifully and then you didn't review my book. What part of "friendship" does that constitute?
Yesterday while on Facebook, I looked over at the right side of my screen where Facebook says, "X number of your friends are friends with this person. Click here to send a friend request." It sounded like a good idea. Hey, we'd met on at least three occasions over four years at a well-known mystery conference, she'd given me her business card on more than one occasion and requested that I ... SEND HER A BOOK TO REVIEW. Okay, I didn't--but I did click on the friend request and didn't think much of it...
...Until I got a snarky, suspicious note from her that said she didn't KNOW my name, didn't RECOGNIZE my face, and WHY DID I WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH HER?
I'm afraid I wasn't as polite in my response as I could have been. To be fair, she may be more familiar with my pseudonym and I requested her friendship under my real name. (Which I was wearing on my name badge the first two times we met.)
Sadly, in the last year or so, I've become somewhat jaded. If this was a perfect world I would trust everyone I meet. As a HUGE Bonanza fan, I can quote you a line from an episode that I have always remembered, said by none other than Hoss Cartwright. "My paw always told me; every man's your friend until he shows you otherwise."
Hoss was right. I'm meeting people who are not interested in being my friend. I can't tell you how many requests I get for free books, autographed pictures and the like, from people I've never heard of--who haven't read my books (which is obvious because they don't even use my name nor the titles of my books in their requests), and play on my sympathy (sick child/parent/best friend). What do they want these items for? (Perhaps to sell on ebay?)
I will still probably approve everybody who sends me a friend request, but I will no longer even acknowledge people begging for something. I feel bad about that. I want to believe that everybody is good and kind, and the sad stories I hear really are true, but unfortunately, that's not the reality of life.
How sadder that this realization comes at this time of year when I so want to feel goodwill toward all (wo)men.
P.S. After I wrote the above, I did get a note from person #2 apologizing for being so abrupt and nasty, and I can sort of forgive her for her remarks...but I must admit, the sour taste lingers on my tongue. I don't think I'll be looking for new friends any time soon.