General

Yourself And Your Other Self

On some levels, I despise Facebook. Long ago, it crossed a line. Whenever I log in to my PERSONAL account now (which is rarely), I can’t suppress the uncomfortable feeling something fundamentally sneaky and underhand is going on whenever I click a link or visit anyone’s page (and I also keep getting “memories” of now dead people tossed into my face, which is hardly wonderful to see pop up).

[Sunset yesterday. Hertfordshire, England. Photo by me.]

Sadly I also actually like Instagram. It is (still) relatively uncluttered (although it appears to be messing around a bit too, such was with its “algorithm”). Importantly as a writer, it does reach a younger potential readership who no longer really much use Facebook because their mom and even grandma is on Facebook and who don’t regularly read blogs.

As we know, for years now both platforms have been owned by Facebook. And generally Instagram is still run as a stand alone site. But you may also want to know – in case you don’t – that where the line is actually drawn between the two can also be hard to spot.

PERSONALLY, I don’t “exist” on Instagram. I have no PERSONAL Instagram account under my real name. My ONLY Instagram presence is my author account that is PROFESSIONAL and under my “pen name.”

And for some time Facebook has been occasionally and unpredictably “pointing” friends and family of mine who are friends with me ONLY on my PERSONAL Facebook account that is under my REAL name… to my author Instagram account.

The thing is, of course, those PERSONAL Facebook-only friends and family are NOT necessarily supposed to know about that Instagram author account.

[Excerpt from my first book, Passports: Atlantic Lives, 1994-1995, in paperback. Photo by me, 2019.]

Once again, recently I have had to explain myself to a relative I’m friends with ONLY on my personal Facebook who discovered my AUTHOR Instagram account:

[Screen shot of my Instagram private messages.]

Thankfully she’s fine about it all. Indeed she is supportive and even enthusiastic. (Our Instagram messages exchange was more than just that.) That is a relief.

Instagram hasn’t (yet) been directing (insofar as I know) my Instagram followers to my PERSONAL Facebook page, but given Facebook’s wormy track record that could certainly change at a moment’s notice when someone throws a switch. And do you think we would be warned? Sure they would: in paragraph 14, subsection 8, on page 87 within the 444 pages of the latest update to their “terms and conditions.”

This is in many respects no joke. It appears it is now close to impossible in this deliberately tangled “social media” fishing net to try to keep yourself in one “compartment” and your professional self in another “compartment” when it comes to Facebook/Instagram. Just be aware of that, so you perhaps avoid my experience.

[Screen shot of my Instagram private messages.]

So much for “privacy,” and “controlling” and “protecting” your personal data, eh?

If you want to know why my Facebook author page is just a series of links back to my blog here, that is the main reason: I refuse to rely on Facebook as “central” to my social media for my writing because, essentially, I just don’t trust Facebook. Indeed for all I know Facebook is doing the same “suggestion” junk to friends on my PERSONAL Facebook, pointing them to my AUTHOR Facebook page… once again, which they are NOT necessarily supposed to know about.

I sooooooo wish I could just get EVERYONE who follows me on every platform over to here.

This blog is self-contained and there is no creepy nonsense perhaps happening behind my back. Unfortunately, though, a blog like this naturally does not have the web reach of a Facebook page or an Instagram account. If it came anywhere even within shouting distance, I would be gone from my authoring Facebook/Instagram accounts faster than you can yell “Delete!”