It is no secret that I am a member of Facebook. Through FB, I have “met” some really wonderful people, people that I am glad to know and some I met in real life at RT in April 2009. Like many authors, I have been trying to reach out to people—some have turned into good friends who I love to chat/interact with because they’re great people and we have common interests. I have had people reach out to me when I needed help and I hope I have done the same.
Others, unfortunately, have turned out to be creeps who I promptly block because, really, I don’t want to receive pornographic images and have someone believe it is a turn-on. It’s NOT. Yes, I write romantic fiction and some may see explicit sexuality in print as pornography but I do not. Wikipedia describes pornography as "the depiction of explicit sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexually exciting the viewer. Pornography makes no claim to artistic merit, unlike erotica which does." I believe my writing has artistic merit even though, like most romance writers, I write sex scenes for the viewer's reading pleasure. It is fantasy, fiction, and not indicative of who I am. I mean, yes, you can tell some things from my style of writing, but I’m not interested in enduring crude attempts at what amount to pick-up lines.
And yet, some others have turned out to be puzzles because I simply did not know what to do. I think the drawbacks of being on social networking sites are outweighed by the good parts of the medium. But some people get the idea that they know me personally and start to make unusual statements, leaving me to scratch my head and wonder where I went wrong in evaluating the person.
I think the issue is there are a lot of lonely, isolated people in the world who are looking for some kind of connection. They take a look at the slice of me, or anyone else for that matter, that I show to the world and think that’s all there is to know. That the small slice means that I am looking for companionship. I mean, I’m single, I write romance: I MUST be looking for more than friendship. The puzzles read more into my profile than actually exists.
I feel badly for these people and I truly do try to be kind while not encouraging them. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. I am not perfect. And meeting someone who seems to have an unrealistic image of me would be unnerving to say the least, which is why I haven't done so, except with people where I can at least verify their identities. I am sure that this is not their intent but unless I meet someone at a convention or through personal friends or have more interaction with a person, I don’t know what anyone is really like. Even then, I am very cautious. And someone who sends me twenty-five requests every day, only serves to make me more wary. Life is not risk-free but that doesn’t mean I will take idiotic chances, such as meeting someone I have never met without taking many, MANY precautions. So far, the only people I have personally met have been other writers.
All the lonely people, where do they all come from?