Once upon a time, by which I mean the year 2010, I accepted every Facebook friend request I got and I kept my Twitter feed public. Then I was part of three separate incidents in which my social media “friends” pulled various details of my employment, my family life, and my most embarrassing photos (which is to say most of them, really) in a couple of attempts to get me fired from my job, affect my personal life, and/or incite people in my general neighborhood to vandalize my cars/house/already-questionable lawn.
And he did what you’d probably do: backed off and went private. But this, too, has its disadvantages:
It frustrates me to no end that I can’t use social media to connect with the people who legitimately enjoy my writing — or even the people who legitimately dislike it and want to share their concerns and/or criticisms. I’ve been told to convert my Facebook page to a “fan page”, which seems repugnant. I cannot imagine that I have any “fans”. By the same token, I’d like to make a comment on a movie on Twitter without being the target of a sack full of shrill invective from somebody who’s still angry about something I may or may not have done with the wife of somebody he doesn’t even really like. You get the idea. What’s the point of being on FB and Twitter if you’re just building the proverbial walled garden?
I am able to deal with this only because I lead a relatively uninteresting life and have accumulated few detractors. (Who was it who said “Friends come and friends go, but enemies accumulate”?)¹ And I’m still, I think, fairly compartmentalized: I tend to treat Twitter as general distribution and Facebook as friends only, though inevitably there is some overlap on both ends of the line.
¹ I’ve seen this quotation, or an approximation thereof, attributed to Thomas Jones, to Arthur Bloch, and to Jayne Ann Krentz.