Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

As many of you know from reading my essays, I am a fan of life-long learning. Some of the things I have learned lately, however, have left me scratching my head—metaphorically speaking. Will someone please tell me when facebook became the 21st Century's answer to the happy-hour pick up lounge? Egad, it is crawling with lounge lizards!

I guess I've been rather naïve because I just do my thing and never think beyond certain limits when it comes to people and how I interact with them. For example, when my daughter said that a lot of people on social media sites post pictures of other people and say it's them, I kind of blinked. Really, I said. Why on earth would they do that? My daughter just shook her head sadly as if she had no hope for my ever "getting it" whatsoever.

I can assure her that I get it. It's not that I don't know that some people lie with impunity. I guess it's more that I dismiss that fact and need to be reminded of it every once in a while.

I have a facebook account in my first pen name, "Morgan Ashbury". I do not have an author page for people to "like"; not yet. I might create one of those sometime in the future under my other pen name, "Cara Covington". But for now the facebook page I have allows me to keep in touch with my readers. That's why I have a face book page in the first place, and that is what I very happily use it for.

I understand the value of social media with regard to getting the word out about my work, and more importantly, keeping in touch with my readers.

Because it is important and because I had been more or less slacking off in that regard, about a month ago, I decided to add some more "friends". These were people I thought would be interested in returning the favor, as they were already friends of some of my fellow authors. Almost all of them accepted my friend requests.

And then the rhythm changed, and I became the recipient of friend requests myself. It was something to watch. There would be two and then four. One day there were twenty. Twenty! Some of these requests were from men. I didn't think anything of it. Men do read romance—my husband is one of them. I don't discriminate between persons, neither was I prepared to quiz each one sending me friend request to ensure that they are indeed a reader or at least that their interests were "pure". So for the most part, I simply accepted every friend request that came my way.

My "friends" have gone from about 600 to over 1300 in just a matter of weeks.

And to my dismay, I have discovered that some of these new friends are lounge lizards. They are interested in hooking up.

For the record, one way guaranteed to put my back up is to send me a message beginning, `hello, dear'. The first time, I was quite surprised and yes, maybe just a little flattered. And then it happened again. And again! So I responded kindly, informing all who asked that I was very married, and planning to remain so.

That seemed to take care of most of them—although I did have one slimy son-of-a-biscuit-eater come back with "well do you have a daughter, then?"

I was delighted to discover that I could "unfriend" someone as quickly as I had "friended" them.

I suppose facebook is one of those modern conventions not meant for older people like me. Or at least that is one theory I have heard from someone who is much younger than I am. I take reasonable precautions, of course, and have since my first foray into the world of the Internet. I never give anyone any personal information, and I don't encourage what my mother would have called "familiarity". I am an old fashioned woman. I chat with a few fellow writers who are male, but I consider those to be, for the most part, professional contacts. Anything beyond that—any communication that starts either, `hello dear" or "hey baby", I cut short.

I don't believe in being rude. It's a waste of time, and it puts negative energy out into the cosmos. Negative energy, in case you haven't yet figured it out, is magnetic and attracts negative energy at least ten fold right back to you.

So I am never rude. I simply explain that I'm not interested in that kind of personal contact. Nine times out of ten the response I get is an apology and then no further attempts are made at "chatting me up".

I just wish these lounge lizards would come with a warning label so I could avoid the situation in the first place—sort of like the Internet's version of the leisure suit or greased back hair.



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