In order to obtain a Vanity URL, you must first have 25+ “Likes” on your page.
Aside from the fact that I'm not so vain that I would even consider setting up my own fan page, I'm stumped. Likes? Likes what? My books? My hair? My sparkling personality? I never got the Likes memo. Anyway, I keep reading, and find this:
Spread the word! Friends and family are included! It’s okay to ask your friends, family, and co-workers to “Like” your page.
So they don't think 25 complete random strangers would like my page? Maybe they're right. Only a very few friends I know in real life visit here occasionally, so maybe the rest of you 6,993 people stop by here every day because you don't like me. Go on, tell me, I can take it. I know my Mom still likes me. Sniff.
Kidding. I get what they're trying to do. Fortunately I'm off the hook: according to my kids a fan page for me already exists on Facebook. I can't look at it because (rimshot) I'd have to first join Facebook. But apparently these nice people like my books enough to create a genuine fan page, so that should get me excused from faking one, the thought of which to be honest makes my skin crawl a bit. All's well etc.
Since last year I've also been getting these be-my-friend gems e-mailed to my fan e-mail account every week:
This kind of Facebook SPAM that disturbs me because I know at least one of these people is an author. Not that I think he's a fan or actually wants to be my friend, but I can't even send the professional courtesy of a polite no-thanks unless -- you guessed it -- I first join Facebook.
Which brings me to this practice of using the word friend to connect people via social media. I find it a bit troubling. One of the reasons I never considered using LiveJournal (aside from the fact that I'm not cool enough for it) is because they employ friend as means of linkage coercion. I friend you, you friend me, and we're all friends. My (obviously picky) belief that the word friend should have more meaning than simply the right to use reciprocal links is definitely not in step with the times.
Also, if someone asks to be your friend, they're paying you a compliment, right? Unless they just want a link so they can boost their traffic, in which case, maybe not. Of course if you say no for any reason, you're behaving like a snotty unfriendly jackass, which encourages negative backlash, expecially from those who for whatever reason expect to be friended. Every time I think about the friend thing I give myself a headache.
I realize social media offers many obviously irresistible marketing opportunities. I respect the working writers out there who take the time to do all this stuff, too; frankly I don't know how you guys handle it and keep up with the work. I'm just concerned that it all seems to be heading in a direction that is self-defeating and devaluing.
Thus I will continue to be Facebookless, and do my own thing, and see what happens.