Over the years, I’ve amassed a cache of followers that include high school acquaintances, PTA parents and under-30 business associates. I’ve always accepted friend requests; what did I care? I don’t post, I don’t follow, I don’t stalk.
Then I decided to write a book. From that moment on, I knew my social media standing would be a great way for publishers to gage the public’s interest in my ideas. For the last year, everyone I met, everyone I interviewed, everyone I stood next to in line at Target, received a business card. If they reached out to me via Facebook, I accepted.
Suddenly, I was no longer swimming in a pool of aging cheerleaders, I’d now amassed a following of almost 200 friends! As I received requests, I would accept and immediately unfollow. Everyday my list grew — 10, 20, 30 requests a day, I was on fire!
It wasn’t until I noticed that many of my friend requests were men, that I looked more closely and found a few evocative private messages. While I’d discovered a way to play the numbers, I’d also opened myself up to some unwanted solicitation; these were not unfollow worthy folks, these were unfriend vermin.
So Friday night after dinner, I settled in to unfriend the assaulting few and decided to change my status to married. Yes, my friend suggested I change my status to in a relationship but I said, “NO, that’s personal”. Navigating to the dropdown menu, I selected married, and when prompted to enter a date, I decided it was too creepy to list my December anniversary, so I left it blank. I pressed accept, enter, or who knows what, and was rewarded with a “Got married today” message!
CRAP, CRAP, CRAP.
Panicked, I immediately texted a few gal pals and my sister-in-law; “no I didn’t get married today”, and then the phone started to ring.
My beloved friend in Houston could hardly contain peals of laughter as she choked out “what did you do?”. Through a thinly veiled fit, I explained that I merely wanted to stop some unwanted advances. As I explained, my phone pinged, pinged and pinged. Quickly hanging up I started texting “got tired of FB pick-ups; did not get married today”.
As fast as I cut and pasted, I received texts. Friends from near and far were congratulating me. As the likes and comments grew, my explanations became deeper and sincerer; “I PROMISE I’d never get married without you”.
Then I had to call my parents. Can you imagine? I HAD TO CALL MY PARENTS!
Chris’ family? Oh yeah, they were surprised and the tears started to roll.
My Matron of Honor? That was the worst; I could actually feel the sadness in her words, she was devastated; “not because I got married but because she wasn’t next to me”.
All in all, it took me seven hours to untangle the mess. I’d gone viral. Every “like” extended the reach of my news. I heard from friends in town, in the US and across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
What a colossal mistake. In an effort to protect my privacy, I was forced to face a difficult truth and inadvertently shared an intimate detail of my life; I am no longer married and, I am in fact, in a relationship. Recognizing the former brought me great sadness, while living the latter brings me great JOY — and for this I am grateful.
Have a great week,