The Creeps of Social Media
I don't spend every waking moment on social media, but I do spend a few minutes looking at Facebook and Twitter every day. I look at Instagram even more briefly than that. Words with Friends gets more attention. I play Words with Friends, an app that closely resembles Scrabble, every day. A lot.
I cannot understand all the strange people that try to start conversations. I don't mean people who legitimately want to talk to me about quilting or dog rescue or writing. I mean mostly men, who start out with "You are so beautiful."
I have about 300 friends on Facebook. Everyone is not a close friend, but they are people that I know through other friends or hobbies. I do not "friend" people on Facebook randomly. I friend people that I'm interested in talking to or connecting with. I do not "friend" strangers.
So, when I get friend requests from strangers, I look to see if we share mutual friends. If we share more than one mutual friend, and I like the mutual friend, then I'll accept it. If we don't share mutual friends, then I usually ignore it. Sometimes I'll message them and ask, "do I know you?"
Who are these strangers trying to friend me or start a conversation? I notice that they usually have several things in common: they are usually men, usually with a relatively new account (< 6 months), usually they *say* they are working abroad or are abroad and in the military. They say they are divorced or widowed. I don't believe a word of it. What I don't understand is what are they trying to accomplish? Swindle money?
I am not a celebrity, and I am not beautiful. Okay, maybe beautiful inside. But not outside. I have no illusions about that. I'm not so ugly that I would knock a buzzard off a shit wagon, but I'm not beautiful and never was. I used to be moderately attractive when I was young, and there was once an older gentleman in France who told me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. But that was an exception, one that I obviously still remember because it was so rare and so touching. I was prematurely grey, and all grey-haired by the age of 30.
This is what I look like today (on a very good day with a very good photographer):
This is what I looked like in 1984, pictured with my father.
So, if someone starts their conversation with "you are so beautiful," my BS detector starts beeping. I don't block people willy nilly, but if I'm absolutely sure it's a weirdo that I have no connection with, then bye bye.
Word with Friends
Words with Friends is more problematic because I play a lot, and I like to play. I also watch my statistics carefully, and if you block someone in the middle of a game, it counts as your loss, which royally pisses me off, and I've let WWF know that.
So, if a random person tries to start a game with me, I will usually accept the game. But that may change soon because I'm getting a lot of weirdos in WWF lately. It starts with being asked to play by a stranger. Okay. It's a guy. Okay, but my BS meter is turned on. His scoring average is significantly below mine. That's a bad sign. I'm fine with playing with people who play less well, but most people try to play with people who have similar scoring averages (plus/minus 2 points.)
Then we start playing and after the first move, he sends me a private message. Hint: WWF etiquette is to talk with your playing partners minimally. "Merry Christmas" is fine. "Wow, great word" for a 5000 point word is fine. "You're beautiful" is not okay. I'm here to play scrabble. Because I love it. Because I'm a wordsmith. Because I'm a writer. Because I read the dictionary for fun. I'm not on WWF to meet men. I'm happily married. I'm busy. Ain't nobody got time for that crap. This may sound odd, but I'm on WWF to play WWF.
So, as soon as the person is sending me private messages every round, I have to block them. I hate blocking people, but I do it. A lot. I actually play with a number of people that I know in real life including my brother, a couple of childhood friends, a dog rescue friend, and a writer friend (who consistently wipes the floor with me.) I've been playing with a lady bookkeeper for two years who is a stranger to me in real life. We've passed maybe 50 words in that time by private messaging. I'm fine with talking by private messaging. But not if you want to talk about how beautiful I am.
I also had to block one guy who wanted to send me messages about how terrific Trump is. I am not a fan of President Trump, and the last thing I want to hear about while playing scrabble is politics.
So, if any of my readers can enlighten me about who these people are who are trying to connect, trying to sweet talk me, and trying to establish a relationship and what they want. I'm all ears. Because I can't figure it out.