Dear Readers, I am no longer on facebook. A while ago, someone or other impersonated me. There were, thus, two facebook pages almost identical, purporting to be from me. But I could get into only one, the “real” one. The other used, I eventually found out, a name I suspect was assumed–something like William Schilling.
How do I know this? Because a few, real life (as opposed to cyper) friends began calling, asking was it true? Had I changed my profession and just won a $50,000 grant? Had I somehow lost my English language ability and was now writing in odd phrases and combinations?
With help, I did what I could. I contacted the people who had “friended” me and gave them instructions on how to “defriend” the duplicate facebook page with my name on it. I also told them I was erasing my real self from facebook.
Since then, I have been mulling over what it means to know someone via cyber space. The image that comes to mind is of a dark night sky with swirling balls of light, which are facsimiles of people. They can’t touch or speak face to face because, in truth, they are only hanging out somewhere in the dark. But they can send glowing messages across the night sky. It’s rather beautiful. Dazzling really. But it’s not hold-in-your-hand real, You can’t ask these supposed friends to literally befriend you with a loaf of bread or a borrowed phone..
Studying these friends in the dark also creates some rather dizzying behavior. We have to keep our heads back in order to study the sky. And the blood supply to our heads is shut off because we don’t lower our heads frequently enough for the blood to flow normally. We become rather giddy. And sometimes act silly, imagining a reality that is actually pure facsimile.
I adore fiction, but I try not to let it come through the door and ask for drinks. I try to keep it within its glowing little boxes. And limit the time I sit before it.
I’d rather have the old-fashioned fictions with no faces at all. But only voices. Radio voices or photograph voices. And best of all, fictions written and shaped with creative intent, distanced from their authors by a craft that considers how we humans make sense or nonsense of the world and how the world fights back. Not off-shoots of real people pretending to be high-flyers, more or less or other than they are.
As to the facebook page that impersonates me? I hear it’s still up in cyber space. Please don’t “friend” it. Recently someone I actually know reported that an acquaintances had “friended” me and received a message the tune of $50,000. I don’t have that kind of money to t give away.
If you have become involved with this impersonator, please “defriend, unfriend” as soon as possible. Even if it’s difficult, it will make your star-gazing just a little bit calmer. I’m applauding in advance.