My name's Alison and I'm a Facebook-aholic

fb-personal-pageI’ve never had so many friends, just under a thousand. I have Close Friends, Friends, Acquaintances, I can follow them or not, I can Poke them and Add them to one of the groups I belong to (very bad form).

I can invite them to my Author page. I can Like, Love, go Haha, Wow, be Sad or Angry at their posts, and Comment on and Share their posts. In short, there is no end to interaction.

But are they true friends?
And do I need so many?
Yes and no to both.

So who are my Facebook friends?
– pre-Facebook friends (Was there such a time?) who have joined subsequently. A pleasure to see them there.
– Friends whom I met at an event or just socially. Afterwards, we fumbled around through the Facebook labyrinth and found each other. Excellent to meet up virtually
– Friends whom I made on Facebook and subsequently met – that’s a whole other experience! The best!
– Friends I have come to know well, but whom it is very unlikely I will meet in the flesh. Solid friends
– Other friends who share the same interests, who chat but would be usually called acquaintances in RL (real life, i.e. the physical world). What a great time we have!
– Requests from slightly strange people of dubious character, possibly spammers, but I think often lonely people or maybe plain weirdos. No, thanks
– Opportunists. They’re the ones who ‘befriend’ you, then send you a DM flogging their book/sunglasses. Block.

So what does Facebook do for me personally?
It lets me:
– talk to people I like across five continents
– laugh at, applaud or despair at humanity
– watch a lot of cat videos
– learn about things I wouldn’t otherwise know about
– meet people I would never otherwise know

Facebook can be a short cut in friendship. We all experience that slightly spooky feeling of meeting a FB friend in RL, but a lot of the preliminaries are done. When you go back to Facebook afterwards, your friendship is richer and closer.

And professionally?
fb-author-pageThrough my author page I can post about my Roma Nova books, background articles, writing and publishing topics, quirky book videos and about book writing progress. Most of all, I can interact with readers and fans.

It’s a very sad fact, but not every one of my friends in my personal profile is necessarily interested in my books (cue sobbing and violins), so using my author page means I can separate the two lots of friends.

Those interested in France, cats, wine, rants and quirks can be safe on my personal profile while those keen to follow Roma Nova, writing progress, Roman discoveries, rants about apostrophes, special offers and events can follow my author page. Happiness all round! However, I’m flattered that almost all my personal friends have ‘liked’ my author page! Now to get them all to buy a book or two…  🙂

But (here it comes...) like all social media, Facebook is an enhancer, rather than a substitute for real contact. It’s addictive, entrancing, baffling and annoying as well as a time suck. But I’ve had some terrific conversations simultaneously in UK, Australia and the US from my home in rural France or trundling in a train across the wilds of Oxfordshire.

While it’s a good slave, it’s a bad master. I love it while I’m on there, but I restrict it to specific times in the day. After all,  work must be done and Real Life is what counts.


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, was published in April 2016.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines…

6 comments to My name’s Alison and I’m a Facebook-aholic

  • An excellent piece – and shared on FB and Twitter!!

    • Alison Morton

      Thank you, John. Facebook is such a mystery at times and such an enabler at others. And every time we think we’ve go the hang of it, it changes… 😉

  • Greatl post, Alison. I find that FB can be like your favourite bar, where you pop in, get to know some of the locals and some of those turn out to be firm friends with interesting things to say. At other times, it’s like a seedy bar on the wrong side of town, infested with seedy characters, with the TV in the corner showing a constant stream of ads you’re not interested in and you wonder how you ended up there. Somewhere in the middle, there’s a balance, and the trick is finding it.

    • Alison Morton

      I love your bar analogy, Henry!
      Each of us finds a different thing on facebook; some like to sit in the corner with their mates, others walk round looking at the photos/pictures, others prop up the bar and quite a number of us, while enjoying the evening, wonder at how many hours we spend there. 😉

  • rrdenarius

    I enjoy your posts on Roman stuff and general life. A common complaint I see on Twitter (more than other venues) concerns time wasters. Some folks want lots (thousands) of followers, but do not want personal replies called time wasters.

    • Alison Morton

      The best thing on social media is to be genuine and to the point. Followers will find you naturally if they find what you say is interesting.

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