I have always tried to avoid being attached to social media sites, partially because I tend to be antisocial in nature (computer geek!), but also for what I consider a few actually valid reasons. One such reason is that I have a tendency to “go dark” on the Internet from time to time, particularly when I am working a fulltime job at a company I enjoy. If I control the majority of information about myself out on the Internet, then I have an easier time of making that information disappear, or at least become irrelevant to a search engine. Social media sites steal that ability away.
Additionally, with social media sites your information is at the whim of other people. Something you consider private which you might not want shared with friends, family, coworkers or employers can simply be tagged by someone back to you, even things completely untrue. Suddenly what happened in Vegas stays on the Internet. Heck, I even saw commercials for a SyFy channel series entitled “The Internet Ruined My Life.” So there’s that.
Another reason is that I have worked in the IT services industry for almost as long as I have been a computer programmer. No matter how much your career and skillset might progress past basic desktop support, you always wind up being dragged back into it and a lot of that involves malware problems. If every computer geek out there had a nickel for each time we heard, “but I only go on Facebook” as we are explaining to them the 2000+ malicious apps installed on their computer and why it barely boots and runs slower than a sleeping turtle we could probably have purchased the majority share of Facebook by now. The real reason many companies have blocked user access to social media sites is not due to a lack of productivity by the employees (that’s just how we sell it to senior management), it’s because IT people are tired of cleaning malware off desktop computers.
Thus, I have stayed off social media sites as much as possible. I have a LinkedIn page because my former employer required it when we were gearing up for a public offering; I think there might even be a Myspace page (does that even exist anymore?) from when my daughter set one up for me, but never a Facebook page. I know my holding out has greatly affected the Facebook company, it shows up in financial news programs all the time, “Facebook’s value climbs to record numbers, but financial analysts continue to speculate that those numbers might actually be extremely low compared to what they would be if holdout, Andrew Maxim, were to finally join up.” I’m sure there have been emergency board meetings about marketing directly to me.
Now, I know social media can be important for a company, especially one just (re)starting out, and – if my parents were right about that broccoli when I was growing up – we sometimes have to do things we don’t like. Following this train of thought (and the fact that I now enjoy broccoli), I started setting up a few social media accounts when Proverbs reemerged, including a Facebook account. Except Facebook hates me (apparently I held out too long).
The moment I created my brand new Facebook account it was locked out by the system. Any attempt to login brought me to a locked out page where Facebook promptly requested more valid identification than it takes to get a destructive device permit from the ATF, as well as 50 pints of blood and a signed contract releasing all rights to my genetic code to their company. This seemed a little ridiculous to me, so I searched the Internet and found reference to verifying who you were through a mobile phone number attached to your account.
Unfortunately, I could not login to my account to attach said mobile number to it, so I tried to create my account using my mobile number (apparently it’s as widely accepted as an email address now, who knew?), only the mobile number already existed in their system. Well it’s my mobile so I did what anyone would do and requested a password reset to be sent to me, which they did and I was able to login to Facebook. Woohoo progress, right? Nope.
For a brief moment, prior to a popup greying out the screen, I was shown the profile page for the account I had logged into and I knew immediately what was going on. Once upon a time the company I worked for had fired its Marketing personnel. As Facebook has this thing against multiple accounts, even for business purposes, when we fired them we lost access to our company Facebook page because it was linked to their personal accounts and we were effectively held hostage by that disgruntled ex-employee. I wound up on the phone with Facebook and was bounced around until I was put in touch with someone who could help. After much verification that it was our company, the nice gentleman offered to link the business page to my Facebook account with me as an administrator, which if you made it this far you would know I did not have. Instead, the nice gentleman created a Facebook page using the information he had from all the verification process, which apparently included the mobile number I had called into Facebook with – my mobile number.
The greyed and dimmed out profile page I could see behind the popup was this page. It didn’t even contain my actual last name, but rather the name of the company. As I had already relinquished administrative control for the company’s Facebook page I thought, “Score, I’ll just change all the information to my own, add in my Proverbs email and done.” Except for this popup that was asking for an update to my profile information (because I hadn’t logged in for four years or so). Harmless enough I suppose. Wrong again.
Apparently, Facebook will scour other social media sites to find information about you, or who you might happen to be, and I was presented with different questions related to that. One such question was a selection of companies I might have worked at and with who (stolen from LinkedIn) and all such answers were true. I could only select one, however, so I selected the most recent company which is Proverbs, LLC’s sister company DiaMax Technologies (the IT services split off). Poof, account locked.
At this point I pretty much gave up; only a few minutes later I received a WhatsApp message (which is oddly enough owned by Facebook). Now, I know you are probably thinking it was Mark Zuckerberg messaging to apologize for the problems with creating my Facebook account, but you would be wrong. It was my former IT Director and friend making a comment about changing my Facebook password because it had been created using my, then, business email address and he gets all that spam now. I explained what was going on and asked if he could do something about the account lockout, seeing as I did not have access to the emails any longer. He said he’d try.
A few hours later I received another set of WhatsApp messages (no, still not Mark Zuckerberg) from the IT Director basically saying, and I am paraphrasing slightly, that “Facebook needs your current original passport to pin to their breakroom corkboard as well as your stem cells. All of them.” Don’t I need those?
Basically it is time for a nice, well meant, F%@$ Facebook! I tried. I really did, and probably with more effort than I should have, but as of this moment I am blacklisted from Facebook which means Proverbs, LLC and Omega Connection have no Facebook pages. The funny part was that for two weeks after all this I received Facebook update emails to my Proverbs email address, because apparently when you sign up, even if your account is locked, you are automatically included in every email possible. Not to worry, you can opt out by logging in and updating your profile. Ha! Or you can just force an account deletion.
Mark, because I know you are an avid reader of this blog page, the next time you hold one of those emergency board meetings screaming “Our stock price is only $124.05 and it should be $212.92 if it wasn’t for that damn Andrew Maxim refusing to sign up,” remember all you have to do is actually allow me to create an account the way normal people do. No blood samples. No government ids. No stem cells. I’ll be waiting for a reply.
P.S. You still owe me that Caribbean cruise, but I’ll happily take some seed money to get Proverbs fully staffed and running if you don’t have the time.