When Facebook invites attack: an apology and cautionary tale.

So a lot of writer friends and people with bands have pages on Facebook.

This differs with having a personal account, apparently. It seems more, you know, professional. Some people I know in fact only have a Facebook page.

I don’t see the difference really, but when it comes to sending out announcements about an upcoming reading or a new piece of writing out somewhere, I am afraid of saturating my Facebook friends with all these self-promotional announcements. Maybe a personal page would set up a Chinese wall between people who just want to be my Facebook friend and those who want to know about my writing.

Be careful what you wish for.

Last night I set up a Facebook page. Simple enough. I’d done it for the Nitty Gritty Slam, We Who Are About To Die, and Frequency North. (Those links are to real-deal websites, by the way; you can find their pages on Facebook, too.) Then I got to the stage where Facebook asks you to invite people to like your page.

Invite your Facebook friends? Sure. I’ve done this before. They’ll get some Facebook mail message that will probably go into the mysterious Other folder that no one knew about.

I click on that.

Then Facebook asks, Invite your email contacts? Hmm. This is a big deal, I think, setting up my own personal Facebook page. Maybe I should let more people know about it.

Gmail, my main email account, wasn’t listed, so I click “other.”

I login to my Gmail from Facebook on this little window, click OK, and the window goes away.

My wife’s cellphone, which is connected to her email in some way, starts beeping away. That was the first sign something was wrong.

The next morning people are asking me about the 7, 10, 12 emails they got with the message “Check out Daniel Nester’s page.”



I have been spending the better part of this morning emailing, tweeting, and Facebooking apologies. I never send email blasts willy-nilly. I always select, individually, each person I am emailing about an event. I am not the guy who invites you to a reading in Micronesia happening next Christmas.

Most people took it in stride. This happens. Emails go haywire. We get a pornbot message from an older aunt. We hit delete.

Others not so much. Bob Lefsetz, whose grumpiness I adore on his Lefsetz Letter, sends me the Seth Godin “permission marketing” post, as if I didn’t know about this concept, to break my balls.

Here’s what I think happened: the Gmail connection, or linkup, went haywire and sent a message to everybody. Maybe my browser was hanging or hiccoughing? I don’t know.

I had in my Contacts list the email address to automatically email-post stuff to WordPress.

I do keep my Gmail Contact pretty clean, I’d like to think, and weed out addresses automatically added over a couple of months.

No matter. Facebook just took what I had and blasted it out multiple times.

I should have known better. The last time I logged into an email address via a third party site, the same thing happened. I think it was for a genealogy site or something and I wasn’t thinking.

Now, whenever I get the overload-of-email thing, or the porn Viagra email thing, or the nudie picture on my Facebook feed thing, I don’t really tell people, or complain, or send links about marketing. I just delete it. Maybe I should start sending concerned messages or whatever. I assume this happens to most people in the course of their online/social media lives, it only takes one person to tip a person off something went awry. We move on.

We’re not recalling poisoned Tylenol, after all.

What have I learned? Don’t login to Gmail via third-party to invite people to your page. Don’t trust Facebook at all or as much as I did. Even if you’ve emailed them before and genuinely want people to know about your new Facebook page. Let people find out on their own.

You can’t translate one big list (Contacts) into another (Likers) with the click of a mouse.

One good thing that’s happened, though. The people who have tolerated this fuckup, who despite multiple emails and multiple apologies STILL went and liked my Facebook page, they are the keepers.

PS. The link to my Facebook page is here.

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