“In the beginning there was darkness…” isn’t that how many things start?
In recalling beginnings I think back to the late seventies and early eighties, I think back on the first awareness and the first interaction with others. We didn’t call ourselves Vampires then, we were just us, a group of people who had one thing in common – similar tastes of a sanguine nature. We didn’t have computers, didn’t know what ‘internet was’, in point of fact I didn’t see computers on a regular work basis until ’85. We were just a group of friends who would hang out together at every opportunity.
We didn’t recruit, people found us. We didn’t advertise, we watched. We didn’t invite, we got asked. We were very wary of ‘outsiders’.
Obviously, now, it is a very different proposition. The internet explosion and the attendant growth in interpersonal communication across states, countries and continents and the globe has provided a rich source of exploration and a massive audience for everyone who can handle a keyboard and the prime opportunity for more came from the growth of social media.
Today, social media services users are numbered in the tens, hundreds and thousands of millions; a vastly larger sum of ‘audience’ than would ever have been dreamed of in the late seventies and early eighties and with the advent of, and burgeoning reliance on, social media comes a long sought after, by many, ability to ‘make friends’ and grab a share of ‘audience’ – pretty much all you need is a good hook, right? Or maybe not.
Let’s imagine for a moment that you get invited to a party, a party being held by someone you hardly know but they invite you anyway – sweet huh? Now, imagine they don’t tell you but they tell pretty much everyone else you’re going so that everybody will think that you are die-hard friends with them and because you have a lot of friends, suddenly, everybody wants to be at the party. How do you feel when you find out that YOU are the hook?
This is a practice that has become rampant on social media platforms, people create groups and randomly add people to that group by ‘farming’ other people’s friends lists. They seek to build not only their own credibility but also the numbers of their group, and presumably ‘personal friends’ lists without ever actually ASKING people whether they want to be involved or not. From there it’s not such a stretch to find yourself connected with hate groups, derogatory homophobic, ethno-phobic or other groups with extreme, and often unpleasant, views and practices.
How many of you have been the subject of such ‘friend fishing’ practices and how do you feel when it happens?
The modern living Vampyre subculture is perhaps one of the most fertile of grounds for this to occur and when people have hundreds, or thousands, of ‘friends’ it is virtually impossible to keep track of everyone and everything that is going on all the time… I’d hazard a guess that if you kept open ‘notifications’ you would need all of your waking hours, outside of working, eating and sleeping alone, to keep track on even five or ten percent of what’s going on. In short, and in all likelihood, you won’t even know when you have been ‘added’ to someone’s pet group or ‘party’ and this, in its turn, can get you a reputation of a very different kind than the one you hope, and intend, to portray.
In recent conversation on this very subject the views of the people holding discussion seemed to be very clear on the matter. There was a universal condemnation for the practice of the random add. As for the people who ‘add’ others to their group projects without seeking consent or even advising that they have done so seems to be the height of bad manners online, a gross breach of ‘netiquette’. The proper practice, naturally, would be to make contact with a prospective member and actually show them a little respect in giving them the courtesy of choosing whether or not they wish to subscribe to your group, or ‘party’. This is intrinsic in building your own solid and respected reputation thereby getting people to want to come to your group. The flip-side of the coin is that if you are found to be randomly adding to your group from the ‘friends of friends’, and ‘friends’ lists of others you will quickly gain a bad reputation until no one but the ‘bad guys’ will touch you or your ideas. As you can see, in effect, by randomly adding people without thought or consent a person is actually eroding their own standing, credibility and reputation until they become labelled ‘troll’, or worse. Why would anyone even think of doing that to themselves?
So, how does the social media user prevent being ‘randomly added’ to groups? In short, as long as you are on some sort of ‘friend list’ it appears that you can’t for that pretty much flies in the face of the concept of ‘social media’ but what you can do is, say once or twice a week, check your groups lists, see where you are, see what you’ve been added to and then squeeze out a little time to look over the group page and see what sorts of things are being posted there. You may, dear reader, suddenly find yourself seen to be supporting something that goes against everything you believe and, let’s face it, while appearances may be deceiving in real life, in social media life, appearances can, often, be everything.
How does one start a group?
There are, of course, many ways to begin your own “Vampire/Vamp-Otherkin” group – aside from simply starting it and robbing people’s friends lists. The best way is to discover whether you have friends who are of the same mind as yourself, seek their input, ask them if they want to be in a group and make it so. Generally, the sort of friends I’m talking of are those you have been in another group with for a time, people whom you have conversed with and with whom you have a genuine; if only online, rapport with. This means that your group is going to start of small but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day right?
From there your friend list can, and will, grow as others come seeking to join your group once you and your friends “advertise” its existence. You may wish to try and invite people, people not on your friends list and to this end a polite invitation message is the best way to achieve a good response. Even if the response to membership is not affirmative the people you treat with respect will remember it and they will respect you for having taken that route. In this way you will build a good and positive reputation for you and for your group.
In a recent conversation on this matter, in general, opinions were quite firmly in the “respect” category…
MP: I think anyone who just randomly adds people has no pride in themselves, their path or in the company they keep! It’s a popularity contest to them and that invalidates their legitimacy or how seriously they should be taken. JMHO….
TB: …let us suppose though, as is usually the case, these new “leaders” simply add the most notable people from amongst individual friends lists in order to make their fledgling group appear high profile, noteworthy and credible… sort of a practice of, import quantity AND quality, even if they don’t know they’ve been added…
How would your opinion form about that group and its leader dear lady?
MP: I think if you add anyone without their permission then you are disrespecting that person and taking away their free will and right to choose whether or not to be a part of anything.
These people are also more likely to leave any group that takes it upon itself to simply add them without asking them beforehand.
SL: I have a few of those type FB associates who randomly add me to their groups. I frankly think the practice is rude. Then you have the other type that apply to every group suggestion given them and send random friend requests without so much as a note. Guess I am old fashioned but if you’re going to knock on my door at least have an explanation.
DL: Facebook farming. That’s precisely why I rarely accept any requests from strangers with two dozen VC as “common friends” anymore.
I’m not a vampire trading card.
MB: Exactly…. Here’s another fly in the ointment. How would you feel if your name was used in the groups description … you being a rather high profile person in the VC and you are not even a part of that group. It would, in my mind, make other people think that I was completely on board with this group and the views and opinions that they were posting about. It would, also, make people who would normally not bother joining the group, think that if so and so’s name is being used … this must be a great group to be a part of. Using deceit to gain members is, to me, an unethical practice.
JH: Not only for the vampire themed groups but for groups in general, I think that these leaders who pose questions and only want responses from their “favorites” are a sham.
I understand that there are “trolls” and people looking for a hookup or date while in these groups, but sometimes one mustn’t take things too seriously. For instance, if you pose a question to whether or not there is a correlation between vampires and sexual attractiveness. You’re opening the floor to some lewd responses. If that question is posed by a female and a male responds to it, even if in jest, then he had better be an admin or a very close friend. If you pose a question such as “Are those walk around in heavy makeup sporting fangs an abhoration to the vampire life?” Its a question that only the “In Crowd” of those groups can answer because anyone else who responds is frowned upon and may find themselves booted and blocked. These very same people whom they have invited from their friend’s list of friends. Draw them in, make them feel all comfortable and the first they do, if they get an undesirable comment, boot them out, ban them and spread their names across the related groups citing them as “bad people”. My thing is this, don’t go fishing for members, don’t pose a question and when those netted members give them an opinion, be ready to crucify them,
TB: Thank you for the comments my friends. It is interesting, I think, that we all seem to hold similar views in this respect and one has to wonder – NOT calling myself old fashioned or anything – whatever happened to good manners?
For all those reading this…
Might I suggest that you take a look at your ‘Groups’ list, you never quite know where you’ve ended up, unless you have your Facebook security settings screwed down hard perhaps.
To those who have, will, or might consider starting up your own group by random adding people from friends, or friends-of-friends lists… one simple piece of logical advice, DON’T. Your reputation will sink like a brick, your group will sink like a brick and your ‘Friends’ list may suffer an earthquake.
Manners aren’t just things you have at the dinner table, and respect is not only for other people but for yourself as well.
Clan Resurrectus Homepage discussion, March 31, 2017 (used by permission)
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