Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lexilicious I want to Be Your Friend? So What's Wrong with That?

Anyone who doesn't play the online game FarmVille isn't going to recognize this name.  But please bear with me...this post does have some relevance.  And maybe an important lesson to our younger generation.

A woman by the name of Lexi Smith is the "voice" of FarmVille, doing their podcasts that introduce new game playing objects and answering players questions.  She's never really tried to hide herself online although you never know for sure on Facebook if a profile is a hoax.  Somehow, for her, I think it is the real deal.  On FarmVille, she goes by the name of Lexilicious.

Well, in the April 9 podcast, towards the end of an approximately 9 minute broadcast, Lexi offered to friend anyone on FarmVille, and we could check out her farm.

Well, I truly don't know what she was thinking.  Estimates of how many people pay FarmVille regularly range upwards of 63 million people, worldwide.

Imagine inviting 63 million people to visit your house.

Facebook does permit people to create "fan" pages.  For instance, if I was a musician, a deejay, a politician, or even a private person with a following, I could create what Facebook calls a page (If I am misstating anything here, I apologize).    But what Lexi has is a regular personal site like you or I would have.

And suddenly she is inviting all those people to her online house.

Facebook has a limit of number of friends for those regular "sites".  So I have a feeling so many people tried to friend her, it shut down her ability to friend people.  And gee, what about her real life friends?  Or the other people named Lexi Smith?

Here's the kicker:  In order to friend someone on FarmVille, you have to friend them on Facebook first.  That is how it works.

I will be blunt here.  Offering people the chance to friend you on FarmVille is like walking into a meeting of post menopausal women (OK I can say that because I am one) and waving boxes of chocolate.  When the dust clears from the stampede, there isn't going to be much left of you.  (If you intend to give chocolate to me, by the way, make it dark.  Preferably, Godiva.  Thank you in advance.)

This next statement may not win me a lot of "fans" over in FarmVille, either.   There is an element to FarmVille that sometimes seems a little desperate.  For example, FarmVille runs a weekly contest to select a "farm of the week".  The reward for this achievement is pretty substantial, game-playing wise.  They allow fans to comment on the winner's farm photo, and mixed in with the "that looks neat! How did you do it?"  comments are always a lot of "Friend Me!"  "Pick me!" "Please be my friend!" posts.  Remember, these posts are being directed to total strangers!  Ugghhhhhhhh!

I love playing FarmVille but it is not my life.  I shudder to think of how much of other peoples' lives it is.  Lexilicious, I truly think this could have been done a little differently.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that your fans aren't your (real life) friends.

  I hope you can make good on this offer because...actually, I wouldn't mind being your Facebook fan (but not friend).  The world you live in is interesting, and I would like to know more.

It seems to me that, sometimes, younger people (and even if you are in your 40's you are younger than me!) make the mistake of underestimating the Internet.  The Internet is a microcosm of our world.  There are great neighborhoods and people but you always have to be cautious.  We humans love to prey on each other.  And when you just open up to 63 million people....well you don't know just who you are opening up to. You'd think someone who makes her living helping with development of online games knows the Internet.  But....maybe not.

And your profile says you are a widow.  I know some widows (younger than me, and older.)  You have been through a lot.  You don't deserve a bad ending to this.

 Lexi, I hope you can make good on this.  But please, next time, please be more careful.  I've never met you and never will, but your voice is part of my life.  Please, please be careful with your offers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting! Your comments mean a lot to me, and I appreciate each one. These comments are moderated, so they may not post for several hours. If you are spam, you will find your comments in my compost heap, where they will finally serve a good purpose.