|My new Facebook image.
So after 8 years, Facebook banned my page, without warning. I was right in the middle of typing a post when.... blip. Gone. Just like that, 4,000 contacts and 8 years of content went poof. The reason, according to the Facebook auto-help? "Derf Backderf" sounds like a fake name.
Which, of course, it is. My given birth name is John. Only my mother calls me that. I always hated the name, especially after a long list of toilet nicknames were swapped for it on the mean asphalt jungle of Richfield Elementary. When I got to college I ditched it, like I did virtually all of my unhappy previous life, and became Derf. All my friends call me that, my wife uses it, as does everyone who knows me either personally or professionally and, of course, my fans only know me by that moniker.
But that's not good enough for Facebook. There's a Library of Congress file on "Derf Backderf," but it sounds funny to Zuckerberg and company so the page is gone, apparently never to return. Facebook demands scans of government-issued ID, like a driver license, birth certificate or passport with "Derf Backderf" on it, to restore the page. First of all, send them copies of my IDs? Should I just go ahead an cc random Nigerian thieves or wait for the inevitable Facebook hack? Yeah, that's not happening. Secondly, I freely admit it's not my birth name. So what? Is everyone named Chip or Buffy going to get the heave-ho? Well, ok, that would probably be an improvement, but you get my point.
So I started over. If you Facebook, look for "John Backderf" and that's me.
I know, I know, I shouldn't bother with the damn thing at all. Sure, I do Twitter, and please follow me there. I don't bother with Tumblr, although I have an account and may start posting stuff there, or any of the fly-by-night sites you damn kids with your bongo music favor. I like how a Facebook page is designed, especially for photos. Everyone says it's worthless now, just all middle-aged housewives looking to flirt with old high school classmates, but y'know I haven't found that to be the case. I've made book deals via Facebook! It's paid off for me, and a lot of the comix guys have a big presence there. But I was too Facebook heavy. Lesson fucking learned! From here on, my Facebook page is just a repeat of what I post here, and on Twitter. In fact, look for a LOT More blog posts here.
The downside is the high asshole factor. The racist rants, the rightwing screeds, the comix fan pages where any deviation from the established dogma, whatever that is, brings a legion of trolls to life. Gawd, there's a Jack Kirby fan page that is a goddam nightmare The boring, crazy friends who post the same fucking thing on every fucking thread. The constant bitch, bitch, bitch about every fucking thing. Starting over, as big a pain as that is, is at least a good way to clear out some of the losers.
I tossed one troll last week. I'm fairly tolerant, but this guy was a total rage-filled psycho. He threatened that he was going to "turn me in to Facebook" just before I blocked him and, hey, looks he might have. The timing is suspicious.
Facebook has apparently pulled this stunt on others. Punk historian Legs McNeil lost his personal page. Then there was the recent kerfuffle over drag queens using stage names on their pages. Facebook relented on that one. Bestselling authors who dare to use pen names? Sorry. What Facebook wants is for people like me to set up a fan page. problem is Facebook fan pages are a total waste of time. If you want them to show up in people's feeds, which is the point of Facebook, you have to pay. Yeah, think I'll just use Twitter for that.
So if you're using a pen name or secret identity on Facebook, be prepared. And yes, I'm talking to you, Bono!