Monday, August 18, 2008

Joshilyn Jackson: My Face Dot Com

My friend Renee calls ALL Social Networking sites “My Face” collectively, and she never never never goes on them. Me, I go on them a LOT. In my defense, it did not BEGIN as something voluntary. My publicist told me I HAD to get a MY SPACE page.

I said: But I have my own website and a blog with an RSS feed.
Publicist: But now EVERYONE is on My Space. You have to be on My Space, too.
Me: But noted performance artist Ze Frank says MY SPACE is full of ugly.
Publicist: You must become MY SPACE-Y or no one will be friends with you in real life.
Me: But Ze Frank says…
Publicist: JUST GO LOOK AT IT.

SO I went and looked at it. Then I called her back.

I said: All the pages are vomitously spangled. I do not think MY SPACE is where you find my Target Demographic.
Publicist: Yes, it is.
Me: So I write novels for… fifteen year old boys who want to get laid?
Publicist: That’s just another way of saying ALL fifteen year old boys. And you can also find 20 year old men and 30 year old women and 40 year olds of both sexes and 50 and 60 and 70 year old transgendered persons, all of whom want to get laid, and SOME of whom read. Now go get on MY SPACE.

SO! I got a My Space page. Granted, it was under duress, but I tried to be excited about it. I found a very nice girl named Nienke who made my page be yellow and moderately spangled so I wasn’t all boring and DEFAULTY. For a few weeks I checked My Space all day long, four times an hour, in any given hour when I was supposed to be working. It was VERY GOOD for creating some prime NOT WORKING hours. And I could argue that I was WORKING-ISH because my publicist said I had to be My Space-y.

I accepted absolutely ANYONE who wanted to be my friend, immediately. Want to be my friend? SUPER! CLICK! I would have accepted a friend invite from ATTILA the HUN, and in under a quarter of an hour, if only he had asked me in my first flush of My Space-y involvement. (THE ONLY friend request I ever turned down came from a young lady whose mother ought to yank her butt off My Space and get her into Catholic School, STAT, and whose profile photo was a close up of her dropping her jeans to proudly display the inadequate crotch of her lacey panties. Because, no. Just NO.)

But then I got bored of it. There was not that much to DO and I couldn’t figure out how to code in interesting things. Now I just show up once a month and accept all incoming friend requests without even doing a crotch screening check on the profile photos.

Then my publicist called me AGAIN.

Publicist: You have to get on Facebook.
Me: No, I don’t.
Publicist: Facebook is the new My Space.
Me: I don’t even like the OLD My Space.
Publicist: Just go LOOK at it.

SO I went and looked at it. Then I called her back.

Me: Every page looks boxy and this boy---well, a man now--- is on it, ALL THE WAY FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL, and he’s this boy I once made out with and he jammed his tongue so far back in my mouth that he hit my gag reflex and I puked on him. This guy is ON THERE and after you puke on a guy during make out session, you pretty much never want to see him again. Even virtually. Even 26 years later.
Publicist: HA! That’s funny. Now go get on Facebook.

So I got a Facebook page.
And OH! OH! But I LOVE me some Facebook.
It is boxy, true, and homogenous, true, but the boxy homogeneity (and this is important) PREVENTS PEOPLE FROM MAKING IT UGLY. And makes it REALLY easy to add fun bits.

The fun bits are these things called APPLICATIONS, but secretly? They are computer games. I LOVE computer games, and now I am playing them with all these people who are MUCH too cool to play a thing called computer games, but who have been fooled into doing it because Facebook calls them APPLICATIONS. See how that works? You can get pieces of flair and be a vampire or a vassal or make and decorate a castle or raise puppies or ponies or send inspirational messages in eggs that the recipient has to HATCH.

My favorite application is a virtual gardening game called LITTLE GREEN PATCH. LGP claims that using it HELPS SAVE THE RAINFOREST, which I absolutely do not believe. IT SAYS I have now saved 23 feet of rainforest by playing, and they have a whole sheet that explains ad revenue and percentages donated to green causes, and I STILL do not believe I am saving the rainforests. I believe I am saving the job of some low-level marketing guy. But whatever. He probably has a little baby to support and THE GAME IS FUN!

Basically, I send other people who play the game little virtual flowers for their virtual garden. They send me flowers back. Every day I get more from my friends and I mail more out. Some of the flowers are pretty and realistic, and I like them a LOT. My patch is full of them. My patch looks like THIS:

That Venus Fly Trap is VERY rare! I only have the one. I can also visit other people’s patches. I have little tools like a rake or birdseeds and I can use my tools to pull their weeds or lure off garden pests to earn pretend money. The pretend money lets me give pretend presents like pinwheels and stone garden gnomes and even signs, like this one, which PURPORTS to be celebrating Earth Day but looks to me more like what happens when a panda bear and a planet love each other very very much:

As you can see from the horrifying tomato-thing in the above picture, some of the plants have CREEPY NOSELESS BABY FACES. UGH! To me they look like what would happen if one of those Hallmark Precious Moments figurines mated with an escapee from an Anne Geddes photography shoot that happened to be its first cousin.

I had A LOT of those creepy baby face plants clotting up my little green patch until I discovered there is a MARKETPLACE and you can SELL the plants people give you for extra pretend money. I immediately sold off almost every Baby Head Human Plant Hybrid Creature in my garden. I sold them for meat, I assume. I am not sorry. Now I have four or five, just as curiosities, and I keep them at the bottom of my patch behind a 4 feet deep WALL of thorny roses. It’s like my Creepy Plant Ghetto:

After I care for other people’s gardens, I leave them obnoxious notes on their walls that are really requests for presents. I say things like, “I saved all your flowers from a deer. I am like...the BRUCE WILLIS of your patch. I wish I had some stone animals for my garden. You should buy me some in humble gratitude.” Then I got bored of saying what I had actually done and began going to patches I had not helped at all and lying. I recently posted to Lydia, “I JUST saved your plants form RABID MONKEYS and THE DEVIL using only the power of Mardi Gras beads. BUY ME SOMETHING.”

Lydia posted back, “Yeah, well, I saved your patch from a Sasquatch, using my rake and a pile of nuts. So, consider my works and be dismayed.” Stinky little object, ain’t she? BUT sometimes people actually DO buy me things. I have scored THREE presents now using this method! I hope to guilt someone into getting me a Panda-hump sign SOON.

SO now my publicist is satisfied, but my EDITOR wants to know when she might see a manuscript from me. Hmm. Soon, I tell her. Very soon. I just have to see who all from Washington High School is logged on. And get the neighbor’s dog out of my green patch. And I have to send my niece a SUPER POKE invite. And make a MUSICAL MONTAGE using FACEBOOK MONTAGE MAKER and my own photographs. And get a facebook CORKBOARD and and begin collecting pieces of flair to display on it. I am going to run finish the new book up. Oh yes, I am. ANY SECOND. I just have to save a FEW MORE FEET OF RAINFOREST first.

Bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson lives in Powder Springs, Georgia with her husband, their two kids, a hound dog, a scurrilous kitten, three aging gerbils, and a twenty-two pound, one-eyed Main Coon cat named Franz Schubert. She wishes their neighborhood was zoned for goats. Both her SIBA award winning first novel, gods in Alabama, and her Georgia Author of the Year Award winning second novel, Between, Georgia, were chosen as the #1 BookSense picks for the month of their release, making Jackson the first author in BookSense history to have Number 1 picks in consecutive years. Her latest, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, is now in bookstores!


Missy said...

I'm a girly girl. I prefer Hug Me to Super Poke, but I've got to get gardening!

Roxanne said...

Oh, man, that made me tired. Sounds like Webkinz for adults. . .although I'm sure I'm over-simplifying it. I am, obviously, not on facebook, for if I were my family and my boss would never see me again. So I will live vicariously through your green patch and garden gnomes. Although I kind of liked the little human hybrid with the violets sprouting from her pate.

Wanda Jewell said...

You are hilarious! Made my day!

aimee said...

Wow, I've been missing out on APPLICATIONS? I mean, I'm on there and all, and happy to have you there as my friend. But it is woefully clear that I have been slacking in my Facebooking and must immediately get cracking.

Jill W. said...

Ok, that busbiness about the creepy face plants was some of the funniest stuff you have ever written! You are killing me today!

Ad Hudler said...

Joshilyn: I'm with you all the way. My publicist also forced me to make a myspace and facebook page....and, as I said recently in my blog, I found I like facebook because it seems to attract smarter people (People who actually will read a book for pleasure) and myspace...well....judging from the mail and invites I've been getting on feels like some seedy pickup bar. Wheweeee, have I blushed a few times! Maybe it's my picture?
BTW: Enjoyed your newest novel.
-Ad Hudler (

Maryann Miller said...

What a delightful blog to read. Not sure it makes me want to join either of the social sites. :-) But it did make me want to get your book.

Anonymous said...

I've been avoiding MySpace and Facebook like the plague (I always spell that "plaque", which I suppose is okay, because I'm avoiding plaque like the plague, too) for years, and here you go, making Facebook sound all fun and welcoming and cheerful. Now suddenly it's so tempting, except that then I would spend all day long planting imaginary plants and I would fail out of grad school and my husband would starve and my real plants in my real garden would die. Horrors! I must resist!

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

My sentiments exactly. Haven't done MySpace yet. Can I please just skip it now?

Thanks for the laughs!

Kevin Pierce said...


NEWSWIRE--The U.S. government announced that, at border crossings, it might confiscate laptop computers and detain them as long as it sees fit.

She's been sullen teen and moody teen
And peevish teen and broody teen
And snarky, cranky, livid, dark, abhorrent teen,

But the worst of all disorder
Would be passing cross the border
With her link to social networks lost to quarantine.
Light verse, ripped from the headlines

Sun Singer said...

Yep, gotta have MySpace and Facebook. Wait to your publicist finds out about Red Barn and Ning.

I got tired of the Facebook applications. Hey, I'm supposed to be writing!

It's marketing, right, not a hobby--that's what I keep telling myself.


P.S. Yep, we're on each other's friends lists on MySpace even though we wouldn't recognize each other in the produce department of the local Food Lion.

John Jeter said...

It's kind of hard to navigate myspace and Facebook when you don't have the technical skills of like, a 15-year-old. But one night, see, I was on, was it myface or Facebook, and this Mafia Game application popped up, right? Fugedaboudit. You get hooked, henh? So, see, you start this Family (hear the raspy voice of Don "Lapsed Episcopalian" John here) and you start doing "jobs" and collecting "tools," but then you need "associates" and "family members." Which means you need more friends on Facebook. Which gets you back to needing a teenager to help you gather up more and more friends to help you collect the "energy" points you need to play the game, er, application. That's when I quit. Perhaps Facebook should instead have a virtual Gardening Application. Or a virtual Nurture Large Pets App. Or maybe a Get Back to Your Work and Get Off Facebook and The Internet ... then, well ... Okay, so, anyway, I got started on all this because, -- hey, it was GREAT to see Joshilyn Jackson giving a Working the Web seminar on my own home turf today. Likewise, I'm very much looking forward to hearing her read at my very own concert hall, The Handlebar in Greenville, SC, tomorrow 8/25 (And, Karin, thank you for blurbing my upcoming novel, THE PLUNDER ROOM. You're so awesome. On second thought, I'm going BACK to the Web and keep doing this blog/Facebook/myspace thing. It's an offer I can't refuse.

My Bambino said...

Great Post.....

I found your site on stumbleupon and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

Thanks for sharing....