Saturday, November 12, 2011

Masquerading Around. . .

Hello Fans:

You're single and you met a guy.  He asks you out on a date, and you're all too thrilled about it.  You go out and buy a new outfit, although he's never seen the clothes in your closet, but you want to make the best impression. 

You schedule an appointment at the hair salon, and your next stop is the nail shop.  You are looking fierce girl, and you know your suitor is going to be pleased to have you on his arm.

He takes you to a nice restaurant.  Conversation is heavy, but fun.  He smiles while he listens to you speak, and you giggle like a school girl at his attempt of being funny.  You like his dimples, and the waves in his barbered haircut.  The two of you hit it off.  You share some of the same interests.  He's into sports, and so are you.  He tells you he enjoys the theater and good movies, and so do you.  Everything is going right on this first date, and it's now time for it to end.  He takes you home, and you invite him in for a drink.  He happily accepts.  The two of you get comfortable, and the next thing you know you're in the throws of passion on the sofa.  All you basically know about this guy is his name, what he said he does for a living, but not much else.  You now find yourself in a relationship, and it feels good.  This is a new fresh start with a guy you barely know, but you'll work it out as time advances.

Three months have passed since your first date, and you're starting to notice some things about your man you don't like.  Every time you try to make a point about something, he interrupts you.  The cute little jokes he used to say now feel like personal attacks against you.  That sexy black dress you wore on your first date has all of a sudden become a problem for him, and doesn't want you to wear anymore.  He wants all your attention and time, and doesn't want you hanging around your girlfriends, although when you met him in the club, it was with those same friends.  You notice when he's around you and his cell phone rings, he takes the call into another room.  When you ask what is wrong, he says nothing.  He doesn't call you as much, and when he does, he comes to your apartment late in the night, and then quickly rolls out in the morning.  One of your girlfriends mentions they've seen your man out at the club pushing up on some other chick.  When you confront him about it, he spins it around on you, to take the heat off of him.  Suddenly, this dream man you met three months ago is turning into one big nightmare, cause girlfriend, let's face it, you've been here before, so you recognize the signs.

Does the scenario above sound familiar to some of you?  All that hope and promise you threw into meeting a new person~~suddenly appears to have changed overnight.  Do you want to know why?  Each and every person wears a mask.  Don't confuse dressing up for Halloween as the only time people put on disguises.  We all wear many hats and we sport temporary masks.  This is because many of us do not take the time to get to know a person before we choose to sleep with someone.  So that dream man or woman you met, has on their temporary mask.  They are presenting to you the best of themselves to impress you to get you hooked.  And many fall for it.  As time goes by, layers of the mask begin to peel away, and what is revealed is the true essence of what this person is about, which is why most relationships fail because you don't really know each other.  You fell prey by the temporary mask. 

Life is a gamble, a risk and a game.  We are all players on a large game board called earth.  Some of us are better risk takers than others.  Some of us play the game of life better than others, but at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, everyone does play the fool sometimes, and everyone gets played sometimes too.

The newest game we humans are playing is Social Media.  I don't care how much you abhor the Internet, at some point in time in your life, you will be forced to deal with technology.  There isn't a job created today that doesn't take on some form of electronics.  You can run from technology all you want, but technology will outrun you and that's not a joke, folks!  With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and countless other social media sites, you are bound to run into temporary masks on a more serious level.  Back in the day when people talked face-to-face and interacted with each other, at least you could look at a person and get some type of vibe one way or the other, but with social media, you can't see all the wolves in sheep's clothing.

Social media is the most sinister gamer of our time, and if you don't know what to look out for, you will quickly become its next victim, and unfortunately, I have fallen prey to that, as many others have.  There are people out here that have nothing else better to do than to be hooked up to some electronic device, waiting to strike out at you, and often times while you're surfing, you never even saw it coming.

You log onto your accounts to check out what's happening for the day and notice you have several emails.  Once you open them, the gamers have left you word that they want to talk to you, or perhaps do other things to you that would make you blush.  Even though they clearly know you're in a relationship or married, this doesn't stop the gamers because that means absolutely nothing to them.  They are predators looking for their next kill, and you happen to be it.  They will ask to friend you, and tell you a multitude of things they think you want to hear.  They sell themselves as wanting to be your friend so you'll open up to them.  If you accept their request, they have full reign of your page, that is, if you grant them full access, and they check you out and see what you're all about.

Once you've accepted their friendship, it's up to you how you wish to proceed.  If you don't nip in the bud their advancements right away, you may end up having to block or delete them, but you see what I'm saying.  The Social Media mask is worse than meeting a person because you don't know exactly who the hell you're dealing with.  You can't go by a photograph, because gamers change their photos all the time.  Some gamers change it by the hour, when they are in that type of mood.  They lure you into their groups and call you sister or brother, or perhaps consider you a friend, when in actuality, you know nothing about these people.  For all you know, you could be speaking with a child and not an adult at all.  Or perhaps you're speaking with someone in law enforcement posing as a child or someone else, how do you know?  The fact is. . .you don't.

There are some people that have 5,000 friends on Facebook and over 1,500 connections on LinkedIn and millions upon millions of followers on Twitter and what does it all mean, really?  Who are these so-called followers and friends?  Why do we bother to follow these people at all?  For some of us, we use Social Media as a way to further our sales in what we're marketing.  Whether you're a teacher, entrepreneur, author, photographer, networking group, social media helps us meet the masses.  Because let's face it, it's the quickest way to spread the word around these days.  Unlike the way we used to do things by word of mouth.  Now all one has to do is text a link or upload one, and voila you're message has been airborne.  So you connect with others in your same field to help each other grow, but what you'll sometimes find is, once again, that temporary mask is up. 

There are organizations and people who represent these organizations who claim they are in the business to help your business grow.  Being the risk taker that many of us are, we decide to take them up on their offer, only to learn they were in it for themselves, or they really had no intention on helping you, but rather, finding out all they could glean from you, to help further their cause.  It is those same predators who will introduce you to other predators to take you on a roller coaster ride, and when the deal is done, that's exactly what you came away with, a thrill, but definitely not worth the ride. 

Many gamers have smooth gimmicks they pull or catchy slogans to get you hooked.  You see these everywhere on social media sites.  Want more followers?  Want more fans for your page?  Are you interested in how to get viewers to interact with you?  Click "Like" and learn more!  Then you decide to click on these links and you begin to read, only to discover they are telling you things you already knew, but here's what they aren't telling you.  Many of these groups or individuals who advertise these things have people to help them do this.  I've read about how self-published authors sold millions of ebooks on Amazon, and right away I'm thinking, how they do that?  Only to learn they had an agent in their midst, or they paid over $25K for a promotional company to help them get the word out there, but when you read these articles, or see their ads, you're made to think they did this all on their very own, and the truth is, they paid for that success.  Of course, not in all cases, but more often than not.

So how does one protect himself from these new gamers?  You have to be smarter than them.  It is in your best interest to do some things the old-fashioned way, like ask for references before dealing with these companies.  Talk to other people who have used them and find out what their experiences were.  Investigate these companies on the Internet, instead of inserting yourself on your social media pages.  Call the companies, check with the Better Business Bureau and find out have these groups or individuals been up on charges or have been sued, before you fork over your money to them.  Because that, folks, is the bottom line.  It always boils down to that almighty dollar. 

Just remember, before you put yourself out there in the social media scene, know there are many gamers/predators out there wearing temporary masks.  They are only revealing to you what they want you to see, and trust me they are putting their best foot forward.  If you don't do your homework, that foot could end up being lodged in your behind because you weren't smart.  Just because a package looks all shiny, inviting and pretty on the outside, doesn't mean that the gift inside is worth a damn!  You know the saying, all that glitters isn't gold!  And that's the truth!  As I tell you all the time, be careful of the people you are dealing with on these sites, because some of them are not your friends.

Halloween may be over according to our calendar, but trust and believe, costumes are being worn each and every day!  It's up to you to peel away the layers of that personality first, before you take a person on without really knowing them!  Cause I don't know about you, but I only allow an individual one time to fool me, and that's the last!  You will never get a second shot at making a fool out of me!  Until next weekend, play smart, gamers!

I think this says It All!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet