Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pardon the interruption of horse racing ...

Many of my horse racing friends, business associates and contacts are Facebook users, and they've encouraged me to join the world's most popular and fast-growing social networks.

But I resisted, primarily not really needing the added distraction from cyberspace. And in part because my daughter swears I'll "love her less" if I do. (That, my dear baby girl, will never happen.)

That is, I resisted until my son left for Japan at the end of August. And (once his flaky Dell laptop started working again) he launched a blog about his experiences there. But he decided that he was going to put all the pictures from his junior year abroad only on Facebook.

So, on Monday around 11 a.m. EDT, I signed up for Facebook. In the signup process, I sent some friend requests to family members and a couple of the people who have sent me Facebook "invitations" in the past. My first Facebook friend (a guy I haven't seen in years, which has been a serious social omission on my part) confirmed seemingly within an instant, and I placed a message on his "wall."

Then my browser crashed. And when I tried to login again, immediately after restarting the computer, Facebook gave me an error message saying the site was "undergoing maintenance" and to "try again in a few hours."

More than one person told me this was no surprise, because "Facebook sucks." Hardly ringing endorsements of such a popular service. Apparently Facebook is struggling to keep up with its popularity and growth. And Facebook is doing lots of hiring; unfortunately it appears that none of those jobs are in customer service.

Anyway, "a few hours" later, I still couldn't login. This time I was told that my e-mail address and password were an "incorrect combination." I tried resetting my password, but was told that the e-mail address I'd submitted with the request was "invalid."

Over the course of the week, I submitted so many e-mails to Facebook support that I've lost count. I completed two different "trouble" forms on FB's tech support pages. I responded to an e-mail from "the Facebook team" asking for screenshots of the error messages I was receiving; I sent them three. I filled out an online survey at the request of "the Facebook team" asking for further information about my problem. And I responded to an e-mail from "the Facebook team," sent ostensibly just to make sure there was a real person attached to the e-mail address I was using for signup.

Around 10 a.m. Friday, some 95 hours after I first experienced problems, I finally got a definitive -- and definitely frustrating -- response from "the Facebook team."

"We currently do not have a registration under this email address. Unfortunately, you will need to go through the sign up process again."

No registration under my e-mail address? This prompted me to ask:

-- Why then do I have 14 friend confirmations or friend requests from Facebook users, with all of the notifications sent to me by Facebook at this same e-mail address?

-- How is it that four different people have sent me messages through my Facebook page or written on my wall?

-- Why can I search Facebook externally and find only five users named "Glenn Craven" apparently in the entire Facebook universe, including one who bears a striking resemblance to the strikingly ... striking ... dude whose picture is also on this page? (And how hard would it be for a "Facebook team" member with full access to the network to figure out which one of those five is supposed to be me?)

-- Why, at 11:14 a.m. Monday, did Facebook send me an account confirmation e-mail which included not just a link to confirm my signup (which I did click and confirm), but also my 10-digit account confirmation code? (A code that I forwarded back to the Facebook team on Friday.)

-- And, even if I do start over (something that Facebook help pages repeatedly and specifically told me not to do), what does Facebook intend to do about my supposedly non-existent account ... the account to which my own mother today sent a friend request? Will that page of the me-who-doesn't-exist at least be deleted to avoid further confusion?

Of course, another 54 hours later, I have no response from Facebook to any of those questions. And I'm disinclined to follow their instructions and create a second account at least until Facebook drives a stake through the heart of my undead first self.

So for those of you who are friends, family and equine-biz acquaintances of mine, I apologize. I'll be joining you on Facebook when Facebook helps me get this silliness straightened out.

Because I really want to see my boy's pictures from Japan.


  1. Glenn, your son is an excellent writer. Is it junior year for college or HS?

  2. Thanks, Sid. He is a junior in college, pursuing a double-major in philosophy and east Asian studies at Brandeis University.

  3. If it helps any, I can successfully search for you. The profile URL for you is:

  4. I definitely have a presence. Facebook itself seems to be the only one who doesn't know it. :-)


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