The whole series of events is bizarre. In my entire adult life or, at least, the time I should have been acting like an adult, I've never had to prove what my name was to anybody. However, so many of you came through, and I so appreciate your friendship, support and especially taking the time to help me fight the battle!
January 7 may well go down as the strangest day of my entire life to date.
A week or so before Christmas I had a problem with two Facebook pages. I followed the procedure to report a broken feature and got an auto-response, thanking me for my feedback. After ten days of multiple requests for help I tried Twitter and contacting @Facebook. Again only canned responses giving me a link to their "how to report a problem" page!
Frustrated with their policy of being robots, I published an open letter to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. Less than twenty-four hours later I got a request to confirm my name! I responded with links to books I've co-authored and a screen shot of my name in the Google search box and the first page of links.
I love Facebook and find it's terrific for reaching photographers. Since that's my business, at 4:00 am yesterday morning I sent them more information: my driver's license, gun license and a detailed explanation of why my government issued I.D's are "Steven." rather than "Skip". I got a message telling me my name couldn't be confirmed. Somebody named "Jesse" never read what I had sent and booted me out of Facebook.
I published a new open letter to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. My wife Sheila had an idea to show them my birth announcement that you'll see if you missed the post. Then I had another idea and put out an email for help to a whole bunch of great friends and associates. What happened from that point on was pretty remarkable.
Facebook was buried in confirmations that my name is indeed "Skip". One good buddy even designed the "Free Skip" artwork above. That piece was picked up by even more friends, often people I don't even know. At 9:15 PM I received the email below:
The original problems that started all of this still exist. There is nothing in their Q&A that explains what's happened or how to fix it. The mere fact that "Andrei" couldn't just pick up a phone and say, "Sorry" speaks volumes. Plus, they're still trying to send me to their Q&A.
While I'd love to think they've learned a lesson as a few million impressions were created over the issue, I don't think Facebook is about to develop a much better sense of customer service. I'm sure the challenges I had yesterday have already been replaced by the frustrations of thousands of other people in Facebook with issues just as absurd.
However, I've learned a valuable lesson, starting with getting some of my eggs out of the Facebook basket. I've learned to trust my network and I'm especially grateful for the support of an industry I sincerely love. So, I'm back to those two totally inadequate words that mean so much: thank you!
And, yes, my name really is "Skip"!