Like most people these days, I have a number of social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, etc. Frankly speaking however, I typically use them only in connection with my writing: announcing a new release, connecting with readers, and so on.
Anyway, about a month or so ago, I'm messing around on Facebook, checking my messages and such, when I enter this area called "Message Requests." Holy Quacamole! It's got a bunch of messages in it that I've never seen before. I feel bad because some of them are from readers of my series. Even worse, several of them have been sitting there for years!
On top of that, there's another link that says "See filtered requests." Guess what? It's got more messages in it (and again, some are from readers).
I immediately begin writing people back, trying to explain and apologizing profusely: "I didn't know these messages existed... I just found them... Please don't judge me too harshly..."
Oddly enough, I went through a similar experience with Google not too long ago. Apparently in your gmail account there's a closing quotation mark that hangs out near the bottom left corner of the page. When you hover over it, a little description pops up that says, "Hangout conversations." I seemingly went for years without even noticing the symbol, but one day I accidentally clicked on it and guess what? Messages popped up. They were from people asking about my writing, and once again, they were years old. (And again, I hastily scrambled to reach out and apologize.)
In short, two of the accounts I generally use to connect with people seem to be hiding the ball when it comes to delivering messages. I feel like I'm playing three-card monte, trying to guess where my messages might be. (But to be fair, in the case of FB, I think this shuffling of messages is supposed to serve almost as a spam filter - i.e., messages in your inbox are from people you've friended, but "Message Requests" and "Filtered Requests" are from people you haven't friended.)
Of course, in the great scheme of things, this really isn't a big deal. However, I like connecting with readers, and I hate to think that I may have given the impression of being a standoffish lout who's too good to hobnob with the people who read his work. (What else do you think of a guy who blows you off for years?) Anyway, I'm now keeping a closer eye on the aforementioned areas to make sure nothing else slips through. However, I can't help wondering if I'm somehow missing similar chances to connect on other social media platforms. Who else is playing a shell game with me and hiding the ball?