Dear Friends, Colleagues and Fellow FileMaker Enthusiasts,
You know the old saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Well, I’m here to tell you that having experienced it first hand, I’m not feeling even remotely flattered. Pissed off? Yes. Violated? Yes. But not flattered, and not amused. Here’s the short version:
Here’s a longer version: Last year a colleague wrote to ask why I wasn’t using my logo on my Twitter postings. Me: “I don’t do Twitter.” Him: “Sure you do, I’m one of your followers!”
Now it so happens that I don’t care for Twitter in particular, or social media in general. I am reclusive by nature, and try to limit my online persona to my web site, this blog, and participation in a few FileMaker discussion forums.
I’ve done a bit of reading about Twitter impersonation, and it’s very difficult to get Twitter to suspend an account, regardless of how much damage it may be doing to the person being impersonated. Basically, I would have to prove that this person is “actively misleading users or claiming to be affiliated with or owned by your company.” Nonetheless, I belatedly registered @fmhacks and attempted to resolve the issue via standard Twitter channels… which accomplished very little.
As a result of my complaints, Twitter did apparently contact this person, because he/she masked the URL — it used to be a straight pointer to http://www.filemakerhacks.com, now it’s http://bit.ly/qu81JP — and also changed his/her display name from “FileMakerHacks” to “FileMakerHack”.
My biggest concern at the moment is that a number of followers in the Twitterverse are under the impression that they are interacting with me, and that I make moronic requests like this…
…or banter thus:
Here are some responses I received when I shared my concerns with a few colleagues:
First, I thought @filemakerhacks was you, dude! Finding out that it’s not is a big surprise. I would definitely blog about the issue, and in that blog post I think I might put something along the lines of: “If you appreciate these blog posts, please contact @filemakerhacks and ask that person to stop impersonating me.” Something along those lines. I, for one, would gladly contact Twitter on your behalf and complain.
Sorry to hear about this. It always astounds me how anyone can derive pleasure from being malicious and dishonest.
One thing you can do is just flag them as spam in your twitter client, and start a campaign to get other people to do the same thing. They suspend accounts pretty quickly when they get spam notices that they can verify (I’m just suggesting that that might get you into a different channel more willing to use an axe).
I have to chime in, even though I’ve never tweeted and may not be able to contribute anything except moral support. I’m dumfounded. Appalled. Outraged. I was sputtering as I read your message. Talk about leaving no good deed unpunished. After all you’ve contributed to the FileMaker community over the years, from early helpful Anchor-Buoy presentations, to the many informative posts on FileMaker Hacks (yes, I read and archive every one), this impostor has some nerve. Please let me know what I can do to help get the offender’s Twitter account suspended. I’d even create an account myself if that would enable me to do something useful on your behalf. Do post about it to your blog, as an article, on the Home and About pages. Please don’t suffer in silence!
Without being melodramatic, I will say that I have lost sleep over this, felt demoralized, and wondered whether I ought to simply shut this blog down and move on with my life. It has consumed many, many hours of my life, and I have no doubt whatsoever that the quality (and frequency) of my postings here on FileMaker Hacks has suffered as a direct result of this impersonation.
This site currently gets between 300 and 1200 hits per day, so I know at least a few people in the FileMaker Community consider it to be a worthwhile resource. It’s a part of who I am, and I still have things I want to write about. And of course it’s not just me: Beverly Voth, Bruce Robertson, Jason DeLooze, Geoff Gerhard, Andries Heylen, John Ahn, Osamu Noda and John Weinshel have made substantial contributions to this blog… both directly and indirectly. (Apologies to anyone I’ve forgotten.) And I get so much back in return; I am a better FileMaker developer because of the comments, corrections and demo files you share publicly and privately.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.