That’s a great question. For the last few weeks, Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist has been silent on social media. It’s odd because she typically shares empowering posts every day, and publishes a blog post roughly once a week. However, for weeks her social media presence has been… absent.
So where did Marlene go? Why would she suddenly with no warning stop posting? Why did Marlene Dillon Empowerment Specialist go silent?
Simple. Facebook locked her account.
If you follow me on social media you know that my motto is “I.U.S.E. people. Inspire. Uplift. Support. Encourage/Empower.” That’s my standard for all my posts. They have to fall into one of those categories. And even when I write one of my venting posts, I warn you that I’m venting, and still try to find a way to make it empowering at least by the end.
Apparently Facebook is unaware of my intentions, as “they” started to flag random posts warning me for being inappropriate. Posts that said things like, “You deserve to be happy,” were getting taken down for going “against community standards.” Posts that could in no way be misconstrued as inappropriate—that I shared with my audience after being flagged and everyone commented on how confused on why I was being reprimanded. Then, on January 13, 2023, when I went to do my usual scrolling, I was met with the words, “Marlene, we locked your account. We take this step to keep your account safe when we detect unusual activity…. To protect you, your profile is not visible to people on Facebook and you can’t use your account.”
Apparently, the frequently mentioned “algorithms” (computerized processes and protocols programmed to decide if human posts are appropriate for social media) have chosen to incorrectly flag, block, and “jail” certain positive accounts for non-offenses—while spammers, hackers, and purveyors of hate, violence, and pornography get to post freely. I was pissed, and really sad.
The blocked me from doing what I love to do. It brings me joy to share uplifting content. It brings me peace to check on people when I read between the lines of their posts and wonder if they are truly okay. It makes me smile to share songs and stories and personal development practices with my friends via Messenger. I was blocked from from connecting in my way and that hurt.
I have friends all over the world who I connect with primarily via Messenger. it was just weeks prior that one of my business coach friends cautioned me about using Facebook exclusively for my business. She warned that I could lose all my contacts if the algorithm ever boxed me out. She was right. (I should’ve listened to her, but I hate email. Ewww!) I actually requested a download of all my content after her warning, but I didn’t follow up and make sure I received it. I didn’t make it urgent, because I didn’t see this coming…. well not so soon. (FYI – If you choose to do request your content, make sure you go back to download it. They don’t just email it to you in a huge ZIP file. You have to download it from Facebook within a certain time period after they tell you your files are ready or you have to make the request all over again. I digress.)
Like I said, they’ve been flagging me for non-offenses on and off for a while. That was annoying. When they put me on probation from running ads because I refused to show them my government ID, I waited them out. When they fully blocked me from running ads because I didn’t resolve the issue in a timely manner, I let that go. But when they not only locked me out of my account, but made my page invisible so people couldn’t even visit and check out old content, that hurt.
Honestly, it took me out emotionally for the first week and a half or so. I have old classmates and international friends that I connect with exclusively via Messenger. I have people I regularly check on because I know they’re going through hard times. I coach people via Messenger. My gratitude partner and I connect daily before bed to share what we’re grateful for each day. As an introvert, social media is my social life. I don’t go out. I spend quality time with my daughter, go grocery shopping, and buy gas so I can do it all over again.
Getting shut down by Facebook made me a legit recluse. I was devastated. I couldn’t even create content. I was coming off of one of the toughest years of my life and I just couldn’t take another blow. I couldn’t just keep going like usual. I had to sit and process life, slow down, and make peace with what happened….
So that’s where I’ve been. I took a woosah. Honestly, I still haven’t unlocked my account. They want me to show ID and all that and I don’t want to, but that’s the only way to unlock it, and I don’t want to lose all my connections…. Facebook hasn’t provided any specific reasons for locking my account, but one interesting thing a friend noted is that, including me, she knows only three people who’ve had locked accounts. All three are empowering, Black female coaches.
Now, let’s get to the empowerment….
Two core beliefs I’ve adopted over the last few years, are “things happens for me, not to me,” and “all things work together for good.” These beliefs have helped me navigate this time. Although it’s been hard not being able to connect in the ways I’m used to, I chose to look for the blessings in this situation. And it’s pushed me to grow and evolve. As much as I don’t enjoy email, maybe I will find a way to maintain my audience with a low maintenance email list. I know for sure, I’m gathering contact info for the people I don’t want to accidentally lose again.
I learned from this. No outside entity should be able to shut down my work and my whole network with one unexpected move. This irritating experience has helped me to recognize a problem in my current setup that I need to rectify immediately. Sometimes unexpected calamities help us make better choices moving forward. Some people say to make lemonade from lemons. I choose to look for the blessings in every situation.
When life throws us challenges, it’s normal, and natural, to have human reactions. Some things take us a while to overcome, while others may take a lifetime. For me, I find it empowering to give myself a minute to process, then I look for the blessings. That habit didn’t come easy. It’s a practice. I really struggled with being grateful and positive when it came to my own life. I can easily find the silver lining in other people’s situations. This is how my daily gratitude practice began. My friend and I decided that we would start small, and find just one thing in our entire day to be grateful for and share it with each other. We’ve been doing it for years, now. That small practice got me in the habit of looking for blessings in my day.
So now, when things go wrong, I have my human reactions, then, I pause and look for the blessings. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. I still look for the blessings. When the toxic relationship with my ex ended, I wasn’t excited. I was hurt. I thought we’d be together forever. After a few days of processing, it still hurt, but I began to see how much worse our relationship would’ve gotten over time. And I realized I was blessed it was over. I still had hurt to process, but it was a blessing to know I was free. When my Mom got really sick—and I mean, ICU “Is she going to make it?” sick—I was confused and devastated. Then, I was grateful for my friend who advised me to call the ambulance. I was grateful for the kind nurses who treated her respectfully, and treated us with kindness. I was grateful for the bouquet of artificial flowers I made for her that brought her so much joy (since real flowers aren’t allowed in the Intensive Care Unit of many hospitals). And when my dear friend was tragically killed and her kids went to live with their dad, it took me a while to find blessings. However, in time I heard stories of their faith and positivity, and how they made peace with her passing, on a level that still baffles me. Their serenity, despite all that was going on, blessed me….
Life can throw us some unexpected blows, and we get to feel how we feel. We get to process. And then, we get to look for the blessings.
(See. Found some already. 😂)
*** In an upcoming post, I’ll share another blessing of this season of social media silence.***