The following column will be understood and appreciated only by people familiar with Facebook. Even then it may not be appreciated much, and I would certainly understand. If you’re not a Facebook user, congratulations! You are up to 68% more productive than the rest of society (I know this statistic is true; I read it on Facebook). Not only that, you’ll get the added bonus of not reading beyond this paragraph, and I’m sure you can find something productive to do with that time, too, like organizing your sock drawer, if you have one of those.
To further limit the audience (because we’re so adept at that in the bluegrass world), it will also be necessary for you to have some familiarity with the music of the Stanley Brothers.
So, for those of you still with me: In the last couple of days, Facebook users were barraged by their own friends with warnings not to accept a friend request from “Jayden K. Smith” who is supposedly a dastardly hacker who has super-hacker powers to hook into your computer, steal your information, and, we assume, drain your bank accounts, run up your credit cards, and possibly replace you on a gig.
The message runs something like this: “Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept a Jayden K. Smith friendship request. He is a hacker and has the system connected to your Facebook account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it.”
This is naturally a hoax, and not a terribly new one, either.
Jayden K. Smith is well-covered on the Snopes web site, the leading debunker of urban legends and hoaxes. He’s ranked #1 right now on the Snopes top 50, even ahead of stories like “Body of Elderly Homeless Man Identified as Elvis Presley?” and “Great White Sharks Spotted in Mississippi River?” It describes this hoax as long-running, with other names being subbed in and out through the years, like “Anwar Jitou,” or “Stefania Colac” (though I personally believe Stefania really is a hacker).
Though I’m now more selective in my friend-accepting, I have at one time accepted a lot of friends I didn’t know at all, “rank strangers,” if you will. Usually the worst thing that ever happened to me was that someone posted spam advertising on my profile. I do know never to accept friend requests from people I’m already friends with. They’re fake people, possibly Russians, or possibly “a guy sitting on his bed who weighs 400 pounds,” maybe both.
Jayden K. Smith the Hacker is also a fake person. He’s so fake that the fake him doesn’t even exist. It’s all pretty tedious, but thinking about Jayden, Facebook, and friend requests from strangers inspired the following song, sung to the tune of “Rank Stranger”:
The Ballad of Jayden K. Smith
I wandered again to the web site called Facebook
Where in 2012 I was happy and free
But now it’s reduced to tired old hoaxes
Will someone just post a cat picture for me?
Everybody I met seemed to warn me of Jayden
Jayden K. Smith was a hacker to fear
Accept his request and he’ll steal all your info
So warn all your friends like I warned you, dear
(Alternate last line: “So warn all your friends and then have a beer”)
I fully acknowledge that neither last line is very strong, and honestly the whole thing could have benefited from a co-writer, or maybe just more time than the seven minutes I devoted to it. Also, my original third line of the chorus was “Accept his request and he’ll steal all your chickens”—which I thought sung better—but decided that “info” was more relevant to the subject. Meter note: sing “2012” as “two-thousand twelve.” Or don’t; I’m not that picky at this point.
My attempt at a second verse:
But I moved along, giving no thought to Jayden
I’d had requests from rank strangers before
All they ever did was pitch me sunglasses
I figure that’s what unfriending is for
With sincerest apologies to Carter Stanley. By the way, do not accept a friend request from anyone named “Carter Stanley.”
Next week: are bluegrass college programs actually preparing students for more lucrative careers than they might have had as literature or anthropology majors?