The new rules of social media, gaming apps


Did I sleep in on the day that the social media rules changed?
I’m not talking about privacy settings on Facebook, and I think we all know not to accept a friend request from a 65-year-old man in Nicaragua who has just two friends.
Here’s what I’m talking about – and it actually doesn’t have much of anything to do with Facebook.
I have a few games on my iPhone, and I’ve been known to tinker with Candy Crush or Tetris while I’m waiting on a doctor’s appointment or getting my oil changed. A few years back my parents got into Words with Friends, so I downloaded it and promptly got schooled by both of them – even my dad who likes to say that if asked to spell “dog,” he’d have to buy a vowel.
Well, lately, this little scrabble game has been setting players up with random people who have similar skill levels. If I’m watching a movie and screwing around on my phone, sure, I’ll accept a request to play a little Words with Friends.
Now here’s the part that makes me literally laugh out loud. I got a series of messages from some random dude that went like this:
May 28: “Hello.” (4:08 a.m.)
May 28: “How your day going with you?” (1:33 p.m.)
June 3: “How was your night?” (6:49 a.m.)

Then … and it gets good, y’all. I’m just sitting around minding my own business on the afternoon of June 6 and my phone dings with this gem:
“You refuse to reply all messages be sent to you by me … well, I think after this round of match I won’t rematch with you again … you don’t expect me to be playing game with you when I know nothing about you.”
I’ll make it easy for you, player. After I finished laughing, I took a screenshot for the very purpose of writing this column and promptly blocked this creep.
Is this a thing? Can people actually get mad at you for not replying to a message through a scrabble game?
I mean, I understand when someone reconnects with a high school boyfriend over Facebook. I even sort of kind of understand when YOUNG people connect for the first time over these little hook-up apps and dating sites. But Words with Friends?
And this is not the only time it’s happened. I absolutely love the game Song Pop. If you haven’t downloaded it, do it immediately. It lets you pick a list like “1990s Country” or “Top Hits of the 1980s” or “Aerosmith Party Jams” or whatever. Then it plays a song clip with five options and you click on the right song title. It’s the best. My fiancé and I pass my phone back and forth at night trying to out-Song Pop each other. He’s very good at Pink Floyd and Classic Rock; my specialty is Taylor Swift because I am a mature 41-year-old adult.
Anyway, some rando messaged me through Song Pop and said, “You seem very cool. Would you mind if we take our conversation to text outside this game?”
Yep, I mind. First of all, I seem cool? Because I got three out of five right on the list of “Rolling Stones Greatest Hits”?
Don’t you dare ruin Song Pop for me.
And before you start with the, “Good grief, he was just trying to be nice,” well, it’s still creepy to start up a text conversation with a stranger who could be ANYONE. I’m not trying to dramatize this into some sort of cyber-abuse scenario; but I’m saying it’s weird.
I have one exception to my rule regarding online Song Pop chatting, and it is Stephanie K. from Oklahoma. She is the only person who can beat me at “1990s Country” and when she chats me up, she asks about the weather or tells me, “Dang! I hit the wrong button! I knew that was Rascal Flatts.” Such commentary is acceptable, and therefore I extended a Facebook friend request to her. We’re friends now, albeit in a weird distant pen-pal sort of way, but she asks about my family and how the wedding plans are coming and she reads my column in The Sealy News and, most importantly, she is not a creeper.
So let’s get one thing perfectly straight. Sending a life to someone via Candy Crush does not equate to open season on sexting. I haven’t dated since George W. Bush was in office, so forgive me if I don’t want to tell you about my hobbies and my favorite color.
This stuff is just. Plain. Weird.
Can we blame millennials?

April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at


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