Stuff That Makes Us Uncomfortable: When Fictional Characters Just Want to Be Facebook Friends


Confidential to all TWILIGHT fans: Stop making MySpace pages for Bella Swan (like this one). Really. It’s not your enthusiasm for the books we find objectionable (full disclosure: we read all four vampire-romance novels in a single week) but simply that you’re not her.

Hell, you’re not even STEPHANIE MEYER, the author who breathed life (er—eternal life?) into the raven-haired heroine of this intensely popular book series (and soon-to-be-released movie).

If anyone should be creating Bella’s online profile (selecting which photos she’d share, dashing off an About Me description in her voice) it should be Ms. Meyer. But to be honest, even then, picking up where the books leave off by developing her online persona seems entirely unnecessary — and definitely weird.

Because ravenous as we all may be for more Bella (not to mention Edward), one thing is certain: She’s. Not. Real.

Let us be clear: Our ire isn’t reserved solely for those who impersonate Twilight‘s protagonist online — actually, it applies to any rabid book fan who chooses to embody a fictional character on a social networking site. There’s just something creepy about reading blog posts or receiving status updates from HOLDEN CAUFIELD or CARRIE BRADSHAW (or simply knowing that someone cares enough to send them out in the first place).

Case in point: Even book publishers — who recognize Facebook and MySpace as inexpensive avenues for promoting the next big thing on their lists — are wary of giving characters their own pages. Explains HILLARY TISMAN, Advertising and Promotions Manager for PANTHEON and SCHOKEN BOOKS, “New-media managers say that it just works better to create author pages or book pages than pages for characters – you don’t want to alienate readers.”

So seriously, people — quit alienating the rest of us with your Bella (or whoever) pages. Become a Facebook fan of Stephanie Meyer or list Twilight among your favorite books — we promise we won’t mock you for that. But don’t try to think, speak or type for Bella. She can’t even do it for herself.

– Jane Nussbaum

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