Gracious Grateful Greedy

I am greedy.   It’s a horrible thing to admit to, but anyone who knows me well knows it is true.   I hope that enough of the time I also manage to be gracious and grateful  (two other traits that fairly describe me) that my friends put up with my greedyness.   And I try hard never to push it.

As I write this I have 9 draft posts.   A couple of them are posts that I started but didn’t get around to finishing and the rest are three word suggestions I have received from my readers.    I am writing this post (about three words that describe me, rather than Just Three Words suggested by my readers) because I very much want and need more three word suggestions.     Even if you have previously suggested three words,   please suggest three more now.   I strongly prefer that they be three random words,  rather than a phrase.   I also ask that they not be the three keywords you try hardest to match for.    An article about three key words will either come out great or awful.   I love it when these posts turn out great but I do try hard to avoid awful.

It amuses me that I have been hearing more and more grousing from G+ users.   One user is upset– his profile has been suspended and he has made changes and re-submitted it several times but can’t seem to get it approved.  (Of course it is impossible to actually contact someone who could explain why the profile does not meet their criteria.)    I started to tell him the thing to do is to selectively remove content and then re-submit until it gets approved,  but refrained from suggesting that.   Another friend seems to hate G+ even more than I do.   He said something like G+ is as if the Star Wars folks made a social network for action figures.     I’m not sure I agree with that assessment,  though I found it striking.

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Google–Progress on + (Still a LONG way from consumer-friendly)

So it was reported recently that web search behemoth Google has reversed itself on it’s policy of requiring “wallet names”  and face photos on all Plus accounts.   Color me not surprised.    I’ve previously written numerous times about my dislike for Plus.   And while I didn’t blog about it,  I’m pretty sure that I did publicize on Facebook when I summarily quit Google Plus,  in solidarity with some friends from Second Life whose avatar accounts on G+ were summarily removed by Google a few months back.

From my own long years of experience in blogs, forums and other online communities I know that while credibility and being able to believe in the people you deal with online are very important,  I also know that knowing their real name,  date of birth and street address are not real big factors in figuring out whom is trustworthy online.  My friend Non Pop Squidoo for example  is a great source for info about a certain kind of music and sometimes makes great contributions to discussions.   That I don’t know her “wallet name” is totally irrelevant to that.   As it happens after many years I do know cardiogirl‘s  real name.   But I don’t even remember it offhand as I write this post– our has been a blogged based relationship– we see each other on blogs and don’t really connect much on Facebook or other sites.

Google has a long history of making products that are great technically but often suck socially.   My friends who are rah rah rah’ing about G+  these last six months or so  are not still using Google Buzz or any of the big G’s other failed social apps.     And it is possible that G+ will grow to a point of becoming so ubiquitous as that even curmudgeons like me will be forced to use it.    In my considered opinion,  that day remains far in the future.

My Umpteenth Fresh Start

The longer I continue blogging,  the more and more I come to respect my old friend Bev,  who has been publishing a daily online journal for more than ten years now.   Funny The World  is an amazing site, and I can’t even begin to say how impressed I am that Bev has kept it up literally EVERY day for all of these years.

My new years resolutions are 1) to continue working on getting healthier  2) to write my advanced Empire Avenue book and 3) to try to keep up this journal every day.    Honestly,  I know that I am never going to take many photographs and will probably use free images like the one above.   But I really am going to try to post to this personal blog every day,  and share just a bit of my life and thoughts here.     I know I still need to do a bit of tinkering with the theme  (it may be Tumblr’s influence but I find I actually like the sidebarless very spare theme WordPress defaulted to.    And I am thrilled that I can go ahead and post,  before I fix the theme,  upload images or buy a domain.  WordPress rules!

By my count this is the sixth or seventh time I’ve posted a renewed commitment to regularly updating this blog.   I certainly can’t guarantee that I won’t again lose interest and drift away from it for long stretches.   But the new year seems a good time to try to begin a new habit.   And I half suspect if I get into the habit of writing here every day,  sooner or later the habit part will take over,   Or maybe it’s like quitting smoking and you have to try and try and try again before you quite manage it.    Here’s to new year’s resolutions.

Social Media Motifs

My friend Holly wrote a piece yesterday about the rather small number of motifs that all fiction can theoretically be reduced to.    I’m familiar with the point and it is a good one–  there really is nothing new under the sun and most all novels tell one of the same old stories,  in a unique new way.   And the idea of the same old stories being endlessly repeated certainly resonates with me in my social medial activities these days.   Sometimes it seems that every other thread I read deals with one of a handful of seemingly endless arguments.

The “Google + is the greatest thing since sliced bread” threads  (now numbering 12,344,963,021 as of 7/14/2011 05:29 GMT) aren’t really arguments.    While I am definitely underwhelmed with G+ and very frustrated at Google’s inability to let me use one account to access all of their services I desire,   I am hardly a strident critic of Plus itself– it seems to me ridiculously early to be passing any sort of judgment about a brand new product still in beta.

Another debate,  which is a bit livelier is over whether it is okay to Like or +1 your own material.  Some argue that it is simply basic SEO, while others feel that it is silly, tacky or even unethical to to Like yourself.   I don’t see it as an ethical issue, really,  and I’m sure the SEO advocates have a valid point.   But I am so trained by years of using StumbleUpon to be very restrained in giving thumbs up to my own material  (like yourself often on SU and you get sent to a kind of purgatory– click up all you want,  no one will Ever see those posts) that I really just can’t bring myself to Like and Plus myself.   Luckily I seem to have friends who are willing to do it for me.

The question “what is spam” certainly brings out strong feelings.   Most everyone hates spam.  Most everyone is certain that they themselves do not spam.   Yet the beat goes on.   Those who have things up so that every time they type 140 characters they score 1 tweet, 1 blog post (on Tumblr), and 1 Facebook post certainly don’t think of themselves as spammers,  though other folks certainly do.   There are  lots of gray areas,  reasonable arguments about different audiences on different sites and it seems to me the chances of this question being definitively resolved within the lifetimes of anyone who will read this are, pretty much, nil.

The most contentious perpetual argument on Empire Avenue is,  I have come to believe,  “What IS A Blog?”   Those who read my earlier piece with that title will recall that it is not a simple question, but rather a sorting mechanism that pits creators against curators against copiers.    And which participants may accurately be sorted into which of these categories and when generates,  I have come to believe between a third and half of all conversation on the Avenue, in the communities and in the Facebook groups.  (The G+ crowd is so busy crowing about plus,  that they ignore even this most insoluble of the endless social media arguments.)

While I can at least hope that some of the hype around plus will eventually die down and we can have a chance to use it and work with it and see what it can and can’t do and importantly how Google handles the issues that will inevitably arise as they roll out Plus to the entire planet.  I quietly point  out that Google does not have an especially enviable record for user satisfaction, and is very Facebook like in making it pretty much impossible for users to contact a human been for support when something goes wrong.    There isn’t really anything new in social media.   Only people clever enough to have the same old discussions in ways that seem new all over.

Sometimes….

Sometimes I just hate Google.    Long time readers of my books blog will recall some years back that it was a change on Blogspot (which required anyone commenting on a post to sign in with Google or Open ID and did not allow one to comment leaving just your name, e-mail and URL) that finally got me to move the books blog over to WordPresss.     I railed against Google at the time,   and was pleased that they after a time changed it back.     Indeed I probably would not have used Blogspot for this new personal blog,  if they had not made that important change.

While reading the zillionth or so person’s observation the other day about how bad Facebook sucks,  I find myself thinking the other day about how much I dislike having become basically a pawn of a few huge companies online.    We all know how bad Facebook sucks.  particularly in terms of their privacy policy and their complete lack of customer service.  (Unless of course you are an advertiser– a friend tells me that advertisers can get someone on the phone or to answer an e-mail;  my friend explains to me that Facebook users are not Facebook’s customers.)    And the same of course is true of other huge online companies.    Those of us who use g-mail are definitely Google users, rather than customers.    This started off as a post about how frustrated I was at not being able to get into Google+.

You have to understand that for years my primary Google account has been based on a typo.   Way back in the MUD days  (if you don’t know what that is, you are an online NEWCOMER who needs to remember her manners– don’t care how much Klout you have) I used the handle outofit.  Out of it.   That was how I often felt when I first began hanging out with some friends from Compu$erve on Timewarp  (telnet: quark.gmi.edu:5150).    To get to Timewarp I typed  that string at ! Unix prompt.   The Unix shell account I bought and accessed over dial-up from my local ISP was the only way for folks not connected to an .edu or a .gov  to get online.    So it was,  very early in my blogging career when I set up a new Blogger account  (long before gMail days btw) that I chose my old handle outofit.     I’d used it for a number of years and had not yet conceived my libdrone handle that became the one I try to promote everywhere and always.    Silly me.   I typoed  ouofoit  into the account creation box and quite failed to notice the typo before I submitted it.    For all of these years I have published multiple blogs while logged in as ouofoit@gmail.com,  an address I never gave to any of my friends.   And which I never connected to the web of a dozen or so e-mail addys I use,  all of which forward into the one gMail box I actually use to manage all email correspondence  drone@libdrone.info.

This last bit proved to be critical.    I received dozens of invites to +  from different friends at lots of e-mail addys.   And every time I clicked to join in the fun,  I got an error that + requires Profile and your organization is not allowed profiles.  (gMail on my own domains,  the free plan).     I finally added a profile and displayed my real name with my very old typo ouofoit and after waiting about,  voila,  I am accessing the Plus and busy finding and adding all my Facebook friends.      Time was I talked about how using different handle for different parts of your life enabled you to pursue even specialized interests with very different groups of friends,  who have little in common with each other and whom you don’t want to mix with each other.     Google +   with its circles feature seems prepared to enable you to finally do just that with your primary social media logins.     How ironic that on Google +  I am a 4 year old typo come to life.