Saturday, April 16, 2011

How many people can you really be?

Some days,  blog posts seem to just pop up in my mind,  flow quickly through my fingers and keyboard and onto the screen and twenty minutes later,  I am doing something else.   Other days,  like yesterday I type a title,  spend hours searching for an image,  make multiple false starts and never do get around to finishing.

I have been thinking a lot lately about identity and being online.   When I first when online on Compuserve, our "handles" were longer than phone numbers (mine was the very catchy, memorable 74220,741) although most of us had our settings to display our real names next to them online.   I remember being quite surprised when a friend mentioned to me that she was using a pseudonym on Compuserve.   Were people really whom they presented themselves at online?    On local "bulletin board systems" most people only used handles-- though honestly I never spent much time on BBS's.    In the early days of Internet discussion boards and forums (post Usenet, pre-Facebook) the use of handles was pretty standard,  although it varied a great deal as to whether the handles used were readily associated with the user's real names.  

I have friends I've know and talked to for years  (looking at Cardiogirl) whose real names I don't know.  I also have friends whom I've known by both their name on one site and their handle on another site-- and never realized that both were the same person.  (glancing at Lord Zod)   Facebook seems to have a policy of requiring only real names--  I've heard stories of people who have been locked out of FB for using a handle.  Although I have a friend who does.    And it was on FB that I was chatting with some folks about all of this name/handle, online-identity stuff,  and was a bit surprised at how vehement most of these folks are about only using their real names online.  Honestly,  it seems to me that life is sufficiently complex that there can be perfectly legitimate reasons that some parts of one's life are better conducted under a different handle.

Where do you fall on this?   Do you use your real name Everywhere?  or nowhere?   Do you use different handles for different parts of your online life?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

If We All Hate FB, Why The Heck Are We There?

I spend a lot of time online.   I meet and chat with rather a lot of different people.   But I don't recall Ever chatting with anyone who had much nice to say about Facebook.   It's detractors of course are legion.     One woman I know pointedly refuses to get a Facebook account,  saying that the site is data-mining scam that no rational person should ever trust with their personal information.

Many people complain that it is literally _impossible_ to contact them for customer service.   They seem to take feedback only through online reporting mechanisms which often fail to foresee customer's situations,  and since they only allow selecting alternatives,  rather than entering  questions or concerns,  quite fail to anywhere near adequately address situations.   Indeed when one presses the Help Center option on the Account menu, one is presented with a huge array of issues one might need help with.   And information, advice and links are available for any problem Facebook thinks one might be having can be readily found for each of these issues.   But nowhere in all of that is there ever any option to call or e-mail for assistance.

Which leads me to ask,  why the heck do so many of us use their service So much,  even though we all should know by now just how difficult it will be to fix things if,  for example, we accidentally delete or get locked out of our accounts.    One user I spoke with-- who is creating FB   page applications for clients,  said simply that his clients are asking for FB apps, so he is coding FB apps.   Apparently,  Facebook is what people want today.   Buy Why?

Welcome To The Browns

I can't say I wasn't warned that one day my share price would stop rising and would then fall,  displayed on the site as a brown, negative number in parentheses after the share price.   I've noticed for a couple of days now that my growth was beginning to level off, so it wasn't exactly a surprise.    But it definitely is not fun.

I'm not sure if I ever did fully figure out what made me so anger about the departed's sudden re-appearance yesterday.   Part of it I came to realize was anger at myself for having been so very drawn in by someone whom I'm beginning to see is largely a very big ego leading what a friend has described as a "social media orgy".   ("It looks more like a circle jerk to me,"  I replied.   She laughed.)   I still have to look at things like Amplify and  and decide what other social media/content-creating things I want to do.    Nice as the ego-stroke is from having a rising share price and dozens of stockholders,  I am realizing that the biggest value from participating in EA lies in occasionally meeting a really special new friend you would not otherwise have ever encountered.      Hopefully then,  my EA-addiction is well on the wane and I can continue having fun with it,  but stop taking it quite so seriously.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Am I So Pissed-Off?

The problem is,  I really don't understand _why_ I'm so pissed off.   I've known the guy for less than a week.  And while I was surprised and a bit stunned by his abrupt departure from the group he created,  honestly it didn't really ruin my day.    And I can't really say I was surprised either, by the fact that a couple of days later he showed up again.

It seems to me reasonable to have been annoyed that he showed up again without a word of explanation.   He simply re-joined the FB group and created a new profile on Empire Avenue.    What really made me angry though is that most of the participants in this group immediately fell all over themselves to welcome him back with open arms.    Not one person requested an explanation.

To be fair, explanations do appear to be forthcoming.   And when he finally broke his silence, he did begin with an apology.    And yet,  two picas to the right of  'I apologize',  he breaks forth immediately into talking about his problems with Facebook  (and again,  to be fair,  I can appreciate them) and then goes on to talk about 'giving everyone a chance to buy in'  before he connects his 'major networks' to the new EA account.   And everyone is slapping him on the back and saying how great it is to see him again.   And I sit here typing this little account of the story and honestly don't know why I am So angry about all this.    Ron downloaded a cartoon once-- it's late at night and the wife in her nightclothes is urging her husband to come to bed.   He waves her off and continues typing away at his computer, calling out to her over his shoulder "I can't stop now, somebody is wrong on the Internet!"  

Honestly,  I don't know who if anyone is "wrong" in this instance.    Nothing seems to be black and white, cut and dried in this instance.    A friend shared with me that what bothers Her is that he's opening up all this drama.   I can handle drama, though, so I don't think that is it for me.   For now,  I continue trying to figure out my feelings about all of this.   And I keep biting my tongue so as not to say much of anything until I can come to understand why I'm so pissed off.

Watching For A Resurrection?

Full Disclosure:  This post has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with Christianity,  share prices, lunar cycles, the sun, the heavens, etc.

I had planned today to blog about my reluctance to Amplify my remarks;  my hesitancy to create my own  newspaper and other various means of giving myself 10 blogs on EA without actually going to the trouble of setting up and maintaining oodles of blogs.   But after playing around with Amplify a bit,  I'm not at all sure what is going on there or what the value and consequences are,   so I put that post on hold to continue a bit along the lines of yesterday's post,  wherein I wrote about death, even though No One Has Died!

My thoughts today turn instead  to the idea of  "resurrection", not because it is getting on towards Easter (although it is) but because the man who disappeared from the group so abruptly on Friday evening appeared, albeit briefly and insubstantially on Sunday.    Weekends are traditionally a slow time online,  although activity often picks up starting Sunday afternoon or evening.   It was Not a slow weekend for my share price-- which as of this writing has soared to 51.34e.   I keep hearing from folks how jarring it is the first time your share price declines.   I know of course they are right and feel quite lucky to still be on an upward trajectory after about 10 days on the site.   Empire Avenue continues to hold my strong interest.  And with hashtags like #EAvKinK and #UterusHighFive,   #SocialEmpire  group on FaceBook continues to be, most definitely,  not your run of the mill FaceBook group.   It was a little slow on Saturday,  but the handful of us who were there had a grand old time,  talking about any and everything.   And of course,  the number of participants did pick up Sunday afternoon and evening.  

I couldn't help noticing during that somewhat more active time,  a member of the group added the departed back in.   Once in,  that user posted a thread  Watch This Space,  and then said nothing else at all.    Who knows,  at this point it still _could_  (conceivably at least) be some kind of publicity stunt in connection with the planned introduction of a FaceBook app to compliment the game and the group.   Although it seems unlikely.   The departed's name came up very rarely,  and the powers that be tried to say very little-- a combination of vague and re-assuring that is tough for even the most talented PR-type to pull off well.   Then comes Monday morning and a couple of those business types march in all decked out in sysop garb and try to say Reassuring Things.   This alarms me.    As I recall the Bible,  resurrections take three days.    I'm willing to wait until Wednesday to see how this one turns out.   But in the meantime friends,  Please.   Hold the sysop stuff.