Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tell me, darlings

Some questions I am noodling, and want to hear your take:

1) What do you think of this new Google initiative to harvest our information across all Google formats—blogs, social networks, emails, search engines, etc—ostensibly so they can return our searches tailored to what they surmise we might be interested in based on what we've posted and searched in the past? My daughter said, "No! So not a good idea! I don't want what they think I want. I want what I might not know I want!" What say you?

2) How do you feel about Facebook's new Timeline, which efficiently unearths our whole history from the dawn of time, no longer allowing past indiscretions to fall gracefully below the waves. I tend to be an early adopter of new technology, but suddenly, where Timeline is concerned, I am resistant. Am I just getting old?

3) How do you feel about replies to comments? I notice some bloggers I read never respond to comments, and that's fine with me, especially given that many of those people sometimes leave comments on my blog. But for those who do respond to comments I always go back to check for the response. Problem is, sometimes I feel overwhelmed and don't always get to replying on my own blog. And though I am always deeply, ridiculously grateful for your comments, sometimes, I have no words, just the feeling of being thankful. What's your position on this? Do you visit less if you don't get replies to your comments? Or if a blogger used to reply and no longer does? Or if I am sketchy and inconsistent, replying sometimes and falling off the face of the earth at other times? Just wondering how to manage this aspect of blogging, so I won't inadvertently give the impression that I am indifferent during those times when I am merely swamped or doing life or emotionally stuck for words.

Tell me, darlings, what you think.


38 comments:

  1. 1. I'm with your daughter. That creeps me out and I just might know what I want. Even if it's what I thought I wanted.

    2. I have resisted the Facebook revolution. I have yet to be "on" there, although in my heart I still "like" many things enough to tell a friend or come back.

    3. Like you, I love the comments. I don't mind when people don't reply. I am pleasantly surprised when they do. As one of those sketchy and inconsistent people, I can't be upset if someone else is, too. I do, however, deeply appreciate those steadfast readers--those who comment often and those who never have and never will.

    Have I told you? Every time I read this blog I think, "I have to meet her n person one day." You are a mentor and a shero of mine.

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    1. Dear grady doc, have i told you i think we have people in common. As they say, it's a small colored world. We will figure it out and meet one day, I am sure. Love to you.

      Delete
  2. hi: so fun to answer questionnaires!

    1. i completely agree with your daughter; but i think it's been obvious from day one that Google (& FB) are harvesting our data primarily for marketing. i do resent so much cross-over, not being able to read an article in, eg, WaPo or the Guardian w/o signing in via an FB account, or a Google affiliate.

    2. i have not yet gone over to the dark side with the FB timeline. primarily for aesthetic reasons; i think the format is too busy. i try to post, in general, with self-selected boundaries.

    3. i try to acknowledge everyone who posts on my blog. Not always right away, but at some point. i appreciate that other people dont sit in front of a computer all day, like i do for my work, so i accept the blogger's modus operandi for what it is.

    i have a question for you, and others with kids. do you have any rules between you with regard to FB and/or blogging?

    --susan

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    1. Thank you, Susan!

      As to your question: With regard to my kids on the blog, the guidelines are, i don't use their given names, i generally don't report on their affairs of the heart (unless such affaires have become mega official), and if they want me to take something down that i thought was innocent enough, i will at once, no questions asked. i have been surprised by how faithfully they read my blog, and by their delight in reading it too. they often comment in person on what i write, and do not seem to worry about privacy at all. they have even brought some of their friends to the blog. their presence here does mean i am a little constrained in what i can share in terms of my turbulent inner life. i am aware that my seeming to be on the edge of an emotional noisy brained precipice at times might be troubling to them, so i walk the fine line between telling my truth, and telling it in a way they will understand within the context of their knowledge of me, which thankfully is very generous and flexible! i am a fairly steady person in my non-virtual life, emotionally stormy sometimes, but the steadiness reassures them.

      Now as to Facebook, the rule there is I can stalk their pages as much as I want, as long as I leave no footprints. A VERY occasional comment is fine, but mostly I am to be invisible. I can however call them up and tell them i think a post on their wall is inappropriate/offensive/unwise/pick your adjective, and if my reasoning makes sense to them, they will take it down. AND, I can swipe pictures of them off facebook with impunity. They dont seem to care one whit. In fact, it amuses them to see what i find and hold on to. As long as I swipe it by downloading it, not by sharing it, which would generate comments on the pages of friends of theirs. So yeah. I follow the rules.

      It's all a brave new world, isn't it! We figure it out as we go. Does that answer it?

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  3. That whole Google Connect is too overwhelming for me. Perhaps if I sat down and tried to understand it, I would be okay with it. But I think I'll resist.
    Same goes for the new Facebook Timeline. It's confusing for me. I just want the last topic at the top and that's it. Plus, why must we know everything about everybody all the time?
    You know that I love to reply to comments. At the same time, I don't care if people reply to the comments that I leave. I just love the dialogue and I feel that I am thanking the person for leaving a comment. But recently, it's been getting out of hand. So I think I need to slow down a bit with replying to everyone. m.

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    1. Mark, it was you who got me thinking about the whole comment thing on a deeper level. i dont get nearly as many comments as you do, but if i did, i think it would be impossible to answer them all, so of course, people will understand. In general, i try to respond to people's comments here, but sometimes it gets away from me. the intent is pure, though!

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  4. 1. I don't like the google connect and I don't think they will be good at deciding what I'm looking for. When ancestry.com went that route, they made it very hard for me to find what I'm looking for by giving me what they think I want but don't.
    2. Sometimes I respond to comments on my blog, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I comment on other peoples blogs, sometimes I don't have anything new to say or I just don't have anything I want to write about it, even if I've enjoyed the post. I do tend to be more faithful to people who respond some of the time, or who visit or join my blog or in some way let me know they know I'm alive and think I might be a little interesting.
    3. I hate fb's new timeline. I think it's a junky mess. I like thinks like Mark said, last topic at the top and just one row of stuff.

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    1. Kristin, ditto, ditto and ditto. And just for the record, i find you fascinating and your family history a labor of love that is also critically important to future generations of all our families, not just yours.

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  5. 1) I am overwhelmed when it comes to worrying about my privacy. Clearly I'm not concerned enough. I just can't be bothered, to tell you the truth. That whole Google thing is beyond my ken, as they say.

    2)I find changes to Facebook incredibly tiresome. I wish that I could just shut down my FB page, but then again I sometimes enjoy going to it and checking things out. The Timeline thing is annoying, at best.

    3) I almost never reply to my comments, and I feel periodically guilty about it and not. I always leave comments, wherever I go and read, so I don't feel guilty about that. If a comment invites further discussion, I might reply, but going back to check if the blogger responded to my comment is not a concern for me. I notice that all discussion and comments and hits on my blog increase dramatically when I post anything controversial and/or political which makes me think that people do love a conflict.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, I worry sometimes about the privacy thing, but then tell myself its the way the whole world is going. i too sometimes want to shut down my facebook page, but it has become my default photo album, and also its the easiest way to contact so many people these days. if i leave them a message on facebook, i know i'll have a response within the day usually. as for comments, yes, people do love a discussion. i love it when a discussion unfolds in comments!

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  6. 1) I strongly strongly dislike the google initiative. Not only because I feel like they're peeking way too much into my life, my private life, my intimate thoughts, but also because like your daughter, I like to sometimes see other answers to my requests. It's similar to opening a dictionary and dwelling on a new word.

    2) I hate timeline on facebook. I'm actually strongly thinking about closing my facebook account because of this. It's taken me back to being engaged, being unhappy, losing my good friend Dave, heartbreak, sadness. I hate it.

    3) It's funny because I don't get that many comments on my blog (which is so so fine) but I see through my stats that I have pretty regular visitors.
    I don't mind. I actually answer some of the specific comments through emails.

    Hugs!

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    1. Hey Miss A!

      I agree with you on the google thing, but dont know what i can do about it. google is so ubiquitious these days. and your observation about timeline is stunning, yes! it unearths all the selves we no longer are, the selves we have evolved beyond. and i might have to start answering some comments through email, and stop assuming people come back to read my response to them. not everyone does.

      i always read you, btw, even when i dont leave a comment. hugs back!

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  7. 1) I tried to make sense of what this new google stuff implies and forced myself to read the info provided in the two languages I consider myself fluent in but very soon I was reading without comprehending and apart from the usual suspicion that neither google nor fb are running a service to and for the benefit of the public, what I am left with is the familiar nagging feeling of wtf / I am lost here.
    2) It is possible to use fb on a secure browser, to exclude all ads and to keep what you post restricted to your friends only. It takes a bit of time to set this up and I actually went through my entire timeline with a fine comb and deleted what I did not want there any longer. But I only use fb to keep in touch with friends and family outside my time zone thus the number of friends I have/keep/invite is pityful. I admit that it was exciting first to rediscover people from years gone by etc. but after a while...
    3) Comments are like fresh air, I love getting comments and I am absolutely and totally grateful and delighted every time. But I rarely reply, probably not good etiquette? I started blogging when I was in dark space healthwise as an attempt (a fairly successful one so far) to keep my head above water and also to be able to record events and how I cope (or not cope) for future reference. In the beginning blogging was also a way to communicate with my family and a few very close friends during several longer periods I had to spend in hospital(s). So while I never set out to blog for all and the world, some people have found me - miraculously - and I am surprised like a child at Xmas every time again. Yet, I don't want to start chatting either. For me, my blog is very private - despite being totally public - and I never reveal names or places, not just to protect my and other people's privavcy but also because names and places and jobs and connections/achievments don't play a part in what I am writing about.

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    1. Dear Sabine,

      Thank you for this thoughtful response, and for allowing me to know you more. I think that is what I love most about comments. It lets us get to know each other on a level beyond our blog posts. i so understand what you mean when you say a blog is private, despite being public. it is a truth standing on its head, and i am so glad to hear someone else say it. that is how i feel, as if i am a private conversation with the people who stop in here, and we get to know each other a little, maybe a lot, and to love each other too.

      I am so glad you commented today. it led me over to your blog and to discovery of a nuanced sensibility, yours, and such lovely writing everywhere. i will certainly be back often.

      about facebook, that was smart of you to prune your past entries as you did. we all need to follow suit.

      xo

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  8. 1. I'm with your daughter as usual. I didn't even bother to learn of the changes because I knew they would disturb me.

    2. Timeline too busy, yes, so I haven't really looked at it. Blech. But with my life as it is now, Facebook is fabulous for me, even in its vast imperfections.

    3. People gamble because they don't win every time - it's the same with your comments! Reply when you wish, but I don't always check back and certainly don't expect. I always like to see other people's comments and respond to those too - I see it as a conversation, not just a dialogue. Make sense?

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    1. NOLA darling!

      I love the practicality of your response! They say the most often told lie in the english language is "I have read the terms and I understand."

      Hugs, friend.

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  9. Well, I don't think that anything which tracks us and all of our wanderings is a good thing. Or tracks us in any way. I just do not like it. I agree with your daughter. Facebook- I still see it as too asinine to care.
    Now- comments. Ah, there's a subject.
    I do reply to comments on my blog mostly. And maybe that's just because I love the idea of a conversation. It seems the least I can do to keep up my end of it. To acknowledge that time taken and thought expressed. But maybe it's just because I am a polite old southern lady. Who knows? Not me.
    It's weird because I do not expect a reply to my comments on other blogs but I also love them.

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    1. Ms. Moon, there is something about knowing that more often than not, i will get to have an exchange with you. It feels like a gift every time. love.

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  10. Angella, I only have a little 'up' time at the computer but I wanted to address this. When my blog was open to the world I tried my best to answer all comments and I did a pretty good job at it. I also commented when I could on other blogs (and I still do.) Now that my blog is closed I know who is reading and when I have time I comment. It's important to me especially when someone is responding to my creative writing or big things that are happening in my life. It is wonderful when a blog post can generate a conversation in the comments and these are my favorites. Lately I just haven't had the time to answer every comment period. I feel bad about it. Some of my posts are so personal I can't answer the comments because it makes me ache but I think my closed circle of readers know that. When I comment on a blog that's new to me and my comment remains unanswered for six months and no one else has commented either I usually don't revisit that blog.

    I use FaceBook for one reason and that is to sell books so I don't have much history there for the timeline to dig up. I don't like the idea of it not one bit. Same for Google which is scary in its invasion of privacy even now.

    I hope the readers of my blog know that I am checking in on them all the time. I wish things would slow down a bit at werk so I could respond to the posts that move me.

    xor

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    1. Dear R, i guess we get to know the people we read all the time, and i think we dont expect anything other than they can offer, really, and we know it changes from day to day, week to week, how much of ourselves we have available at any given moment. but i'm realizing reading through everyone's comments here that occasional contact through comments is affirming of our friendships here, not necessarily replies to comments, tho. commenting on another's post is equally...loving. is that weird. sometimes these exchanges we have in this place feel like a loving thing.xoxo

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  11. Of course, your daughter is right about the Google thing. Always trust the young ones in technological things like this. And never forget that to Google and Facebook, we are the product being sold! At least, there are other search engines still out there; and when they've been swallowed up, there should still be the occasional card file at some still-standing library.

    Eew, Facebook. I go there when I want to publicize a blog post or a theatre event. Otherwise, I find it ugly, cluttered, and too full of BS.

    I always respond to comments. It's right and proper; and my mama taught me to. Besides, I know how good I feel when someone responds to something I've said. I can only imagine the other person would welcome my acknowledgement, as well.

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    1. Glenn, dear friend. I am glad you comment. I think it made us friends. Hugs.

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  12. The google thing freaks me out in some ways, so I'll try and be more wary which really is always a good thing.

    I do like FB for some things, but loathe the new Timeline. Loathe.

    I like to reply to comments if I feel it necessary with an email. I don't want to assume someone will return to check?
    I really do find it hard to keep up though. And have started picking and choosing when to leave comments in general. It's all so overwhelming sometimes. But good. Perspective.

    I am not bothered at all by how and what anyone else does. I respect where everyone might be coming from.

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    1. deb, it is overwhelming sometimes, the whole comment thing, but only because I sooo much want to stay connected with people I have come to care so much about here, but sometimes life is happening at warp speed, and it takes a minute for the thing you want to say to surface, and i just hope people understand that and know it's not a lack of caring, i have a great appreciation for the time and thought taken to leave me a comment, or simply to keep coming back, reading here.

      i always love to see you here. but when i don't, i understand. armfuls of love to you.

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  13. as for your third question, i tend to answer comments if it's one of those comments that just cant be left dangling, or if they're questions.

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    1. Candice, i know what you mean. I love that you still come around here, and i love when you pop your head up with a comment. hope all is well with you, dear friend. xo

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  14. I never expect replies to my comments, unless I ask a specific question -- which is rare. And likewise, I usually don't answer comments unless I'm asked something that needs a response.

    I don't like Timeline either, though that's partly because I don't quite understand it. Aesthetically I think it makes the page hard to read. I didn't realize Facebook was going to mine my past online activity to populate the timeline. I guess I need to look into that!

    As for Google, I'm not crazy about having my activity monitored and "monetized" by some big company selling advertising. But I also realize that's just the way of the world these days. There's no way to avoid it if you're going to have any kind of online presence.

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    1. Steve, sometimes i think it's easier to not even think about the whole privacy thing. i feel like i'm trying to hold off the wave, and its just not possible. i comfort myself with the thought that we're all in the same boat.

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  15. I hate the new FB timeline so much that I am thinking of just closing my account. The Google thing freaks me out. And if the commenting thing is not mutual I give up eventually. I like the relationships here in Blogworld and if comments are not being reciprocated I move on. I am reading way to many blogs anyway!

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    1. Birdie, i know what you mean about comment mutuality, but does that mean you want responses to comments you left on other people's blogs or just that you want to know the visiting and reading and caring goes back and forth. In other words, if i had a limited amount of time, would you prefer i answer a comment you left on my blog or that i visit your blog and read, and maybe also comment?

      i am glad you are here!

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  16. 1. I'm with your daughter on the whole google thing.
    2. I hate facebook.
    3. I find myself overwhelmed with the whole commenting thing. I'm sometimes slow to process so I miss the boat when it comes to commenting most of the time and so I marvel at and appreciate every single comment someone makes on my blog.

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    1. yolie, me too! i am more slow to process at some times than at others, and then i feel bad because i dont then express how much a post moved me, and the writer may never know. hugs, dear one.

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  17. like some others here, I think your girl had a gut reaction that is correct. Though information is my trade, I tread carefully where personal information is concerned and have resisted Facebook entirely, something I will continue to do in light of this. You'll notice that no photos of my face appear on my blog, nor does my address or name and although one blogger friend we share has outed my city, that is not a huge problem as most other bloggers respect the need for a bit of privacy. As for commenting back to readers, that is something I do when a reader has a question generally. I'm trying to be better about responding.

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    1. e, i think bloggers do respect the privacy need, and yet i struggle with how to protect myself! I think most bloggers are by nature sharers, and there is something so comforting about putting yourself out there and having others "get" you. this is a whole new landscape we are navigating! thank you.

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  18. How did I just now see this post? Stupid 'puter.

    1) I loathe the idea of search responses tailored specifically to me. I have actually done a bit of research into alternate search engines besides Google (and Bing). If I find a good one, I'll let you know.

    2) I don't mind Timeline, and it does give you the option of removing any posts from your personal timeline. I set mine up and removed several. I do kind of like the header photo option. Keep in mind, no one sees your timeline unless they click on your name to bring it up, and it's mostly new friends who do that.


    3) I love the new ability to reply directly to a specific comment! I like replies but never expect them. With you specifically, I know you are tremendously busy and you have made it clear repeatedly how much you love your commenters, so no worries, my friend. :) Also, you know you can click the little "subscribe by email" button and be notified when you leave a comment on someone else's Blogger blog and there's a response, right? You get an email every time someone comments, though, not just when someone responds to you.

    Thanks for the fascinating discussion, Angella.

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    1. ellen, i guess i should admit I do like to new header photo, but that double column layout on timeline is horrendous. as for the new ability to reply directly to specific comments, i feel a little pressured by it. does that make sense?

      trying to strike a balance here. i love that you are here, and have been since the beginning. hugs.

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  19. Oh, I'm late to this party, but wanted to reply.
    1) your daughter is very correct. I don't want my behavior predicted, I just want relevant data on my searches. It's tedious to select a current date, and I don't want the ads up front. Maybe they should start there before mining us for marketing gold.

    2)I just can't get used to Timeline. Don't like it, won't use it. I agree, the header is nice, but the rest, not so much.

    3) I love comment replies, they become these fascinating conversational vignettes, but I'm lazy about doing them or following up on them because there's just too darn much to read out there in the interwebs. And I can't go with the email response, I'm nearing critical overload in my inbox. Just can't keep up. But I like them, and sometimes write them in my own little blogs, and wonder if anyone bothers to come back and read them. Things that make you go hmmmmmm.

    Thanks for the discussion. Now off I go back to the top to read the thread. :)

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    1. Mel, nice to see you! re the google thing, i guess i wonder what part of it i am not seeing, what the implications are in what they can share, the stuff i dont know to investigate further. as for blog comments, it is hard to keep up sometimes, but i do prefer to reply on the post itself than in email. i like the whole discussion in one place, but that's just me, because i also love getting emails from blog friends too!

      xoxo

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