A perfect sea urchin

The Cyberculture Corner

Welcome to where I air my wrong headed views on cyberculture and the internet. I always have a lot to say and no one tells me to shut up. To return to the regular blog page, just click here.

No Secrets of Success

Blame it on Second Life and a lack of trust of Ken Tyler, even though he did nothing. I did not set up a Seed Wiki for RAOK this week. I am using the workaround for Discussion Board Activity for groups. RAOK now has 177 members. I know: "Way to go!"

Haldis' team at the Webleagues now is up to a compliment of six sites. ZOID has shrunk to nine sites, but engagement is up, and that's what I measure. Engagement at the Webleagues was mediocre. No one is preparing for an end game. I've given it all the thought I need to give it for a while.

The smart mob in Tunisia turns either dumb or irrelevant as the army battles the remnants of the secret police. I hope I got that right. Soft power and civility are kind if useless in front of a lunatic with a gun, a mob with lots of guns, or people who need to go to work and can't be bothered.

I met an old friend on Facebook. I made a new friend, and turned down two friend requests. I don't usually do this, but both of these potential friends were in absolute, utter, and careless violation of the Terms of Service. What did they do and why do I care? Well, they set up profiles for either organizations or social causes. Facebook is fairly plain about it, but profiles are for real people using some variant of their real names. If you want to have a presence for an organization, book, club, social cause, political movement etc... you set up a fan page or a group. There, now that is not so difficult is it?

When an organization or individual breaks this simple rule in the Terms of Service, I simply refuse to friend them. My reasoning is that if you can't read the rules and follow them, you feel that rules are not written for you, or you are so careless in your dealings, you are likely to hurt me inadvertantly. Sorry, the rules are for everyone, and while I have intellectual freedom issues with Facebook ovver what they have done to boxes on pages and their outlawing of different link shorteners, I can live with the fact that profiles are for individual people.

Meanwhile, I have a friend who is trying to get me back into using Linked In. How do you say: "full plate?" I like the friend. I just don't have room for another social networking organization. Sorry or maybe I'll squeeze my friend in.

I haven't said much about Diaspora because they don't appear to have a client that ordinary people like me can use. That means they are not a viable alternative to Facebook...yet.

Eileen H. Kramer -- January 17, 2011

The Secret of our Success

RAOK is now more than 175 members. Who knows if we will remain stable. One of those new members is a former leader who lived within a few miles of me in Columbus, Georgia or near there. I offered her friendship. I can not even send her a message. I now outrank her. I'm not sure what she is thinking. So far, she has made her presence known on the wall and that is it.

We have had the usual birthdays to celebrate. I am getting used to putting discussion board activity on the walls of both RAOK and LOTH. It is getting to be standard operating practice. I know that others may not pick up the new norm. I can only hope they do. I'm not ready to go back to Seedwiki. They wiped out my wikis in a move that may have been malign. I wish I trusted Ken Tyler more than I currently do. If it was an accident, I am dreadfully sorry for my lack of trust.

I have not gotten used to including board activity as a note or status on my own wall. I am not sure why. I don't care much about my wall anyway. When Facebook took away the HTML box, I kind of lost interest. Since RSS feeds are work related, I will need to go back and see what, if anything, still works, what new applications are available etc... That is a strange sort of work, but it is good work if you can get it.

I included links to the official Giffords shooting condolence book (Thankyou Legacy.com) on RAOK, LOTH, and Walk the Walk's group walls. I figured people in these groups want to sign them, but I feel too far from this tragedy to participate. I know I should not, but I want to hear more international news. I just hope people don't dumb down or civilize their speech because there are a few deranged individuals. Good knock heads, aggressive speech, is safe catharsis for those with healthy minds, and that is the vast majority of us. Talking aboaut drop kicking an opponent in the primaries or taking them out through the electoral process or shellacking the other party is just the way we like to talk. It's fun. A nut with a glock, a few clips of ammunition, and a few cards short of a full deck shouldn't be a bad excuse to take away our rough and tumble free expression.

Just don't bring that into RAOK. People do have trouble parsing anger from aggression, but hey there is plenty of other place where we can get our aggressive speech fixes, sharpen our word swords, and do battle if we feel so inclined.

Eilene H. Kramer -- January 11, 2011

Busy and Apathetic

This is not a great way to start off the new year. Facebook got busy. RAOK added two members, and LOTH got a support request that might have well originated in the infernal regions. One of the founding members' daughters in law got sick with gall stones and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis has a fifty percent mortality rate and is fiercely painful. The pancreas is intimately connected to other organs. When it fails due to inflamation, it manages to effect the entire body. I had a friend who nearly died of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is one scarey disease!

I put up the support request and prayed for the daughter-in-law's recovery, and because this is a ladies' group, that is as far as I could take it. I don't feel bad about that. Well, yes I do. I enjoyed that we took on an active member in RAOK. He of course teaches personal development courses. There is a lot of self promotion in Facebook. I pointed a resurfacing member of RAOK back toward the old Yahoogroup, which is still around and felt I had done something really useful.

There is a painful question at the bottom of this. It is the one flashed around Brainstorms (Curse their name!) like a sword, but it's a real question: "Do I trust any one in either of my ladies' groups." The answer is yes for Candi. As for everyone else, including Phyllis and Shelley, the answer is more complex. It's closer to the answer I gave on Brainstorms: "Why should I trust you, or you trust me. We haven't known eachother long enough."

With both RAOK and LOTH, my answer is: "Do I need to trust you?" And the answer is: "NO." This is not a bad answer. No one is asking for my trust beyond my not grossly humiliating them. I am not required to lend them money or borrow it. With Kringles' Kids, a LOTH program, I gave a grandmother or mother a thirty-five dollar gift certificate from Powell's Books for her older female offspring. It was a gift. I did not have to trust the recipient to do anything. True, I could have been scammed, but I trusted LOTH as an organization to be well enough run to prevent this.

If you asked me: &quiot;Would I lend any one at RAOK or LOTH a hundred dollars?" The answer except for Candi whom I trust would be "NO!" That does not mean, I won't celebrate your birthday, take notice of what you put in the Facebook feed, respond or comment on a really great photo etc... The lack of depth protects me from you, and also shields you from me. We can still interact and I can still give support, but there have to be limits.

And yes, I do care about what ordinary people do. Most of the games thankfully stay out of my feed. True, it can get repetitive, but life is repetitive. I commute to work, buy stuff in convenience stores, cook, bake bread, go to synagogue, pay my bills, bank online, snuggle with my kitties, and occasionally do laundry in the sink. That is not a very exciting life even though I play Second Life and am learning to program in PHP. Why should I expect any one else' life to be much better?

Sometimes I do wish people followed the news or wrote long notes. I don't write long notes, but I do blog, and I don't read the news as even-handedly as my mother does. Sometimes I wished others baked from scratch and there were more cat owneres in the world and fewer people with children or grandchildren or that the children and grandchildren were less visible. One, however, takes what one gets. I lost my shot at being part of a "community" for intelligent conversation twice over. Intelligent conversation comes with fighting. Give me the peace of the shallows of two ladies' groups again. I'll donate my glib tongue, and I don't have to lend anybody a hundred dollars.

Eileen H. Kramer -- January 4, 2010