Monday, July 25, 2011

Social Media

Yikes! It's been a long time since I posted anything here. And you guessed it, what I have in mind is talking about that. Gad, blog posts about blogging have to be the worst, so fair warning.

The picture is of a local bridge over the Ohio River. I got it off Wikipedia (cc by 2.0). I also want to link to the photographer Rob Strover's photostream at Flickr because I love the area where I live and Strover has many great photos from around Pittsburgh up and they're really worth checking out.

I first started the blog thinking that Africans and Americans could benefit from Internet-enabled dialog. I still think so, but if anything the last years have proven to me is I have little authority in this regard.

Last time I was here I eliminated my blogroll, not because I stopped reading the blogs, but rather feeling embarrassed. I thought it would be better just to present myself as some guy who rambles on the Internet. It's all I've ever been anyhow.

I thought I'd feel more free about posting, but in fact haven't posted since then.

I post three links a day on a Tumblr blog, post links at Facebook and tweet at Twitter very occasionally. And to some extent this post comes about from trying to get my head around Google+ which doesn't seem to be happening very quickly for me.

None of these venues seem very well suited for rambling on as I'm wont to do, as if there is such a place. But if any place is this would seem to be it. Well, something like this place.

Dave Winer thinks that more of us should produce content on our own sites and then send it out to walled-garden services, like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Tumblr and the like, instead of making our stuff behind closed walls. He makes a good point, and his EC2 for Poets makes clear that's not out of reach. So far that's beyond me, however he keeps talking about his blorking tools and I think I want one.

Andrew Feldmar, a well-known Vancouver psychotherapist, rolled up to the Blaine border crossing last summer as he had hundreds of times in his career. At 66, his gray hair, neat beard, and rimless glasses give him the look of a seasoned intellectual. He handed his passport to the U.S. border guard and relaxed, thinking he would soon be with an old friend in Seattle. The border guard turned to his computer and googled "Andrew Feldmar,”

And on April 23. the same article went up on The Tyee’s website with this headline:

LSD as Therapy? Write about It, Get Barred from US

BC psychotherapist denied entry after border guard googled his work.Link
I haven't written any scholarly articles. But I am quite aware how the Internet is often used in a game of "Gotta." If blogging has taught me anything, it's that I need an editor, and without one I'm sure to loose that game.

Really I'm happy not many people see what's here, but it's more open than some places. Google+ is a nice tool for choosing who you want to share communications with. And it's a tool that will surely become quite useful, I just haven't figured out how it might be for me. As a method of pointing to my rambling prose, not so much.

I rather do like posting in somewhat out of the way places online. Sometimes even comments on other people's blog can seem "out of the way." Recently I've been enjoying posting on a board TheKeenOne. One of the threads on the board is based on the simple question: "What did you listen to today?"

This question is cool because almost everyone listens to something. I found myself bloviating on there, not because I'm particularly knowledgeable about music, I'm not, but because I thought somebody might be amused by my messy prose and some links.

There's a problem: very often what I find amusing few others do.

At root it's a Hip Hop board and one of the posts I did there had I done it here I would have entitled "Horowitz Weeps." Yes, that's right a post full of links to classical music on a Hip Hop board.

Of the many wonderful things I might say about TheKeenOne, what stands out to me is how supportive she is of the creativity of others. I think her idea for the thread was for people just to post one thing, but so far she's been quite tolerant of my posts.

The simple solution rather than spamming a discussion board would be to post here and then put links up at the board. Somethings give me pause. First is photographs. I've used publicity shots for musicians, album covers, and screen shots from YouTube videos with my posts. I think that all such uses are legitimate Fair Use, especially on a discussion board. The waters are slightly less clear on a blog. Still I hate to get involved with copyright craziness. Second, I feel free to cuss a little bit over there and not so comfortable doing so here. Third,is mention of various state of inebriation and other foolishness that mostly I've avoided here.

It seems silly to worry, but at least in part what Google+ is for is negotiating worries like this. Although, I suspect, all the sorting we do of people into circles and the like on a site that stores our email, that it isn't lost on us that Google's business is search. That is, Google is in a unique position to make all that we wouldn't like widely known about us readily available.

The insanity of recent American politics, where those very eager to use democratic means towards undemocratic ends seem ascendant, makes the search capacity of Google feel threatening.

I thought of the picture of the McKees Rocks Bridge because years ago some foolish young people would race their autos along Ohio River Boulevard. After turning onto the Mckees Rocks Bridge drivers would sometimes approach 100mph to finish first. The Mckees Rocks Bridge is actually two bridges in one. The first part is across the Ohio River and then an equally long part that crosses over McKees Rocks Bottoms. The road ends in a Tee, so drivers had to slow done before it. So the end of the river crossing bridge was the finish line.

If you're not from the area it maybe hard to fathom how dangerous all this was. If you're from around here the question that comes to mind is: What were they thinking? Both Ohio River Boulevard and the McKees Rocks Bridge--then four lanes now two--are impossibly narrow for high speeds.

I've heard many an old codger tell stories of their racing days. Such mischief is a heck of a lot worse in terms of potential harm to life and property than the sorts of things people worry about young people putting up online. The difference is that what gets put up online can be searched for and presumably has a permanence that can't be shook.

I figure we're all busted now. I'm plenty worried in general. So the worries that have made me not want to post here seem ridiculously small. Perhaps I'll start rambling on over here more often. I hope to anyhow.

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