You are browsing the archive for 2014 December.

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by nmw

Insecurities

2014-12-25 in Uncategorized

Self esteem may not be very high on the totem pole of most people. The word “self” does not even appear on any list of words young schoolchildren easily identify, even though first-graders find it easy to recognize “sell” or “stuff” (and even violent, militant words — such as “war”).

The other day, I asked a couple of my “facebook friends” to check out a site I had created (very similar to this website, but more “exclusive”). These are people I do have some trust in — ranging somewhere from good online friends to well-acquainted acquaintances and friends “in real life”. They agreed to check it out, but perhaps they decided the site was “not for them” — since it was more or less “empty” of content.

A blank page can be very intimidating — especially if you are a little insecure to begin with. Many — if not most — people prefer to follow others, to consume, to be entertained by a rapidly flowing stream of content,… — to sit back, rather than to lean forward.

Perhaps they may become inspired to gain self-confidence, to “lean in” and join the gang — but a blank page is probably not going to be the type of inspiration they look for. If you compare a blank page to a steady stream of advertising, somewhat surprisingly quite a few would probably choose the ads. 😐

I have thought a lot about why this is so, and this is how I have come to the hypothesis that it is down to some sort of insecurity. The question I was trying to answer goes something like: Why would people rather limit what they are willing to share with others to a relatively small group of friends? (rather than to post it for the entire world to see) I think they are afraid that someone might consider something they share to be wrong or in some sense objectionable.

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Over Hurdles, Through Hoops and Jumping the Shark

2014-12-24 in Uncategorized

Torrents, absolute torrents of “artificial intelligence” are flooding the activity stream here. 😐

It’s not like I have never known this before — I have just forgotten what it’s like. None of my other sites are open to the public anymore. Of course you can read what I write, but if you want to say something yourself, then please go ahead and use your own website to say it — and I will even help you create your own website! 😀

Here, I want this place to remain open. I have considered using anti-spam software (plugins, etc.), but I prefer to get real people to jump through some hoops (actually, it’s just one hoop) in order to become a regular user of this website (and my associated services).

This means there will continue to be a flood of garbage in the activity stream here (aka “Fish Tank”), but it should all get cleaned up and shipped out within a day or two.

Thank you for your patience! 🙂

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by nmw

Spammers

2014-12-23 in Uncategorized

I am not amazed. 😐

Actually, I was beginning to wonder why there weren’t any spammers yet… — I was beginning to think something like maybe I had discovered an antidote for this plague. 😛

Well, that is obviously not the case. 🙁

On all of my other networks I have closed off the opportunity for spammers to run in the front door — here, I have not done that. For 2 or 3 days, I was under the impression that somehow I had become extremely lucky. That is now obviously wrong.

But all is not lost — I do have a solution! 😀

If someone signs up and in my opinion violates the intention of this website within the first 24 hours, then they will be treated as exactly what they are: spammers. They (i.e., their profiles) and their content will be removed — end of story. Therefore, in order to find out whether I consider someone to be a spammer, one simple test is: Have they been a member of this site for more than 24 hours? 😉

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Managing your own content

2014-12-19 in Uncategorized

Using WordPress, managing your own content is relatively easy.

For example: When you add a link to a post, that link is precisely the link you intend to add. In contrast, when you post a link to “social” websites like facebook.com, twitter.com or even google.com, those links are actually “recoded” to go somewhere else (so that those social sites can more easily track you, your readers, etc.) — for example, you might have seen links to “t.co” or “bit.ly” (or any of a wide range of many other sites) instead of the link you wanted to add. When people click on these links, the “social website” companies record this activity and then forward to the link you had originally intended to add.

On another level, downloading “your own” data is also easy with WordPress. Note, though, that these days it is really hard to define what is “your data”. Of course, if you are an administrator of a blog, then everything on that site is your data. (many people seem to believe that when they post something to facebook, it is still their own content — they probably never consider that it might then also be facebook‘s content). But what about if someone writes a comment on your post — whose content is that?

There seems to be a convention that says this content is part of the author’s post. There have been several attempts to develop “commenting systems” that keep track of comments (these are usually linked to the email address tied to the profile making the comment)… but this is usually considered “overkill” when considering what is “my content” (probably only very few people wish to know about all of the thousands of comments posted to Mark Zuckerberg’s posts — perhaps Mark Zuckerberg himself doesn’t want to know about that level of detail).

Personally, I feel comments are more or less “throwaway” remarks — they are relatively inconsequential. If I have something important to say about something someone else has posted, then I will write a new post about it, perhaps I will quote an excerpt from the post (to point out which particular part I wish to reply to), and then link to the original post.

This goes back to the original meaning of a link — it is the electronic version of what was referred to during the paper era as a “footnote”. Today, marketers usually don’t even think about how a link is related to the footnote — so called “search engine marketing” (SEM) is all about paying for links (which Google usually says is prohibited — unless you’re paying Google! 😛 )

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by nmw

Guest Blog Posts

2014-12-16 in Uncategorized

Today one of my friends mentioned a “guest blog post” — well, actually: They linked to a blog post that mentioned in a self-referential way that the post was a guest blog post. I guess they were then going to introduce the author, but I had already lost interest and didn’t read any further.

Why would anyone post anything on someone else‘s blog? This seems to me to be based upon a fundamentally flawed sense of identity. The idea that someone copies and pastes someone else‘s content into their own blog post, and then says “this was actually written by someone else, I’m just fooling the software into thinking I wrote it” is completely absurd. It shows that the blog’s author is not familiar with blogging software.

Every blog (website) can have multiple authors. If you don’t know that, you need to learn more about blogging.

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by nmw

Validation

2014-12-15 in Uncategorized

Several days ago, I had the idea to start this website — to help people who I feel are good “content creators”, but not familiar with blogging software (besides, e.g., Facebook) learn more about what tools are available to post their writing and/or other content (such as pictures, audio or video, etc.) online.

One thing that surprised me is how little response there was to my offer. 😐

I have wondered a lot about why this might be, and 2 interrelated ideas have come to me.

First: Many people seem to enjoy using “social media” websites for validation — they want people to “like” their posts.

Second: Many people do not think they have very much (or even anything) to contribute — they prefer to share other people’s content, and to thereby to collect “likes” on their own posts.

Taken together, these two observations make me think that many people to have very scarce feelings of worthiness, self-worth, self-confidence, etc. I find this very sad. 🙁

Yet I am also not surprised at this. Over the years, I have time and again observed people as extremely reluctant to express their own ideas, their own opinions, their own feelings, expressions, art, … or whatever.

In my opinion, the ultimate validation is not having someone else say they like you, your expression or whatever — but rather: to be so confident and adventurous, so convinced of your own self-worth, that you go ahead and do what you like no matter what anyone else thinks. To boldly go and do your thing.

So although my original idea was for this to be a platform for other people to use (and learn from), I now think maybe I should use it myself to express what I feel is so great about any and all adventures into unknown spaces… or maybe something like that. I don’t know, but I do feel like there is indeed a void which this place could perhaps fill out quite well. 🙂

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