Tag Archives: Google

SOPA opera digest

I’d like it to be noted that I endured 24 hours without Wikipedia. But I didn’t. I got in.

Meanwhile, Internet stakeholders-turned-doomsayers appear to have scuttled the online piracy debate captained by the film and television industries. And judging by the millions of followers they engaged by blacking out popular websites, it appears the U.S.S. SOPA could sink, at least as of this moment.

In my aim to be an informed citizen, I spent way too much of yesterday trying to educate myself on this smoking hot issue, another in a long series that has Americans fiercely divided. As if we needed another.

I actually read the entire House bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act, as well as everything, pro and con, that was posted on my favorite websites by my favorite people, and I talked live with several stakeholders. I’ve cracked open the Senate version, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA.

As usual, I came away with mixed feelings.

As someone who has lived and worked in the hotbed of hullaballoo that is our nation’s capital, I continue to witness firsthand how advocacy groups can twist any public policy issue in their favor, and scare people—often with little effort–into supporting their causes. And people are willing to rally on a moment’s notice when they’re told the end is near.

Who remembers the rumor about 10 years ago that the federal government was going to impose a 25-cent fee on every e-mail message sent and received? I received about 50 bucks’ worth of messages from naïve friends urging me to help beat it back. They cited a bogus bill number that anyone with a clue would have known was neither a House nor Senate measure. It was a hoax.

I’m not saying the SOPA/PIPA proposals or the death knell the tech firms are singing are hoaxes. This is a real issue with high stakes on both sides. What I’m bemoaning here is how quickly some people who have never read a piece of legislation in their lives take up arms based on panic induced rhetoric.  You can’t tell me that every website user who is protesting actually understands what’s in both bills. I know I don’t.

Here’s how I see it.

People and companies who create artistic works are entitled to the income they earn for those works. And these aren’t just the big movie, TV and recording stars. They are members of camera crews, editing staff, key grips (whatever they do), hair and make-up artists, extras, even the little old ladies like my Aunt Patsy who play the small parts they work so hard to get. Their income is being taken from them when foreign websites pirate and traffic their work products.

I use Google and Wikipedia an average of 20 times a day. As an unpaid amateur blogger, I consider Wikipedia my official go-to source for unofficial useless information and Google my treasure trove of silly images, legally available and otherwise. Facebook and Twitter? Big fan. I’d like them to be there for me. I don’t believe Google or Wikipedia should solely bear the burden of policing the content that flows through them, nor do I think they should be censored. But I do believe they have a responsibility to refrain from facilitating criminal activity that harms U.S. workers and businesses and to cooperate when law enforcement has to intervene. So sue me.

Here’s what I’d like to see.

First of all, I’d like to see both sides avoid playing the jobs card. There are jobs at stake on both sides. And these days in the United States, everything has a jobs angle.

Next, I’d like to see the bill’s drafters do some redrafting to address any provisions that produce unintended consequences. This is a challenge given the Internet as we know it isn’t even 20 years old, and criminals are typically a step ahead of the law.

Further, I’d like to see all of us, as regular citizens playing happily on the Internet, simmer down, become better educated before we panic, and think for ourselves. Regardless of where we stand, on this or any other issue.

Need a chuckle break from the madness? Enjoy  yesterday’s amusing take on what would happen in a Wikiless world, by The Washington Post’s Monica Hesse.


Filed under Movies, Television and Radio, News, Politics, Technology and Social Media

Reddit somewhere

A poll of social media aficionados:

Are you on Reddit?
How about Delicious?
Well surely you’re on Fark.

No? Neither am I.

I did StumbleUpon for a while; even wrote a blog post about it. Word Nymph enjoys a steady stream of referrals from StumbleUpon and, recently, quite a few from Reddit.

I confess, I didn’t know much about Reddit until recently and still, I don’t fully grasp its value. (Speaking of value, reportedly, Condé Nast Publications upped Reddit’s worth to the hundreds of millions of dollars after acquiring it from the two 22-year-old University of Virginia graduates who founded it.)

Reddit got my attention when the so-called social news aggregator directed hundreds of referrals to a blog post I wrote three months ago. My post addressed the etiquette around graduation announcements and thank you notes.

As best I can tell, as Reddit’s paying members—called redditors—post searches, they’re directed to sites where they can find information. Unlike search engines Google and Yahoo, individual searches are posted publicly. Maybe I’m telling you something you already know, especially if you answered Yes to more than one question on my little poll.

Anyway, I haven’t joined Reddit, so I haven’t seen it from the inside. However, I can view the main page where the questions are asked and searches entered. Based on most of the comments and questions I’ve seen, many of which contain the apparently-now-socially-acceptable F-word and worse, a search for how to write a proper thank you note seems out of place.

My hands are  full with Twitter and Facebook so, unless a client shows that my grasp of those others would bring value to their pursuits, I’ll pass.

These sites will give you all the information you’ll never need, including  certain characteristics of Justin Bieber’s wee-wee (my synonym).

But, as best I can tell, only Reddit will point you to the best advice on how to write a proper f—ing thank you note.

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Filed under Technology and Social Media

Plus or minus?

When it comes to new technology, I consider myself a fast follower.

This means I’m not among the first to embrace something just because it’s new. At the same time, I’m typically not one to be dragged into the latest technological wave kicking and screaming. When I got air conditioning for the first time this year, I went willfully, glowing and wilting.

Generally, when something new becomes available, say a new social media platform, I consider it thoughtfully and wade in carefully. Such was my foray into Facebook which, by the way, I still like a great deal.

Lately, Google+ is in my face, like a gnat that flies too close.

My friends and contacts are embracing Google+, which I assume is Facebook’s latest competitor. I’m aware of the dynamic between the two companies and find it no surprise that Google has stepped onto the mat to give Facebook a run for its members.

At least I think I’m aware.  Frankly, I’m not sure I quite understand what Google+ is offering.

Here’s where you come in. Who can give me the 30-second elevator pitch for Google+? I haven’t quite heard it anywhere else.

Google+ appears to have veiled its rollout in exclusivity—in that members must be “invited” to join. If this is the case, I’m already a bit turned off. I’ve been invited by several people I know and trust, but if these same people invited me to join an exclusive club, I’d politely decline. I’m not big on exclusivity.

At the same time, I do suffer from a mild case of FMS, Fear of Missing Something. I’d like to know what’s happening at this party that I might benefit from in some way. Will it enable me to make valuable contacts that will enrich my network in a way that LinkedIn does not? Will I have to re-connect with the same friends and family members with whom I already interact on Facebook? Would I need to create a gmail address? Heaven knows, I don’t need a fifth e-mail address.

If I choose to stay on Facebook, how much more time will I need to spend online? Will Google+ give my friends, God love ’em, more stupid games for which they need my help buying wheat?

Will I be operating in parallel universes? And how many universes is there room for in this galaxy? 

The floor is open and so are my ears (in this case, my eyes).


Filed under Family and Friends, Technology and Social Media

Button Button

This might seem a little trivial, but I thought I’d get your thoughts, especially from readers who might be Internet savvy. Which I thought I was, until a recent phenomenon.

To make a long story longer, about three years ago I bought a black Anne Klein pant suit. It’s rare when I can buy a suit off the rack that fits me, needs no alterations, looks nice and travels well. This one met all the criteria so I snapped it up.

The first time I wore it, I lost one of the jacket’s three buttons, so I took the spare and had it sewn on. Shortly after that, I lost another button. I was working in a large conference center and had covered a lot of ground that day. Miraculously, after extensive searching, I found it in the press room. I had it sewn back on. I’ve since lost all three buttons at least twice each and, with the exception of that first one, I have always found them. I even tried sewing them back on myself, in an effort to make them stay on permanently.

Last week, I lost a button in Florida and never found it.

I went online and tried to find a supply of replacement buttons, and was able to contact someone through the Anne Klein website. I provided an e-mail address that I use only for Internet business.

Over the last eight days, I logged in 14 e-mails back and forth with the Anne Klein company and its parent, Jones New York, narrowing down manufacturing dates, style numbers and something called an RN number, to determine availability of said buttons. Everyone was responsive, and I’ve just received a message that my new buttons are on their way. But the dialogue has provided an interesting glimpse into how this exceedingly narrow slice of the industry does business.

There are two mysteries at work here. One is why buttons keep falling off my suit. The other is this: Since I began my search, everywhere I go on the Internet, an Anne Klein ad pops up. On Facebook, on Comcast, several others and just now, on a blog about words and phrases. That one ignited my curiosity. I presume my initial Google search and visit to the Anne Klein site led to this, but I really don’t know how it all works.  All I know is, in my online travels, Anne Klein is omnipresent.

Will I forever be stalked by Anne Klein and, of so, how can I use this to my advantage? Perhaps all she now knows about me will help me find another great suit in my size, preferably one with a jacket that zips or snaps.


Filed under Beauty and Fashion, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Technology and Social Media, Travel

Dirty minds

There are some really sick people out there.  I know because they are stumbling onto my blog.

As I’ve noted before, my blog platform’s back end allows me to see how visitors come in.  Never fear, I don’t know who they are, but I know if they have entered words into a search engine that led them to my site.  I am always pleased when someone finds me by Googling a word usage question.

The obvious referrals come from searches on various forms of “nymph.”  Some are innocent and some are quite obviously not.

Don’t look for me to cite examples of sordid searches, because they are really dirty.  Suffice it to say there are plenty of innocuous strings of words that have filthy connotations.  And these phrases, when searched, lead a seamy trail to my innocent blog–even before my post about Mrs. Warren’s Profession

I hope the pervs aren’t too disappointed when they find me.  And I do hope they come back for legitimate reasons, such as a word usage question.

I wonder if my colleague over at The Sticky Egg has noticed anything untoward on her back end.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Technology and Social Media