Thursday, 16 January 2014

UBC, c. 1995: "It's called the Internet ..."

"... and I think it's going to have quite a big effect."

No shit.

The only reason I paid any attention to this prophecy, made by a classmate in a course I was taking for the purpose of upping my teaching salary, was that the classmate was a friend of my friend Gary. Chances were good I'd see this guy again, and I didn't want to be rudely clueless about the topic he'd chosen for his oral presentation — arcane and uninspiring as the concept of "the internet" seemed to me at the time.

I was relatively slow to jump on the world-wide bandwagon. The fact that I eventually did is probably neither the best nor the worst thing I've ever done; this blog notwithstanding, however, it generally feels closer to the latter. Unlike my friend Brent (also one of my most inspiring teachers ever), who happily and successfully manipulates the World Wide Web and other techie things to his own benefit, I'm all too susceptible to being seduced and manipulated by those same things.

I don't think I've gone to the extreme of many "kids these days," whose very identity seems inextricably tied to technology (If my phone isn't on, do I actually exist?) ... but one of the raisons d'ĂȘtre of this blog is to channel my internet attraction/addiction into something concrete and, I hope, worthwhile.

Go to the wrong parts of the Internet playground, and it's a lonely place ...

Speaking of this blog, and people's reading thereof ... I recently discovered something interesting (annoying/inevitable) about Facebook's news feeds, which I've been relying on to announce new posts.

First I should say that I'm not especially eager to lure hundreds of unsuspecting Facebook surfers to my blog. I never expected to attract an audience much bigger than friends/family/a few acquaintances/random individuals with some connection to alert dogs or diabetes. There is (of course) heaps of stuff in the blogosphere (not to mention the rest of the Web or, more to the point, the REAL WORLD) more worthy of one's attention than Heather's dog-walking blog. :)

But it seems that good ol' Facebook doesn't even want my interested friends/family etc. to know that I've got a new blog post up. They'd prefer that I — can you guess? — PAY to have my updates appear in friends' news feeds ... instead of, say, every single photo and comment relating to the honeymoon vacation of some dude they hardly know (click here for a much better & more compelling explanation of the phenomenon). Sigh.

I confess that I did get sucked in enough to the give the "Boost post" function a try (to the tune of five bucks) ... and, hey, it works. The post I tried it on got significantly more hits. But it felt like I was allowing Facebook to pimp my blog ... and Walking With Freddie is just too young/small/innocent for that kind of thing.

ANYWAY, all this is to say that if you do enjoy the blog and have been relying on Facebook to let you know when a new post is up, consider signing up for email notifications instead ... or just bookmark the page and check in every day or two. Or whatever! However and whenever you do it, THANK YOU!

Spot the dog!

By the bye ... that techie guy who first introduced me to the existence of the Internet? He was on Facebook for a while but seems to have deleted his account.

Tread carefully out there!

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