Friday, 29 January 2010

Let's take the F word out of Facebook

Grumpy old woman here again ....

One of the many surprising delights of Facebook is seeing photos of a friend's grown up child when the last I saw of the child was at the delivery of some exquisite hand made baby item (if they were lucky ...). It's a "My, how you've grown" moment for me. Fortunately for them they can't hear me say that.

The other day I panicked as it looked as though a friend's daughter's Facebook account had been hijacked by a porno outfit. "Come F*** me boys" etc etc. I think "ad nauseam" is apposite here as is the thought "thank God I don't have a daughter". There was no hijacking of her account ... apparently foul-mouthed slut is how she wants to appear on Facebook. To her friends, to her parents' friends, to the teachers of the school whose network she belongs to, to her elderly relatives, to her future employers .... for, make no mistake, these things can come up in searches no matter how careful you think you've been in the settings function. Here's a thought - surely if you have to hide what you're writing there is something wrong with what you're writing!

The internet is unforgiving and has the proverbial elephantine memory. How do you want it to remember you?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

I found some of my own kind...

Do you cringe when you read a single sentence containing bad grammar? Do aberrant apostrophes cause you physical pain? You are not alone ...

I was flicking through the live feed on Facebook while enjoying my first coffee of the day. That's rather sad, isn't it? Since it was 7am here I was mainly catching up on the activity of my US friends. One had joined the Grammar Nazis and I quickly followed suit (or followed "suite" as some writers, presumably those in a comfy armchair, would have it). There I found my own kind of people. What a joy!

There is one problem in joining this kind of group or, indeed, writing on this kind of blog - I have to be very careful what I write and keep a close eye on my own grammar. At least I now have reliable people to correct me.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Chickens Are Taking Over

A very capable friend of mine who keeps chickens remarked on Facebook that she was "in chicken coup hell". Such tiny creatures and yet they can organise their own coup. Amazing....

Sometimes a teeny spelling mistake really can make a difference to what the sentence means. This friend has a first class brain but is of the generation who went to school just as the teachers stopped caring about spelling or - as my theory has it - stopped being able to spell.

Good luck in sorting out your chicken coop problems, Chrissie;-)

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Dreadful Faux Pas by Royal Caribbean

RCI promote their Haiti resort while ignoring the earthquake for hours!

I joined the Royal Caribbean fan page on Facebook. I'm a loyal P & O cruise passenger - it's only polite when the ships dock half a mile from my house - but I've been on one RCI cruise and always enjoy hearing news of cruise ships. Wandering on to their page the other day instead of doing urgent work I came across an eloquent piece of prose about the private resort of Labadee in Northern Haiti which is visited regularly by its cruise ships.

I'm not too keen on this private "island" idea. The passengers are waited on by cruise ship staff, eat and drink supplies brought by the ship and the local people are usually corralled into a small area to sell their wares if they're lucky. Not the kind of thing that makes you feel comfortable on holiday unless you're a rich person who doesn't care about the locals and would prefer them to be kept away.

I read the comments out of curiosity to see where it was. That geography A Level will not be wasted ... I was absolutely appalled to learn - from the comments - that the earthquake had just happened. I've been chained to my tax return program and hadn't seen any news. The post by Royal Caribbean could not have been more insensitive. Now that might have been unfortunate timing but RCI left the post there for several hours - at least six I should say - while commenters got more and more angry with them.

They have a public relations department, don't they? I imagine it employs several people. If a company wants to have a Facebook page as part of its marketing it's surely incumbent upon them to monitor it. If a car insurance company can pay a marketing bod to mess around impersonating a meerkat on Facebook then RCI can surely have someone watch over their page.

They quickly got their act together as soon as someone was kicked into touch. Unfortunately their blog is called "Why Not?" and anyone reading it would have a tab on their screen proudly proclaiming "Haiti Earthquake - Why Not?" Oh dear. Could their IT bods not have set up a new blog so we don't get the frivolous title and the superfluous information that their boss has a mean table tennis serve?

Today's/Yesterday's blog post by Royal Caribbean is HERE. They have sent the Inpendence of the Seas with supplies. That's all very well but a ship can't just dock and fend for itself - unless it's there only a short while it needs to hook up to water, power etc and needs port staff available, thereby using local resources already under severe strain. Delivering supplies is no doubt the best option from a logistics and, being cynical, PR point of view. Whilst a cruise ship has plentiful accommodation and medical facilities any cruise line cancelling a week or two of passenger cruising would lose millions. Far better to run the cruises and hand over the money to relief organisations. I see RCI have pledged $1 million. So far.

There's another piece in that blog post that bothers me. It seems Royal Caribbean passengers are now whingeing about security when they visit the private island.

"I’ve been reading some of the responses on the blog and one common concern I noticed from our readers is the subject of security. Throughout the 30 years that we have been working with Haiti, safety and security of our guest has always been our top priority. As any resort area would have, we do have a dedicated security team that protects the integrity of the site.

In addition, we approach security in Labadee by developing strong relationships with the local communities in which we live and work. We put these words into action by sponsoring schools; constructing water projects, bridges, docks, community centers; and supporting continued development efforts within the region. We do these things not just to ensure security, but also because it is the right thing to do for our neighbors and the people of Haiti.

We also create employment and financial opportunities for businesses who supply us with some of the goods and services that we need to operate on a daily basis. Labadee employs 240 full-time people and indirectly impacts another 300 through the straw market, hair braiding, and other companies that supply goods and services to the site.
"

I'd believe the last paragraph if I ever saw it in action. I find the first paragraph somewhat disturbing. What does it mean exactly? Do they propose to shoot the starving and homeless to protect the wealthy? I'm imagining a future RCI blog post - "The End of Days brought to you by Royal Caribbean - Why Not?"

I've commented in this vein on the RCI Facebook wall. Now that someone IS in charge of monitoring it it will no doubt be deleted. That's if they can find it amongst the sycophantic "We love you" posts from those more concerned with enjoying their cruises than helping the people of Haiti.

UK readers: Please go to www.dec.org.uk to make a donation to the relief effort.

The DEC Facebook Page is HERE

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Shame on you, UK Business Forums

I just received a newsletter from the UK Business Forums.

" If I was Prime Minister..."

If I were Prime Minister, surely. I'm not sure why I'd want to be Prime Minister since I've walked the length and breadth of Downing Street and not seen a decent wool shop but I like to think I'd say it correctly.

Warning: Grumpy Old Woman on Facebook

This blog is the closest I have to a Grumpy Old Woman blog. It might be appropriate to have one called that but the blogger url has already gone and I'm a tad blogged out talking about scrapbooking, bunnies and the tedious minutiae of the tax system.

Don't even get me started on the lazy way the "book" part of Facebook is now pronounced. The phonetic symbols are beyond me but just push your lips together and forward to see how the work "book" used to be pronounced.

That out of the way and this being a blog about the written word ...

I have resisted Facebook for a long time, partly because I would have stuck pins in my eyes rather than have anything to do with people who were inviting me onto it, partly because it seemed silly. I was a moderator of a marketing forum for a while and reading pages and pages of how to collect friends and then spam them to death completely put me off. Never, ever, allow someone who is in network marketing (it will be proudly displayed on their info page) to become your friend unless you want incessant messages about saving money on your utility bills or "lose weight now, ask me how". If only the latter, or indeed the former, worked.

So, resisting the Scrapbook Police, marketers and those who owe me money or vice versa .... it's been good to catch up with cousins I haven't seen for years and people I knew messing about on the radio. I was doing the messing about, they were doing it professionally. I even found a few chums from school and university. How sad that I only found out a neighbour's father had died through Facebook. My terror of falling down and breaking something during the Tax Season has kept me in until such time as I can see the pavement outside the house. I had high hopes for tomorrow but it's snowing again and the Southampton bin men have been absent long enough to get their own Grumpy Old Woman post very soon.

I'm also resisting all the Farmville type games, the gifts and various other applications. Whilst it all seems fun it's not fun to have your computer compromised by all these things that require your log in details. In any case another distraction is something I need like a hole in the head. Digital scrapbooking and King.com games provide plenty of that.

I have a few quibbles with Facebook or, rather, its users. For many names the search comes up with hundreds of options. I seem the be the only Sharon Horswill on there, she declares from a position of superiority, although there are a few others on th'internet. How are we supposesd to find anyone? Why doesn't their location come up in the search? Their email addy doesn't find them as many people sensible choose a different addy just for Facebook and if you haven't been in touch with people since before the days of email - some of us go that far back - then you are not likely to know their email addy are you? What's with the picture of someone in a field, baby scans, pictures of two people etc etc? FACEbook. The clue is in the name! Do you want to be found or not?

What's Sue Smith Was Jones all about? Did Sue Smith nee Jones go out of fashion or did our American friends never use that?

Fair enough, groups of teenagers or business networks might not want to be found/let any grownups in but even they should be careful since internet searches last for years. Do they really want a future employer to find pictures of them falling down drunk? In my short time on Facebook I've even seen people having rows on there. Probably with people in the same room. Does the warning about washing dirty linen in public not apply any more?

My real quibble is with those who need to build a business presence on Facebook. I'm not talking about those who need to market directly on there, having trashed them a few paragraphs above, but those who would like others to know what they do and who have pride in what they do. I'm going to show you two friends who manage Facebook very well indeed:

Jane Hill - a stand-up comedian who entertains with witty status reports while letting FB friends know what she's up to

Paul Easton - the leader in his field of commentary on the radio industry who provides useful information to fellow radio peeps and find his friends are thrilled to bits when he modestly tells of his publishing achievements this week. Incidentally it's Paul who has helped me avoid some of the pitfalls.

I've linked to Jane's site and Paul's blog; I'm still not entirely sure how to link to FB pages ie how you do it when you're not a FB friend of theirs yet. There are many more mysteries ....

As for Twitter, I'm not keen. My life is far too boring to "tweet" about all day and should it ever become interesting I would hope it would be worthy of a broader canvas than however many characters Twitter allows. Short lines only encourage text speak which, as we all know, is a wrk of t dvl.