Archive for Livre du Visage

Out of my Facebook

I’m sure this situation has come up rather a lot:

Social networking added an entirely new morass for employers to navigate.

Should you permit employees to friend one another? (You don’t really have a choice.)

Can you prevent it if they elect to? (Unlikely.)

Can social media policies limit what they say about their workplace on social media sites like Facebook? (Not without potentially infringing employees’ right to discuss working conditions.)

Can you use their social media activity as the basis for firing an employee? (Probably not a good idea.)

My own Facebook policies, to the extent that I can have any policies down here at the bottom of the org chart, are simple: I do not friend anyone I work with, and I turn down requests if I get them.

On the other hand, I have no such rule on Twitter; I figure that none of these folks have time to wade through my tweetstream. I have exactly two followers from the shop, both in my department. And I’m pretty sure I haven’t tweeted anything relevant to work that they haven’t already heard in person, perhaps several times.

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Idle threat

Perhaps you’ve encountered this box before:

Fake Facebook warning

This one, however, was a fake, and I knew that before I knew the links were going to some wiseguy using a French address, based on the following observations:

  • It was sent to a mailbox not associated with Facebook;
  • Subject line was “Your messages will be deleted soon beggar”.

So, my fake-French fake-friend: Bitez-moi.

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What a neat idea

A friend of mine posted this to a listserv:

A local news broadcast is asking viewers to post comments on the station’s Facebook page about their strangest Google searches.

You know, I should try something like that one of these days.

Oh, you mean searches I myself have conducted? Not on your life.

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From the As If files

Something styling itself “Facebook Spy” had the temerity to send me this:

chaz, we have detected that your profile was viewed by following user:

Nickname: SquigglyNoodles99
Gender: female
Possible age: 27 years
Last view: 14 minutes ago

There followed a t.co link which of course I refused to click, and come to think of it, why would a “Facebook Spy” send out a link shortened with the Twitter shortener?

Be assured, future spammers, that no 27-year-old woman on the face of the earth is going to be looking in my direction.

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@fmail

Remember your facebook.com email address? Well, forget it:

Facebook’s foray into email ended Monday, when the social media giant quietly retired the email service that many users didn’t even know existed. Users received a notice saying the @facebook.com email addresses they deployed are going away.

“We’re making this change because most people haven’t been using their Facebook email addresses, and we wanted to make it easier to view all your emails in one place,” the message read.

Yeah, sure. I’ll believe that when they delete the “Other” message folder.

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Although it may be cute, it’s just a substitute

Smokey Robinson has his reservations about social media:

Legendary Motown singer/composer Smokey Robinson thinks texting, Facebook and Twitter have a real hold on young people. “Social media is out of hand,” he told us recently at the National Association of Music Merchants convention here, where he was awarded the “Music for Life” award.

“Social media is running rampant,” he says. “We could get to the point where without those phones or iPads or whatever kids are texting or typing on, they (young people) won’t even know how to communicate, how to sit down and have a conversation with each other verbally.”

Robinson, who either wrote or co-wrote such classics as “My Girl,” “Tracks of My Tears,” “Shop Around” and “I Second That Emotion” for both Motown performers and Robinson and the Miracles, does say he’s comfortable with technology. His Windows Phone is his lifeline, and he’s all over Facebook and Twitter himself. But that’s just for professional reasons.

Well, you know, we gotta dance to keep from crying. (Which is a rarity: a Smokey song that he didn’t write.)

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An awful lot of interpolation

Apparently Facebook can now tell, or at least guesstimate, the object of your affections:

Though 27% of Facebook users don’t list their relationship status at all, only about half of those people are single, according to a Men’s Health article. If you’re one of these users committing the crime of omission, Facebook’s team of “in-house sociologists” has been researching ways to find you out…

If you’re “friends” with several of your other half’s co-workers, family members and friends, for example, Facebook may deduce that your only mutual link to these profiles is your assumed wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend. Researchers said they had a high success rate in correctly guessing someone’s romantic partner by this method.

Will Truman contemplates what this may actually mean:

This opens up a potentially crucial role for Facebook in the human social domain. You know what I always hated about relationships? I hated trying to nail down where exactly things stood. I’ll bet there is a lot of potential here for Facebook to tell you. Or they can at least give you a heads up. “In case you were unaware, statistically speaking, you are in a relationship with Suzie.” It would be a very helpful pointer for the unaware.

Of course, you could decide that you don’t want to be in a relationship with Suzie at all. And you can say “Facebook! You’re wrong!” But you ought to make sure that Suzie thinks that Facebook is wrong, too. It could have a real positive social impact of making us have the very important conversation that some are too good at avoiding.

There are several potential Suzies on my “friends” list, and I can tell you exactly where I stand with all of them: nowhere.

And while this situation may be disheartening, it bothers me less than the possibility that Facebook may select a Suzie for me and put her name on my wall — or worse, her wall — for the whole world to see.

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An idea whose time will never come

Endless scrolling. Facebook does it; it’s an option on many Tumblr themes.

Browsers don’t seem to like it; people whose business it is to count page views don’t like it. Who actually likes this, and why?

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You call this social?

The social media evidently have it in for Rob O’Hara:

When I post new posts on robohara.com, notifications get posted to Facebook (via the FacePress plugin) and Twitter (via WordTwit). When I need to update both Facebook and Twitter at the same time, I’ve been using TweetDeck.

Over the past week FacePress, WordTwit, and TweetDeck have all stopped working. Cheese and rice, man.

It started with TweetDeck, which forced an upgrade and then informed users that the new version no longer supports Facebook. Essentially that means that TweetDeck now only supports Twitter. That’s stupid. If it only supports Twitter, then why would I use TweetDeck? The entire point of TweetDeck was that I could funnel multiple social streams into one single interface. If TweetDeck only supports Twitter, then I’m not sure what purpose it serves. From now on I’ll just go back to using Twitter’s default interface. TweetDeck has been deleted.

The reason TweetDeck did this, of course, is because Twitter bought it and didn’t want to expend any development time supporting someone else’s API, especially Facebook’s. (Early versions of TweetDeck even supported MySpace, fercryingoutloud.)

While troubleshooting TweetDeck, I noticed that my last couple of blog posts didn’t get posted on either Facebook or Twitter. Apparently, over the past week both sites updated their APIs, causing older plugins (like the ones I was running) to stop working. Facebook said, “update your plugin”. I checked the FacePress website and was informed that the plugin hadn’t been updated in three years. Greeeeeeeat. After an hour on Google I found that Jetpack for Facebook offers the same functionality — I just didn’t know it because I’ve been running an older version of Jetpack. After upgrading it, I was able to link robohara.com with Facebook once again.

Now this is out of my wheelhouse, since I’ve worked diligently to keep this site and Facebook as far apart as possible, but allow me to put in a few kind words for Jetpack, which I use on all my sites except this one: it does a whole lot without making you jump through (too many) hoops.

I had to do the same thing with Twitter. WordTwit had to be upgraded and new security keys had to be generated. After going all of that, I realized that Jetpack handles Twitter connections as well as Facebook connections, so after doing all the work to get WordTwit to work again I uninstalled it and added Twitter to Jetpack as well. Sheesh.

I used WordTwit for a while, but ultimately switched to WP to Twitter, mostly because it was better about serving up error messages. And in fact, most of the errors I encounter are due to slipping time stamps — server time here never exactly matches Twitter’s server time — or a failure to rouse the gnomes at bit.ly, rather than anything related to the plugin itself.

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And you are…?

Jack Baruth recalls his early days doing that Social Media thing:

Once upon a time, by which I mean the year 2010, I accepted every Facebook friend request I got and I kept my Twitter feed public. Then I was part of three separate incidents in which my social media “friends” pulled various details of my employment, my family life, and my most embarrassing photos (which is to say most of them, really) in a couple of attempts to get me fired from my job, affect my personal life, and/or incite people in my general neighborhood to vandalize my cars/house/already-questionable lawn.

And he did what you’d probably do: backed off and went private. But this, too, has its disadvantages:

It frustrates me to no end that I can’t use social media to connect with the people who legitimately enjoy my writing — or even the people who legitimately dislike it and want to share their concerns and/or criticisms. I’ve been told to convert my Facebook page to a “fan page”, which seems repugnant. I cannot imagine that I have any “fans”. By the same token, I’d like to make a comment on a movie on Twitter without being the target of a sack full of shrill invective from somebody who’s still angry about something I may or may not have done with the wife of somebody he doesn’t even really like. You get the idea. What’s the point of being on FB and Twitter if you’re just building the proverbial walled garden?

Emphasis added.

I am able to deal with this only because I lead a relatively uninteresting life and have accumulated few detractors. (Who was it who said “Friends come and friends go, but enemies accumulate”?)¹ And I’m still, I think, fairly compartmentalized: I tend to treat Twitter as general distribution and Facebook as friends only, though inevitably there is some overlap on both ends of the line.

¹ I’ve seen this quotation, or an approximation thereof, attributed to Thomas Jones, to Arthur Bloch, and to Jayne Ann Krentz.

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Exclusive of taste considerations

A friend of mine lost her dad over the weekend, which more than meets the criteria for “upsetting.” A thread grew on Facebook, to which we all added our condolences and such, and FB responded to mine — and, I assume to those written by others — with “Send [name redacted] a gift.”

Recommended gift: a pair of tickets to see Fast & Furious 6.

I suppose it could have been worse: the guy could have perished in a car wreck. But this is what happens when corporate philosophy boils down to “Monetize All The Things.”

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Introducing Schedule FB

The IRS routinely looks at your W-2 and that fistful of 1099s. And now they’re reading your social-media accounts:

New reports brought to light by one privacy and data security expert suggest that this tax filing season the Internal Revenue Service may be monitoring social media for any clues of tax cheats.

According to Kristen Mathews, a partner attorney at law firm Proskauer Rose LLP who specializes in privacy and data security, there are reports that the IRS will be checking into individual Facebook and Twitter accounts for improprieties.

Though the agency says that it will only conduct such monitoring if a tax form raises a red flag, it is somewhat unclear to what extent it will be capable of delving into social media accounts.

You think maybe that drunken debauch in Dayton you plastered (while plastered) all over Facebook might get your expenses disallowed?

(Via this Jules Shapiro tweet.)

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Go like yourself

Old and busted: People or organizations pleading for Facebook likes. New hotness: The machine does it for you:

I bought a new Logitech wireless mouse the other day. The only installation it requires is to pull it out of the package and plug the receiver in. I already had a Logitech wireless mouse and love it, so when I needed a second one, it was the logical choice.

I noticed some very brief windows opening & closing when I plugged it in, but I figured it was my system processing the hardware.

But then I noticed an item in my newsfeed that had been put there by Logitech sharing an item. I clicked over to see why I was getting stuff from Logitech, and right there, the “Liked” button was clicked on their page.

There seem to be two possibilities here: either Logitech has somehow taught meece to press their own buttons, or there’s a Facebook script hiding in the woodpile. (Would Facebook countenance such a thing? Would Lindsay Lohan let someone buy her a drink?)

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Some friend you are

As the kids say, +1 for this:

As a way to establish and maintain an identifiable on-line presence, I think Facebook is probably around for the long haul. I think there is research on this that says so. Facebook seems lately to have read that research, and come to a decision that it wants to move in on LinkedIn’s turf by offering people a work identity. This, I believe, is a mistake of enormous proportions. I’m basing that on a presumption that people use these tools the way I do, and that’s always problematic I realize. But I don’t want current work contacts to see me on Facebook. Maybe past co-workers, the ones who are kinda “cool.” But there is no reason to go mixing up these two worlds, and if I’m going to be pushed into it because that’s just the way the system expects me to use its services, then I’ll be on my way out too. That’s probably what’s been happening, since most Facebook inhabitants behave more-or-less the way I do.

I shan’t be pushed in this matter. I made a rule for myself about three minutes after signing up for a Facebook account, to the effect that under no circumstances would I accept friend requests from co-workers. (Mentioning this once or twice in front of carefully selected staffers has pretty much insured that I don’t get any, either.) Past co-workers, the ones who are kinda “cool” — no problem.

I can’t, of course, do a thing about Twitter other than hide the entire lot of 32,000 tweets, which is more trouble than it’s worth. And unless someone’s doing a better job of hiding than I’d have expected, I have exactly two Twitter followers from the shop.

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Argyle and deceit

Once in a while, one of those pesky “e-cards” that clutter up Facebook elicits a small chuckle from this quarter. This one, though, has definite neologism, or at least euphemism, potential:

E-card: A dyslexic hooker just offered to cook my socks for $40

(Found at Kat’s Kozy Korner.)

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Insufficiently authoritative, or something.

I picked up about 1400 visits yesterday from a Yahoo! Answers answer, which had to do with a recent class-action suit against Facebook, and the settlement thereof.

Weirdly, I didn’t get the vote for Best Answer, the massive amount of traffic notwithstanding. (Total visitors for the 24-hour period numbered 1734, the 14th busiest day here since, well, ever.)

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Where all your time has gone

And by “your time,” I suspect I really mean “James Lileks’ time”:

Every day I encounter some site I like, but rarely promote to the daily bookmark. I find this interesting. Why wouldn’t I? Because it’s a peripheral interest, and I really don’t need to check up on someone’s vintage kitchen remodel for a month. If ever. So the list of secondary bookmarks grows and grows, until weeded out six months later after a cursory revisit. Each of these pages usually has a Facebook page. Never go there. Why would I?

I am something like that, though you should probably figure that if you read it here, I don’t consider that interest “peripheral.”

What I don’t like about all of this: the fragmentation of presence. If you just have Facebook, lucky you. If that’s what you want. But if you have a blog, you should tweet, and if you tweet, isn’t there a Facebook account and a Google+ account you might want to link to that? Ought not the Tumblr be chained as well, so all updates everywhere are sprayed across all possible platforms?

Short answer: no. Slightly longer answer: there are different audiences, at least in my case, for each of these platforms. (I don’t have a presence on Tumblr.) And nothing I say is so gosh-darn important that I have to push it out to everyone who’s ever heard of me.

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Unabashery

An Australian newspaper tries out Facebook Graph Search, and says it’s “taken the pain and skill out of searching for people worthy of a public shaming.”

Among those people, says the paper, are Rebecca Black fans:

Facebook Search screenshot featuring people who like Rebecca Black

“The identity of these Rebecca Black fans have been protected. For shame, people.”

Last I looked, there were 168,383 of us, not all of whom saw her last Friday on Ricki Lake’s show. (Although the clip to watch is this one, in which she says nothing but makes some curious faces.)

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Don’t spend it all in one place

Ho-hum. Another day, another class-action suit:

Fraley, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., et al., Case No. CV-11-01726 RS

If you or your child have or have had a Facebook account and a Facebook Sponsored Story featured your or your child’s name or profile picture, you or your child may be a “Class Member” in a class action lawsuit (the “Action”).

Sponsored Stories are a form of advertising that typically contain posts which appear on facebook.com about or from a Facebook user or entity that a business, organization, or individual has paid to promote so there is a better chance that the posts will be seen by the user or entity’s chosen audience. For more information about Sponsored Stories, please review the Notice.

A class action lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”) claimed that Facebook unlawfully used Class Members’ names, profile pictures, photographs, likenesses, and identities to advertise or sell products and services through Sponsored Stories, without obtaining Class Members’ consent. Facebook denies any wrongdoing and any liability whatsoever. No court or other entity has made any judgment or other determination of any liability.

The settlement will bring Class Members the enormous sum of, um, a maximum of ten bucks, although “no one knows in advance how much, if anything, Authorized Claimants may receive, and no one will know until the deadline for submitting claims passes.”

The deadline is the second of May. After that, if the settlement is approved, the actual plaintiffs — there are three — will receive $12,500 each, and counsel for same has requested “up to $7.5 million for their attorneys’ fees and up to $282,566.49 to cover their costs”.

Two questions:

1. What are the chances that the aggrieved plaintiffs, their twelve thou not yet in hand, will still have Facebook accounts? (Answer: ~100 percent.)

2. What are the chances that anything useful was accomplished by this suit? (Answer: ~0 percent.)

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How to drop names

Lesson 1: Be sure you’re dropping an appropriate name.

Facebook screenshot referencing Hakkar the Soulflayer

Mentioning Hakkar the Houndmaster would not have been quite so effective.

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Pokes, however, are still free

Facebook hits on yet another method of prying dollars out of the user base:

Ordinarily, a Facebook user’s Inbox will only display messages from friends and people the user might know, such as friends of friends. Messages from other sources end up in a separate Other folder, where they’re likely to be overlooked.

“We’ve heard that messages people care about may not always be delivered or may go unseen in the Other folder,” Facebook said in a statement on Thursday, explaining that it has launched the experimental pay-to-message feature to see whether “economic signals” can be used to help determine message relevance.

The buzz has been solidly negative, but I think this is a swell idea: if you want guaranteed access to my inbox, it ought to cost you, and $1 doesn’t seem unreasonable. (About three decades ago, I was hooked up to MCI Mail, where every message you sent cost half a buck. Needless to say, there was no spam.)

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A timely broom

NewsOK.com has revamped its comment system again, this time for quality-assurance purposes:

[F]ar too often in far too many stories, the comments contain vitriolic, hateful and attacking language. Far too often, those comments overwhelm those attempting to have constructive dialogue.

So beginning today, NewsOK is making changes designed to improve the nature and tone of the dialogue for its audience. We’re switching to Facebook commenting, requiring users to login with their Facebook account in order to make a comment on an article.

Facebook, in my experience, is a hair stricter than Disqus. (I’m quite used to both, and I have my real name tied to both, so this bothers me not in the least.)

The ultimate motivation, it appears, is to disperse the crowd of loudmouthed blithering idiots:

We care about the conversation. We care so much about the conversation that we are willing to give up quantity for quality. We expect this change to result in fewer comments on our site. But we also expect this change to encourage more users to participate. And we’re confident that we will see more constructive discourse about issues in Oklahoma.

Why? Because all the comments will be tied to a real person’s Facebook profile, making users accountable for what they post and eliminating the veil of anonymity.

There are, of course, reasons why one might want to remain anonymous on the Net. But commenting on a news site isn’t one of them. (If you aspire to be a whistleblower, you’re going to accomplish more by tweeting a reporter than you will by throwing up a comment.)

And besides, this is the way they do it on Oklahoman.com already, not that anyone ever comments there.

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Still kinda bedazzling

Facebook had the temerity to present me with this Sunday night:

Facebook friend recommendation for Raquel Welch

“People I may know”? Not a chance, Zuck. And what does Raquel Welch, now 72, look like, anyway?

Well, in February, she looked like this:

Raquel Welch February 2012

The occasion: a five-day event by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, titled Cinematic Goddess: American Sex Symbol, The Films of Raquel Welch, which featured screenings of ten such films plus several appearances by the actress herself. Unpaid Film Critic reports on one appearance:

On Saturday, February 11, before a screening of The Three Musketeers (1973), Welch was interviewed on stage, at the Walter Reade Theatre, by legendary talk show host Dick Cavett. Watching Cavett and Welch together was like being in a time warp. Neither had dropped a stitch. Cavett was still urbane and funny while Welch was beautiful, gracious and wonderfully candid. Cavett said, “It has been such a long time since we were together. Remember how young we were? Now only one of us is beautiful.” To which Welch replied, “Oh that’s not true.” To which Cavett said, “I didn’t mean me.”

You hadda be there, I suppose.

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Take these thumbs and shove ‘em

Facebook passed around this note yesterday:

We are also proposing changes to our site governance process for future updates to our Data Use Policy and SRR [Statement of Rights and Responsibilities]. We deeply value the feedback we receive from you during our comment period but have found that the voting mechanism created a system that incentivized quantity of comments over the quality of them. So, we are proposing to end the voting component in order to promote a more meaningful environment for feedback.

Did anyone not see that coming? Besides Facebook, I mean.

Here’s the list of proposed changes. There seems to be a Like button on it.

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Sunny unshare

Lynn is happy to inform you that she will not share this:

I guess Facebook is exactly what I knew it would be, or should have known, but I was hoping it would be a lot more of “This is what I’ve been doing,” and “This is what I’m thinking about,” and “Here are these pictures of my kids, grandkids, pets, house and garden,” and a lot less “Share this if you love your mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, Jesus or puppies”. After a few of those I decided that I will not share anything that says “Share this if…” It just seems so manipulative to me — like they’re saying “you have to share this.” So I don’t.

I’ve sent up a couple of those things, hinting at an ill-concealed tendency toward gooey sentimentality, but the rationale is more “I don’t have a damned thing to say” than “Oh, that’s so true.”

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Want it, need it

Although Facebook isn’t working on a “Need” button, “Want” is definitely on their radar:

It’s kind of like the “like” button, but instead compiles a wish list of all the products you’re lusting after on the Internet and lets your pals (and ostensibly, the retailers selling the item) know.

The convenient part for shoppers and the attractive part for retailers? Once you’ve amassed your virtual treasure trove, the idea is you’d be able to click through and actually buy the products on that list.

The question for me, of course, is whether I’d have enough sense to limit my Wants to that which I can actually afford.

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Fundamental imbalance

The eminent CripesSuzette has tweeted:

My old FB account says I have 19 “likes”. I don’t even like 19 things in real life.

I am embarrassed to report 109 “likes,” though evidently not embarrassed enough to refrain from mentioning it here.

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Pung

Every single time a track comes up in iTunes, a little Ping button appears, suggesting that I share the existence of this track with the rest of the world. Not once did I ever do so, which of course explains why it’s dead:

Introduced at a September 2010 Apple event as “a social network for music,” Ping never really caught on with music-listeners. A kerfuffle with Facebook over sharing activity may have doomed Ping from the start: Facebook blocked access to Ping, which made it impossible to find Facebook friends who were also using Ping.

The Zuckerborg Collective will apparently not be resisted.

Ironically, Ping will be replaced with deep Facebook integration in iTunes 11. When that version of iTunes becomes available in October, you’ll be able to see whenever your Facebook friends “Like” an artist, song or album on iTunes.

Finally, a persuasive argument for Winamp.

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Another happy user

You can quote Miriam on it:

I consider Facebook one of the most useless and time-sucking activities available to man, right up there with cleaning the grout in your bathroom tiles. When everyone started “friending” me I enjoyed hearing from people I hadn’t seen in years. Since most of them are doing exactly what I predicted 20 years ago, I was pleased to have my judgment vindicated.

Then, of course, things got predictable:

This is background stuff, preliminary to inform you about an e-mail I received from a close relative from the Commie side of the family. She upbraided me because someone she knew told her I “liked” Mitt Romney, and she was aghast. As it happens, I didn’t, and don’t, and I told her so. She seemed quite relieved. I suffer from l’esprit d’escalier otherwise known as staircase wit, meaning that I think of a witty retort on the way home from the party, when it’s too late. So here’s what I would have told her, after re-covering my wits:

“What’s it to you? And if I did ‘like’ Romney, so what? It’s not like ‘liking’ Goebbels. I don’t ‘like’ Romney but I’m voting for him just the same.

Of course, if you want to ‘like” Goebbels in the Facebook sense, here you go.

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Talk to me after November

The browser extension Social Fixer is now positioning itself as the solution to all that damn politics on Facebook. A sample filter:

Here is an example to start with:
/politic|obama|romney|republican|democrat|election/i
(If you want details on exactly what this means, read more below.)

Now click “Move to Tab” and enter a tab name, like “Politics”. All posts that match this filter will be moved to this new tab in your Facebook stream. If you want to just hide the posts altogether, you can click the “Hide” box instead.

I’m not about to claim I speak regex like a native, but I can generally comprehend what it’s trying to do.

Still, this doesn’t strike me as something I really need. I have FB friends to my left and to my right; I figure if they’re yelling across the aisle at one another, it might prevent me from falling into the nearest echo chamber.

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