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MWhere I’ll be:M

Birch Bay Public Market

Friday, May 10 through the end of summer, Cathy and I will be selling her hand-made soaps, lotions, and toiletries, along with my photography, note cards, calenders, books, etc.

Come see us!

Across the street from the C Shop

4825 Alderson Road, Birch Bay, Washington 98230

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I had an automated blogroll here, powered by Google Reader, but Google, in its near-infinite lack of wisdom, killed Google Reader. Prior to this murder, all I had to do to put a blog on my blogroll (or to take it off) was to place it in a Reader folder called, appropriately enough, "blogroll" (or, of course, to remove it). I use The Old Reader now for following blogs, but it seems to have no way to something similar regarding the blogroll. If you know of a way to do this, please let me know.

Twitter v. the Spambots

When I first joined Twitter, in March of this year, I wasn’t even really sure why I should.

Short, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? What’s that all about? Who cares what I’m doing?

I quickly decided it wasn’t about short, frequent bouts of Narcissism, but that it was much more than just the sum of its parts. I wasn’t alone in this realization, by any means. One of the first people I followed, Steven B. Johnson, wrote an article for Time Magazine in which he laid out his vision of How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live. He, too, said that, at first, he was skeptical:

What was next? Software that let you send a single punctuation mark to describe your mood? . . .

And yet as millions of devotees have discovered, Twitter turns out to have unsuspected depth. In part this is because hearing about what your friends had for breakfast is actually more interesting than it sounds.

Later in the article, he describes a scene straight out of some high-tech military intelligence thriller: a conference that spread beyond the walls of the room where it was held, acquired a life of its own in the twitterverse, and continued long after the end of the official meeting.

I have likened Twitter to a global village, where everyone knows everyone, a world where friends are more than just the people we see daily, a world where connections reach beyond edges and distance is no barrier.

And yet that village is being torn down by the barbarians from the untamed wilds of cyberspace. The workings of this universe-within-a-universe are being plugged by spam, and there seems to be no one stopping it.

I’ve always been careful to keep my computer clean. I run Norton 360, so that I can be reasonably well assured that whatever virus you may have gotten, you didn’t get it from me. I’m less worried about getting viruses that about spreading them, and I feel no differently about spam. I’ve looked at every new follower I’ve gotten, and if it appears to be a spambot, I block it. It is certainly a safe assumption that these things spread virally through follower lists, moving from mine to that of every follower I have on Twitter, and from there, quite probably moving on to my Facebook friends, since Twitter feeds my Facebook account.

Well, I don’t want to spread spam. If you came to my site to look at my book, and got spammed because of it, how likely are you to buy the book? The “Block” button has become my best friend.

Until it stopped working.

Earlier today, 22 Jun 2009, several interesting things happened. I got follower alerts to my email box, but no follower by that name. I got followers, but no alert. I had various numbers of followers depending on where I looked. Twitter’s helpdesk is less than intuitive. To top it all off, I can’t even block followers anymore!

I believe we are seeing the end of Twitter as a useful part of human life, unless something is done NOW!

And I even have a suggestion, if anybody cares. Followers need to disappear after 24 hours, unless the followee deliberately authorizes continued following by that person. It wouldn’t be ideal, but it would be better than what exists now.

Meanwhile, I need to decide if the increased traffic to my website is worth the potential loss of good will.

If you have any thoughts on this matter, please do leave a comment. You shouldn’t be too surprised, however, having read this far, to find that I have comment moderation turned on. If you’re not a spambot, your comment will be approved.

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Comments are closed, but if you're not a spambot, you can email your comment to me, and I'll post it here.