The “In” of Internet

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn – not only do they have us CombiningWords with CapitalLetters in weird places, it has us spread too thin. In author groups, having a MySpace or Facebook page is THE thing to have. I have neither. I have a Blogger and LiveJournal space but they only point here. I am a member of LinkedIn (not sure why, but I am). I’m not part of the “in” crowd.

I don’t understand Twitter. Verbal voyeurism, even for a writer, can only satisfy so far. I love gadgets. I have all sorts of gadgets. I even have a cell phone! It only allows me to send and receive phone calls and not surf the ‘net or check email but that’s the way I like it. It’s the way I like my food, too. I don’t eat a burger with mustard and ketchup. They tend to overpower the main tastes. I think the subtly of lettuce and tomato bring out the wonderful goodness of the dead, cooked cow. I don’t eat many casseroles unless the items put together are balanced and not overwhelmed by one particular spice. Yeah, more evidence I’m weird. But I digress….

I just read an interesting article (Are you a twit if you don’t want to Twitter?) on how “social networking” is starting to overwhelm folks.

It shouldn’t be surprising that quick-hit online communications, the stuff of 140-character “tweets” on Twitter and “status updates” on Facebook, leave some people cold. Craig Kinsley, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Richmond, notes that studies of human interactions reveal that our brains crave networking, online and off, but differentiate between the quality of the interactions.

“Many short contacts may leave the user wanting deeper, more meaningful exchanges. Like a meal of cotton candy, when you come right down to it, there is not much substance,” he says. “A good conversation with a good friend is much more life-affirming than a few tortuously abbreviated or emoticon-filled lines in a tweet that anyone can read. How special is that?”

Our brains crave prolonged social activities. Maybe this is why instant messaging and chat rooms grew to such proportions. We could have cyber conversations with instant gratifications vs Twitting or updates on Facebook.

Earlier in the article:

“Being exposed to details, from someone’s painful breakup to what they had for breakfast – and much more sordid details than that – feels like voyeurism,” says the 31-year-old public relations executive in Washington, D.C. “I’m less concerned with protecting my privacy, and more concerned at the ethics of a ‘human zoo’ where others’ lives, and often serious problems, are treated as entertainment.”

Exactly! Human zoo. Reality shows are taking over the networks, even Animal Planet! Do we really need to surround ourselves with such type of reality? We are too removed from it to fulfill that neurological need. Personally, I’d rather sit at a table at Waffle House and listen to my friend tell me of her soap opera love life. Facial expressions, hand movement, pauses here and there – they speak more than any emoticon ever can.

Dam the Spam River

Okay, what happened the other day tried to happen again today. But, I happened to be one step ahead of the bastids!

I had already changed the comment form over to one that has a simple pre-filter installed. In the midst of making it look purty, I got the File 500 error again. I checked the webhost’s resource chart and while it said it was still within limits, the time-stamp said it was 45 minutes old. So I went to the database and SpamKarma’s log was stuffed full again. Nearly 700 spam just in the past 24hrs. So I deleted them all and the File 500 errors went away. Yay me!

I set the Settings>Discussions to turn off all Trackback/Pingbacks but all that does is uncheck the box for all future posts/pages. I went to WordPress’s Extension list and found what I needed. “Auto-Close Comments, Pingbacks and Trackbacks” is a plugin that allowed me to turn off ALL comments and trackbacks to ALL posts and pages. I could even leave open one that gets regular valid comments.

The comment form I am using now is called cforms and while the look of it is kinda gross, I do like the built in pre-filter. By pre-filter I mean it stops spammers from even submitting a comment. It doesn’t make it to the comment moderation where it clogs up the pipes. I opted to not go with the captcha images because I hate them myself and wouldn’t want to inflict them on others. Instead, it has a set of simple questions that the commenter must answer before the comment will move on. The questions are simple stuff (what is two plus two?) BUT they work. Yes, spammers can make their way around it eventually. But Shirley To Shit they aren’t that driven for this little known blog!

If anyone has any trouble with the comment form, let me know. I’ve not checked the accessibility issues of it (Elena?) yet and hope all is well on that front.