Maintenance, our human flaw and a dreamed of plugin

икони на светци

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build
and nobody wants to do maintenance

— Kurt Vonnegut

Today has driven home to me Kurt Vonnegut’s quote regarding maintenance. He is right. I’m guilty of that flaw too. Most of us are. We want to get on to the next new thing; maintaining what we’ve done previously doesn’t have the same energetic oomph.

I’ve been trying to get a web page removed that has misleading and downright wrong information.

From what I’ve been able to determine, the page was created in the mid 1990’s. It even refers to a fundraising event for 1996/97. Even more alarming, the corporate name hasn’t been valid since 2004 — it has a forfeit status.

The page also refers to a charitable tax number that isn’t a charitable tax number at all but a file number. And the charity lost tax status as a charity in 1999.

In trying to get the page removed, I found it was part of a larger community site, likely created in the mid-90’s. The page is dated April 1997. The community site it is on cannot be contacted — phones just ring (no voicemail) and emails go unanswered.

I tried contacting the domain host thinking they could help but found out very quickly (they responded immediately) that it was actually pointed to yet another host. I’ve now sent them an email in the hope of getting this page removed.

It all boils down to a maintenance problem and what I call the great digital landfill.

And I’m as guilty as the next person. A few months ago, on one of my sites, I took a lot of pages offline and have been slowly updating them and putting them back up. But as I sit here, I’m dreaming of a WordPress plugin that for all I know already exists. But here is my dreamed up plugin (or what it does):

  • It applies to pages or posts or both (it is an option).
  • It has a time frame you can set: one year, two years, three years etc.
  • It alerts you (via email?) that a page is up for review.
  • It gives you seven days to review and okay or update the page.
  • There is an “Okay” button.
  • If the “Okay” button isn’t clicked, the page goes to an offline status  (Visibility = Private).

Well, it seems one way of making sure information is current. I guess the problem would be having every site in the world on WordPress — which I would not object to!

Social media fugue – is the bloom off the rose?

вик услугиOver the last four months or so I have been using social media far less than a year ago and I wonder if social media hasn’t hit a kind of tipping point and I’ve entered into a kind of fugue state where it is concerned.

The dictionary on my computer defines fugue (second meaning) as, “… a state or period of loss of awareness of one’s identity, often coupled with flight from one’s usual environment, associated with certain forms of hysteria and epilepsy.”

That’s probably a bit more extreme than is the actual case but it certainly is suggestive of how I’ve been feeling about social media recently. There are so many people using it now and so many platforms and tools that it feels like a full time job just to keep up.

I also find fewer worthwhile items when I use them and many of the people I use to follow are rarely there. I’m not sure if they are actually absent or buried under all the tweets and updates or if algorithms are affecting what I see and don’t see.

Whatever the case is, there is definitely less value in them for me.

Compounding that are the continual entries of new tools, platforms and updated tools and platforms with additional features. How do you keep up and how do you determine what is worthwhile?

I’ve been dabbling in curation as well. I find the concept great; the reality, not so much. As with all tools and platforms, they involve work. They require time to maintain or review. If you are managing the content of others, you are not managing and creating your own.

In the meantime, there is the offline world and its demands: work, finances, maintaining a house, groceries, dog and, yes, an actual life.

I would say this feeling is all just me and my specific circumstances – and that is what I thought for a long time – but I get hints and sometimes very clear statements from others echoing the same thing. They are tired of it. It is too much. They have better things to do.

I don’t agree with the “better things to do” complaint. If I didn’t find value in social media I wouldn’t use it. But I suspect the currency has been devalued, likely a result of its wild success.

Do you feel this way? Is this just a personal response specific to me or do you think social media has hit a tipping point and is losing its appeal?

Is the bloom off the rose?