I have a new big brother…

I found the following WordPress post: Get Instant Feedback When You Publish interesting. Then I found it a little unnerving.

I realize we live in an age where Mark Zuckerberg knows when we are sleeping and knows when we are awake. Privacy is nonexistent now (if you’re on the internet anyway) I know how a business runs. It’s all about capitalizing on consumers wants/needs and shoving products in their face so they can buy buy buy. I know if you want a product to succeed, you need feedback from the customer. Understandable, I suppose. And I guess I did know, in the back of my foggy paranoid mind, that when I type something in my draft folder here at WP, there was a remote possibility someone might stumble upon it and read it someday. Oh yes, even the horrible and lame posts I want no one to ever read.

But now, I have a new worry. Exactly what do the people at WP see that I consider semi-private? It boggles the mind. Here’s the first paragraph from the above link from WordPress:

For months we’ve been studying how, when and why people publish their posts, and what the common tasks are people perform afterwards. We know many of you immediately want to see what your post looks like, check for typos, and then share your post to social networks.

See, this is a bit alarming to me. The “how, when and why” I publish posts? Immediately my mind went to a scary place.

I can see it now: A big conference room, all of the WordPress people huddled around a laptop at 2 am. One of them yells out, “Oh look! Maineiac is trying to write again!” Everyone laughs. Then they clamber over themselves to take a peek, sucking down their coffee with a wild look in their eyes. “Is this another stupid post about her kids again?” a guy in fake tuxedo t-shirt snickers. “Oh, God! I hope not!” another guy wearing a “Who Farted?” t-shirt yells. They squint at the computer to read. “Great! She’s writing about writing. Again!” They all groan.

and what the common tasks are people perform afterwards…Maybe there’s a tiny camera on my computer so WP can see what I’m doing when I type out a post? Another scary scenerio pops into my mind.

WP: “Jeez Louise, would you get a load of this get-up? Holy crap! She’s wearing a bathrobe and there’s a Frito stuck to her hair. Looks like she hasn’t showered in days. And she can barely see, she keeps squinting and her hands are shaking.” or “She is guzzling a huge glass of wine now. That should make for some interesting posts!”

Then another line from the above WP link concerned me even more:

We know many of you immediately want to see what your post looks like, check for typos, and then share your post to social networks.

I’m sorry, what? Again, I suddenly felt hot and clammy. They know we immediately check to see what our  posts looks like? That we check for typos? Oh my. God. Do they also know I check my stats every two seconds? That I edit and re-edit so much it makes Howard Hughes look tame in comparison? Do they laugh hysterically when I misspell ‘mispell’? And when I spent 8 hours uploading a million header pictures? Have we no privacy? Have we no place to hide anymore?

Also, if you keep reading the link, they mention a new feature where they automatically update your post with recommended tags on the bottom of the screen as you write. Right now I see: –Mark Zuckerberg– mispell–and Frito. What are they trying to tell me? Why hasn’t the word “fart” appeared as a “recommended link”? Who decides this stuff? And can I have a job, please?

Okay, that’s it for my daily “I am too old for this new technology” rant. Carry on.

What say you? Is this good? Bad? You don’t care? And if you don’t care, is your name Mark Zuckerberg?

75 thoughts on “I have a new big brother…

    1. Yeah! And I don’t even share mine sometimes. So there, WP! (I still haven’t figured out my twitter thingy yet…help me please..)

      My December is going FAST. Way too fast. But it’s all good. Hope yours is going well, too. 😀

      1. Thanks for that twitter tip. And keep up the knitting. Are you making my patented lopsided scarf? One year I’d like to try a potholder.

        So WP tells you that ‘you rock’? Now, why is it whenever I finish a post WP says to me:
        Eh. That’s the best you can do?

    1. Mags, I think I am getting too old for this stuff. I feel like my grandmother on her front porch waving a broom at the unruly kids on her front lawn: “Go away, you crazy wordpress people! Bah! Gotta know everything I do and say all the time! Leave me be! Gah!”

      500,000 new posts a day you say? Crazy!

      1. Mags, that is the coolest link! Thank you. Amazing to see the current/live comments and posts around the world. Holy moly!

        Ok, I zeroed in on Maine on the big map and I swear I could see myself at the computer, sipping coffee and scratching my head. I am officially freaked out now.

  1. Ha! I just read it and was feeling the same way, Darla!! I haven’t tried writing a post with the new format yet (hope to tonight). This killed me: “That I edit and re-edit so much it makes Howard Huges look tame in comparison? Do they laugh hysterically when I misspell ‘mispell’?”

    1. Jules, when I hit ‘publish’ for this post, this new-fangled thingamabob whozawhatzit came up on my screen that had this little bar that tracks how many posts I need for a certain goal or something and lets you immediately edit the post. What are they trying to tell me?

      1. I just saw that bar today, too.

        I read a couple days ago, they can read our stuff, even when it’s private…of course they can! I suppose the edits they can see as their own personal/info stats, same as we can see how many edits we’ve made. And who doesn’t first preview a post before hitting publish?

        What do we do afterwards? That’s just freaky. Who cares what we do afterwards? Apparently wordpress does…I found my computer camera does turn on by itself at times – I keep two layers of tape over it, because sometimes I’m in bed. Once it went on when I went to the bathroom, and left the door open…the camera was pointed directly at the..uh..john, and I see this green light blinking on and off! Freaked me out. The camera lense got 3 extra layers of tape after that!

        1. John Erickson

          When you “turn off” your computer, plug everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) into a surge strip, and turn the switch off. Many computers don’t turn fully off via their power switch, and certain software can hijack your PC. If you use any kind of external modem, Wi/Fi, router, or whatever, turn that off cold, too. That cures hijacks, plus a lot of peripherals that connect to the Net or WiFi/satellites update their internal programming when they power on from cold.
          For the camera, check one of your pill/vitamin bottles (I have tons, so it’s easy for me), find one that fits, paint it black, and duct tape it to the top of the camera so the lid hangs over the lens. Fast on, fast off. Pieces of a food or soda box work well, too.
          Helpful and handy tips from the 2nd cheapest person on the planet. (My father is the ULTRA cheapskate! 😀 )

    1. I just realized that, too. I don’t see them when I check to see what my post looks like, even after I publish, but I see them when I’m not logged in. I’m not crazy about it.

  2. This is scary. What’s really scary is that I was just, JUST over on Jules’ blog and I had to look up mispell/misspell in the dictionary as part of my comment. Did you get into my brain, Darletta? (I can see you and Mark up there in my brain, sitting back, putting your feet on the furniture, laughing at me…)

    1. Mwah ha ha! Yes! Mark and I will rule the WORLD! mwah ha ha!…or…at least…the BLOGOSPHERE! (rubbing hands together maniacally)…or….at the very absolute minimum…Peg’s spelling insecurities! mwah ha ha! Our evil plan is almost complete!

      (Darletta is much better than Darly even, great name! how do you do it?)

      1. I wouldn’t mind sharing world-domination with Mark. Even just a tiny corner of it – does he have any openings? (although I can’t do the evil, triumphant laugh even HALF as well as you do.)

  3. John Erickson

    Well, I can’t speak to how a PC-based company works, but if it was anything like the companies I worked for, you have nothing to worry about. All the employees stumble about in a daze, almost zombie-like. (Just where DID you think Hollywood got the idea for zombies? Any major corporate data centre, THAT’S where!) You, and all your friends, and everybody you know, are just a collection of bits and bytes on mountains of hard drives and tape backups in a room far too cold, too brightly lit, and too frequently invaded by complete IDIOTS (i.e. management) rushing in to demand some silly set of reports, only to disappear for an hour, burst back in, and ask for something COMPLETELY different – and I ain’t talking Monty Python! Though some bosses I worked for DID have a rather Python-esque air about them, unintentional though it was.
    And if they ARE online at 2am, they are either playing solitaire, or looking up stuff on eBay. A few of them are doing searches on “sex + threeway + penguin”.
    Those are the ones you have to worry about. They end up becoming military re-enactors, hanging out on numerous blogsites while living amongst a herd of cats (and one goat) in the literal middle-of-nowhere in Ohio.
    Or so I’ve been told……

    1. Hmm…it seems that you know a great deal about things concerning Monty Python-esqe horrible bosses…who did you work for, John? Spill it! WP? Hmm?

      Are you saying I am nothing but a byte on a dusty hard drive somewhere?! That big companies don’t care about me at all? They just want me to be sucked into the internet vortex of addiction and endless consumerism?? What the hell am I talking about? Hmm?

      And where have you been? Out attempting world domination with your herd (or is it gaggle?) of rogue cats?! Good to see you back, even if I am disturbed by the threeway penguin visual… 😀

      1. John Erickson

        Oh, I wish it were somewhere as glamourous as WordPress! My last gig started as a small branch of Sears, then through various buyouts went through Dean Witter, Associates, and finally (cue ominous music) Citigroup. If I could’ve wished bankruptcy on just ONE company during the crash of the last few years, it would’ve been Citi. Seriously. If Citi had an office next to the Fukushima plant in Japan, the government would’ve sued Citi for poisoning the environment! (And that’s so unfair of me, bearing such a grudge, when all they did was fire me for being ill with my migraine. How selfish can one guy be?!?)
        And you may be a byte of random data on a dusty hard drive (did I get that right?) to some huge, faceless, soulless company, but we know better. We know you as the great blogger, the shining wordsmith, the great and glorious inspiration for hundreds, thousands, MILLIONS even, lifting spirits and warming souls around the entire globe!
        (Good grief, can this boy schmooze, or what?)
        What have I been up to? Stashing firewood for the winter, winterising the house, and duelling with neighbors whose idea of “sharing” a gravel drive means they do all the damage, and I do all the work. Don’t suppose any of your readers are Air Force types, looking for a new bombing range? I do have ground marking panels to designate the target, if that helps! 😀
        Now if Blackjack will just come back down the hill (he’s been away from the border with our property for over a month), it’ll be a Merry Christmas all around!

      2. Citigroup? Ugh. Terrible, just terrible. I can only imagine.

        And you are a great schmoozer. Seriously, the best. As a matter of fact, I have never come across a single human being in my entire life who can schmooze as well as you! You are an inspiration, my friend. Just brilliant. A true delight to behold on my blog! Your comments are truly magical! May I be so bold as to say that you, kind sir, are the wind beneath my wings in this cold cruel blogosphere.

        I wonder what Blackjack is up to? Is he holing up in a bunker ready for the Apocalypse like my cows are?

        1. John Erickson

          The “apa-cow-lypse”?
          Not sure where that obnoxious little so-and-so has gotten himself off to. I suspect he might have found his way into the tarp-covered fenced enclosure, wherein the lady goats reside. He may very well be on his way to a VERY Merry Christmas! 😀
          BTW. “Wind Beneath My Wings”, as done by Sheena Easton, is absolutely wonderful. Others? Not so much. Then again, it’s not just Sheena’s singing that draws my attention, if you know what I mean! 😉

  4. Great Post! I had lost a whole month’s worth of notices from WordPress in my Spam folder. That was bad enough, but then I got an email each time I updated a post. Which means that both of my followers got 12,452 emails per post. Gee. Wonder why I can’t get a whole lot of readers, because they’re yelling: “STOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPP!”

    Thanks for putting it all in perspective.

  5. Deborah the Closet Monster

    I find this endlessly creepy. And yet, the high creep factor I read in it doesn’t seem to stop me from coming back for more–d’oh!

    I like your blog better. All of the fun, none of the “ugh.” ♥

    1. I try to stay away from anything “ugh” at my age, but it’s hard. Endlessly creepy is becoming more common in my internet experience, Deb. I am so creeped out by Facebook, I’ve almost stopped going there altogether. I think it was the day I posted some innocent status about eating too much chocolate and suddenly ads for Weight Watchers and Godiva popped up on my sidebar screen. Do they also know I only weigh myself standing on one foot? or that I hide chocolate under my pillow?

  6. Disclaimer: I haven’t yet tried to write a post in WP yet. Also, I am not a conspiracy theorist and I do not own an aluminum foil hat.


    What I hate the most is the creeping nature of the decline in privacy. It comes so slowly and makes us small offers that we can’t refuse. Give up blogging and writing in protest over a new format? I won’t do it! It’s too much to give up! And the price is so small…But then what’s the next compromise I have to make to be able to continue doing things I want to do? At what point does the demand of the teeming masses of consumers impinge on my freedom to live how I want to live?

    I’ve been saying for years that we’re running out of places to hide. The usual response I get to that statement is, “Why would you want to hide? What did you do?” Well, nothing. For now. But who decides when I have? If we’re constantly being monitored, how far a leap is it to being controlled?

    1. I do have an aluminum foil hat hiding somewhere, just in case. You just never know.

      “At what point does the demand of the teeming masses of consumers impinge on my freedom to live how I want to live?”

      Exactly. I wrote this tongue-in-cheek but I am getting sick of Facebook and the privacy issues there. It’s all about “customizing” the users experience now. Which is a fancy way of saying, “We want to know what you want so we can throw it back in your face and in the process sell you something!”

      But then, FB and WP both are free…and WP said we can “turn off” this new feature…blah blah blah. And I suppose I could just stop being on the internet altogether…but then I’d lose my will to live so…choices, choices…

  7. Darla, you are back to your best. You nailed it. 🙂 LOL After a long time i could n’t stop laughing reading something.
    Few weeks earlier, i had a day with zero visitors to my blog. I just kept that stats page’s screen Shot on my laptop. Now after reading this one, i am thinking that, might be WordPress people have noticed this madness of mine, of keeping the memory of the worst day of my blogging days.
    If yes then why those people did n’t make blog part of that Freshly Pressed list, to make me happy to motivate me. I hope WordPress Editor has not a heart of Human. 🙂 I hope After reading this one the editor of WordPress is going to wear a t shirt, having “I do not know who farted, but i did n’t” written on it!! 🙂

  8. This is a hysterical post! And really an appreciated one too. Especially love the parts on the tuxedo/fart shirt guys, the robe and the Frito. I have to agree with you and most of the comments here. This is a bit much “research” then I care to know about. I, too, change my header and theme quite a bit. Of course it goes to follow that I want to make sure my posts are beautiful and flawless within that framework. So YES I want to see it how others do (even Mark Zuckerburg gives you an option to View As). It will be hard to write now knowing that the Tuxedo kid and the Fart King are watching. ugh.

    1. haha! I know, Susan. Paranoia is no fun. I keep getting this visual of a bunch of guys like the ones on 30 Rock…sitting around wearing trucker hats and drinking coffee, reading my stuff and snickering. I think Mark Zuckerberg is watching too, I don’t know how, but the guy rules the internet and knows everything we do, it’s quite scary.

  9. Very funny. You know, I thought the same thing. How does wp know why? I’m so far behind on finishing my handmade things…perhaps an all nighter will do the trick that I considered letting a week go by before another post…but now I’m so intrigued, I just may get my second weekly post up to see what this analysis tells us.

    1. If WP knew why I posted, it would be scary, indeed.

      If you do post this week, you’ll see this little bar that gives you a goal of completing five posts. If you do, they give you a ‘little surprise’ at the end. Not sure what that is, but I’m curious now. Of course, I only post on average one to two posts per month, so it will be awhile before I get my WP surprise.

  10. Wow. That’s a little creepy. We seriously have no privacy on the internet, do we? I guess my dad’s right to be paranoid about how much information I put in my blog! 😛 Loved your post though – fantastic as always!

  11. singleworkingmomswm

    Hmmm, Darla, I totally loved this post, and I totally agree with the creepiness and frustration of it all. I, too, barely go on FB anymore. I can’t keep up with the changes. The last big one, the “make your friends Best Friends to that only the totally cool people you think are number one can see anything you write” change made me so mad. I don’t know who can even see what these days if I do post something. If I didn’t make their “your one of THOSE cool people” friends list, then what’s the point? The reading of my blog via posting to FB has gone down tremendously since they wonky everything around. . And, if WordPress is going to be doing the same crazy thing, gettin’ into our business so that they know more about us than we do, well, I suppose I’ll still blog, but geez! There are times I feel like turning it all off!

    1. Now I didn’t know about FB’s “BFF” thing. That seem pretty ridiculous. What in the world? This is why I don’t like Facebook and I want to delete my account. I do know you can ‘subscribe’ or ‘unsubscribe’ to individual’s status updates now. And they give you this option where you can have FB only show your friend’s ‘most important’ updates or ‘least important updates’. I ask you this: How in the heck does FB determine what is a ‘most important’ status? Does a computer scan all status updates for words like: Blood or Death? or ‘Help me! I’m trapped at my computer and I can’t get up!’ It makes me wonder.

      I do admit I don’t go on FB hardly at all anymore. I don’t even remember to ‘share’ my blog on there either. It’s all too much to remember quite honestly. So, yeah, I feel like turning it all off all the time. And running away to some remote snowy cabin in the mountains with no running water.

  12. pattisj

    I just read the email from WP of which you spoke. I don’t remember seeing anything different when I posted in the wee hours, but then maybe my eyes were crossed. :/ I miss out on everything. I think when we made the decision to put ourselves “out there” with social media, we gave up all our rights to privacy. It’s almost like running for public office…

    1. I agree, Patti, that really the only way I can make absolute certain I have my privacy back is if I don’t participate in things like Facebook and blogging. Or go on the internet at all, which is tempting some days.

  13. Margie

    I appreciate your feeling that someone is looking over your shoulder!

    Also of concern to me is the WP reblogging feature. That is where a fellow WP blogger can quickly copy a great chunk of your post and put it on their blog, without your permission. You get a credit link, of course. But the blog that reblogged me used one of my photos full size and most of my text (my post was mostly picture, not much words that day.) That alone violates the copyright of my photo. WP and I are still discussing my outrage, and I will write a post about it when they have stated their final position. I know what my position is about reblogging…

    1. Margie, I never knew what their policy was on taking excerpts or ‘reblogging’. I can understand why you’re outraged. I’ve had people take my entire post and repost it on their blog without asking. They did add a tiny little link at the end so I guess they assumed it was okay. I don’t have a copyright blurb up on my blog and I wonder if I need one? I always assumed it was an automatic assumption that ‘No, you shouldn’t blatantly steal my stuff’, y’know?! Crazy! I certainly hope WP resolves this for you soon.

      1. Margie

        I can certainly understand how upset you must have been!
        You don’t have to have a copyright blurb – you do have the automatic right of copyright. But I think many people aren’t aware of what copyright really means. WordPress suggests that everyone should post a copyright notice – a simple statement in a widget would suffice.
        I also add a copyright notice to all my photos.

  14. Snoring Dog Studio

    I try not to think about the double face palming going on after the WP folks see another post of mine. But what concerns me the most is how much I’m letting these complete strangers know quite a bit about me. I don’t particularly care what they think, but sometimes I feel beholden to the holy grail of Freshly Pressed. It’s best to just imagine that our words go into the atmosphere and leave few traces for anyone to find us and mock us in person.

    1. Agreed. I do try to limit exactly what I share on the internet, my kids’ names and my last name, for one. I suppose that’s the allure of being on the net, we can somewhat hide behind our computers and hope no one ever finds out anything too personal about us.

    1. I know. At first I wasn’t creeped out, I thought…oh, new features, hmm. Then I thought, oh, this reminds me of when Facebook decides to change everything AGAIN and privacy gets tossed out the window. WP isn’t there yet but blogging is a scary thing in general: putting your innermost parts of your life out there and any perfect stranger can read it. But I choose to do it so I guess I need to take some blame.

  15. Hi Darla, thanks for a great read. Don’t we all sit at our keyboards in our bathrobes with fritos in our hair while we edit and re-edit our posts?

    I knew we were in big trouble when FB insisted it needed my WP password before it would post copies of my posts to my FB page. I declined that one.

    1. Rosie, I was hoping there were others out there who might have a Frito or two in their hair…

      I’ve noticed on FB they are telling me in my newsfeed what my friends are currently reading for Yahoo articles. I don’t like that at all. I don’t exactly want everyone to know what I’m reading. Very unnerving to me.

  16. Oh my God. We all do this? I hate it when I’m predictable. I feel like a little rat that WordPress is poking at to see if I’ll eat the cheese before I try to escape.

    Here are my habits. After getting semi-close to finishing a post, I toss it out there like it’s a hot potato about to burn my hands. Then I immediately regret it and set to work editing the hell out of it for nearly an hour. Of course, a few readers read it right away and then I want to message them “No, no, wait! Go back and reread it! It’s so, so much better now and I promise I knew it was supposed to be you’re and not your!”

    1. Haha! Yes, that dreaded ‘your’ problem. I have that as well. Mine is ‘it’s’ and ‘its’. I have to remind myself which one is correct all the time.

      You have courage. I never send mine right out. I have to let it sit for at least a day. then I go back, reread it and hate it. I delete half. Then I check my spelling and grammar (which is HORRIBLE by the way…) Plus, I type very fast so I tend to leave out certain letters here and there. ha!

  17. critters and crayons

    I missed that wordpress update and it is a bit creepy- but I imagine, they have algorithms that are stat-puking robotic response mechanisms. Technology and data collation can be a great thing- but, I agree, it can seem like an invasion of our “process”- or at least a little embarrassing. 🙂

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