|Thursday, February 11, 2010
18:58 - And Internet Jesus Wept
Urrg. I feel ill.
I TRULY DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON BUT I FEEL LIKE CURSING SOMEBODY OUT!!!!!! I CAN'T EVEN GET TO MY WALL OR ANYTHING !!!! I FEEL LIKE I'V BEEN PUNKED PUT IT BACK LIKE IT WAS!!! YA'LL ACT LIKE YOU WANT TO BE TAKEN TO COURT OR SOMETHING ,I DON'T HAVE THIS KINDA TIME TO BE FOOLING ARROUND ALL I WANT TO DO IS GAIN ACCESS TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE WHAT'S REALLY UP????????
Twelve pages of this and counting.
But as Gruber says, this is a perfect illustration of how deep the divide is between those who "get" technology and those who cling to the walls at the shallow end in a way that the former group simply can't fathom.
It's not the comments by the bewildered and misdirected Facebookers that form the illustration. It's the juxtaposition of them with the "helpful" tips interspersed throughout by clued-in observers:
• "Ha ha, you forgot to tell all these users to not just type www.facebook.com into their browser, but to right click and bookmark/favorite/whatever facebook and use that bookmark..."
• "type "facebook" into the address bar and hold down 'ctl' and press 'enter' ... Try it... :-D"
• "I did do a small experiment and logged out of FB. Facebook's login page is designed for a 1000 pixel wide screen. At 600 pixels wide, the login boxes are not visible...Perhaps the warning text should be updated to say, "Click here and scroll the browser window to the right." (Or is that to the left.)"
• "People, easy way, press F6 on your keybord, it is on the top raw of keybord, probably 7th button from the left, and then just type facebook.com and press enter button, supposedly the largest button on your keyboard..."
These are supposed to be "easy", obvious techniques, are they? Come on. Lest we all forget, a vast majority of people have no idea why a mouse has two buttons. Right-click? May as well tell people to compile their own kernels, and mock their ignorance when they don't know where to begin. These are people who don't know what a "location bar" is. These are people who think you have to put "www." at the beginning of your email address. These are people to whom the word "favorite" in the context of a website is just another meaningless tech term to ignore along with "web slice" and "ActiveX" and "RSS". These are people to whom the array of F-keys and modifier buttons on their keyboard looks like the cockpit of a 747. On fire.
And yet this isn't idiocy. These are people we all know and love. They're competent in plenty of other areas of life; they just don't happen to know any more about this one than you or I would know the intricacies of whatever they do in their daily jobs or hobbies. Computers aren't part of their monkeysphere... nor are their worlds part of ours.
Here's a hot tip for the giddy observers at RWW: not one of the lost and bewildered new arrivals is seeing past the first page of comments, so it does you no good to address your replies to them in the first place.
Which is just as well, because all it sounds like to them is "It's easy! Just hold down the discomboobulator lever with your foot, then press Ctrl+Magic+F45+VoidWarranty, click the fifth and seventeenth mouse buttons at the same time, chant facebook URL HTTP dot com Pentium login repeatedly, and then press Enter within 3.5 seconds when the page starts to load. Idiot!"
(And here's another tip for those people making snide remarks about "Sarah Palin supporters" and "teabaggers": I guarantee you that fully half the people trapped on that RWW page are kind, considerate souls who just want to get to Facebook so they can post in their Green Health Care for All to Stop GOP Global Warming communities. Besides, even the most erudite and thoughtful writers apparently turn into keyboard-banging gibbons when they venture into IM-land.)
The iPad is just the tip of the iceberg. A computer won't resemble a car with an automatic transmission until the people who design technology really, truly, and without contempt understand how to create interfaces that people like these can confidently use, and relish the opportunity to make it real.
And yet still, all that said: I thought Facebook was supposed to be where the people who were too smart and literate for Myspace went. I feel an inexorable welling of despair.