Well that’s what the “happiness engineers” at WordPress think. When I logged on to this blog yesterday on my iPad, I found my carefully crafted reality had been re-mastered into dream magazine utopia. This was not, actually, a hack, but a crass attempt at getting on down with the kids, in association with #onswipe. Turns out this company specializes in turning websites into magazine dreams for reading on the iPad, and WordPress felt that it would be super fantastic fun to force this redesign theme onto all those boring WordPress blogs. Not funny. Not polite. Astounding arrogance on the part of WordPress. Ever heard of asking nicely first ?
“..oh but we announced this a week ago in our newsletter” … cried the happiness engineer, who recommended that I should read the WordPress godgiven newsletter prose regularly (yeah I have nothing better to do..) … no excuse guys – impolite and rude to change my stuff because you think it would look better your way – and there I thought that I paid for you to host my blog as I want it to look? Silly old me then.
The magazine dream re-mix choose a picture from my blog at random and used it as a ‘cover’. This happened to be a picture of University College London, which I had taken myself, and used to illustrate a brief posting on a research project there. The new format made it look as if my blog was written and produced by University College London, rather than a personal effort by me. Not laughing.
To say nothing about the complete lack of menus or contextual information which I spent hours incorporating into my blog. But hey – dreamworld – #onswipe is go go go.
This whole shabby debacle, which ended when WordPress hastily implemented a “shut this down now” option for writers, forces me to consider something nasty which I have been pushing to the back of my mind. Who owns my social media content?
I have read a lot of stuff about Facebook taking liberties with personal information:
- facebook will make your personal details available to search engines unless you act now
- facebook will make your personal details available to third party marketers right now and just too bad for you
- facebook sells your stuff to anyone who will pay them and you are totally frigid if you object – ya boo.
But I have so far avoided the thought that any social media site is a come on to those destined to spend their lives coding. Even if I don’t upload all those photos of me as a baby in the bath. Personal privacy is yesterdays news – social media content is a cybermall free-for-all.
Tempted to delete my blog and go home. But I like social media. I want the people who know who I am to read my stuff. I hope to be re-tweeted at least once a week. I am pleased if my students find my communications helpful/fun – I don’t mind if other library and information science professionals want to agree, argue and debate. But I don’t want my online persona (whatever that means exactly) to be parodied simply because it exists.
Is it that I have to accept that if I upload anything of myself to a social media site, the gleaming owners can re-mix the content howsoever they wish? Without telling me, and without any repercussions? Is this where we are in 2011? Is personal content so potentially valuable\invaluable? Hey let’s remix lyn and see how much she can be improved?
Are social media site owners nothing more than purveyors of content-manipulation? Photo-manip freaks cut and paste here? Thought this only happened in slash fiction (..er …seen some v good slash fiction manips..).
I was struck by the image-heavy focus of the #onswipe theme forced on my blog. Particularly by a random picture of me, horizontally cropped at eye-level and made into headline news. An image of a much younger me. Somebody I only dream about in later years. Really nice eyes.
And I recalled Wim Wenders’ movie “Until the end of the world”, in which one of the characters has a dream-machine – a device which records and subsequently lets her watch her dreams.
Well who wouldn’t rather sit watching a fantasy version of their life than face the reality of another day at the computer? Those dreams in which tiny moments of life are enhanced, where colours are brighter, in which we fly, in which we are forever young and skinny, – in which, after signing my book Brian Cox leans over to kiss me. ….
Doesn’t my blog look better the #onswipe way?
Real life sucks. Let’s spend all our time watching the dream-machine – how about a social media site for dreams … how enticing to see what someone else dreams about –the ultimate social-media marketing coup. Don’t like your life – live your dreams – or even someone elses.
And why don’t we start by remastering my blog into something much more glitzy and totally devoid of anything I meant to convey.
No thanks. Maybe for some. But I am not quite despondent enough to give up on reality yet. So dear WordPress – get your own life, and please leave my tiny reality alone.