Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blogging for Dummies

Inspired by my recent foray into the wonderful world of blogging, I decided maybe it was time I learned something about what I was doing. Not that not knowing what I was doing has ever stopped me before, nor should it stop you. Here is a clue for you kids out there: No one knows what they are doing. This is a reassuring thought when you start you first job, but not so much when you are having open-heart surgery. The key to success is not knowing what you are doing and doing it anyway. Just dive right in there and slog it out like everybody else. That's the truth, kids: Nobody knows what they are doing. Still, thinking about my blog, if I knew something about blogging it might keep me away from things like copyright infringement and being sued for libel.

At first, I sought this information online but some of those techno-geeks out there are really bitter people. Look: I was a big, damn dork in high school too, but I suck at computers, so I have a double whammy against me. Just because I have a learned a few social skills in adulthood and stopped wearing overalls and tie-dyed t-shirts as formal wear, it doesn't mean I am one of those jerks who oppressed your ass in P.E. I, too, was the oppressed. Hell, I was in choir AND theatre. Just because I don't understand computers like you do, it doesn't mean I am not one of you. If we had "Dungeons and Dragons" in high school, I probably would have played right along with you. However, when I was in high school when Nixon was still in office and people thought they were hot stuff if they had a pocket calculator. So just give me a break, you bitter, bitter dorks.

Book-junkie that I am, I decided that a book on blogging may answer some of my questions. My husband got me a Sony Reader for Christmas, and despite being a bit of a techno-phobe, I think that thing is the bomb. I can get books without having to leave the house. It was easy to download books, and I'd already downloaded quite a few. Plus, Captain Piccard had something like it on "Star Trek: The Next Generation". (See, I'm talking "Star Trek" here, you techno-geeks. I may suck at the techno part, but the geek stuff I know.) The most obvious book choice for me seemed to be: "Blogging for Dummies". I ordered it, paid for it, but was unable to download it. After fooling with the thing for the better part of an hour, I called the Reader Store helpline. Helpline Jose told me that the problem was on their end, but since it was Saturday, they probably wouldn't be able to solve my problem until Monday. I should expect an email from them by then.

Of course, Monday came and went with no email. Ditto Tuesday. I put it off until Wednesday, and decided to contact their live support via computer. Juan didn't seem to believe that Jose had already told me that the problem was on their end. He started asking me all these questions about my operating system and was I using Adobe to run my software. Huh? Are you kidding me? If I knew about those things why the hell would I call their helpline? You think I like talking to some nerd boy who is STILL bitter because he couldn't get laid in high school? If I knew what I was doing, I'd fix the damn thing myself, O.K.? Then Juan wanted to know the author of the book I was trying to purchase. As if they don't have that information on their end. I gave him the title, in part because I thought he needed to get a clue about who he was dealing with: "Blogging for Dummies" I replied. He snarked back: "It's just called "Blogging". Don't even TRY telling me he didn't already know the author's name. After a gazillion questions, Juan still refused to believe that Helpful Jose told me that the problem was on their end, I suspiciously lost my connection to Juan.

Maybe it was because I was on day three of my diet, but I was hungry, felt meaner than a snake and was ready to rumble. I may not know jack about computers, but I can type and type fast. What I lack in accuracy, I make up for in speed. (Take-that, nerd boys!) So, I logged back onto the help window with my real name --Jessica "Bunny" Glitter-Spank -- and get this on the screen: Juan has just left the room. Catherine has just left the room. Jose has just left the room. Techno-geeks were dropping out of that chat room like flies. Finally I get Bernard. Bernard, it seems, has some real emotional baggage. Granted going through high school with the name "Bernard" (As in "Saint" -- tee-he-he!) had to be a real bitch, but that Bernard had some real attitude. "Look here, Bernard," I typed, "Don't ask me a bunch of questions I have already answered. Helpful Jose told me the problem is on YOUR end". What followed was an exchange that had Bernard sarcastically typing: "You are using Windows, aren't you?" Somehow, I once again lost my connection.

By this time I had been dealing with this problem for an hour and a half. I was mean, hungry, night had fallen and "American Idol", the results show, would be on in a half-an-hour. I desperately needed to see someone have their dream crushed. I logged back on. This time I got Catherine. Look-out! Girl in the chat room! After making the mistake of asking me the title of the damn book, I informed Catherine it might be wise if she just reviewed the transcripts of my conversations with Juan and Bernard. There was a long pause. This Catherine, I could tell, was no dummy. Finally she asked that I try downloading a free book. No problem there. Guess what? The problem was on their end. Hello????? Seems there was a little snafu on their end with that particular book. The purchase was credited to my account. As I logged-off the help window, a little survey popped-up asking me about their customer service. Pity it was multiple choice and not an essay.


  1. Joanna, there are two kinds of web people out there: creative types (designers, art directors, copywriters, illustrators) who are technologically savvy because it is necessary to have more than a print platform on their resume to make a living; and tech geeks who would be the ones with the pocket protectors when you were in high school, but in 2010 are the ones who actually think that creativity starts and ends with being able to accurately type out HTML code. They are wrong. Ironically, just this morning I had a long conversation with my old boss (a very talented creative director) and we were lamenting the fact that modern tools such as photoshop and CSS give people with the creative ability of pocket lint the ability to do nothing but harm to the creative universe. It's true. You, like me, used to be a costumer. The theater I worked in right after college hired some dumbass artist to design costumes for "Lear". My equally dumbass artistic director thought it was a good idea because he liked this guy's "art". Problem was, his designs were absolutely impossible to build so they fit onto a human form. These tech guys are the design equivalent of this dumbass "costumer designer". They litter the world with visual detritus, and think they have the right to thumb their nose at real creatives. Most of them couldn't even identify an Xacto knife, and would be completely lost without the crutch of a computer screen. Well, Fuck Them. Fuck them ALL.

  2. And they call it Customer "Service"...right. My husband wanted to get me one of those readers but I think I'll stick to good ol' books. Your "Blogging for Dummies" would have been delivered by the time you got that mess settled...LOL

  3. C&C: I hear you. All it took for me to put together this website was the skill of a drunk monkey and some dumb luck. The actual writing is the part that takes the most work.

    reindeergal: I am a book-a-holic and we were starting to hit our weight limit on our last move. I like that the thing holds a ton of books, it cuts back on the clutter and it is instant gratifaction when it works, but when it doesn't it is as frustrating as just about all things computer. I wasn't sure that I would like reading from it as opposed to a real book, but that part was no problem. The problem is, of course, tech support.

  4. Well, my husband loves technology and is always trying to get the latest thing. He bought me an ipod 2 Christmases ago and I just started using it about 3 months ago. Now, he was using it regularly....LOL Makes me wonder who he really bought it for. I had told him before that I didn't want one.

    He's been bugging me about getting i-phones. Not that I have a problem with the i-phone, I just don't want to switch providers. Most everyone I know is on the same plan as we are so the calls are free between us.

    We were always over weight when moving because of books. We were always fortunate that the movers claimed it was packing materials so we didn't have to pay.

    I hate customer support. I don't want to listen to a menu, I don't want to push buttons or talk to an automated voice. Just answer the freaking phone with a real, live person!

  5. I may have to get my hubby some sort of a Reader, as it would be nice for him to have when he is out in the field. That way he could download books from anywhere in the world. What did we do before computers.

    He also got a used i-pod a couple years ago and just loved it, so I got him a new one for him this year. He has the Bose noise cancellation headphones, which he loves so much, but I am thinking we may need to get a Bose dock as I think "things" are going digital. It cuts down on the clutter, but you spend more time with some jerk on customer service.

    I have started to try to remember to carry my cellphone, but I hate the phone interrupting me when I am home, why should I take calls when I am out? However I have conformed to social norms and actually have one. Not that I ever remember it.