Re: On the proliferation of groups


Mary E
 

Your advice has been invaluable for me, Jim. I appreciate learning how all the levels of the internet are working, especially how much info they are collecting on us regular folksĀ 
Mary


On Wednesday, January 10, 2018, <onlinesewing@...> wrote:
< Long Rant>
Many years ago, perhaps an eon in Internet time, I joined an email list run by a couple in Virginia. This was known as the "Wades' List", following the name of the couple. Through that list I met a number of friends, and even attended a "gathering" of members. Eventually the company that hosted that list was absorbed by Yahoo. After the introduction of the Memory Craft 12000 I created a new group for support, and extended it to eventually include all of the 9mm embroidery-capable models. Last year Verizon consumed Yahoo, as we move ever closer to one gigantic corporation that owns everything in the world. I blissfully ignored that, until my dear friend Maggie alerted me that Verizon has no intention of supporting Yahoo Groups. Using the tools provided, I migrated the group to Groups.io, which you are now in if you are reading this. This company still provides a free service, with some restrictions. As we move forward I will probably adopt one of their commercial plans just for the convenience of the additional features.

Meanwhile, down in the (Silicon) Valley another gigantic entity called Facebook also provides groups. These are not email-based, but rather feed into your Facebook daily feed. It's very close to real time, meaning that questions asked there are often answered within a few minutes - no need to wait for email, especially if you only get a daily digest of posts here. A group focused on the Janome 15000 was created, which I joined. I should point out that being the administrator of a group does require a time commitment, especially if it has a lot of members. I have one group that I administer, but it's small and devoted to one of our iPad apps. I don't post as often as I should, but that's mostly because I am over-committed in other areas. What I have noticed in very large Facebook groups is that there is a lot of impatience. When the same question is posted for the third or fourth time, snarky comments follow. This is partly because Facebook is like a stream. Things go floating by and they disappear. You can't search to see if a question has been asked before. Searching a mailing list is not particularly rewarding either, but there is some hope of finding what you want. Not so on Facebook - if you see it and you think you might want it later, you have to save it. I think this is why a lot of groups tend to get "mean" over time. This has happened to two groups I am in that are devoted to humor. New people don't know what's already been posted, so they post things they like, not knowing they've been seen by almost all the members multiple times. This leads to nasty comments and requests that the administrator change the rules regarding new posts. As members are chastised for innocent behavior, they leave and often form a new "nice" group. This process can repeat many times.

This is not quite the same behavior as what has happened in the "Janome Horizon MC 15000" group, but it's similar. Moderating a group means you may have a member who has little to no dealer support, and you get peppered with questions that have already been answered before. I learned early on that creating this group would mean I would be fulfilling the dealer's role of support without any compensation. It's worth it to me in order to keep in touch with you, as friends AND as customers. We do have an income stream from our apps, which is sufficient for us to avoid food stamps, but not enough for a weekend in Maui. You have been very loyal to us, and have recommended us to countless others, for which we are very grateful. That's why we're here.

All that having been said, we need to say something about Facebook. It's a completely free service, yet the founder is one of the richest men in the world. How is this possible? On the Internet, which you cannot see where the money comes from, it's YOU! Not only does Facebook relentlessly watch your every click so they can craft ads just for you, they also mine an enormous amount of data regarding your likes, dislikes, and general interests. This is shared (for money) with many other companies so they can market to you. That's the price of using this "free" service. With all the furor over the CIA and NSA capturing data on citizens, I would venture to say that Facebook already has far more information than the government has ever collected. And they are working non-stop on new methods to capture even more data. I'm not trying to prevent you from using Facebook. It's too late for that, we're all in now! I just wanted to offer a bit of perspective to increase understanding. The unintended consequence of the always-connected nature of the Internet tends to split people up into polarized camps. That's why I don't use Twitter - everything said leads to one group loving it and another hating it! I don't have a solution. I think it's inherent to the Internet itself. It's much easier to chew someone out through a keyboard, rather than face to face over the back fence.

</ Long Rant>

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