It's about the tools, stupid
It is a pretty reliable rule of thumb that when a big internet company buys a successful or promising internet based tool or application that creates an online community, the users, the little people, get squeezed through the ringer of inconvenience and made to jump through hoops.
Commenting on my recent post reporting my switch to the 'New' Blogger, i.e. the Google account-based Blogger with its new features, bells and whistles, GoAwayPlease, whose experience of making the switch was less convenient, said, "I keep wondering what their motive was for supplying us with all this supposed new goodness."
Why the 'goodness'? Google wants to bind its Blogger users – the hundreds of thousands of us – closer and closer to the rest of the Google range of 'goodness', such as its Google spreadsheets and document creation, and probably advertising, just as Yahoo! now wants its flickr users to be bound more and more to Yahoo!.
Don't get me started! I recently had to merge my flickr photo sharing account, which I've had for years, with a new Yahoo! account (because Yahoo! now owns Flickr), and I had a most frustrating and annoying time – flickr was always defined by its ease of use (as well as its design beauty and the fact its free). I can't say the same for Yahoo!. I don't need another bloody email account, for Pete's sake! Or another bloody internet membership for services I will not use.
I just want to use flickr!
While various people have experienced hiccups with switching their blogs to Google-based Blogger from the 'Old Blogger', when I switched over, which involved 'merging' my Google account with my Blogger account, it was easy and relatively painless. I wasn't assailed with a clunky, unmanageable labyrinth of new account bumph as I was with Yahoo!. Yet.
The point for me is that I want to use simple, easy and convenient online tools like blogging, sharing photos and communicating with a range of other people with similar interests without the pain and hassle of having stuff – that I don't want cluttering up my life – foisted in my face. I don't want more avenues for my personal information and internet use habits to be mined by a large company and used to sell its main product – advertising. I don't want more email accounts that I can be spamed at. I will not be farmed.
Okay, I acknowledge that nothing in life is free – while Blogger and flickr are presented as free tools (yes, you can upgrade to flickr Pro for US$25), and I enjoy using these tools for nothing but the cost of my bandwidth and telephone calls, I guess I should put up with some expectations from the company providing the services. But do these have to be so damn clunky and annoying? And if they are trying to force a new brand loyalty onto their users, It's not working! Can they be so naive? Are they just stupid? I'm loyal as far as the tool works for me. I'm not too fussed about the brand behind it. (Though I am concerned with the practices of a company behind a brand, but that's another story…)
Meanwhile, I am wondering if my switch to Google-Blogger and the related tweaks I had to make have stuffed up my readers' subscriptions to my RSS or Atom feeds, and so aren't being alerted about my most recent posts...
Have you had trouble with your RSS feed from my blog? Please check your feeds are up to date. I miss you. Please come back.