Saturday, May 4, 2019

Food For Thought (No. 1)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my (eventual) grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who don't yet, aka the Stickies) to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.


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                                                 Glossary  

                                  Who The Hell Is This Guy?

Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars 
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse  
Iggy -- My imaginary Sticky
Dana -- My imaginary Gentlereader

"Eeew, I'd be a little uncomfortable googling myself. People sit there -- and Google themselves? That's kind of weird." -Kobe Bryant


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

I've decided to change the name of a category of columns I used to call Things I Think About to Food For Thought. As I've mentioned previously, I'm not that friend or relative that people call seeking guidance as to the whys and wherefores of the World Wide Web.

[Historical reference for my dear Stickies: back in the dark ages when the web was taking the world by storm it was normal to verbally state a web address as, "Dubya, dubya, dubya dot _______ dot com." For the record, this had nothing to do with the 43rd president of the United States.]

However, since my army of loyal readers at this point can more accurately be described as my dollop of loyal readers I've begun casting about for ways to increase the size of my audience.

The first thing I learned is that it's important to select a title and/or sprinkle certain words throughout your text so that the mysterious Algorithmites that tirelessly scour the Web might offer up your content when someone goes a-googlin.

These are called keywords. You're supposed to use as many words as you can think of that a given someone out there in meat space might type, or speak, in search of information and hope that an Algorithmite returns your content to this given someone.   

Food for thought, being a somewhat widely known/used phrase, I thought it might lure some random eyeballs to my column. Also, informing any gentlereaders who may not be aware of this trick simultaneously serves as food for thought (see what I did there?).

Although I plan to restrict myself to fishing for readers via column titles in spite of the fact I've become aware of other forms of marketing chicanery  -- as one of my literary heroes, George Will would say, more on this anon -- this practice still feels slightly sleazy to me. Of course, an argument could easily be made that in a world of 7,500,000,000 souls wherein anyone with a smartphone can self-publish anything, all's fair in love and marketing. Still...


Anyways, this is the anon part, which by the way in this context means soon, not anonymous. And no, I'm not showing off, it just sounds cooler than my usual "more on that in just a sec'."

I have, on more than one occasion, attempted to remind my dear Stickies and gentlereaders that when the products and services are allegedly free, you are actually the product. The Algorithmites, Botmonsters, and Data Dragons that serve the Goog and their ilk never sleep.

What I mean by this, in case you're new here or your memory is as pathetic as mine is nowadays, is simply that all of the many "free" services that the Goog and their like offer are paid for by electronic snoops looking over your shoulder and keeping track of everything that you do online. This information is subsequently sliced, diced and sold -- primarily to folks who want to sell something to you.

[Oh please, everybody already knows this and you've written about it before so what's the point of...]

I know, I know Dana, but I suspect that there's a lot of people out there that aren't aware that there's an entire industry of bit players whose purpose is to teach even smaller (bittier?) players like me how to try and manipulate people to come to our websites.

They teach you how to make money by using the tools supplied by the big boys persons (mostly the Goog) and make their money primarily by running ads supplied by the big boys persons (mostly the Goog). 

[Well, maybe, but where's the harm? I mean, what's wrong with trying to make a buck?]

Not a damn thing. I freely admit that I wish more of my readers would click on my Patreon button and toss me a buck. And although I'm biting the hand that feeds me and I'm a hypocrite -- since the Goog provides the software for me to publish my columns free and no charge and the Zuckmeister supplies me with an electronic bulletin board for the same price -- I sometimes feel like I've sold my soul to an electronic devil.

[Because?]

Because they not only get a cut, like effective middlemenpersons always have, they've got control of everyone's permanent record card, which is constantly updated in real time.

I don't like it and I don't know what to do about it but anyways, Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day. 
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©2019 Mark Mehlmauer As long as you agree to supply my name and URL and only minimally edit my content (scroll all the way up or down for my Creative Commons License) you may republish this anywhere you please.




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