Friday 13 May 2011

What I Learned From The Blogger Meltdown

1. The owner of the blog doesn't have any power. Google could shut down Blogger tomorrow if it wanted to -- and all of my content would be gone, all of you would be gone. It's the same with Facebook, and Twitter. Even our emails. We have no power. It can all be swept away, or changed.

2. There was a MAJOR security issue regarding my blog during the down time. I tried contacting Blogger about it, but can't get to a human, can't get a response. So I'm left just feeling vulnerable about it. This is how Sony Playstation 3 users feel now. These companies provide services and we come to expect something from them. But who's to say they need to be ethical? Who says they're here for us?

3. Facebook, Blogger, etc, they own us, more than we realize. They give us the privilege of their often fantastic, revolutionary services, and we come to rely on them, they become a part of our lives. But you don't own the house, you're not even renting. You're just a squatter. You have no rights.

4. This quote from 'The Social Network' is so relevant. "Okay, let me tell you the difference between Facebook and everyone else, we don't crash EVER! If those servers are down for even a day, our entire reputation is irreversibly destroyed! Users are fickle, Friendster has proved that. Even a few people leaving would reverberate through the entire userbase. The users are interconnected, that is the whole point. College kids are online because their friends are online, and if one domino goes, the other domino's go, don't you get that?"

5. This isn't just an issue of maintenance and technical issues. A lot of blogs serve very important functions in the world and how it communicates (I'm not talking about my blog here.)

6. We don't know who 'Blogger' are, or who 'Google' are, or any of the services we use and get addicted to. A friend says 'download this app for your phone' or 'Get an Itunes account!" and we do it and if we like it, we stay. But you're not dealing with someone in your neighbourhood, you're dealing with big anonymous corporations. And Facebook is spying on Google, and Sony Playstation have accidentally put people's personal details in jeopardy, and Blogger suffered 'Data Corruption.'

7. I realise I sound like an idiot for caring so much about the fact a blogging website went down for two days.

8. But I am extremely pissed about point '2', and don't know what to do about it. The only people I want to speak to about it are Blogger themselves, but they're AWOL.

9. Have you ever thought about how powerless we are? I have some great friends all around the world, and the only way we stay in touch is through social networks, emails and blogs. They could get hacked, or the companies decide to close down immediately, or they could charge money, they could do anything they want; and where would we be? How would we stay in touch? We wouldn't even know where to find each other. There are no rules when it comes to this stuff. We have no idea what happens to our data.

10. I need to back up this website immediately, does anyone have any ideas how to do it?

11. If anyone has any experience switching blogging platforms and retaining all of/the majority of their readership, please give me advice.

12. Most of this I wouldn't care about. But point '2' was a disgrace. "A small subset of Blogger users (we estimate 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts.", I guess that's me. If anyone here has direct email addresses for the people at Blogger, please let me know. 

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  1. "We have no power. It can all be swept away, or changed."

    Isn't that the truth!! What a great writeup to put things into perspective. Thanks for this and have a lovely weekend... [perhaps do something else other than blogging] :D

  2. Hi Kid
    Thanks a lot for this post. Share your concerns, completely. Hope you get some response from Blogger soon.

    Just spent a while rewriting my last post which Blogger removed, (fortunately most in draft still on my own hard-drive) only to read a tweet where they said they are replacing those that they removed. So I tweeted them asking them NOT to replace the one I've rewritten with the one they removed. Please post about how to back up blogs if you learn about it. Any suggestions about how to take some power back really welcome too.

    And lately I've become very concerned about the info that apparently otherwise harmless apps gather, and have closed my personal FB page as much as possible to avoid this.

    If we all disappear from everywhere else, hope we'll find a way to keep in touch, via websites/email maybe? Or back to the kitchen-table-with-cups-of-tea visits!!!

  3. You can back up your blog by going setting then basic and hitting "export blog"

    It puts it all into a folder all nice and neatly =D

    And google aren't all that bad, once you've met a few you realise they are all just a bunch of very smart guys
    This is me:

  4. This sums up pretty much my own thoughts, unfortunately.

  5. I too have friends (and family!) all over the world. If there were no internet or phones and I had no postal address for them, I'd lose them all. On the other hand, sometimes the energy we use to reach out to people on the other side of the world makes us neglect those who are right under our nose ... also I'd get more writing done. ;)

  6. The tip Sinead gave you above is spot on in terms of backing up data and/or moving your current data to a different blogging site. I am seriously thinking of getting my blogs made into books annually so I have something tangible if they did end up disappearing into the ether. I was sorry to hear you have had some kind of major security alert on your blog. I hope you do get someone to contact you and can get it resolved soon.

  7. Do you put your posts on regular documents? I mean, write them there?

    I read about this program that converts an entire blog's content into a Word document, but I don't know how to find it.

    Did they remove all drafts?

  8. I agree completely with all you have said! Luckily my drafts are ok, and my last post is fine but I am going to spend the next bit backing everything up as per Sinead. Like Froggy I had been planning on printing all my posts into paper, really for my nieces and nephews for whom my blog is dedicated to. I'm also thinking of quitting blogging as a means of communicating my stories to them, but that would mean losing all you wonderful blogging people I've met. I have never facebooked am very anti-FB in fact. Such a shame but the meltdown has me seriously considering what you have so well written above.

  9. I've learned to no longer take everything for granted, and also lost a huge chunk of my faith in Blogger. (Thanks to Sinead for answering #10, I'll be following her instruction carefully.)

    I hope you manage to track down someone to question. My latest post only re-appeared this morning, all comments deleted. That said, I am hugely relieved to have my site restored, I never quite realised it's true value to me, until now.

  10. I have definitely thought about this! And it is worrisome. It also makes me think that Minority Report is definitely going to happen (minus the future-telling).

  11. I keep all of my posts on my hard drive as a backup. Ironically, I was thinking of stopping this extra step thinking I may be too paranoid. I don't think we can ever be to cautious when it comes down to our own IP. If you make a change let us all know.

  12. We don't realise how much we need these things until there is a problem.

  13. Sinead, thank you very very much. It feels such a relief to have this export done! Three cheers for astrophysicists (especially the women)!

  14. You bring up a lot of great points.

    And now I'm paranoid all over again.