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Instagram – Credit Where it is Due

I am not big on social media. I have a couple twitter accounts (of which, my tagline is “consumer of tweets” – I read there but don’t engage. I don’t like the platform). I do have Facebook which chronicles my life in positive facing, bite sized pieces. I tried Snapchat for oh, a week – and still get ‘snaps’ from some people and rounding out all of that is my Instagram account, of which, I have very little of myself in there but a lot of what I look at. I have different opinions about all of the platforms and the two I like the most are IG and FB.

Facebook is easy, because I wish my grandpa (and his grandpa) had Facebook so I could go back and look at the amazing things they did in their lives. While you get told a lot of these stories as kids, seeing and living them would be so much better. It is kind of a diary of your life.

Instagram I like because I am a visual person. I find recipes there, get workout tips, etc. etc. Now, I don’t know the rules of Instagram but I always did some simple things, such as follow for follow. If someone follows me, I follow them back. I held true on this except in two regards – clear spam only accounts, and porn accounts. At first I was shocked at the number of naked Russian women that wanted to follow me on Instagram. They don’t get the follow back. I even started reporting these accounts to Instagram, an annoying process due to the frequency of them and after a while I just stopped to bother reporting – firstly, because they need to find a better way to stop these accounts to begin with (sheer volume of them indicate the seriousness of the problem) and secondly, like most companies, they don’t tell you the results of the notification.

Until now. And let me tell you, HALLELUJIAH!

Instagram is now my most favourite social media platform. I am tired of the excuses by Blizzard and other big companies when I report people for harassment, racism, cheating (etc.) that they hide behind the veil that they can’t share the action on the account. Of course they can. And they should. Every time. They just don’t want to because they don’t want to cut off their revenue streams. It is inconvenient when some of your big spenders may also happen to be harassers, racists and homophobes, and who take joy in ruining the experience of others through non-gaming methods.  I know it is expensive to build a stronger community in terms of technology and manpower but it is worth it. Invest in good people playing your game.

I had stopped reporting to IG because there was no feedback, and now that there is, you can bet I will more often and with great enthusiasm. I will help ensure spam and illegal accounts don’t exist. I will do it frequently. I will do it for free. It is a wonderful win/win.

I think MMO (especially) and gaming companies should take a page out of this book and start sharing when they get rid of community detractors. We need to make common decency commonplace in our virtual worlds. That happens by clearly demonstrating acceptable behavior in words and actions. Currently, most just share the words part.

Side note – If you have Instagram you also need the ‘Unfollowers’ app.  It tells you when people un-follow you. This is particularly useful for the “follow for follow” crowd. People do this to get their numbers up and then unfollow you a few days later. You have no clue who does that, but that app is completely free and helps you keep track of those sorts of things.

Technology Creep

When gamers talk about “creep” they are often discussing things such as “Power Creep”. I don’t want the title of this short piece to be confused with that. I am talking about pure creep-y, which is a much different kind.

I consider myself very tech friendly and tend to early adopt and welcome technology into all parts of my personal life. My house has a Nest thermostat and 3 Nest smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. Onenote has replaced my pen and paper list obsession. I start far too many sentences with “OK GOOGLE” while holding my phone close to my mouth. I haven’t bought a paper based magazine in three years since my first The Economist digital only subscription. 90% of the books I consume are in audible or digital format. As soon as Nest let’s me do it, I’ll replace my door locks with Keyfobs. I am very comfortable with technology – even at my old age of 40. I can’t wait for my car to be able to drive itself.

I do find ignorance is a bit blissful when it comes to what our devices and services are actually tracking. This became a full realization when I got home last night from our two weeks in Denmark, and Google greeted me with this.

That is my trip in Denmark with key places, cities and timelines through the photos I took with my cell phone. Those weren’t the only photos I took, but were most through my Android based Samsung Galaxy s5. My wife thought it was really cool. I was a bit creeped out.

I didn’t ask Google to do that.

Google figured out I was back home because it knows where I live. It tells me everyday when I am commuting home from work how much longer until I get home – even when I don’t ask. Hell, I don’t remember telling Google where I live. It does know I sleep there every night though, or at least, that is where my phone charges all night (which means people are sleeping for the most part).

I have vendors trying to sell customers near my businesses geo-fenced coupons or ads to phones as they near retail outlets but I find that way to creepy. I figure that in all of my comfort if I have unease then surely others will.

I used to post with my real first name and last initial on this site while most others used their gaming names. I ended up getting a bit uncomfortable when I overheard some colleagues making fun of adult gamers. That’s when I switched it – although I felt a bit silly of it afterwards. I wonder how much of me should be here versus how much of what I think should be and the two are one in the same at the end of the day.

All that being said I am still pro-Google (and also not an Apple fan, although I think they can co-exist) but just want to pay a bit more attention to how my technology is in and around my life with a mind of its own.

Hell, after that whole article I still posted it up for the world to see. Although that is a bit presumptuous. My readers and Blognation to see at the least.

Do you have any examples of creepy tech – or maybe amazing tech? Am I over thinking this and should just be glad Google was nice enough to make me a digital photo album for free?

Gmail is messed up

Lately I have had a ton of weird stuff going on with my loveable Gmail account. It all started with me getting weird emails about a “new” account I set up (although I didn’t). These messages started arriving with services I had signed up to (which I didn’t) from an email address I don’t own which is eerily similar to my real gmail address.

For example, if my gmail address is Ihaspc@gmail.com, the new address is ihasp.c@gmail.com.

The strangeness is this: I had a password reset email come to me for the address with the extra decimal in it. I did it (through google directly) and it changes the one WITHOuT the decimal in it. Indeed, when I email the mystery second account it goes to my non-decimalled account. When I try to log into the account with the decimal in it, it takes me to my non-decimal account.

I got an email saying I added the decimal account to my yahoo account (which I didn’t) and when I linked it (verified link to yahoo first) the starting account wasn’t mine – it started with a V – and I was able to unattach the decimal account to that email address.

It’s thoroughly confusing. I did virus checks et al with nothing.

It would be my guess some phisinh service signed up the email address for confusion but somehow it has become integrated with my non-decimal email address.

I am curious if this has anything to so with google’s recent gmail collapse end of February but can’t be sure.

Any ideas?