The Compostual Existentialist

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Facebook: Real Names Policy – Intro

FacistbookRecently Facebook began enforcing their so-called “Real Names Policy”. You might remember this making the news back in September when Facebook began closing or suspending the accounts of transgendered people and drag artists who were not using their “real names” on their profiles.

After the wails of protests became too loud for the Facebook PR machine to quash, an agreement was made and some of the users affected were permitted to keep their chosen Facebook names. (http://bit.ly/14YEmTy) However, even after the apology, the Facistbook Facebook name policy police continued to crawl the site looking for suspicious names. No doubt using some hair brained algorithm which looks for commonly suspicious names.

Cat Woman isn't allowed a Facebook accountOften on Facebook, people create accounts for their pets and one of the more common Facebook profiles of yesteryear was Facebook profiles for cats. Profiles with names like Kitty Whiskers, Charlie Puss and other  feline similes would be common place. Similarly Doggy Woofwoof, Rover Dog and other animals were common too.  Facebook started to prevent such accounts being made but recently, two members of the Facebook community I know of who both have names with cat themes had their accounts suspended. So it seems likely that Facebook’s algorithm is working through its cat thesaurus.

Facebook’s terms of service state that people must use the same name “as it would be listed on your credit card, driver’s license or student ID.” Which is great. Except I know plenty of Mikes whose name on their driving licence says “Michael”, Jims whose passports say their name is James. Indeed, I know lots of people who don’t actually use their full name on social media because of safety, privacy and historical reasons.

stegzy_1398497700_140For as long as I have been on the internet, I have used the internet name “Stegzy Gnomepants”. Why? Because my real name is, quite rightly, none-of-your-fucking-business. I have been on the internet since 1998 using that very same name. Look for me on google, you’ll find my accounts everywhere. Stegzy Gnomepants. Occasionally Stegzonopolis Gnomicpantalon. Rarely some other variation.  It is my distinct expression of my personality. My expression of creativity. How I wish to be known on the internet.

This is what Edward Snowden has been trying to tell you for agesI also use the name because I realised long ago, the only reason people need your name is so they can compile data about you. Attribute demographic and personal information to form a picture about your personality and psyche. Your political beliefs. Your sexual preferences. Your needs. Not just for marketing purposes. But for sinister reasons. As dear old Edward Snowden pointed out.

There is no need to create a state like the DDR in former East Germany. Not when people freely give every aspect of their waking life to those who want it but don’t ask for it. That is the world now. There is no need to worry about people communicating anonymously when they are forced to use their real name on services they have tied to one identity. We’re being shepherded back into a society that thousands died to prevent 100 years ago. Technology designed to promote democracy is being used to control us. Prevent uprisings. Quash political unrest and difference of opinion. Exactly how Egypt and parts of the Middle East failed to do.

Where we are headingAnonymity causes people to misbehave. Anonymity allows people to do bad things. Anonymity allows people to abuse children. This is what those whipping up the pre-constructed moral panic are saying.

However, it’s the opposite. It’s anonymity that protects us from surveillance. Anonymity prevents abuse. Anonymity saves lives. Anonymity is a right. A way of life.

So, the axe is about to fall. The sword of Damocles may drop at any moment and over ten years of Facebook usage is about to come to an end. I will lose contact with friends I have made long before Facebook because that is how they communicate. I will lose memories. Fond and painful. Over the next few days I am intending to write about this situation. Discuss alternatives. Express distaste and moot alternatives.

Going forward. You can always find me elsewhere. Follow my comings and goings on WordPress (stegzy.wordpress.com). Tweet me on Twitter (@stegzy). Analyse my mind on LiveJournal (stegzy.livejournal.com). Say “Hello” on Ello (@stegzy). Flick me on Flickr (stegzy). Hell, if I’m on it, I’m on it as Stegzy. But as for Facebook. How long I am there is dependent on how quickly their police come for me. Enjoy my last days there. Because when they say stop. I will. By taking myself elsewhere.

 

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From the Archives:- Saying Goodbye

Goodbye, I’m told, is the hardest word to say. Certainly, in recent times at least, I’ve had difficulty saying goodbye. Not because of some hideous speech impediment or because I’ve had a mouth full of pizza, but because emotionally it has proven difficult. That said, I’ve also said goodbye with as much ease as taking my socks off.

bye

 

Every morning, with the last slurp of tea still fresh on my lips, I bid the girlfriend farewell with a peck and a dash for the door. Sometimes it’s a “See you later”, others a “bye” or a “ta-rah”. Maybe I will see her later, maybe I won’t. I might fall down a forgotten mine shaft (Now what ever happened to that mine shaft I used to have?) and never be seen again or maybe it’ll be her. I can never be sure so I suppose, out of habit, manners and education, I bid adieu in case I’m never seen again. A kind of closing statement. A full stop (or period if you’re over the other side of the planet (Do you know? When Merricans say period I immediately think of women menstruating….yeah it isn’t nice).

An end.

Other people don’t tend to be so lucky, the bus driver, the shop keeper, that weird bloke with the funny smell that lives down the street, they all tend to get smiles and grunts. Maybe peppered with a “ta” or a “nice one”. Is this because I feel these guys don’t deserve a farewell? I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been on the receiving end of a broad spectrum of endings. Especially through the variety of jobs I’ve done.

 

 

In the helpdesk for example from:-

goodbye

stegzy – and that’s how you fix it
Person on other end of phone – Thank you. Bye.
stegzy – Bye

to

stegzy – and that’s how you fix it
Person on the other end of the phone**Click** brrrrrrrrrrrr

stegzy – Twat.

or

stegzy – and that’s how you fix it
Person on the other end of the phone – well that’s bally well not good enough!
stegzy**Click** brrrrrrrrrrrr

I suppose it would be not only discomforting but unusual if, when saying goodbye, everybody took the same amount of time as is taken in the last hour of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I mean can you imagine?

stegzy – Goodbye
Bus Driver – **hugging stegzy** Goodbye old chum, what happy adventures we have had
stegzy – But we only went 5 stops
Bus Driver – Indeed, but what an adventure. I’ll miss you
stegzy – I’m only going to the off licence to get some cigarettes I’ll be getting this bus home.
Passenger A – **hugging Bus Driver and stegzy** Ha! What a wag. Goodbye old friend. May you meet fortune face on
stegzy – Jeez you’re a bunch of weirdos
Passenger C – Ha! Farewell fellow travellers!
Passenger D – Get a bloody move on, I’ve got to be places!

Be seeing you!

 

Sometimes it needs to be quick, more like

stegzy – See ya **gone**
Person A – See y…oh you’ve gone.

 

 

Personally, when I’m going somewhere I’d rather it be a small goodbye than some re-enactment of the Waltons. I mean, I’m going, I need to be somewhere, hurry up! Let me go! Mrs Gnomepants, on the other hand will spend ages saying goodbye, sometimes saying goodbye, only to start another 1 hour conversation and then have to say goodbye once again. It’s not unusual, as Tom Jones said, for Mrs Gnomepants to take 5 minutes saying goodbye on a telephone conversation to her sister. Surely all that is needed is “Bye” followed by a reciprocated acknowledgement of the end of the conversation.

 

Goodbyes though eh?….we’re a peculiar bunch aren’t we?


This entry first appeared on Livejournal in September 2008 and has been edited to reflect changes in circumstance


Landscape

If I fell through a hole in time and travelled back 45 years. If I then looked out of my bedroom window across the field behind the lane with no name and beyond the field behind the field behind the lane with no name, not only would I have upset Mrs Edson’s daughter, but I would have seen the winch wheel of a pit stack.

Long but because I am nice I posted it here as well as on blogspot