16
Feb
10

The map in your car won’t accept your passport, either.

Perhaps in retrospect all those “information superhighway” metaphors were misleading.

Logo of ReadWriteWeb.com A few days ago, a popular technology blog, ReadWriteWeb, posted a news article about information sharing between Facebook and AOL’s Instant Messager software. The first paragraph of the article read,

Facebook and AOL announced last night a partnership that will integrate a user’s Facebook friends into their AOL Instant Messenger. The announcement came on a day when Google announced its new attempt at capturing your social attention with Google Buzz and Yahoo! reminded us from the outskirts that they’ve been at this game for a year now.

Please note that the title of the article is, “Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login.”

Follow along, I’m going somewhere with this.

As is common for blogs, there’s a space for comments at the bottom. And you’d think that people would use that feature to comment on the relationship between AOL and Facebook, or how Yahoo can still turn their business around if they can quickly adapt their model to the realities of social networking, or even some sort of “Big Brother Is Watching You” talk.

Here, instead, are a few of the initial comments. Other than editing out some foul language for my more sensitive readers, I’ve altered nothing:

Ok If I have to I will comment,I love facebook so right now just want to log in if thats ok with you..lol Keep up the good work…

ok cool now can I get to facebook

The new facebook sucks> NOW LET ME IN.

when can we log in?

I WANT THE OLD FAFEBOOK BACK THIS S*** IS WACK!!!!!

just want to get on facebook

please give me back the old facebook login this is crazy……………..

EXCUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY NOT JUST LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!1111

I just want to sign in…………

I was just learning,why would you mess it up?

wtf is this bul**httttttttttt all about. can i get n plzzzzzzzzz

What is going on? You are totally confusing me. Knock-knock. Anybody there? Let me in. Katherine

IAM NEW AT FACEBOOK NOW WITH CHANGES IAM LOSSSSSSSSST!

All I want to do is log in, this sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

LIKED THE OLD FACEBOOK SING IN………….

This is such a mess I can’t do a thing on my facebook .The changes you have made are ridiculous,I can’t even login!!!!!I am very upset!!!

Can we log into face book? This is crazy I want to get all my info off and be done with this. I recently moved from MN to SC Myrtle Beach and facebook was a great way to keep in touch with family and friends but this is getting to be to difficult.

log in please.

i need the old facebook this new one is very bad bbbbbbbbbbuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Quit this carp and let me sign in!

I encourage you to follow the link to the article and read some of the comments for yourself.

In case you’re wondering what’s going on, it’s this: Due in part to its title, the article managed to make its way to the top of the search results in Google for the phrase “facebook login.”

And it turns out a lot of people have been getting to Facebook, not by directing their web browser to www.facebook.com, but by typing “facebook login” into their browser’s address field. Their browser software, using Google as a default search engine, is doing the same search. These people are then simply clicking the first link that shows up in the list, and not noticing that it’s not actually a link to Facebook.

To be fair, it doesn’t help that: (1) the article has the FB logo right below the article title, and (2) the comment section provides the option to log in via services like Facebook and Twitter, rather than submitting your thoughts anonymously. Still, at some point, the authors added a bold-text paragraph to the middle of the article, saying, in sum, “This is not Facebook. This is an article about Facebook.” I don’t know when that paragraph was added, so I can’t say whether or not it helped.

Still, one might legitimately ask*: how could so many people not notice the ReadWriteWeb logo and the markedly different layout and color scheme? Potential answer: some of them seem to think that this is another example of Facebook redesigning their user interface.

The next, equally legitimate question: how do so many people fail to notice that the domain they’re currently visiting is not a http://www.facebook.com address, but http://www.readwriteweb.com instead? At what point does Joe User look at the page that came up and think, “Hmm. I think I’ve wound up somewhere other than the site I was trying to reach?”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why phishing schemes work. And why they’re not going away any time soon.

Now, perhaps some of you find all this computer stuff daunting. That’s perfectly understandable. I wish I could give even a short (i.e., oversimplified) explanation of how the Internet works, but this entry’s already going to be long enough, so that’s best saved for another time. The immediate thing I want to convey to you is: if you want to visit Facebook, all you need to do is type http://www.facebook.com (no spaces) into your browser’s address bar. That’s the Facebook website’s actual address (in computer-jargon, its “Uniform Resource Locator,” or “URL”), and it’s the only sure way to know you’re going where you want.

The good news is that http://www.facebook.com doesn’t take that much longer to type than “facebook login.”

More good news: after you do it once, you can set up a “Bookmark” or “Favorite” in your web browser for the Facebook login page. After that, you’ll never have to type the address again, unless Facebook changes their address, which won’t happen unless they change their name.

Before I go any further, here are some more gems from the comments thread. It’s not the ignorance that gets me laughing — it’s the arrogance. Aggressive arrogance, at times.

I am going to delete my account (IF I CAN EVER LOG IN) as this SUCKS BIG TIME ! If this does not get back to NORMAL you are going to lose a lot of folks who hate this and as you can see from all the comments they think it sucks too !!! facebook was great for connecting with old friends …now, NOT SO MUCH. SO HOW DO I LOG IN ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Who’s idea was this?? Hope he’s not too big to fire cause he just LOST a bunch of faithful users. Chances are it’ll never be the same as it was before….cya

im going back to my f**kin space u a** holes have to fuck up a good this !!!!! dumn a**es

for those of you that want to get in face book now just go to Bing..put in face book and search (or it will pop up) hit on face book login and it takes you to your password page…i did it…. if this ever gets back to normal I will use the address bar from now on….. [All this would accomplish is swapping one pointless and potentially corruptible search result for another one – J.]

It’s no fun when you break my toys.Very bad move on facebook part.

NEW FACEBOOK SUCKS. PLEASE LET ME IN… [“Hey, your house is ugly. May I come in?” – J.]

WHAT THE HELL IS GOIN ON WITH THIS FACEBOOK.. FIRST YOU WANNA CHARGE NA YOU WANNA NOT LET US LOG IN….. UGH STOP CHANGIN IT I LIKE THE OLD FB…. IF YOU ARE THE NEW OWNER YOU SUCK AND I WISH YOU WOULD CREATE UR OWN SHTY AND LEAVE FB ALONE LOSER……… [Facebook isn’t about to start charging you for access, no matter how many rumors you read to the contrary -J.]

unsubscribe [Does this person think they can cancel their newspaper subscription by picking up a pencil and writing “unsubscribe” on the editorial page? -J.]

I thought that I was the only one. How do we get in?

This sucks so bad!!!! Time to go back to MYSPACE!!!

i do not loke it

And, my personal favorite:

THANKS A BUNCH TO UR KENYAN SOCILIST PRESIDENT B. HUSSAIN!!!

Sigh.

Back to my “information superhighway” remark. The common joke a few years ago was to compare your computer (or Microsoft Windows specifically) to your car, and contrast the resulting expectations: If your car was like your computer it would crash every so often for no apparent reason, blah blah blah, ha ha ha.

The implicit claim is that a computer should be as simple to operate as a car – which is completely ridiculous. A computer is orders of magnitude more complicated than a car. Not that the modern internal combustion engine isn’t a wonder of engineering, but there are some important differences:

First, your car is built to do one thing: drive. And if it’s like most cars, it’s designed only to drive in one place: roads. Your computer, on the other hand, is built to allow you to do lots of things: email your mom, write a novel, play music, retrieve weather updates, keep a budget, fend off alien invasions, and write blog entries about the foibles of complete strangers. If your car were designed to drive, fly, dive to depths of 500 feet below sea level, cook your breakfast for you… well, you can see where I’m going.

Second, with the advent of the Internet, computers are specifically designed to interact with other computers – and, through them, their owners. Not so for your car. Your car is specifically designed to avoid contact with other cars. Anti-lock brakes! Side-view mirrors! Rear-view cameras for backing up! Tires that don’t leak when they run over nails! Baby On Board stickers!

If you went to some automotive engineers, and said, “Hey, I want to be able to pick one of the other cars on the highway and, without either of us slowing down, merge with it so that we can move back and forth freely between cars, and it shouldn’t make a difference what make and model the other car is, but oh, if the other person’s got a gun I expect my car to stop me from hooking up, and also, can you make this all happen at the push of a button,” they’d look at you like you’d ordered a steel-and-fiberglass magic carpet in Mary Kay pink.

A few years ago I was teaching a basic algebra class. About five weeks into the course, one of my students stopped me in the halls. She was desperate. For financial aid reasons, she had to take a full course load, which meant a minimum of twelve semester hours, which is usually four courses. If I remember correctly, she was enrolled in English 101, Spanish 101, a psychology class, and my algebra class. I told her I wished the organization paying for her education wasn’t forcing such a load on her, but she insisted that wasn’t the problem. Then she asked me The Question:

“Can’t you make the math any easier?”

The Answer, of course, was, “Sorry, I can’t.” I reminded her, as sympathetically as I could, that the final exam was standardized, out of my control, and I had to make sure she was ready for that exam at the end of the course. I also explained that, given the program she was enrolled in, I knew she would be moving on to another math class beyond this one, and that if this course were made simpler, she wouldn’t be prepared for the next one.

I also said, truthfully, that if I thought there were an easier way to present the concepts inherent to the course, I’d be using it. I want students to succeed! But at the same time, that success has to mean something. The reason so many jobs require college degrees is because the employers want people who have learned to think at a collegiate level.

There’s a quote attributed to Albert Einstein: “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” The reality is that computers and the Internet are not simple, and to quote the Dread Pirate Roberts, anyone who says otherwise is selling you something.

*It’s also tempting to ask why so many people can’t spell simple words like “crap,” “sign,” and “boo.” But I learned long ago that there are plenty of very intelligent people who either spell poorly or type poorly or both, just like there are plenty of very intelligent people who can’t do math. Still, “Fafebook?” How do people who misspell “Facebook” get to it at all?**

**One person further down the thread actually typed “Flakebook,” but I think that might have been a joke.

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