Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Know I'm Fakin' It

     I am not a "techie." I am not computer person. I know how to type pretty well (I took a class the summer after 11th grade) and I can process words. But most of the time I have no idea how to figure things out on the computer.

     We have a 20-something male in the house who helps me sometimes, as long as I'm willing to put up with a long, extended and not-so-subtle eye roll. But most of the time I'm pecking away on my keyboard, just hoping that nothing will go wrong.

     I've been working on this blog now for about ten months, and I like to think I've figured out a few things. But, honestly, I feel just the way I did when I took calculus in college -- always on the edge of understanding what was going on, but never mastering the subject, never getting comfortable with it. I'd learn just enough to answer the questions on the tests, then heave a sigh of relief and try to cleanse my mind of the anxiety and feelings of incompetence that came with calculus.  

     So it is with blogging. Not the writing part; I can deal with that. But the technical part.

     For example, one of my relatively frequent commenters was recently kind enough to notify me that a few people were having trouble making comments on my blog posts. I'm glad she notified me. But, OMG, I had no idea what I could do about it!

     I poked around blogger for a while and found that there's a spam folder on the comments page. Who knew? When I opened the spam folder I saw a few obviously commercial comments, along with a couple of notes that seemed a little sketchy. But nothing in the spam folder looked like anything from my familiar blogging names. That wasn't the problem, but I didn't know what else to do.

     So I did what I do best. I stuck my head in the sand and hoped the problem would go away. It didn't. And eventually, after another notice, I poked around some more, and found a place where blogger lists "known problems." There were problems relating to the "embedded form" of comments, and a suggestion to switch to either "full-page" or "pop-up forms." I stumbled around and figured out how to do that, then shrugged my shoulders and made the change. Lo and behold ... it worked! Don't ask me why. And ... for how long, who knows?

     I'm just not comfortable with technical things. I don't want to tell you how long I fiddled and faddled with the design function of blogger before I was able to devise something presentable. And there are still blogger functions that baffle me. Links? I see them, but I don't know what they are exactly, much less how to create them.

     So I procrastinate. When I first started my blog, I saw there was an adsense option to place ads on your blog. I thought, why not? It only took me ten months to get around to doing that. Now I worry the ads are intrusive -- but I don't think they're too bad. If people do think they're obnoxious, please let me know. I'm not doing this for the money. Besides, if I were to make any, then I'd have to set up a Paypal account. I have no idea how to do that. And it would be another ten months before I even tried!

     Like Paul Simon, I know I've just been fakin' it, not really makin' it. But ... is there any danger ... no, no not really ... I'm takin' time to treat my friendly neighbors honestly. But still ... this feelin' of fakin' it. I still haven't shaken it.



Mac n' Janet said...

I know the feeling, when in doubt, technically speaking, I get hold of our daughter who lives in Maryland, but she's in Japan for a couple of weeks so I'm hoping I have no problems while she's gone.

Rubye Jack said...

I think Blogger is particularly confusing. It also took me quite awhile to figure out the embedded comment thing wasn't working. Now I see my Blogger account opening in YouTube and then going to Blogger, and when I leave response comments I see them being redirected. For some reason this really bothers me. Oh well...

Olga said...

I have that embedded thing, too, and you are ahead of me with a solution.

Anonymous said...

This should make you feel better. I AM a computer techie and even I can't figure most things out.

Sometimes it does take hours to figure things out. For me, however, that's part of the fun. It's like a crossword puzzle or game. Maybe it's because I have a Mac. And Macs are a lot of fun.

Here's another thing to make you feel better: Blogger is easier to use than Word Press (oops, here'll come the comments). Be thankful you don't have Word Press. Too complicated for me.

You are doing just fine. Good work!

Nance said...

You succeeding in embedding a righteous video! I love those boys. Have you read Fire And Rain (CSNY, James Taylor, and Simon and Garfunkle)?

Whatever I'm able to do with Blogger has come from the endless lost twiddling you describe. I'm nervous as a cat while I'm doing it, but, once I've got it, I've got it for good. That stands in sharp contrast to how it works for me when some tech geek stands at my shoulder and says, "You just do this, this and this...see?" I never do see.

I'm retired. I could have taken a course in this, but apparently I decided on hands-on learning instead.

MerCyn said...

The learning curve is long and steep. Too much time spent on tech stuff and not enough on writing. Hopefully a new generation of techno-workers will make the system more user-friendly and less geeky. We can only hope! But I do have a Paypal account and it is easy to use and comes in handy for online purchases.

Douglas said...

At least you are trying to learn, to figure things out. That's a lot more than some do. The problem with Blogger (and Wordpress, and any other blog provider), is that you are using someone else's software. They think the way they do, you think the way you do. Until you grasp how their minds work, you feel lost... and probably are a bit. Keep plugging away.

schmidleysscribblins,wordpress.com said...

Great topic and i am typing away confidently exptecting this comment to pass muster. "Inch by inch its a cinch, yard by yard its hard."

Even after all these years, I am still learning about computers, and I started with main frames, punch cards and flow charts. I can't leave messages on the Mature Landscaper site, and cannot figure out how to notify her of the problem. If you are ever in the neighborhood please suggest she follow your steps for success. I am sure I am not he only one who can't leave a message on her site. Dianne

Sightings said...

Dianne -- I forwarded your message to her and suggested what she could do, altho' I have no idea if she has the same problem I did.

And I wished her good luck ... b/c we all need it!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

OMG, Tom! I so understand! I'm definitely not a techie and face each technical challenge with a new wave of anxiety. I'm about to reach my definite level of incompetence: for reasons I can't fathom, I'm teaching an extension class in blogging at ASU next week and the next. I hear enrollment is low and I'm fervently hoping those few students are more technically clueless than I am! (They're all over 50, so maybe...)

Friko said...

But you have managed to, erm, add a utube video to this post. That's something I did once, but have now forgotten how to do.

Come back to mine in about 10 months time.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I'm in the exact same boat as you. I poke around and hunt and peck at the keyboard, then bury my head int he sand for another day. Glad I'm not alone.
xo jj

Jon said...

You made me get out my guitar and remember this and a few other great tunes. Those guys sure wrote some good stuff! Now if I could use this damn keyboard better...

Caro said...

I've worked with computers for 30 years, and I do exactly what you did--poke around and try things until something works.

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