Ever felt lost in cyberspace? I’ve been in that situation more than once. I’m sure that every failure I’ve experienced when trying to follow directions on the internet was my computer’s fault. After all, I’m writing this article about being lost in cyberspace, so I’m not brain dead, am I?
Take what happened to me today. My friend Debbie de Quilettes-Alden emailed the link to her latest article on Associated Content (AC)-her Product Review article for the Palm Pre Plus cell phone. I clicked on the link to AC in my email. It’s so wonderful that links in email are colored-coded blue. Suddenly Debby’s article miraculously popped up on my computer screen. I, a born cyberspace loser, had successfully reached into cyberspace. Of course I whooped and hollered a bit. Success does that to me.
I liked what Debby wrote. A little box titled “Type in Comment Below” sat begging for attention at the end of the article. Because I’m exhausted by my vain attempts to figure out all the applications on my new cell phone, I quickly grasped her frustrations. So I decided to click on that attention-getting Comment box. Do you think I could immediately type in a few clever words? No way!
First I had to choose an identity in order to set up a Google account. I felt like I was joining the Secret Service. Another blank user name box.. Another password request. What a horrible dilemma. Should I use one of the 20 passwords already in service for the various and sundry websites I regularly use? Or should I dare to create a totally new password? Was using an old password going to result in serious hacking problems? Compromise my ever-so-important Google account?
My mind whirled with the possible implications of my choice. I pondered long and hard and then decided on a user name and password. (Did I create another new name and password? I can’t tell you, because I might get turned into the cyberspace police.) I entered my new ID in the proper boxes and pressed enter. The result was electrifying. Success! I squealed a little, and then realized good news like this needed to be shared.
So I woke my husband from his nap to tell him about my astounding achievement-a Google account! His eyes opened a slit; his glare reverberated with displeasure. I quickly slinked back to my computer, ready to insert my judicious thoughts into the Associated Content comment box. I eagerly positioned my cursor dead center in the box and clicked.
In an instant an astounding message flickered on my screen. Was it really true? Was it necessary to join Associated Content before I could type something in the comment box? To put it briefly-yes.
My eyes rolled up. Tenseness attacked my brain cells. Remember those deep-breathing techniques pregnant women learn in order to handle birthing contractions? Was it wrong that I practiced them a few times? After all, I was birthing two sets of user names and passwords in the same day.
A huge question loomed in my foggy thought-processes. Should I use the same user name and password I’d just created for my Google account? Were morals involved? Ethics? Would that action bring on a guilty conscience? I didn’t care. And no, it’s none of your business!
Finally the big moment arrived. But wait! Now it had been so long since I started the sign-in process that I have completely forgotten my comment. I return to Debby’s article to read it again. Then I typed my astute message in the comment box and hit the send button. Did my message fly off the page and land where Debby could read if? Of course not. It just sat there on the screen, content to torture me with its presence.
Why didn’t it disappear and leave me in peace? Because I needed to make more choices at the bottom of the screen. I was required to fill in one of three empty bullets, the first of which offered me the option of signing my comment with an “Open ID.” What does “Open ID” mean? No definition provided. It seemed as dangerous as being in another country and purchasing an item with foreign currency whose value I don’t remember. I couldn’t possibly fill in that bubble.
The next bubble’s choice was “Name/URL.” At least I can still remember my name. But URL? To what? My Facebook? My Twitter? My Website? My precious, new Google account? I was stymied.
I moved on to choice three. “Anonymous.” Are they crazy? I’m going to join two new Websites in order to make a comment about the Palm Pre Plus and then remain anonymous? That would basically make this whole process a waste of time.
I turned my eyes back to the “Name/URL” option, then typed in my name. Next I faced the dreaded URL prompt. What? I could leave that box empty? “Yahoo!” I hoped my exuberant response didn’t disturb my husband. At last I was allowed to click on “Publish Your Comment.” Tah Dah! My important, revolutionary message left the box and mysteriously appeared at the bottom of Debby’s article. I was so proud of myself.
Want to know what happened when I next tried to link my Twitter account to FaceBook? Absolutely nothing. My daily cyberspace frustration allotment was now running on empty. I’ll have to tackle that cyberspace nightmare on another day.