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Wide White: Complaining about free stuff

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Complaining about free stuff

As you may (or may not) have noticed, Blogger had some serious problems last week. This caused my Thursday post and all of its comments to be deleted. My Friday post was also deleted. Blogger restored the posts sometime on Friday night or Saturday morning but didn't actually publish the scheduled Friday post. Blogger also never restored the comments that had been left on the Thursday post.

I was pretty frustrated. Ironically, I had just been taking steps a few days prior to move my blog to WordPress. This event only furthered my resolve to get off the Blogger platform.

But I also realized how quick I am to complain about services for which I pay nothing. When social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger or my free web-based email client goes down, frustration kicks in. It's provided to me for free, yet I complain!

I think we complain partly because while we don't pay dollars for these services, we do pay time. Not only do we give our time and attention to these platforms, but there are other free alternatives that we could be using. I don't have to use Gmail. I could use Yahoo or countless other platforms for my email. Besides, these companies are making advertising dollars on my use of their platforms, so it benefits them for me to choose their platform.

What free products do you use that make you crazy? What free stuff do other people complain about that they really just need to get over?

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Anonymous Bill Roehl declared,

I live my life, minute by minute, by the direction provided by Google Calendar. If that service dies so will I.

That said, it's been a bit flaky as of recent. I haven't been getting my e-mail notifications, it sometimes takes minutes to post an event, and sometimes it just won't load.

Thankfully it syncs to my phone and I generally have a recent copy of the majority of what I need there but still, ugh.

5/17/2011 7:41 AM  
Blogger Reuben declared,

You know, the thing about the Blogger mess-up... it sucks, and it's unacceptable, but I'm still a little surprised at the backlash. I don't really see it as the event that should push people off Blogger. None of the other free platforms are immune to something like this (just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it couldn't, or won't, in the future). Also, if people tried to move to something like self-hosted wordpress in response to this.. I expect people are just as likely to accidentally delete their own data than for Google to lose it.

That being said, I'm a Google Reader slave. I'd be totally f'd without it. I don't keep a list of blogs I follow anywhere except Reader. Also, I suppose I rely on WordPress, since it's free, too.

5/17/2011 8:49 AM  
Blogger Pat Stream declared,

If Wide White ever goes down? Whew! God help me!

5/17/2011 11:37 AM  
Blogger Joey declared,

My wife and I are both heavy users of Google Calendar and Reader.

The more I think about this, the more I think the frustration is fair. If you're going to create something and offer it to others to use, it should work. If I invite a bunch of people to my home for dinner but I burn the main dish and serve it up anyway (or replace it with something else and serve it an hour late), they'll probably be annoyed and I think they should be.

5/17/2011 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Bill Roehl declared,

Seriously if I came over and your wife accidentally burned the meal I wouldn't be annoyed--I'd just feel bad that she was under so much stress for feeling as if she'd have to remake the meal and serve it again to me.

Now, I think that Google's offerings are way different than your example here simply because they make money off of the ads they push to you and the aggregate data they sell about you. That said, I still don't think I have too much of a right to be pissed when something goes down and even though I was aggravated with changes made to Google Docs which broke my dashboards, I was one of the few people standing up for Google when they fixed it causing all of us widget users who had to recreate them to get them working again.

5/17/2011 10:12 PM  
Blogger Stephanie declared,

I was getting annoyed at Grooveshark this morning, and it made me think of this post. So then I just opened up Pandora instead. :)

5/22/2011 10:18 AM  

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