All this social media stuff. What a waste. Arguing with strangers. Talking to ourselves, talking to computers, listening to computers, gazing at analytics that don't mean anything.
I was postponing doing meaningful work Wednesday morning, and glanced at the portrait associated with my gmail account at the newspaper. My column bug from, gee, maybe 10 years ago. Maybe more. Out-of-date. The paper had a photographer shoot a new one earlier this year. They don't always use it, but it can take a long time for old stuff to work its way out of the system, and I'm not one to complain.
This, I could change myself.
So I clicked on the portrait, and the system easily pointed me toward inserting a new photo. I dragged in the new shot, jiggled with its positioning, clicked "Set as profile photo." Nothing. I tried a second time. That's when I noticed gmail's explanation of the problem.
"Are you sure people will recognize you in this photo? It doesn't seem to have a face in it."
Well, lah-de-fuckin'-dah. It sure seems like a face to me. But then, I'm biased. Older, sure, grey in the beard. But my face, and I'm sticking with it.
Will people recognize it? Heck, some days I hardly recognize. I can't speak for all "people"—there's too much of that going around as it is.
Annoying? Sure. But, honestly, I'm glad the system is so inadequate. I'm sure someday people will go to prison on this kind of error, but right now there are still a few bugs in the system, and that day isn't quite here yet, though the Chinese are rushing us toward it. Nor are they alone. This week it was learned that Amazon's Ring security system is partnering with 400 police departments, handing over images snatched from your doorbell camera for the "new neighborhood watch." An Orwellian phrase if ever there were, because that used to mean you watching the neighbors, and now it means strangers watching us all.
Another reason not to have a doorbell camera.
The third time, I got the photo to be accepted, using a very human strategy: I tried again, altering nothing from the first two attempts. Only this time it worked. Third time's the charm, as we used to say when we, you know, used to say stuff.
There are still a few bugs in the system, thank God. The day this all works smoothly will be a scary day. Not that we'll notice anything is wrong.