Sometimes, sharing is not an easy thing to do

“Sharing is good, and with digital technology, sharing is easy.”— Free software movement activist and programmer, Richard Stallman.

With all due respect to Mr. Stallman, I beg to differ on the easy part. At least for some of us on some days.

Experience teaches that “learning curve” and “over the hill” are synonymous terms commonly shared to gauge different points on the same journey. Being able to now see over the top of the hill has shown me this is the point where that learning curve thing isn’t quite as easy as it used to be.

A typically easy Saturday morning last week quickly exploded into exasperation when I clicked the “publish” button on my blog site. That’s the button that magically catapults this column into cyberspace every Saturday morning, automatically sharing it with social media.

The magic was missing this time, however. Instead of receiving acknowledgment that my column was on digital newsstands everywhere, a warning label screen declared something to the effect of, “Not today, new rules.”

New Facebook rules had just turned a routine Saturday morning task into anything but routine. In a flash, “easy” went out the window and that learning curve thing? It shot exponentially straight off the chart. In non-geek terms, the warning label screen shared that Facebook no longer allows third-party sites like WordPress that I use to automatically share posts with them in the same manner that it has previously.

A frantic message to WordPress customer support returned information on how to restore harmony between Facebook and my column. Their prompt and understandable (for non-geeks like me) response spelled out two realizations: one, there is a difference in a Facebook page and a profile. Who would have thought it? Not me, I thought they were all “pages.” Two, I would have to create a brand new Facebook “page” just for my column, separate from my Facebook “actually not a page” I had been using ever since I learned how to spell Facebook.

In the meantime, Saturday morning was slipping away and concern for my faithful readers was mounting by the moment. The newspaper business makes you that way. Fortunately, it didn’t require much of a learning curve to think, “Hey, just post the link to Facebook manually and sort out the other stuff later.”

Done, I checked my “actually not a page” to make sure the column link was there, albeit late, and then it was back to my easy Saturday morning and coffee. Hours later, still in my routine, I checked Facebook to see what the court of public opinion was returning on the current edition of, “A Story Worth Telling.” Being a column writer makes you that way.

That’s when the second wave of exasperation hit. The column had garnered some “likes” and even three comments. Oddly though, the comments were from my two children and my sister, all of whom quickly let me know they could not see the column by clicking the link.

So, what was up with this? Others were obviously connecting to the column because they “liked” it, right? Checking the blog site provided a different answer. The column had never published to the web. This is where that “seeing over the top of the hill” thing comes in—this one was on me. I failed to follow through with the final phase when I became frustrated over falderal about new rules.

So, what did the Facebook “likers” like? Obviously, just the posted photo and teaser. But, to a person, they politely never mentioned I had posted a link that went nowhere.

Just goes to show that while sharing your love, your world or your thoughts isn’t easy for everyone, polite “friends” never share your mistakes. But family? Oh, they will share it with you in a heartbeat.

—Leon Aldridge

P.S. If my learning curve issues prevented you from accessing last week’s column, you can catch up here: Some people with cats go on to lead normal lives  I’m pretty sure this link will work …

Aldridge columns are also published in the Center, Texas, Light and Champion and the Mount Pleasant, Texas, Tribune newspapers.

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