From 2007 through the fall of 2012, I posted more than five-dozen entries in my Ho-Ho-Kus Cogitator blog on Google's blogspot. Then I became completely involved with the writing, publishing, marketing and selling of my book, The Oy Way.
I tried to get back to my blog this May, but unfortunately, I had misplaced and forgotten my password to get into my blogspot site. Although I diligently tried to contact someone at Google for help by email and phone, it was to no avail. I was completely frustrated, and felt deserted by Google, a massive organization with an estimated 54,604 employees.
The Gigantic Google World
In 2012, Google had revenues in excess of $50 billion, and over the last two years, Google has leased, bought or is actively planning to develop more than 3.1 million square feet of offices in the Silicon Valley -- enough space for 12,000 to 16,000 employees.
Google's "brand value" of $93.3 billion, is second only to Apple's $98.3 billion. In Forbes Top 400 wealthiest in America, Google's current Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, age 58, has a net worth of $8.3 billion and ranks forty-ninth on the list. Google's two founders, both age 40, did better. CEO Larry Page is thirteenth with a net worth of $24.9 billion, with Sergey Brin in fourteenth place with a net worth of $24.4 billion. Brin has a most inspiring title as Director of Special Projects.
Special Projects -- Not for Us
When there's a problem, Google doesn't offer anything special to help individual users of its blogspot to reach a human being at their massive Googleplex international headquarters in Mountain View.
Dial their listed phone number at (650) 253-0000, and the recorded voice offers you, "If you need customer service or technical help, please press five." However, as you move further down that menu option, you are told, "Because Google doesn't offer live customer support at this time, please visit our website at www.google.com/support."
There you will find a seemingly helpful link to "Can't access your account," and if you click it, you are offered more options under "Having trouble signing in?" They are "I don't know my password," "I don't know my user name," and "I'm having other problems signing in."
I tried all of these options, but couldn't resolve my dilemma. Then I called upon knowledgeable friends in the tech field, and when they tried to help me, they were as befuddled as I was. Next, I contacted a leading tech writer at the San Jose Mercury News, a local newspaper that seems at times to be a public relations outlet for Google stories. He cynically wrote back "Google is notorious for being absent when it comes to customer support." That's a far kinder assessment than the one from the publisher of Harper's magazine who described a "parasitic Google" in their October issue.
When I discovered that an "almost distant relative" was an executive at Google's headquarters, I contacted her. She said that she would try to get me connected with a tech person, yet weeks later, she admitted that it was impossible to find one. I still believe that if I could have spoken to a Google tech person for only ten minutes, I could have reclaimed my Google blog.
Goodbye to Electronic Narishkeyt
Narishkeyt means nonsense in Yiddish, and we are all inundated daily with some form of it in this electronic world. We receive email pleas from some desperate soul in Africa who promises untold riches if we only email the sender our personal information. I now receive regular emails allegedly from my AT&T Internet provider asking for similar data. I have been hacked and emails were sent out to my entire mailing list saying I am stranded somewhere in the world, and please send $3,000 immediately or I can't come home. One dear, naïve friend sent $3,000, and then received another email asking for an additional $2,000, which she also wired.
Whenever needed, I will still use Google maps and the Google search engine. I have no desire to open a Gmail account (although I may already have one), and unless Google Glasses can help me improve my vision, I won't be buying a pair.
I'm still an evolving Luddite setting limits on what electronic devices I will let into my life. I have had an iMac for years, but no iPad or iPhone or similar contraption. This year, my wife gave me an inexpensive cell phone, and I am still trying to figure out how to retrieve a message, but wonder if it really matters.
The voice message on our home's landline says, "Four-seven-nine, three-four-six-five. This is a recording; we hope you're alive. But if you speak, and we hope you do. You will be a recording, too. Isn't it a sad electronic world?"**
It is sad, but only if you let it overwhelm you. Electronic gimmicks and outlets are like forbidden, fat-laden food. You have to learn to discipline yourself and consume just enough to satisfy your craving, without causing damage to your physical or mental health.
** This number has been changed to protect the innocent in our home.