Google+ sowing confusion?
Someone posted this statement on Google+, which sounded to me rather like a justification for apartheid:
Children will be confused as long as they live in multiple cultures incoherent internally and disharmonious in such proximity with each other. Study after study says that the kind of diversity so many people believe strengthens group and makes them more tolerant has the opposite effect. More than that it dangerously undermines our sense of self.
I made a comment to that effect and referred to a post on my blog which gave a fuller explanation, Apartheid wasn’t so bad – historian | Khanya, in this passage in particular:
According to apartheid educationists (or pedagogicians, as they liked to call themselves) it was the “greatest possible injustice” for a child to be taught by someone of a different ethnic or cultural group. Think about that for a moment: “greatest possible”. You could starve a child, whip him, push burning cigarettes into her, lock him in a lightless cellar, make him slave in a mine or factory or farm at starvation wages, keep her as a sex slave, but none of those would be as great an injustice as being taught by a teacher of a different ethnic or cultural group.
But it seems that Google+ separated my comment from the text I was actually commenting on, and attached to to some other text I had not seen before, and which meant nothing to me, dropping the names of a lot of people I had never heard of.
I’m posting this on my blog, where I hope it won’t be messed up by Google*.
But now at the top of my blog I read this:
Tip: Connect to Google+: Increase your readers’ engagement with your content by connecting your Google+ profile and enable publicize for Google+ to share your posts to Google+.
So it looks like they want Google+ to mess up our blogs too, to cause even more miscommunication and misunderstanding!
Thanks but no thanks — when this is the kind of “engagement with my content” it produces:
Do you think it’s fair just to rattle off a brusque and exceptional comment like that, post a link to an article you wrote about an article someone else wrote about apartheid and … well, anyway, if you’d care to answer David or say something more, you’re welcome to. As it stands right now, and pardon my own boldness, your comment more resembles the tactic of some teenage boy trying to stir things up with a bit of pithy trolling.
— I’d rather keep Google+ as far away from my blog as possible!
Postscript – 23 Dec 2013
For more on the substantive issue, see my post on Apartheid and multicultural education.
This post is mainly about the role of Google+ in promoting misunderstanding.
I’ve now left Google+, and no one seems to have noticved except Google itself, which now nags me to join Google+ every time I log in to Gmail.
I’m no fan of some of Google’s more invasive ploys, and goodness knows Google+ has tried incessantly to get me to link up accounts and whatnot without taking no for an answer—and I’ve complained about it—but I think your assessment here is a bit off. I also, since I am the one who made the “brusque and exceptional” comment you quote, stand by my earlier comment.
Your comment actually was posted directly after the comment you intended to respond to (the “Children will be confused” comment). It was a comment that was part of a conversation attached to a Google+ post—the post with all the names you didn’t recognize. Since, however, you didn’t use the + feature (type a plus in front of someone’s user name, thereby notifying that person and anyone else reading that you were responding to him specifically), and since you did not quote what you were responding to, I wasn’t sure which remark in the comments to the post or the post itself you were likening to a justification for apartheid. It turned out, however, that the person who made the comment you were answering correctly deduced that you were responding to him, and he answered you.
In any case, Google has done no wrong in this. I think you should chalk that part up to lack of familiarity with commenting on Google+ posts (‘+’-ing someone’s name and so on). As for my remark, I’ll just briefly iterate what I said and what you quoted. You responded to David Dickens with a rather inflammatory remark—I mean, come on, comparing someone’s comment to apartheid is on about the same level as Godwin’s law—and a link to a lengthy article you had written. You didn’t engage the other commentator’s remarks with any specificity. I easily understand why Mr. Dickens was disturbed to have his remarks compared to an apartheid mode of thought, and I don’t think your comment was useful.
At least here you’ve cited with a little more specificity the part of your lengthy essay that you found particularly relevant, which you did not do in your initial comment. I’m still troubled by the comparison and a bit also by the way you engaged David, but, we’re all grown-ups, and we choose to what degree we wish to engage. I’ve been brusque on a number of occasions myself. I don’t think it was warranted in this instance, but it was your choice to comment, so it was yours to choose how patient or detailed or clear to be.
Ok, it seems that the problem is not Google+, but I am too stupid to know how it works. I did not realise that the comment I was responding to was part of a l0nger thread. Many of the things that I see on Google+ seem to be “Now you see it, now you don’t”, but since I don’t seem to be able to use it without offending people, I’ve deleted my Google+ profile and won’t use it again.
I’m sorry if anyone was offended by what I wrote. It was not intended to be brusque or inflammatory, but if it appeared that way to anyone, please forgive me.
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