Google fails to communicate – but that may be part of the future

Posted: November 27, 2011

Brick-in-wall-street-art

For a company that could fairly describe itself as one of the leading communications companies in today's world, Google sure hates communication.

I don't know what interest Google would have in stealing content it did not create but this is what Google's policies amount to.

Back when I had an earthlink email address I opened a YouTube account and posted a few videos. Nothing I don't mind having out there – just some live performances of mine in a club in Manhattan together with two videos made by friends of mine for two songs off my last album Raised In Vain.

Then somewhere along the line YouTube got bought by Google. And at the time I did not have a Google account. So I got zero communication about how this new ownership might change YouTube. Well, it doesn't seem to have changed the service or the site much at all but it has definitely brought it under the draconian rules of Google – Master Of The Universe.

You see, I no longer have access to that old earthlink email address. Like many, many other people I have moved to a different, better, or in my case simply more convenient, email provider. But according to the Laws Of Google this means I no longer have access to my YouTube account. All I can do is open another one. But if I do that, I still will not have access to the videos I placed on YouTube in the first place! That's right. They have a no exceptions rule that if you do not have control of the email address you used to open a YouTube account you no longer have control of any content you put there. You cannot even remove it.

How did I find this out? By tracking down online chats between people experiencing this same problem. And they all point out the same thing: YOU CANNOT EVEN CONTACT GOOGLE TO DISCUSS IT WITH A HUMAN BEING. 

Google might just as well be another name for a brick wall. There's no "contact" tabs anywhere. There are help menus – that don't help. There are FAQ pages that answer nothing. The only advice anywhere is to regain control of the old email address. Yeah, sure, that's going to happen!!

Google has stolen my videos. I am hereby charging Google with theft. But I doubt Google cares. Clearly this company has a contradictory view of the future. It thinks communication is great as long it's between its users but NEVER between a user and the company.

*****

MAN WAS I WRONG!

Communication in the future part 2.

Years ago I did a lot of advertising for Telecom companies. AT&T (the original version), Sprint, BellSouth, Nokia…and a few smaller ones too.

My proudest moment was when I got Sprint to run a campaign based on the theme line The Point Of Contact. Anyone interested can get a taste of this campaign at my other web site createCommonGround.com

The reason I liked it so much was because it did what I had been trying to do for many years…it linked the practical "we want your business" approach clients like this expected and demanded, with what I liked to think of as a "higher meaning." 

Yes, it made it clear that Sprint could be a single point of contact for all your Telecom needs. But it did so by elevating the "point" of human contact. It pointed out the value of communication in our lives and the good that can come from it. We had a young man in one TV spot reconnecting with the past in order to help a friend in another country. You get it.

But man was I wrong.

It turns out the future of communiucation is mindless. Or, as evidenced by Google, non-existent. 

Research has shown that a huge proprtion of our now constant communication – which barely deserves that term – is mindless babble (something I address in my book The Culture Of Now). Constant texting, sexting, twittering – watching TV and movies on the run on a screen so small it is nothing short of an insult to the talents that made and appeared in those shows and movies – it all seems to be part of a future where communication is an end in itself. But that has never been the case and should never be the case. Our power to communicate is what raises us above the vast majority of other life forms on this planet. (I think we'll eventually come to understand that there are one or two life forms that actually have the potential to be as smart as we are – if smart is the right word – but who for now have to wait their turn and see what kind of planet we leave behind).

Communication – the ability to pass thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions, from one person to another – is a wondrous thing. But right now we seem to want to make it all one way. Just like Google we erect brick walls using the very same technology that could break them down. Young men and women ask for dates via text simply because a personal conversation would be too risky. They might get rejected and then where would they be? I'll tell you where they'd be. They'd be human. They'd be getting the same life lessons that everyone used to get. They would be exposed and vulnerable and would learn from the experience. 

We can't learn to be better people unless we are open to failure as well as success…unless we are open to true communication.

Something Google might want to think about. And something you might want to think about when you see your son or daughter having a closer relationship with their smart phones than with other human beings.

The most terrifying thing I've read recently is that 50% of children under 8 in America now have mobile devices of one kind or another.

At least Roger Waters was accusing other people of building a wall to prevent our children from exploring and developing their minds. Seems he was wrong too. These days they build the walls themselves.

No comments yet

Post a Comment