Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nov 21: In Which Google Strips Me

Reticulated Writer

Note: This is a post I wrote earlier tonight. Blogher was down for maintenance tonight while Google was fucking with me, so I opened a new, temporary blog and posted in time to make the NaBloPoMo deadline here: http://reticulatedmoon.blogspot.com .
I’d love to write a post on my blog today, but late this afternoon, without any warning, Google shut me down. My blog is gone, and anyone who goes there gets a message that it’s been deleted. My Picassa account is closed and the message says my photos have been deleted. Same with my gmail account and my Google reader. All gone, just like that.

Do you back up your posts? Because I hadn’t. I just happily posted away on my blog and thought, Someday I ought to copy these into individual Word files. If you haven’t done that, what the hell are you waiting for? Do it! I was lucky. For some reason I could still get into my Google reader long enough to copy and paste all of my posts from there to a Word document …. except for ones I’d truncated and the photos that were linked to Picassa. Those are gone.

I’ve emailed Google from the page I’m redirected to any time I try to get into any of my Google goodies, but as I expected I haven’t received a response. I feel like Dorothy when she tried to get into the Emerald City. The door is closed and locked and I don’t have the power to get back inside.

No, worse than that, I feel violated. My words, my stories, they’re a part of me. They’re unique to my life and my voice. My words make a connection with my readers, with real people. They make people cry and laugh and think about things they’ve never thought about before. Like steampunk dildos and vagina cupcakes and sociopaths and what constitutes child abuse. They create connections between my life and the lives of other people, both friends and strangers. Sometimes I know because readers leave comments or send me emails or even tell me in person that they were touched or shocked or laughed until coffee came out of their noses. But they also connect me with people I don’t know. My words, my stories, aren’t on a leash that I hold in my hand. They’re out in the world living their own lives.

For example, someone who is a new friend, someone I hope to get to know better, sent me a message the other day and said her mother was coming into town from North Carolina, and would I come to breakfast with them, her treat. She said she’s been sharing my blog posts with her mom, and her mom wants to meet me because what I wrote connected with her experiences. That was about the highest compliment a writer can get! Hellz yeah, I’ll go eat breakfast.

Well, now that’s gone, that link between me and those readers. My blog, reticulatedwriter.blogspot.com is gone. One of my readers emailed me and said she feels like she’s watching a book-burning, and there’s nothing she can do about it. Yes, I feel that way too. Words aren’t tangible, I know, but I feel like something has been stripped from me. I’m confused and angry and bereft. And I don’t believe for one minute a giant like Google is going to give one shit about a little blogger like me, a little reticulated writer, and make any effort to give me back my stories.

This is not the post I expected to write today. But it’s the one Google gave me in return for my words, my stories, my connection to readers I know and readers I haven't met yet. I’ve been stripped. Just waiting now for the cavity search.


  1. Welcome back!

    We knew even a giant megacorp like Google couldn't keep you down!

  2. Holy crap! That's scary! I'm going to back up posts right now!

  3. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Diplomat, but apparently Google can bend me over, have its way, and then just walk out without giving me the slightest taste of a cookie. I think I need to take a class in web design and maintenance so I can do it myself.

  4. Welcome, Josette. Do it! I've learned my lesson. I had to learn the backup lesson the hard way with my computer too, when I contracted some nasty malware. That's why I have a 2 terabyte backup drive sitting next to me here. We only think we're in control of our cyber-world.

  5. Congrats on being restored. FYI, you don't have to copy everything to word files. If you go to your blog's settings, in the "basic" tab is a link to "export" your entire blog (comments too) into a backup file. It doesn't delete your blog. Just saves a copy of it to your computer in an XML file. - Easy and quick to do.

  6. Thanks Noisy Quiet! Good to know there's an easier way to do it.