Friday, May 13, 2011

Why Isn't It Working!

Technology has changed our lives and unless you are Amish (wonderful people by the way), computers and the Internet are part of that change. Many of us make our livings that are totally dependent on this technology. Is the Fan the only one totally schizoid about our banking being totally run by computers? Social Media is the latest chapter in this technological evolution. Millions of us are communicating with voices all our own. But what happens when it doesn't work? What if the power goes out? What if the blogging tool of our choice goes down for a long period of time? What if Twitter kept popping up a "Twitter is over capacity" message for days instead of minutes? We get on and we want things to work. We don't want problems. And when it doesn't work, boy are we angry. Being a Fan isn't too much different. We want our ballplayers to "work." In other words, work is defined here as, "playing as expected." Playing above expectation is a bonus. But under expectation? That is a problem.

And thus we fans are like those of us who use Blogger for our blog host. Every blip is a personal affront. Every out or outage is met with increasing scorn and frustration. Fans are frustrated that Derek Jeter, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Franklin, Jorge Posada, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, Vernon Wells, Buster Posey, Carl Pavano, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez and so many others fail to live up to expectations. With the instantaneousness of Twitter, we become a bandwagon of antipathy for those players as early slumps continue to plague them. Often that frustration turns into booing.

Imagine for a moment that you were that ballplayer. Imagine the pressure building up inside because the performance on the field is no where as easy as what it should be. Imagine thousands of Twitter accounts blasting your every ground ball, foul pop up and strikeout. Josh Thole, the young catcher for the Mets recently deactivated his Twitter account because he was getting blasted for his performance. Imagine thousands of home town fans booing you when it's not working? Imagine that team market getting into a frenzy because we writers need interesting things to write about and there are none more interesting than failure?

Yes, you say, all that is true, but they are living the good life. The players get pampered and paid well and should expect whatever treatment we give them. We, after all, pay their salaries. But behind the money and the gratuitous lifestyles and the entitlements, are real people...human beings. Nearly every major league player was the star of their high school team. They grew up with no-hitters and batting .500 for the season. Suddenly, they get to the top of their profession and they are 50 percent more likely to fail than before. And when you make it to the top, there's always someone younger and cheaper just itching to take your place.

The Fan has decided to give Blogger and Twitter the same kind of grace today. Yeah, the old ulcers flared inside today when no posts were available to this site's readers. It's taken a long time to build up the kind of traffic this site now receives. That was hard work and commitment to doing this as well as possible. It doesn't take long for people to take their eyes and mouse clicks somewhere else.

But let's face it, nobody has had a more stressful couple of days than the team over at Blogger. This Fan created the customer service team for a software company. It was hard enough when the technology broke down and 40,000 people--customers--were unhappy. Imagine multiplying that by a factor of ten, or a hundred! Can you only imagine the panic that was going on in that war room? Twitter has 30 million users. Imagine keeping those servers running smoothly! It's staggering to think about. In many ways, these products are the victims of their own success. It happens.

So the Fan has to admit yelling a few times, "Why isn't it WORKING!?" A few colorful words were hurled in Blogger's direction. And once Blogger finally came back up, Twitter hiccuped. ARRRRrrrggghh! Perhaps it takes the wisdom a more than a couple of decades on this planet to take a step back once in a while and understand that crap happens, even to the best of products...and of players. It takes a smile of hindsight to understand that those ballplayers and the people of Blogger and Twitter have been shouting the exact same phrase.

1 comment:

Navin V. said...

WordPress is where it's at, homey.