Text Travels

Text Travels

Exepundit write a short post today that really struck me. In Some Helpful Cautions he writes,

“Would the person who sent you that e-mail be completely comfortable if you forwarded it to another person?”

I never assume my email is private. I never assume the recipient of my email is the only person who will see it. Let me tell you a story about working in tech support. There are no secrets.

When you’re supporting customers, you generate a lot of text. You send email. You type instant messages. You update tickets. Your words are everywhere. Those words end up in the most unlikely of places.

Text Travels

When you update a ticket, that ticket could be seen my management, either yours or the customer’s management. Is this how you want to come across to management?

Ticket notes can be sent to customers. Did you write anything in the notes you wouldn’t want the customer to see? I’ve had help desk reps or other technicians send the entire ticket, with all notes and history to a customer or to another team without my knowledge. I have never been burned by this because I never make notes that disparage the customer or lie.


Never lie in ticket. Don’t say you did something when you didn’t. Don’t say you updated the customer if you did not. Don’t say you installed a program if you didn’t. Don’t say you called someone and left a voicemail if you never dialed their number.

Your lies will come back to haunt you. You’re doing a disservice to your customer and yourself. So don’t lie. Tell the truth about what you did, what you didn’t do and most importantly, what worked to resolve the issue.

Help Future You

Future you needs the help of Past You to be successful. I’ve fixed thousands of problems over the years. I’ve assisted other people with fixes and workarounds for their problems. Some took minutes and others took hours, days or weeks.

Always write what you did! Future You will thank you. I’ve gone back to old tickets many times to find “issue was resolved. Closing ticket.”

“Update fixed problem.”

Worked with _____ team to resolve issue.


How does that help you or anyone? You’ll see this issue again. I guarantee when you fix an obscure issue you’ve never seen before, it will come up again!

Help yourself. Help your team. Help you 6 months from now when you remember fixing the issue, but have no idea what you did. Leave yourself a trail to follow.

List what you did. Specifically. Leave ticket notes behind that anyone could follow. Because in 6 months, or a year, or even 6 weeks later you are that person.

There’s nothing worse than solving the same problem over and over and starting from scratch each time. Give yourself and your team a head start.

Collecting Data

Collecting Data

I’m fine with giving Google my data. I’m happy to let Waze read my calendar and peek into my email to let me know how to get places and when I should leave to arrive on time.

I’m happy to let the world of Internet services revolve around me to offer me snippets of information or convenience. Though what I really want is for them to work better.

Don’t show me ads for socks because I bought socks. I just bought socks. How many socks do I need? You should know I bought socks yesterday. How about showing me ads for new shoes. Or another article of clothing. Maybe it’s time for a new belt or a nice hat.

If you’re going to collect and sell my information, would you please so something useful with it?

Here are some ideas to help you out.

  1. I am 6’5″ and 350 lbs. I am a tall, fat man. I wear a size 14 shoe. Tell me what stores actually stock such an endangered creature. I don’t mean tell me where they are “available” because when I walk in and am greeted with two all-white tennis shoes and a single pair of dress shoes, that doesn’t count.

  2. You’re using data of what I bought to offer me… more of the same thing. How about looking at what other people buy when they buy this item. What about a complimentary item? When people buy these socks, they also often buy these shorts. After buying these socks, people look at shoes. Or a water bottle. Something tangentially related to those socks. I don’t need more socks.

  3. You know what problems I’m having by what I write about, email, add to wish lists and look up. Why are you not offering me solutions? You know I’m looking at NAS storage devices, recommend one. You know I am looking for a new hard drive, how about a recommendation?

  4. Things go on sale all the time. I wait for things to go on sale before I buy them. If you know I’ve added something to a wish list, why not tell me when it’s on sale? You’re practically guaranteed to get a sale when you tell me the thing I am interested in is available for less money. Why are you not doing this?

Looking Glass

Looking Glass

This is not a world I can ever understand. This is a world I can only look in from the outside. Wearing the same skin as the perpetrators of these crimes against man and family.

I can read their words. I can try to put myself in their place but I can never truly understand. I can boost their signal and get their words in front of more people.

I don’t know how people are coping today with the news of not one, but two murders at the hands of police yesterday. My friend Patrick Rhone lives near the shooting in Minnesota.

He is rightfully scared for his family and young daughter.

“Her grandmother has an arrest record. Her great-grandmother has an arrest record as long as my arm.”

His daughter put things more simply than I ever could today:

Erica Joy writes from the sanctuary of her work library since it’s the closest place she has to home on a day like this. Armed with only pain and headphones, she writes in Processing:

Though many black folks joke about it, there is no such thing as “calling in black.” To call in black would be a radical act of self care, were it available to most black people. On the day after we have watched yet another black body be destroyed by modern day slave patrols, it would be helpful for us to be able to take a day away to process. To grieve. To hurt. To be angry. To try to once again come to grips with the fact that many people in this country, especially those in power, consider us disposable at best.

I can’t know their pain. I can only mourn for the loss of people who had no idea yesterday would be their last. They were no more in the wrong than I was going to work and driving home.

I know what happened is wrong. It continues to be wrong and it continues to be about race. This does not happen to white people. It doesn’t take long to look for a story about a white person acting violently towards police officers and living.

White people aren’t gunned down for existing.

I leave you today with an anecdote from a friend of my wife. They are both art therapists in the Washington DC area. Her friend is a woman of color and was talking to my wife recently about moving out of DC.

She was looking to moving into Montgomery County, in Maryland which borders DC. She wanted to get out of the district because it was getting too expensive and she could get her kids into a better school system. But she was worried about school violence.

She said something I had never thought about before.

School shootings is a white person problem. School shooters are predominantly white. According to SchoolShooters.info: 82/133 shooters were white.

My wife’s friend was afraid to move her children to the suburbs of DC because she was afraid of school shootings. This is a white problem. And it opened my eyes because I had never thought about it before.

I miss a lot being a straight white male. I try to open my eyes and see the world around me for what it is, but there are things I can never know. I can only open my eyes, my ears and listen.

Fix Publicize no longer publicizing your posts

Fix Publicize no longer publicizing your posts

Publicize, the part of Jetpack that pushes my posts to Social Media™ has stopped working recently. It turns out to be an issue with the plugin after the last update.
There is a manual fix from the developer.

If you’re comfortable editing files, you’ll need to go to *YOUR DOMAIN*/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/publicize
Open the publicize-jetpack.php file and remove the lines shown here

I removed lines 362-380, saved the changes and now Publicize is working again. I’m sure they’ll include a fix in the next Jetpack update, but this will get you up and running again until then.