May 27th, 2013

The technological and rhetorical challenges of another voice, or two...

On Friday, May 17, I began a six-day stint of watching my friend Bob's two—most gentle, beautiful, and sweet—Cocker Spaniels, Frances and Vincent.

I decided to create a Facebook page for them, and then request that he be their friend—as a fun way for him to keep "in touch" with them while he as gone, as he is so dearly devoted to them.

This was an interesting experience from two perspectives—a technological perspective and a rhetorical perspective.


  1. Creating the page

    • On the Facebook page I created, I first put in "Frances&Vincent" for a first name and "McVeigh" for the last name, and Facebook returned an error that said something to the effect of, "Invalid character in First Name field."

    • I replaced "Frances&Vincent" with "Frances and Vincent," and then I got an error message to the effect of, "It looks like you are trying to create a page for more than one person. Facebook only allows individual pages."

    • Finally, I tried "FrancesVincent," which worked.

    • My next challenge was the birthdate field. I knew that making them under 21 would add potential problems down the road, possibly with things I post and with friend requests, so I chose 25 for their age, even though Frances is 13 and Vincent is 8.

    • And, finally, I had to choose a gender, which was annoying, because they are "one of each." I deferred to the older Frances, and chose female.

  2. Logging into the page

    • On one of my computers, using two incognito Chrome browser windows, I was able to log in simultaneously to both my personal Facebook page, as well as FrancentVincent's Facebook page. On another of my computers, I had to log out of one before I could log into the other one.

    • I really liked the password I came up with for FrancesVincent's account. :-)

  3. Requesting friends

    • At one point, the FrancesVincent page got a slew of suggested friend requests, which I knew were initiated by one of Bob's friends that had become a friend of the FrancesVincent pages. I thought they were friend requests from the people that person had suggested be friends of the FranceVincent page, so I clicked on all of them, thinking I was approving their friend requests. However, what they really were were suggested friends for FrancesVincent to request friendships of, so what I had actually done was send friend requests to all of those people, which I wouldn't have done had I realized what was really going on.


    1. Managing "voices"

      • I needed to decide on a way to indicate who was talking at a given time, so I decided to preface status updates and comments with "[F&V]" when they were saying something together, and then "[F]" and "[V]" for Frances and Vincent, respectively, when they spoke separately.

      • I went back and forth as to whether I wanted to put their thoughts in quotes or not, finally deciding to do it. I corrected updates and comments many times, because I often forgot to include the quotation marks.

      • I tried to have Vincent say things that I thought he might say, based on what I know about his character, and vice-versa with Frances, but that was hard to do, as we really don't know what dogs would say if they could talk. At the very least, I tried to repeat a couple of things that each had previously said to make it sound more like "their voice."

    2. "Liking" posts

      • It got a little confusing "liking" posts and comments at times, as sometimes I wanted to like comments made by friends of FrancesVincent on FrancesVincent's page, both by me and by FrancesVincent, so I had to like them from the FrancesVincent account, and then go login to my own account and like them from there, as well.

      • It was most confusing when I wanted to like FrancesVincent comments, and vice-versa, because, of course, it was "me" doing it in both cases, and I just had to remember, "Okay, which account am I logged into right now, and who am I liking whose comments or postings right now.

    Over all, this experience was a lot of work, but fun and an interesting learning experience as well, and it seemed to bring a lot of smiles to a lot of people's (even if some of them only virtual) faces.

    A fan fiction obituary...

    The Iron, 78, passed "Gone" on Sunday, May 26, 2013 after passing "Go" for the last time on February 6, 2013 as a result of a forced retirement after a long and lustrous career with Parker Brothers.

    Making a smooth entrance onto a board already monopolized by a number of other tokens, Flatiron, as he was originally called, pressed on to become one of the regulars, by loosening the ties between the long chains of molecules that exist in polymer fiber materials.

    Depressed since February, Iron wrinkled up his nose at the travesty of his American Idol-like demise, as Monopoly fans from 120 countries participated in the first-ever online vote for which of the game tokens to replace. Depressed, but eternally grateful for the impassioned pleas fans made on Facebook to save him from forced retirement, he once lamented, "Retirement will take all of the steam out of me."

    Iron was preceded in death by appliance family members sad iron, box iron, charcoal iron, ox-tongue iron, slug iron, and gusing iron, as well as fellow Parker Brother colleagues Lantern, Purse, Rocking Horse, Sack of Money, Man on Horseback, and Canon.

    Iron is survived by what those currently monopolizing the board for Parkers Brother call themselves, "The Great 8": Wheelbarrow, Battleship, Racecar, Thimble, Shoe, Scottie Dog, Top Hat, and Cat.

    Although on an emotional roller coaster since the beginning of the year, toward the end, his emotions were pretty flat. The critical care nurses said that, in the end, his was the flattest flatline they'd ever been pressed to deal with.

    No memorial service will be held as Iron was immediately replaced by Wrinkle Release—and "the Cat," of course.