"WHES" I Didn’t Know Now What I Didn’t "GISH" then

What the hell does that title mean?

A year ago I would have asked the same thing. Then one day in August last year I encountered a series of accounts online that were pretending to be clocks and a brand new bizarre world was revealed to me; GISHWHES world.

Who this world is ruled by is one crazy personality. His name is Misha Collins.  Don’t know who that is?  Well, let me help; you know that show Supernatural?  You know those two great guys who are the stars?  Yes?  Well it’s neither of them.

You know that ultra serious guy pretending to be their guardian angel only he leads them astray and then comes back to save the day to get the hero editing? 

Still doesn’t ring a bell? 

How about this; he is the creepy guy that wears a trenchcoat…

Yes!  Bingo!  That’s him and that’s his name.  Now you don’t have to say “good ole what’s his name was on Supernatural tonight!”

Moving on, now that I just spent 2 paragraphs to get you to know who Misha Collins is let’s talk about GISHWHES. 

GISHWHES stands for the:

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen!  It is played in Teams comprised of fifteen players.  If you can’t find 14 others; don’t worry- GISHWHES will put together a team for you..

The grand prize for winning - the team ending out with the most points- is an adventure trip.  This year it’s a trip to Croatia; previous years trips were to Vancouver, Scotland and Rome.

 What do you have to do?: There’s a list of tasks (this year was 190 odd tasks to do)  each worth varying points.  The approach my team took was that everyone went through the list and figured out what they could do(and what I could do.)      

"Oh brother! Is he crazy?" was the first thing that came to mind  when I finally saw the list.  To answer it simply, yes, I firmly believe that CTG (Creepy Trenchcoat Guy) is crazy.        

The list was insane.  Several times I wished I had ignored those clock accounts a year ago and never got to know what’s his name.  I wished I didn’t know now about GISHWHES what I didn’t know then. (Now you get the title!)       

So who was on my team?  Here is my team:

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They are pretty scary bunch, aren’t they?  Wouldn’t want to face them in a battlefield, would you? 

No siree!

Look closely, there’s a TV Vampire, Boba Fett from Star Wars (my war with Star Wars was in détente during the hunt), a Myth Buster and a Hero of Cosplay!  There’s also a player from Slovakia and a player from Iran on my team!

Whine: Not fair you say that I can have a team because I’m a supposed celebrity?  Well the folks at GISHWHES established the Shatner Clause just for you!

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BTW, the hats some of them are wearing…you aren’t seeing things; sock monkey caps! It’s de rigueur for GISHWHES!

To do battle on the field of GISHWHES the team must be clever, perform tasks worth points and wear your sock monkey caps! 

Why is everyone holding a sign? Going back to my team photo above; think most everyone looks sad and what is it with those signs?  Well, it was part of one of the tasks:

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And that, as they say, was 72 points for Team Shatner!

Think that was easy?  I bet you’re thinking; I’m  going to cake walk this next year and win…!  Right?

Weird: How about this task?

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How are you going to get that one done, cowboy?

Wow: BTW, my team got that accomplished.  While NASA shut everyone else down for bothering the ISS astronauts; I called upon my friend, the Mars Rover Curiosity and had the Rover tag a rock on Mars.  Mars, as you may recall from school orbits in space.

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Also, see in the pic at the bottom?  That’s my friend Curiosity, the “astronaut” posing with the item.  ;-)   I’m claiming the full 400 points!

So for the rest of forever the GISHWHES rock on Mars will be there orbiting our solar system!  Once we colonize Mars, I envision future generations giving directions; “Go down Canal Street to Nebula way and then go by GISHWHES rock and the place will be on the left….”

Tasks were bizarre, some had no real directions; it was totally interpretive:

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WTH??!!  That’s all it said.  How would YOU accomplish this?  It’s worth 17 points if you could figure out a clever way. 

What are the Costs; what does it cost to do GISHWHES?

This is arbitrary; the cost to join the hunt starts at a $18 donation and goes up depending upon what items you wanted; flag, snake oil (olive oil with seasoning), a phonemail message from Mr. What’s His Name.  If you cannot afford it there are “scholarships” available where other good natured people doing random acts of kindness help fund your registration costs for the hunt.

I also did a very non-scientific poll on Twitter to see what folks spend.  Let me preface that GISHWHES central states you can do the tasks for little or no costs and I believe that.  A large number of people suggested that they spent about $200 individually.  I know someone on my team spent over one hundred eighty thousand tomans!

(BTW, that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of US$60!)

My Team in total spent a bit over $1000.00 total.  Seems in line with everything else.

The point of GISHWHES is to have fun but it also teaches valuable       skills of teamwork, getting folks to think out of the box and to       accomplish things that they never would dream to be possible.  These are skill sets that one can use in life.  Also the hunt encourages doing random acts of kindness. 

Who do the fees benefit?

 Misha has a charity he founded called “The Random Act" it encourages people to do daily random acts of kindness in their lives to change the world for the better.  The entry fees help to partially fund the charity.  I       believe in The Random Act and it is one of the organizations       supported by my Charity; "The Hollywood Charity Horse Show”.     

As a madman, crazy guy, social media genius in using celebrity for       charity I salute Misha Collins! 

So after reading this, if you think you have what it takes to be a GISHER(what those that do GISHWHES call themselves) and don’t mind insanity and taking a week out of your life then maybe next year’s GISHWHES hunt is for you.  If you want to start doing random acts of kindness now, head on over to http://therandomact.org and see what’s going on there.

Will I do GISHWHES again? 

I have all year to think about it.  Let’s see how my team fares this year. 

BTW, today, August 20, 2014 is Misha Collins 40th birthday!  I’ll leave you with an image that will make sure you never forget him again.  It’s another of my team’s entries.  Imagine what the task was! ;-)

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Misha, waiting for you to call me and tell me I won! ;-)

GISHWHESing away, Bill

Google’s Single Sign On Catch 22

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I have been “online” for a number of years.  My website, WilliamShatner.com has been around since 1998.  I established my YouTube presence in 2006 timeframe (i.e. the same year Google purchased it.)

As it was a video service I established my account with my Webmaster Paul.  Paul’s email account was used to create the http://youtube.com/WilliamShatner account. Then Google purchased YouTube.

With the merger there weren’t any problems.  As it should be.

The next major change was that Google introduced their single sign on.  Again, not really a problem when it was first introduced.

The first hiccups happened in 2011 Google introduced the Beta for G+. 

And this is where I encountered my first problem with Google.  I had received a beta account for G+ and I went in and created an account with my own email account. I said hello one Friday and by Sunday the G+ account was turned off for my impersonating William Shatner! 

Imagine that! 

So I made a bit of a fuss about it, it made the news and Google restored my account by Monday.

So that hurdle was done and things were going smooth and great until sometime last month.

My YouTube channel continued to grow with some of my behind the scenes and silly videos. By early 2014 I had 9 years of videos on that account.

When Paul tried to recently login to upload a video to my YouTube account we found that his access to my YouTube account had been turned off because it has the name William Shatner associated with it!

Sigh! The Single Sign On Catch 22!  I love that they are being proactive to prevent impersonation but 9 years of videos of me are on that account!  Is it automatic or do you investigate?

The issue I believe is that since I started my Google+ account with a different email account that I cannot join the two accounts together but there can only be one William Shatner! (Where’s the Highlander when you need him?)

Since I do not have a YouTube account associated with my own G+ account login, I am hoping that the nice folks at Google will help me join my G+ and YouTube accounts together.

I also think they need to possibly rethink the single sign on strategy or offer it along with a multiple account strategy. It’s a nice to have option but in some cases where one person is doing video and another person is doing the interactions under the same name/brand that you allow for that.  That has to be a problem with major corporate branding.

Until then - don’t forget your password! ;-) 

Bill

Abusing Verification - Segueing with Shatner

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You know that if I have a blog and I’m rambling on about Social Media, you knew this topic was going to rear its head again.  Verification!

So let me start by giving you my position on this and then discuss it. First of all I believe that Verification is necessary in several circumstances. 

1. When someone is trusted by the public to provide information (newscasters, those on news radio, columnists etc…)  And yes, that includes online as well as traditional media folks.

2. Government Officials: the last thing we need is a fake politician online, right?  ;-)

3. Celebrities and others in the public eye should be verified so folks know that they are talking to the ‘real deal’.

So here is where things get a little sticky. While the term public eye is a fairly broad statement I think the focus needs to be on the word ‘public’ (i.e. those that are recognized and known to be influencers to the public) so friends of public types, including spouses, assistants, employees, etc… should not be be verified, imho.

Does Joe Blogger who has 2000 followers of his blog need to be verified?  No.  I don’t believe he does.  He can certainly verify himself to his followers by posting a link to his twitter account.  That’s how I used to do it before verification; I had a link on my website.

Just to segue for a moment, even that link didn’t matter to Twitter who, at one point, shut down my account.  My webguy frantically searched for a way to contact Twitter in those early days.  He managed to contact a woman who was obviously on some kind of Twitter power trip - she demanded to be faxed a unredacted copy of my drivers license.

To digress for a moment even further (this is a segue to a segue - get use to it with me), the drivers license request (unredacted or not) is one of those broken record requests that seem to happen in social media on a pretty regular basis. Note to Social Media Companies; I’m not going to give you a copy of my drivers license, my passport or even my AARP card (once I’m old enough to apply for one.) Why should a company have my private information including my home address and my age to “prove” it’s me?  Do they know where I live and they are comparing it?

When I refused her reply back to my guy was that she was the “gatekeeper” and unless I sent it in I was not getting my account back.

Gauntlet thrown.  

Shatner has accepted the challenge.

My response back to her was that I was doing a national interview in a couple hours and that I would be talking to the Press about how some ‘gatekeeper’ at Twitter was demanding a copy of my drivers license or else I would no longer have access to tweet.

The Powers that be at Twitter replied back with an apology and my account was turned on 30 mins before my interview.

So now that you are in awe of my heroic efforts against the social meanies found in Social Media companies let’s segue on back to verification.

For those that do not have a verified account - they are differences in verified accounts.  One big difference is found in the Mentions area on Twitter.  There is a special view to see tweets made to you from other verified accounts.  I use this to keep up with folks that I follow, spar with, and generally interact with.

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So this helps me segue into the Engadget stupidity that occurred on Twitter.

Let me set the scene.  One lovely June Saturday I loged onto to Twitter and go to my verified view seeing if my dear friend Carrie Fisher had tweeted something lovely to me. 

Instead I find this tweet:

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BTW, I’ve redacted ;-) his info and the other two recipients (one was a hotel.) So I looked at his account - it was a verified account and he’s listed his occupation as the Social Media Manager of Engadget.

Social Media Managers can get verified???!!

I had never communicated with this person before yet here he was boasting that his next goal was to beat me in followers.

So I tweeted back to him:

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And that started the storm of words that somehow translated in some press stories that William Shatner didn’t want ANYONE verified! 

I know what it takes to get someone verified. I argue about verification with the @Verified Twitter account constantly to see if I can vouch for verification.  Friends of mine, who deserve verification still have yet to be verified.  Walter Koenig who was on Star Trek with me STILL isn’t verified, Robert Picardo from Voyager, even that Bastion of ‘truth in news’ the National Enquirer is not verified!

Yet here we have a VERY IMPORTANT person with the job of Social Media Manager for Engadget who has a verified account.  If someone were to impersonate him would anything be compromised?  Would public safety be put at risk? 

I even heard from Mr Social Media Manager’s boss, Mr. Editor in Chief of Engadget who in his  reply to me on Twitter stated that his employees get verified because they are “excellent” at their jobs:

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Now here’s a classic example of someone who really doesn’t know what the ‘rules’ are for Twitter verification yet he’s the BIG SHOT guy of a major social media organization!

Need I even say more about the abuse of Verification beyond this tweet?

I don’t think I have to but I shall! :-)

So in checking out other verified accounts belonging to Engadget folks I came across this one on Twitter

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A verified account of an ex-Engadget employee who was now a full time student.  I was intrigued as to why someone who had an important enough job to get verified had gone back to school for.

So I went to see what this gentleman did for Engadget.  And I found their LinkedIn page which explained what he did for Engadget:

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So that’s the job description of what it takes to be verified!

Are you taking notes?

Write a Round up and get verified! 

It sounds like a job that really requires verification as the public could be fooled should someone create a fake Editorial Assistant account on Twitter and really run amok with misinforming the public.

Don’t you agree?

What this shows is that whomever is telling Twitter to verify accounts for Engadget is abusing the system.  And it’s probably very easy to abuse it in the corporate world of Engadget because even their Editor in Chief doesn’t understand what accounts need to be verified and what accounts do not. 

He views it as a reward for an employee doing a good job!  Good job Round Up writer!  Here’s your blue check mark!

BTW, the Editor In Chief’s tweets to me have all been deleted at this point.  I  assume the reason is that someone finally mentioned to him what Twitter requires for Verified accounts and being a supposed ‘mover and shaker’ in the social media world; Mr. Editor in Chief probably didn’t want to be the subject of ridicule at the next movers and shakers quarterly meeting..

So whose job is it to police verified accounts?  Does Twitter need to police it?  Should corporates also police it?

Twitter doesn’t want to be in the business of verifying that’s clear from their impersonation form that even if you go through the bother of proving a government issued ID that they will NOT verify your account:

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I think that Twitter needs to come back to the corporate world with a more stringent set of rules and figure a way to enforce those policies

It’s clear that there is abuse of verified status but the other side of the coin argument is that Twitter’s policies allow folks to abuse the system.

Also once verified; should accounts be unverified if the person’s status changes?  Who polices that?

What are your thoughts?  Should Twitter police their accounts or should others also be responsible?

So now are you clear on my issues?  Does it sound like I don’t want anyone verified?  Well unless you are an ‘editorial assistant’… :-)

I know what you are saying… it’s old news Shatner!  Engadget has moved on and forgotten about you.

REALLY?!!  You think?

Well Engadget reviewed my blog from last week on Facebook Mentions:

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Check out what they photo shopped into my hand.  A cell phone with a big blue and white verified Twitter check mark!

Geeks never forget.  And I’m one of the oldest geeks there is.

Engadget, you want a piece of this?  Bring it on!!! ;-)

My best, Bill