View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 20 November 2008

AOL & Washington Post

On Sunday, I sent off a Letter to the Editor of the Washington Post. It is now Thursday, and it has (to my knowledge) not been published, and therefore not likely to. On average, only about 6 or 7 letters are published in the Post on-line, so I only had a small chance. I'll copy its content here for reference.

Dear Sirs,

On October 31st, AOL Journals, an on-line blogging service, was closed down. The way this was carried out has not shown AOL in a favourable light in terms of customer service.

Although AOL Journals were earmarked for closure on July 25th, 2008, its users were not informed until September 30th. An option was offered to users for them to transfer any on-line journals to another service provider, but the company went out of its way to stifle further cooperation with users, threatening employees with dismissal if any help was discovered being made.

The point with Journals was that although they were a declining service, they meant more to their users than could be expressed in dollars and cents. For many, their journal kept them going through illness and other challenging times in life. Others passed away, leaving behind their journal as a posthumous tribute and legacy. The community of users helped each other. It was quite unique, but is left torn apart.

All enterprises want to make money, but when doing so goes to the detriment of its users, the company's ethical standards can be called into question. Not just AOL – any company.

Yours sincerely,

[signed with name, address and phonenumber]

Thursday 20 November

A brighter day than of late, with a few clearances in the clouds. Bit breezy, with a force 5 wind going from the west to northwest. Temperatures nothing out of the ordinary for the final part of November, at 8C. Tomorrow, the north of mainland Scotland and Orkney & Shetland are under warning for snow and gales. It would appear that the Western Isles will escape the worst of it.

The southern hemisphere hurricane season has kicked off with two tropical storms, one of which looks set to reach Western Australia over the weekend. It won't bring more than galeforce winds to an area between Port Hedland and Exmouth - but I'm jumping the gun a bit with this forecast.