Archive for Tweetwaffle

Currently comestible

This is enough to make me reject the theory that “You are what you tweet” all by itself:

Some of those I can actually believe: sauerkraut in Wisconsin, cod in Massachusetts, grits wherever there are grits. But this is Twitter, and Twitter is part of the Internet, and the Internet is ruled by bacon, dammit.

Personal note: I have family in Missouri (two children, six grandchildren). If they’ve ever mentioned succotash, I missed it — and yes, at least some of them are cluttering up social media the way I do.

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Social shoes

The canonical Explanation of Social Media, up until now, has involved donuts: on Twitter, you’d see “I’m eating a #donut,” while on LinkedIn, it’s more likely to be “My skills include donut eating.”

Now I like donuts as much as the next guy, maybe more if the next guy has an impacted sweet tooth, but I don’t write about them very much. By comparison:

The shoes, incidentally, are by Gianvito Rossi, stand 4.3 inches high, and run $1135; they’re from the ’14 Cruise collection.

Ms Mallet came to Zindigo from Neiman Marcus, where she was the senior fashion director.

(Via @PatriotsOfMars, whom you may know under another name or two.)

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BT or not BT?

BT Group plc, the communications company once known as British Telecom, is branded as BT.

Brian Transeau has been making music as BT for many years now.

This created no problem for anyone until BT Group decided to field a Twitter response team: should a customer have a problem, she need only tweet at @BTCare. Which is fine. But what if she tweets to @BT instead? Then we have this:

Interestingly, BT the musician has 700,000 Twitter followers; BT the corporation has 63,000.

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There was always the need

Even if Londoners of the Thirties didn’t know @jack:

I wonder how, or if, they checked it for spam.

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This was briefly a thing

One thousand followers

Of course, this could not be permitted to stand:

Within three hours, someone had obliged me — as I knew someone would.

Addendum: Someone new has been lured into the fold.

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Just pietzsche

Within an hour of one another last night, via TweetDeck:

Followed by Nietzsche followed by Nietzsche

Only thing I can figure is that I said something about Uber, the get-a-ride app, and they picked it up in a search for “Übermensch.”

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Sweeter than fiction

While following up on something tweeted by @SwiftOnSecurity, I stumbled across this statement posted by the person behind the account:

Taylor Swift’s image in large parts of popular culture is as the foolish, prolific romantic — that her experiences are her own fault and she’s somehow quick to complain about it. Unfortunately, playing off this is the easiest way to appeal to a wide audience and promote the account. Taylor Swift is a public figure open to parody but it’s something I don’t feel is particularly fair to her or the picture of women in general. I’ll continue to use light traces of this reputation, but it’s not something I particularly embrace.

Second, the account is written from the perspective of its subject living both her life and that of a legitimate professional in Information Technology/Information Security. The position and treatment of women in this sector is a common discussion point and open to criticism. Emphasis on femininity being a distraction or primary theme is something that doesn’t fit in this climate. First and foremost she is a professional, but one with a public image to play off and make references to. This keeps the character a good place to air my own musing on information security.

There is precedent for this: see, for instance, Britney Spears’ Guide to Semiconductor Physics. The peculiar genius of @SwiftOnSecurity is that those two perspectives intertwine so effectively, the reader is somehow able to contemplate the coming (well, they are) InfoWars while presented with the image of a singer who used to have more twang, didn’t she? A perfect example: “Just because I’m vulnerable doesn’t mean I’m exploitable.”

And here are some of the best Swifties, posterized for your viewing pleasure.

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Impersonationalism

Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis on Twitter) goes after a genuine fake:

I don’t want to give my minor tormentor, my idiot imposter, my personal troll any further attention but you probably already know who this is. This week, with shocking nastiness, he went after a prominent person I’ve met and I respect and with whom I share a number of friends. That person reacted appropriately — angrily — thinking I was the shithead going after him. I don’t follow my troll so I would not have seen this had it not reached some Twitter notoriety. That at least gave me the opportunity to tell the prominent person that his tormentor was my tormentor, not me.

What bothers me even more is the reaction of others who egg on the imposter trolls. One was a prominent columnist for a famous financial newspaper with funny colored paper who endorsed out loud the idea of trolling an important person whom he covers. That’s not what they taught me in journalism school. It’s sure as hell not what I teach there. Is this net we want to build? For that matter, is this the journalism we want to have? Is this our society?

Earlier this summer, a parody account mocking Salon, including their big S logo, was sufficiently persuasive that the real Salon complained to Twitter. (The wise guys have since resurfaced with a modified profile.) Jarvis has his reasons for not complaining to Twitter:

They might kill my troll-imposter’s account. But then I know what would happen: I’d be accused of being a humorless party-pooper because I don’t like being mocked every day or finding people thinking I’m a horrid shithead. And if I oppose Europe’s idiotic Right to be Forgotten fiasco, I could not stand for muting someone else. No win there. It’s obvious that a prominent person mistook my imposter for a real person because the user name gives no clue. But Twitter’s policy is that imposter accounts are OK. Now I don’t assume that anyone who’s being attacked should have to spend a damned second researching his tormentor. But that is Twitter’s policy.

It would be nice if Twitter could come up with a revised policy that doesn’t toss out genuinely great accounts like @SwiftOnSecurity.

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Orange you interested?

I can almost always find a reason not to watch Fox News, though I suspect I miss out on a whole lot of gratuitous eye candy that way.

Yesterday, Harris Faulkner, one of the four female panelists on the Fox series Outnumbered — there’s one token guy in the middle — sent up this little image:

This is double, and maybe quadruple, the number of orange shoes you’re likely to see on an ostensible news program, reason enough for me to mention it here. The shoes themselves are perhaps overly pointy, though not to Rosa Klebb levels, and somebody complained about Kennedy’s little tricolor. (Incidentally, that’s not Kennedy’s Twitter account: this is.) Imagine if she’d showed us her elephant.

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I haz several sads

The function of sadtweets.com:

The website scans through your Twitter feed and then shows you, one by one, all the tweets that nobody favorited or retweeted, one tweet at a time. The tweets zoom toward you slowly, inescapable in their awfulness, one after another, ceaselessly. Prepare to shake your head at your repeated Twitter defeats and wonder where you went so, so wrong.

You can try out Sad Tweets here. Unfortunately, you can view only your own Twitter feed’s saddest tweets at the moment; hopefully soon you will be able to view the saddest tweets of your friends and colleagues, so that you can mock them and make yourself feel a little better about your own failures. (Or, you know, commiserate with them.)

I’d guess that somewhere around half my tweets received neither retweet nor favorite; this would mean that I’d have to sit through around 25,000 of the darn things. No thanks. They weren’t all that wonderful to begin with.

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Sometimes you don’t dare click

And this is one of those times, I think:

Still, the embed does the heavy lifting.

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Out of my Facebook

I’m sure this situation has come up rather a lot:

Social networking added an entirely new morass for employers to navigate.

Should you permit employees to friend one another? (You don’t really have a choice.)

Can you prevent it if they elect to? (Unlikely.)

Can social media policies limit what they say about their workplace on social media sites like Facebook? (Not without potentially infringing employees’ right to discuss working conditions.)

Can you use their social media activity as the basis for firing an employee? (Probably not a good idea.)

My own Facebook policies, to the extent that I can have any policies down here at the bottom of the org chart, are simple: I do not friend anyone I work with, and I turn down requests if I get them.

On the other hand, I have no such rule on Twitter; I figure that none of these folks have time to wade through my tweetstream. I have exactly two followers from the shop, both in my department. And I’m pretty sure I haven’t tweeted anything relevant to work that they haven’t already heard in person, perhaps several times.

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I guess it just wasn’t my Day

I finally got around to following Felicia Day on Twitter, and as is their wont, Twitter duly sent me a list of “suggestions based on” this person. Since Day’s persona is the Gorgeous Geek Girl, I was kind of hoping they’d send me more of the same. Instead, they sent:

Then again, at least their geek credentials are impeccable, so give Twitter that much. They’ve done worse by me before.

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Ferrous anorthosite, you’re my hero

I had no reason to think this would catch anyone’s eye:

Marisa answered in TLO’s Monday Morning Tweets:

More specifically, lunar ferrous anorthosite.

If you’re not familiar with anorthosite, it’s a phaneritic, intrusive igneous rock characterized by a predominance of plagioclase feldspar (90 to 100 percent) and a minimal mafic component (0 to 10 percent). If you’re looking at the moon, the lighter-colored areas are largely composed of this very rock.

How much of this did I know before sitting down to write this? Around 15 to 25 percent, on a good day.

Maud Pie, alas, was not available for comment.

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Good God, that’s a lot of blather

I mean, really:

50,000 tweets

I snagged that screenshot Sunday evening; I have no idea which of the several dozen tweets I disgorged that day was actually the 50,000th. Maybe the whole idea is not to care.

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Meanwhile in Widgetville

Twitter has rolled out a new font for its Web site and for the widget down there on the sidebar, which I first saw yesterday since I seldom have any reason to go to the Web site. The dread details:

The new font is Gotham Narrow SSm. Gotham tends to be a popular font across the Internet and was used in Barack Obama’s campaign. The new logo for One World Trade Center also uses a Gotham variant.

The major selling point — for the non-Narrow version anyway — appears to be the circular capital O.

I like it, but I don’t think I like it enough to write a large check for it.

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The flowers of despair

I have always been wary of the Lost Ogle’s Monday Morning Tweets feature, and I became more so when their @TLOMMT account started following me. After several weeks of being ignored, I began to breathe a little easier.

Then they picked up on this one:

I can only conclude that it was chosen for double-entendre potential:

I don’t know about your esthetician, but when you’re having your rosebush pruned, you should really have her wear gloves. Especially if the wax is hot!

Or were you really talking about flowers?

For some reason, I felt compelled to set the record straight:

In retrospect, this may not have been the wisest move.

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1000 words = 140 characters

I have to admit, this comes off as fiendishly clever:

If nothing else, doing this forces you to think a little harder about what you’re, um, writing, which almost certainly is a Good Thing.

And if one of her sentences should run a little long, well, who’s going to know?

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Beware of geeks bearing GIFs

Why, they might not actually be GIFs at all:

Twitter started supporting animated GIFs. But there’s a catch! What Twitter ends up showing you isn’t actually a GIF at all. EVERYBODY PAAANIIIIIIC.

Note: don’t actually panic. This isn’t a bad thing. Quite the contrary.

As noticed by the folks over at Embedly, the “GIFs” that end up in your Twitter feed aren’t actually GIFs at all. They’re technically not even really image files in a strict sense — they’re more like video files without sound. They’re MP4s, embedded with the HTML5 video tag. Even if you upload a GIF, it’s converted into an MP4.

And why is this good? Embedly explains:

GIFs are terrible at compression… A GIF is literally a sequence of independent images squeezed into the same file. An mp4 video can take advantage of all kinds of fancy compression techniques like keyframes and forward-predictive frames.

If most of your users are on mobile, this is a huge win. Even desktop users will notice better performance on a page with many GIFs.

(Via this Adam Gurri tweet.)

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They’re doing it right

So far, anyway:

A tentative “well played” from this corner.

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Single slice

For one brief, shining moment, I actually got Rebecca Black to follow me on Twitter.

It didn’t last. Maybe she ran into the usual Twitter limits; maybe she decided it was better for her image if she didn’t. Within half an hour, I was back on the outside looking in, and in fact Twitter had obligingly dropped me from her list of followers, something that rather a lot of people have been reporting of late, so I suspect I’m just visiting Glitch City.

However, Twitter did send me the usual list of suggestions, and it was interesting: three YouTubers, two of whom I’d actually heard of, and Bruno Mars. (Bruno Mars? Really?)

Then there’s this:

So much for the whole grain.

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@yukitupalready

Last year, comedian Sarah Millican was nominated for a British Academy Television Award, and thereby hangs a tale:

Last year, I was nominated for a Bafta. Me. The quiet girl at school. The awkward girl at college. The funny woman at work. A Bafta. And in a genderless category too. Alongside the entertainment greats: Graham Norton, Alan Carr and Ant and Dec. It felt ridiculous but I was thrilled. I’ve been nominated for awards before (even won a couple) and it really is the best. If winning is chips and gravy then being nominated is still chips. Lovely, lovely chips.

It’s an honor, as the Americans say, just to be nominated.

My friend and I danced into John Lewis knowing that a) they have lots of mini shops in there, and b) I can fit it into most of them. Fancy expensive designer shops are out for me as I’m a size 18, sometimes 20, and I therefore do not count as a woman to them.

We knew which one was the right one as soon as I swished back the curtain and both my friend and I oohed.

Always a good sign. This is the actual outfit:

Sarah Millican at the 2013 BAFTA Television Awards

Then the bottom — no, not that bottom — fell out:

Loads of friends and family had texted the expected “You were robbed”, which I wasn’t but they’re my friends and family so they’re supposed to think that. Then I went onto Twitter and it was like a pin to my excitable red balloon. Literally thousands of messages from people criticising my appearance. I was fat and ugly as per usual. My dress (the one that caused ooohs in a department store fitting room?) was destroyed by the masses. I looked like a nana, my dress was disgusting, was it made out of curtains, why was I wearing black shoes with it. I cried. I cried in the car.

I’m sorry. I thought I had been invited to such an illustrious event because I am good at my job. Putting clothes on is such a small part of my day. They may as well have been criticising me for brushing my teeth differently to them.

This may be, as some of you may have already discerned, the single worst aspect of social media: you hear from a lot of individuals you have no desire to hear from, and they will happily tweet things to you they would never, ever say to your face.

The 2014 television awards are tonight. Once again, Millican is a nominee. But she’s not going:

[S]o I was invited back to the Baftas. Nominated again, indeed. But sadly I am working that night. But if you have tickets to see my show in Buxton on 18 May, you may see me making my point anyway.

(Via this Caitlin Moran tweet.)

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Take a breath or two

In 1963, Dale Houston and Grace Broussard got an enormous hit out of “I’m Leaving It All Up to You,” with a distinct break between “all” and “up”; they followed it up with “Stop and Think It Over,” in which “stop” becomes almost a command. This tactic was mocked unmercifully by my brother Paul: he’d come into a room, sing “We got to stop,” stand there a minute or three, and then depart singing “and think it over.” Still, it made careers for both Dale and Grace.

I suspect this won’t go quite as far, but it definitely went a great deal longer:

Followed by:

I mean, a lot can happen in five years.

(Via CTV News.)

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Bot and paid for

Twitter’s got bots. Lots of bots. Can you spot a bot? Perhaps some of them will be caught:

At Indiana University in Bloomington, researchers have developed an app, called “Bot or Not,” designed to identify accounts on Twitter that are controlled by insidious robots or software.

You can’t trust everything you see on Twitter, even when it’s posted by actual people. But the researchers’ tool was developed as part of a larger effort to raise awareness about how much more easily misinformation can be spread when it’s done by bot accounts that feed off each other.

As some of us have already suspected.

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Utter twaddle

Seriously: how much does it matter if someone is wrong on the Internet?

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Although it may be cute, it’s just a substitute

Smokey Robinson has his reservations about social media:

Legendary Motown singer/composer Smokey Robinson thinks texting, Facebook and Twitter have a real hold on young people. “Social media is out of hand,” he told us recently at the National Association of Music Merchants convention here, where he was awarded the “Music for Life” award.

“Social media is running rampant,” he says. “We could get to the point where without those phones or iPads or whatever kids are texting or typing on, they (young people) won’t even know how to communicate, how to sit down and have a conversation with each other verbally.”

Robinson, who either wrote or co-wrote such classics as “My Girl,” “Tracks of My Tears,” “Shop Around” and “I Second That Emotion” for both Motown performers and Robinson and the Miracles, does say he’s comfortable with technology. His Windows Phone is his lifeline, and he’s all over Facebook and Twitter himself. But that’s just for professional reasons.

Well, you know, we gotta dance to keep from crying. (Which is a rarity: a Smokey song that he didn’t write.)

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Not quite my idea of fun

But hey, I don’t work for E!, do I?

E! Fun Facts starring Michael J. Fox

This provoked a brief flurry of #EFunFacts tweets of similar hilarity.

(Via this Amanda Lucci tweet.)

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In lieu of an Equal Tweets Amendment

So now this is a thing:

Twee-Q, or Twitter Equality Quotient, is a simple score derived from how often you retweet men or women. We index the latest 100 tweets of a Twitter user and check the names and gender of those retweeted against our database (Swedish SCB, U.S Census 2010). Twee-Q is brought to you by Swedish organization Crossing Boarders, with support from Comviq. Crossing Boarders works to promote equal participation in associations, organizations and businesses. Based on successful experience from gender issues Crossing Borders has developed a practical guide that opens shut doors, introduces female role models and through robust methods, strengthens young women’s confidence and self-esteem. The goal is equal right to an active leisure.

The ideal Twee-Q, they say, is 10: your last 100 retweets were from 50 men and 50 women. On this basis, I rated an 8:

I assure you, I wasn’t keeping count or anything, though if you’d asked me to guess, I wouldn’t have been too far off.

Note that had the proportions been reversed, the score would still have been 8, which is as it should be.

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Not really a mean user

Said I after my first two weeks on Twitter:

The follower count seems to have leveled off at around 130, which is about a third higher than I anticipated.

Actually, I had originally planned for 50-75 followers, but since I tend to misunderestimate my influence, I decided I had a shot at that third digit despite not even slightly deserving it.

Four years and change later, I really have to wonder:

In comparative terms, almost nobody on Twitter is somebody: the median Twitter account has a single follower. Among the much smaller subset of accounts that have posted in the last 30 days, the median account has just 61 followers. If you’ve got a thousand followers, you’re at the 96th percentile of active Twitter users. (I write “active users” to refer to publicly-viewable accounts that have posted at least once in the last 30 days; Twitter uses a more generous definition of that term, including anyone who has logged into the service.)

How I got to the 95th percentile, I’ll never know.

(Via this TweetSmarter tweet.)

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Kick that block

From this moment on, blocking someone on Twitter doesn’t actually, you know, block them:

If your account is public, blocking a user does not prevent that user from following you, interacting with your Tweets, or receiving your updates in their timeline. If your Tweets are protected, blocking the user will cause them to unfollow you.

Kashmir Hill (no relation) reports for Forbes:

It’s the “see no evil, hear no evil” approach to combating harassment. Twitter spokesperson Jim Prosser says Twitter made the change because it thinks it will cut down on the vitriol, anger, and resentful Jezebel articles that result from knowing you’ve been blocked.

“We saw antagonistic behavior where people would see they were blocked and be mad,” says Prosser. He also says “block” doesn’t really make sense when the content is still visible. “Twitter is public, we want to reinforce that content published in a public profile is viewable by the world.”

If you ask me, if your delicate sensitivities are upset because someone blocked you, you should hie yourself to Facebook and involve yourself with as many games as possible — and never again speak a freaking word online to anyone.

Update, 10 pm: Twitter caves after about a bazillion appearances of #RestoreTheBlock. The action is reversed.

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