Archive for Tweetwaffle

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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Bite my shiny metal birds

In four years on Twitter I have managed to pick up a bit over 850 followers, which may not sound like much, but it’s about 750-800 more than I had any reason to anticipate.

In about four years more, I might be able to claim a thousand more followers, just doing whatever the blazes it is I’m doing now. Or, if I’m impatient, I could just write a check:

One day earlier this month, Jim Vidmar bought 1,000 fake Twitter accounts for $58 from an online vendor in Pakistan.

He then programmed the accounts to “follow” the Twitter account of rapper Dave Murrell, who calls himself Fyrare and pays Mr. Vidmar to boost his standing on the social network. Mr. Vidmar’s fake accounts also rebroadcast Mr. Murrell’s tweets, amplifying his Twitter voice.

This, of course, violates Twitter’s Terms of Service, but this is probably not a major consideration for buyers and sellers of fake followers.

How many of these people aren’t actually, you know, people? Not so much, Twitter insists:

In securities filings, Twitter says it believes fake accounts represent fewer than 5% of its 230 million active users. Independent researchers believe the number is higher.

Italian security researchers Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli say they found 20 million fake accounts for sale on Twitter this summer. That would amount to nearly 9% of Twitter’s monthly active users.

Personally, I myself have never had a sudden influx of followers so massive as to make it impossible to check their papers — unlike some people I could name.

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From the “Yeah, right” files

This strikes me as eminently guffaw-worthy:

Questionable Twitter pitch

I mean, yeah, I can do a face in the crowd, but so can everyone else; there’s no reason to play on my vanity.

This is a screenshot rather than an embed because frankly, I expect this account to be deleted before the weekend’s up, if only because there are at least 42 accounts using that same ID avatar, though Twitter is not inclined to delete artificially created accounts unless they’ve actually done something against the rules — like spamming people.

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Can’t beat the tweet

Add this to the list of things I wasn’t expecting:

(A couple of these folks have been here before.)

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He’s not the girl you thought he was

A Canadian chap has been ordered off Twitter for a year for pretending to be someone else:

A [Sault Ste. Marie] man is banned from Twitter for 12 months for creating accounts in a young woman’s name on the online social networking service and posting explicit photographs of her.

David Pajunen, 41, pleaded guilty to personation when he appeared in court Wednesday on charges from February.

At the request of the Crown attorney, Judge Nathalie Gregson dismissed a charge of criminal harassment.

So we have “personation” and “impersonation.” Kind of like “flammable” and “inflammable,” I guess.

As part of Pajunen’s probation, he can have no access to a Twitter account and can’t communicate with the victim.

“You can’t reference her name anywhere on the Internet,” Gregson warned him.

Pajunen, being Canadian and all, will probably comply with these restrictions, unlike some Americans you could name.

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Hardly ineffable

It’s always F-bomb time somewhere:

The site FBomb.co maps in real time whenever the F-word is dropped on Twitter. America and Britain are leaders in cursing online, according to the interactive map, with New Yorkers tagged as the biggest offenders.

Thanks to its creator Martin Gingras, a junior at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, the map not only tracks the F-bombs as they happen, but also features pins that can be clicked to see a tweet and who tweeted it. On Twitter, @FBomb_co retweets random tweets that make up the map.

There are days when I suspect it’s retweeting my entire timeline.

In the time it took me to type this and paste that, about 40 effers were lofted into the Twittersphere. While the tweets are not identified by specific location — all you get is the map — they do include the entire text (with links, if present, though not directly clickable) and the username.

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@[unperson]

Oh, we’re taking away your soapbox, too:

A suburban Philadelphia woman has been banned from using Twitter as part of her sentence for a stalking conviction.

Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter barred 34-year-old Sadiyyah Young of Pottstown from tweeting for at least five years.

Authorities say Young used derogatory and harassing tweets against people involved in a custody case regarding her children, including a judge who ruled against her, lawyers, social workers and foster parents.

And this didn’t get her suspended?

Young pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges of stalking, forgery, and identity theft. She also was sentenced to 11½ months to 23 months in jail and three years’ probation.

Oh. Identity theft. She probably got suspended and appropriated someone else’s username. There is, I regret to say, precedent for this sort of thing.

(Via Robert Stacy McCain.)

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ReQuit

“I won’t tweet,” says Christopher Johnson. “Don’t ask me.”

I’m a Twitter quitter. Twice. I started an account, killed it, started another one, killed that and I’m not likely to start a third. Why? The software’s not that tough to use and it’s an interesting way to interact with people that you would never otherwise meet. I never had that many followers but I’ve had Twitter encounters with people that you’ve actually heard of and I even made Twitchy a few times.

It’s just that Twitter tends to turn me into a douchebag.

Since I don’t recall Mr Johnson’s username, I can’t go back and point to specific incidents of douchery, but truth be told, I really can’t imagine him going full Massengill on someone — even though this seems true enough:

There are LOTS of blithering idiots on Twitter. Interact with one of them and it’s far too easy to respond to the idiocy and the obscenities that they throw at you by saying things that civilized people just shouldn’t say.

I’m not claiming to be particularly civilized, so I’m guessing I’m far enough under the radar to avoid the Truly Blithering.

(I vaguely recall having had something mentioned on Twitchy once.)

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Yo soy WaPo

Who knew? The Washington Post is actually getting a handle on how to deal with Twitter snark:

Washington Post Twitter screenshot

Here’s the full thread. (Via this Nu Wexler tweet.)

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For certain values of “no one”

Mashable has something up called “This Is Why No One Follows You on Twitter,” which gives ten possible reasons why no one follows you on Twitter. Last I looked, I had about 820 followers, which isn’t Bieberesque or anything, but it isn’t exactly “no one” either.

So what are we doing wrong? This item certainly does not apply:

4. Your following ratio is disproportionate.

It’s understandable — and expected — that you’ll follow more accounts than are following you, but a large disparity in these numbers makes your profile look suspicious.

I follow about 650. Go figure.

Then there’s this:

8. Robots craft your tweets.

If your recent tweets look like they were automatically generated, people aren’t going to follow you.

What people want on Twitter is to hear your genuine voice, in real time. They don’t want lofty quotes that you’ve scheduled to go live at strategic periods, stats from your latest workout or what your “top stories” are via a third-party curation service.

Well, I admit to about five auto-tweets a day — this post generated one, as does every post — but I also admit to twenty that are produced live.

Still: twenty-five tweets a day?

6. You tweet too much.

Twitter went live mid-2006. If you joined the microblogging site at launch and tweeted three times a day every day since then, you would have penned around 8,000 tweets.

Which was about 39,600 tweets ago.

(Via Donna Serdula, who has twelve thousand followers.)

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The short version

Does this meet the disclosure requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission?

Then again, do disclosure requirements even mean anything anymore?

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Following along

This isn’t a bet I’d have placed, but anything can happen:

A Stortford man has placed a bet with bookmakers that his 15-year-old daughter — upcoming singer Shakila — will be the first person to reach 100 million followers on social networking site Twitter.

Karim Ullah placed the £10 bet with William Hill at odds of 1000-1.

If he wins, Mr Ullah has pledged to donate his £10,000 winnings to the children’s charity Barnardo’s.

A thousand to one? Maybe on the Charlotte Bobcats, who in 2014-15 will evolve into the Charlotte Hornets, something Darwin never anticipated.

Am I following the young lady at @1shakila? Sure, why not? I came in at #2,351, so she has only 99,997,649 to go. Last I looked, Justin Bieber was over 44 million.

(Via the Daily Dot.)

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Surely this can’t be a feature

This is what happens when you reply to a tweet with a #reallylonghashtag with the New, Improved TweetDeck:

Screen shot from TweetDeck

Stop it from quoting the whole hashtag, you say? As if.

Project: Rollback begins this evening.

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All golden selections

I started following Van Dyke Parks on Twitter because, well, hell, he’s Van Dyke Parks, genius a few degrees off plumb but no less a genius for all that. I did not expect Twitter to send me suggestions based on someone so sui generis, but they did, and they make a surprising amount of sense:

Two influential (as distinguished from “large”) record labels, two off-center singers, and a famed alt-radio station. Good show, Twitter. See if you can maintain that standard.

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