Archive for Tweetwaffle

Citation unneeded

There’s a practical limit to how much you can squeeze into 140 characters, and by now you’d think that everyone would know that. Apparently not:

I sometimes wonder how narcissists manage to get by in the world unless they’re wealthy or politically influential enough to attract a flock of sycophants eager to tell them that their egocentric Weltanschauung is correct. It must be crushing for them to be reminded on a daily basis that the universe absolutely does not give a shit about them, and that most of their fellow humans care hardly a particle more than that. Of course, I’m assuming that they aren’t completely delusional; perhaps they go about distorting everything they hear and experience until it supports their own grotesquely-inflated sense of self-importance. I can’t imagine any other way that some random tweeter with a couple of dozen followers could actually expect a positive response to his demands that I produce citations and links for statements made in 140-character tweets. Yet I encountered not one but several of these last week; these champions of Not Getting It apparently failed to grasp the difference between a tweet and an academic paper until I none-too-gently reminded them that a tweet looks like this and an academic paper like this.

I have seen activists tweet back at people to the effect of “Shouldn’t you be getting your own information?” At first this seemed a bit high-handed; but it eventually occurred to me that finding my own links to stuff would stick better than just having them give me a bunch of links to stuff, and besides, there’s a better chance I’d hear more than a single side to the story while doing my own searching. So no, I don’t consider anyone responsible for my continuing education, except for myself.

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Beat on the bot

How many of you would be delighted to see someone like this suspended?

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How to auto tweet without getting your account suspended?

A bit of self-justification here:

My twitter got suspended though they were not specific why. They just said multiple violations to the twitter policies. Yeah really big help. I assumed it was because I was auto tweeting from google alerts. How am I suppose to tweet a lot of news from google when I don’t want to sit here all day doing so? How do some people get their accounts suspended for auto tweeting and some don’t? I have a life and don’t want to sit here all day long tweeting news from google alerts manually. Do they automatically tweet stuff just once in a while, one a day, once a week or what?

Darlin’, if you’re tweeting nothing but news from Google, by definition you have no life. And the likelihood that you’d get any followers is pretty close to zip.


Rolling in the derp

I have long suspected this situation of prevailing with many celebrity Twitter accounts:

Adele also partakes in “Rumor Has It”, a fan Q&A. Asked if it’s true that she doesn’t have access to her own Twitter account, she responds that it is. “I’m not a drinker anymore, but when Twitter first came out, I was like, ‘You’re drunk tweeting,’ and nearly put my foot in it quite a few times. So my management decided, ‘You have to go through, like, two people, and it has to be signed off by someone’.” (Despite the lack of access, she says that she still writes her own tweets, which are then posted by her staff).

Perhaps I need to watch this stuff a bit more carefully.

(Via Laura Northrup.)

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Foot, meet bullet

Twitter evidently thinks this is a really swell idea:

We are changing our star icon for favorites to a heart and we’ll be calling them likes. We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use, and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers. You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.

The heart, in contrast, is a universal symbol that resonates across languages, cultures, and time zones. The heart is more expressive, enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people. And in our tests, we found that people loved it.

What people? Earth people? The heart symbol does not “convey a range of emotions.” It conveys exactly one emotion — admittedly, a complex one, but still only one.

And “like” makes as much sense in this context as it does on Facebook, which is to say none at all. Zeynep Tufekci has already explained this once:

Let me explain with a sad example. I saw a heartbreaking video recently, two refugee kids wading in water among floating dead bodies, being brought, finally, to safety. A man comforts them, “come on baby,” he says, “we made it,” while the children cry. It broke my heart. This is a topic I write about often, and one my social network cares deeply about, as many are from the war-wrecked region producing these refugees.

I read your piece about native video. So I downloaded the video, and uploaded it natively to Facebook, just to make sure. I published it as a public status update. The first comment I get is on how my friend cannot “like” it.

And of course, lacking actual likes, the video goes largely unseen:

It will mostly get ignored, because my social network has no way to signal to the algorithm that this is something they care about.

Of course, that was Facebook. Does Twitter make situations like this look any better?

I’ll take that as a “No.” Twitter didn’t think this one out; all they can see is well, Facebook has it, and Facebook is making money.

And if my Twitter feed is at all representative, a lot of people do not “love” it.

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You talk too much

You worry me to death:

User profile featuring seventy thousand tweets

I mean, come on. Seventy thousand?

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We have sunk to this

Somebody evidently thought that was clever. The horrible aspect of it, though, is that said somebody probably still has a job.

(Via @inthefade.)

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Hashing it out

The US Geological Survey has a new and unlikely partner in earthquake spotting: Twitter. Yes, really:

Did you first hear about the devastating earthquake that struck Sichuan on Twitter? You’d be surprised at how many did, as the social-media platform was actually faster at reporting the earthquake than the US government organization tasked with monitoring such events.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has 2,000 earthquake sensors but the vast majority of these are based in the US. This limits the USGS’ ability to monitor earthquakes in the rest of the world. To cover its blind spots, USGS has teamed up with Twitter.

Millions of people use Twitter to report earthquakes, but the data needs to be fine-tuned for it to be useful. USGS analyzed these tweets and found that those tweeting about earthquakes kept their tweets short. They also realized that those tweeting links were less likely to be users experiencing the earthquake firsthand.

And they’re getting good at it, too:

It only took one minute and 20 seconds — from just 14 tweets — to be alerted of an earthquake aftershock in Chile.

In 2014, the USGS was alerted to the earthquake in Napa, California in 29 seconds using Twitter data.

And I rely on Twitter myself in these instances, since I haven’t actually felt one since the big 5.6 back in 2011.


Dystargeted marketing

This was waiting for me on TweetDeck yesterday morning:

Follow message from @yawn

I have to admit, they do have a pretty nice product line of nightwear for women, though I really can’t imagine any circumstances under which I’d buy any, being (1) not a woman and (2) disinclined to wear anything to bed for the last half-century or so.


Making it up in volume

I hate being confronted with stuff like this:

Mostly because I have to admit that I’m closer to thirty a day than to three. (A shade under 29.8, in fact.) Then again, I never said I was effective at this sort of thing.


It could be terse

Alternatively, “we put the suck in succinct:”

Then again, how much exposition do you need for a link to a cat video?

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Almost perfectly in sync

A mere two minutes apart:

Adjectived noun is adjective. Sort of.

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Pictures to burn

Within a few minutes of each other, these Twitter notifications appeared:

Taylor Swift wannabes

As Swift herself might have said: “Fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake.”

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Greatest hit

Said I last week:

[T]ruth be told, I’ve flourished on Twitter, if only because I am practiced in the art of the one-liner.

That said, lest anyone think I’m some sort of Social Media Avatar, this is my single most popular tweet ever, and it’s pure fluff:

I trust you weren’t expecting an exegesis of Reinhold Niebuhr.

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Perhaps meant for each other

Two souls with a single thought, however far apart:

Text from Calvin Harris about scissors

Text from Taylor Swift about scissors

Of course they’re dating.

(Via TSwiftDaily.)



One analyst swears that Twitter is about to de-smutify itself:

According to SunTrust Robinson Humphrey tech analyst Robert Peck, Twitter is preparing to purge an estimated 10 million porn-posting users. Ditching such a large chunk of users sounds drastic until you do the math: Twitter claims to have 302 million monthly users, so getting rid of the explicit posters will only account for about 3 percent of its total—although that’s just counting the users and not their followers.

Why would they do such a thing? Perhaps because of this incident:

Nielsen, the television and digital measurement company, was forced to halt one of its paid-for Promoted Tweets campaigns this week after its ads were served against profile pages dedicated to pornography, according to Adweek.

The Nielsen paid-for tweet, reading “Am I getting the most value from my media buy? Learn what other questions you should ask in our webinar recording,” appeared on the “Homemade Porn” and “Daily Dick Pictures” profile pages, Adweek reports. The trade magazine says ads from other brands including Duane Reade, NBCUniversal, and Gatorade also showed up in feeds next to pornographic images and videos. The problem appears to be tied to a new ad format “Suggested by Twitter,” which only first rolled out in March.

Which suggests that this is indeed a bug and not a feature.

And there’s always the problem of defining porn beyond “I know it when I see it,” because, well, you probably don’t, and I can’t imagine how you’d automate Miller v. California.

Just for the record, I follow three individuals with porn, or at least porn-y backgrounds: one current performer, one retired, and one who possibly aspires to stardom. The retired one posts nothing questionable at all. Then again, I am not one to look down my nose at sex workers, who in some ways could be considered, um, manual labor.

I also follow a handful of naturists, most of whom post nothing untoward, though I’ve seen some, um, odd retweets pop into my timeline. (Last night presented a fairly unique experience: how do you compliment someone on her new dress when you’ve hardly ever seen her in any kind of dress at all?)

Twitter’s media policy is simultaneously clear and murky:

If you upload media that might be considered sensitive content such as nudity, violence, or medical procedures, you should consider applying the account setting “Mark my media as containing sensitive content.” We do not mediate content. All content should be marked appropriately as per our guidelines.

After all, “should” is a long way from “must,” and there are an awful lot of people out there who, if asked, would come down on the side of “must.”

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139 or bust

There is this so-called Rule of Social Media which says: “Don’t use all 140 characters. Give people room to retweet with a reply.” This rule was obviously conceived before the current version of the Twitter quote function, but it’s not something I’ve ever worried about, and neither did Lynn:

Ridiculous! Sometimes 140 characters is barely enough and you expect me to limit myself to even fewer?

I have written an amazing number — amazing to me, anyway — of 141- or 142-character tweets, necessitating on-the-fly editing, preferably without lapsing into txtspk. I get perhaps more than my share of interaction, and I have yet to hear anyone complain that my tweets are too long.

While we’re at it, this Facebook “rule” and Lynn’s reply:

Don’t Like your own post. — Do people do that? Actually, I wouldn’t do it but I don’t see how it could hurt or inconvenience anyone. So someone’s post has 4 likes instead of 3, or 1 instead of none. Is this really a problem? Sure it says something about you if [you] Like your own posts but other than that…

If FB ever gets a proper Dislike function, I plan to downthumb as many of my own posts as I can.

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Active stupidity is for real

So this showed up earlier today:

In actual English, this can mean only one of one thing. If he follows “almost all the same people” she does, and he follows no women at all, one is forced to conclude that she must not follow very many women herself — or that she’s running behind on her Bad Example quota.

One more nail sticking up, for someone who wields only a hammer.

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And never darken my timeline again

Apart from the forty or so I dumped last week for lack of participation, I can’t imagine why anyone would unfollow anyone on Twitter, unless it was for one of these reasons:

I wouldn’t say they were “dead” accounts, but they were barely breathing. And actually, I think my self-presentaiton is pretty good compared to some, though I’m not about to claim that I’ve never had a typo.

I am blocked by one person that I know of, and perhaps several others. I’m not sure if I want to know why.

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Not at all bragging

Really, Anil Dash is not telling you this to puff himself up or anything:

I’ve got more Twitter followers than you. I’ve got more Twitter followers than Ted Cruz, and I’m only a little bit behind Björk. If my followers were a state, we’d be creeping up on Wyoming in terms of population. Having half a million followers on Twitter is a genuinely bizarre experience, especially considering I’m just a random tech nerd on the Internet and not an actual famous person.

Anyone whose name I recognize on sight is not, I submit, “just a random tech nerd.” Dash was VP of Six Apart, whose Movable Type product used to power this very site and several zillion others back in the day.

He insists that he didn’t do anything to merit this large following:

Somewhere around half of my followers are only there because I was included on the “Suggested User List”, a now-retired feature that used to recommend people to follow when you joined the service.

Basically, somebody who worked at Twitter back in 2009 added me to that list, and all of a sudden my online network got upgraded to the kind of numbers that are usually only reserved for rock stars. It doesn’t bother me that I didn’t end up with a ton of followers online because of any merit of my own; these things are always arbitrary. But in addition to getting onto that one weird list, I picked up a lot of my real followers simply by being early to Twitter. That’s a tactic that definitely helps you get more followers, and I’d strongly recommend joining Twitter in 2006 if you have the option. #helpfuladvice

Now he tells me. (I signed up in 2009.)

And a lot of those 550,000 followers — I looked — want something, and often that something is this:

“Hey, can you get me verified?” A variation on wanting attention or amplification for one’s work are the young folks (and they’re invariably under 25 years old) who very insistently plead for me to help them get a verified checkmark. Of course, I have no say in who gets verified, and I don’t even really understand the criteria by which the networks choose whom to bestow their blessing upon. But more importantly the checkmark doesn’t do anything! It’s the most clear case of star-bellied sneetches I’ve yet been able to find in adulthood, but this fact does nothing to temper the deep conviction of some that getting a blue checkmark on their Twitter or Facebook account would change their lives. Sometimes I want to email these people and ask how they think a few blue pixels on their Twitter account could have this kind of impact, but I haven’t yet figured out a way to do that without revealing what a complete asshole I am.

And this is the part we’re overlooking:

The fact is, online celebrity is just a simple reflection of the existing networks of privilege that confer benefits on people in every other realm of life.

In my particular case, being picked as a suggested user on Twitter changed the trajectory of my online life, but how is having a friend who was an early Twitter employee any different from the Old Boys’ Club? It ain’t.

Like Americans near the poverty line who don’t realize that on the global scale they’re downright wealthy, Twitter users with more modest accounts don’t realize how much reach they might actually have:

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.

That’s me: the 96th-percentile guy. I don’t much care that I’m not verified or that I don’t have a following the size of Wyoming; my overall goal is to keep myself from thinking that I’m some sort of big deal. And regarding that Ted Cruz remark: during much of 2012, Rebecca Black had more Twitter followers than Mitt Romney.

(Via Michele Catalano, a civil servant who has 60 percent more followers than Anil Dash.)

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Meanwhile at the front

WW2 Tweets from 1943 is just like it sounds: history, 140 characters at a time. An example from last week, offset 72 years:

By the 10th of March, the Allies were well on their way to seizing the Mareth Line, and what with Germany having suffered heavy casualties, Rommel had departed Africa:

The Axis retreated to the Wadi Akarit, but were eventually routed.

(Seen by GLHancock before I got to it.)


Watch that punctuation

Yes, even on Twitter:

He’s not the only one.


And it wasn’t even Caturday

These two items landed next to each other on my Twitter timeline yesterday:

TweetDeck screenshot 2/2/15

Purely coincidental, I’m sure.

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If you see this person, block him

He’s the one asking questions like this:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Why is Twitter saying this?

And by “this,” he means this:

I literally just went to log in my Twitter account. When I logged in it said:

“Something is technically wrong.

Thanks for noticing — we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.”

Why is it saying that?

Because something was technically wrong.

I guess he was afraid to take it, um, literally.

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I wonder if their followers even notice:

Nearly 24 million out of 284 million Twitter users do not tweet at all, reveals the latest data filed by the micro-blogging site with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This means that nearly 8.5 percent of Twitter users could be robots who never use the service, ValueWalk reported.

Or non-robots who never use the service. I’ve seen lots of tweets from actual bots, usually retweets of something that matched a keyword or hashtag.

Twitter also concedes that a substantial number of “users” are fake:

“There are a number of false or spam accounts in existence on our platform. We estimate that false or spam accounts represent less than five percent of our Monthly Active Users (MAUs),” the SEC document read.

Similarly, the Food and Drug Administration will put up with bay leaves that are less than five percent moldy. You may wish to avoid that link around dinnertime.

(Via Heidi Richards Mooney.)

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Tweet unto others

And they will tweet unto you God knows what. I, for one, shrug.

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Just don’t say the name

While various allegedly American institutions attempt to chip away at the First Amendment — you know who you are — here’s how things go in a place where such concepts never existed:

Prosecutors seek up to five years of imprisonment for Turkish journalist and anchorwoman Sedef Kabaş for her tweet in which she called on citizens not to forget the name of the judge who dropped the Dec. 17, 2013 corruption probe that involved high-profile names and former Cabinet members.

An indictment has been prepared by the prosecutors on charges of “targeting people involved in the fight against terrorism and making threats,” which is punishable with jail time from one-and-a-half years to five years.

What is it exactly that Kabaş said?

“Do not forget the name of the judge who decided not to pursue the proceedings in the Dec. 17 probe,” Kabaş tweeted. She was referring to a massive graft probe which was officially dropped on Dec. 16 when the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office rejected an objection to its decision to not pursue proceedings in the case.

Seditious, isn’t it? In the meantime, you might not want to tweet anything about Ekrem Aydıner.

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And I thought I was observant

So this appeared in my tweetstream (it’s from someone in protected status, so no embed):

Just watched Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” vid for the 1st time. Anyone else notice she throws a Galaxy S5 into the water? It’s waterproof!

“Migawd,” I thought, “that’s brilliant.” I was all ready to go frame-by-frame through the video, when this popped in:

Taylor Swift dangles a Galaxy S5

Yep! Just watched it again & paused. That’s a Galaxy S5! Oh, Taylor.

I’m not sure who impressed me more in this incident: Taylor Swift, for being shrewd enough to trash a fairly pricey phone without actually trashing it, or my correspondent, for having a really good eye for detail.

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I has several Sads

There exists a Twitter application called Sad Tweets, which doesn’t play a trombone or anything, but does give you the definite sense that you’re wasting your time:

The concept: Connect the application to your Twitter account, and it presents you with a lowlights reel of your attempts at “sharing” that attracted no likes, and no retweets.

In short, it’s “a graveyard for your most depressing Twitter failures,” as my colleague Jason Gilbert put it earlier this year. And despite his (rather depressing!) wish that the service would expand to allow users to peruse other people’s sad tweets, for now it remains purely a mechanism for self-loathing.

And if there’s anything I need, it’s another mechanism for self-loathing.

I have somewhere upwards of 57,000 tweets; fewer than half of them were starred or retweeted, so I was pretty sure I’d have quite a horrifying display. Which I did; I gave it up after about six minutes simply because I couldn’t deal with it anymore.

“Another brutally descriptive name, which probably is as it should be,” says Nancy Friedman. She’s right; I very likely wouldn’t have looked at the site if they’d made an effort to soften the blow.


Amazing how these things just happen

The New York Post points a finger:

A Suffolk County politician pulled a move out of the Anthony Weiner playbook when The Post discovered he was following Duke porn star Belle Knox — by claiming the account was hijacked.

County Executive Steve Bellone said that is how the 19-year-old Duke University student and porn actress ended up as one of the 267 people on his “following” list.

Knox, whose legal name is Miriam Weeks, made headlines earlier this year when she was outed by a fellow student at the North Carolina school for her extracurricular activities in the sex industry.

Bellone, a married father of three who is up for re-election next year, insisted he has no idea how his account came to be linked to Knox.

Robert Stacy McCain was not available for comment.

Not that anyone cares, but I follow two porn stars, one active, one retired; one of them follows me.

(Via Fark.)

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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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