Two souls with a single thought, however far apart:
Of course they’re dating.
Two souls with a single thought, however far apart:
Of course they’re dating.
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.”
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.
So this showed up earlier today:
The guy next to me on the subway was checking Twitter; he followed almost all the same people I did but NO WOMEN. Passive sexism is for real
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) May 12, 2015
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.
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:
— David Beard (@dabeard) May 11, 2015
I wouldn’t say they were “dead” accounts, but they were barely breathing. And actually, I think my self-presentation 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.
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.)
WW2 Tweets from 1943 is just like it sounds: history, 140 characters at a time. An example from last week, offset 72 years:
Mareth Line, built by French as "African Maginot", & captured intact by Germans- stretches across rocky Tunis desert: pic.twitter.com/iZIx4TOFcm
— WW2 Tweets from 1943 (@RealTimeWWII) March 6, 2015
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:
Rommel begs Hitler to evacuate all German troops from Tunisia, before final Allied assault; "sheer suicide" to leave them. Hitler refuses.
— WW2 Tweets from 1943 (@RealTimeWWII) March 11, 2015
The Axis retreated to the Wadi Akarit, but were eventually routed.
(Seen by GLHancock before I got to it.)
Yes, even on Twitter:
@NewsOKPolitics glad you included that comma
— Steve Hill (@sportstoons) March 5, 2015
He’s not the only one.
These two items landed next to each other on my Twitter timeline yesterday:
Purely coincidental, I’m sure.
He’s the one asking questions like 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.
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.)
And they will tweet unto you God knows what. I, for one, shrug.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
This is enough to make me reject the theory that “You are what you tweet” all by itself:
— Ron Ruggless (@RonRuggless) September 24, 2014
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.
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:
— Zindigo (@Zindigo) September 18, 2014
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.)
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:
— BT (@BT) September 15, 2014
Interestingly, BT the musician has 700,000 Twitter followers; BT the corporation has 63,000.
Even if Londoners of the Thirties didn’t know @jack:
Twitter in 1935 pic.twitter.com/eWw3OtddwK
— Historical Pics (@HistoricalPics) August 28, 2014
I wonder how, or if, they checked it for spam.
Of course, this could not be permitted to stand:
And… I'm at 1000 followers. If you ever wanted to dump me, now's the time.
— Charles G Hill (@dustbury) August 28, 2014
Within three hours, someone had obliged me as I knew someone would.
Addendum: Someone new has been lured into the fold.
Within an hour of one another last night, via TweetDeck:
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.”
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.
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.
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:
— HarrisFaulkner (@HARRISFAULKNER) August 12, 2014
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.
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.
And this is one of those times, I think:
Girl charged in Slenderman stabbing deemed incompetent, believes she can speak to Voldemort http://t.co/cZ3D7iCeYX
— KFOR (@kfor) August 1, 2014
Still, the embed does the heavy lifting.
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.
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:
Wil Wheaton (@wilw)
I’m just this guy, you know?
Nathan Fillion (@NathanFillion)
It costs nothing to say something kind. Even less to shut up altogether.
Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself)
will eventually grow up and get a real job. Until then, will keep making…
Joss Whedon (@josswhedon)
over and over and over till I get it right
Chris Hardwick (@nerdist)
Stand-upper, Zombie Therapist, Talking Snake and POINTS giver
Then again, at least their geek credentials are impeccable, so give Twitter that much. They’ve done worse by me before.
I had no reason to think this would catch anyone’s eye:
I think feldspar is my Spirit Mineral.
— Charles G Hill (@dustbury) July 8, 2014
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.