Archive for Tweetwaffle

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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Remission control

The Vatican, 1967:

Although indulgences are in fact free gifts, nevertheless they are granted for the living as well as for the dead only on determined conditions. To acquire them, it is indeed required on the one hand that prescribed works be performed, and on the other that the faithful have the necessary dispositions, that is to say, that they love God, detest sin, place their trust in the merits of Christ and believe firmly in the great assistance they derive from the Communion of Saints.

[Pope Paul VI in Indulgentiarum Doctrina.]

The Vatican, 2013:

Indulgences these days are granted to those who carry out certain tasks — such as climbing the Sacred Steps, in Rome (reportedly brought from Pontius Pilate’s house after Jesus scaled them before his crucifixion), a feat that earns believers seven years off purgatory.

But attendance at events such as the Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, a week-long event starting on 22 July, can also win an indulgence.

Mindful of the faithful who cannot afford to fly to Brazil, the Vatican’s sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which handles the forgiveness of sins, has also extended the privilege to those following the “rites and pious exercises” of the event on television, radio and through social media.

“That includes following Twitter,” said a source at the penitentiary, referring to Pope Francis’ Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers. “But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the internet.”

This is not, I hasten to add, a Get Out Of Hell Free card.

(Via Pejman Yousefzadeh.)

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Hitting the ‘Deck

TweetDeck pushed out a new version this week (3.0.5), and while the improvement is useful, there are a few items from the old 0.38.2 that I’d like to see reinstated if at all possible:

  • Spearchucker Spellchecker, that is. Time being of the essence in the Twitterverse, I don’t have time to do my usual ¾-assed (half again as good as halfassed) editing job.
  • The ability to toggle one’s URL shortener. I send out lots of links via bit.ly; however, there are people who will not touch a shortened URL, and I’d just as soon not have to reassure them that no, this is not a one-way trip to Virus City.
  • The shortened-URL preview feature, which enables one to see where that bit.ly (or otherwise) stuff was really going to go.

Surely these can be tacked on without adding more than a few feathers’ worth of program bloat.

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Follow you, follow them

Twitter’s Follow recommendations are, often as not, comically absurd; a substantial percentage of my timeline every day is taken up by people reacting to them with variations on a theme in the key of WTF. Having handed over most of my tweetwork to TweetDeck, I don’t often see the recommendations posted on my actual Twitter page. However, Twitter is more than happy to notice whom I’ve most recently followed, and thus suggest (via email) “accounts similar.”

So, day before yesterday, I decided I would follow teen heartthrob turned respected mathematician and author Danica McKellar, probably because I saw someone I was already following retweeting something she’d said and I went “Oh, she’s on here?”

The following (urp) afternoon, Twitter dispatched the following list of recommendations:

Now all these folks have something to recommend them, although their relationship to Danica McKellar is unclear — except, obviously, in the case of Fred Savage.

Oh, well. As long as we’re up, here’s a gratuitous photo of The Actress Probably Still Revered As Winnie Cooper:

Danica McKellar circa 2009

The least obvious, I suppose, is Jewel Staite, unless Twitter is trying to remind me that she played Jennifer Keller (!) on Stargate Atlantis.

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Baby, you’re a Richman now

Some days I can actually get it together:

Timing, of course, is everything:

The reference, of course, is to this.

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You call this social?

The social media evidently have it in for Rob O’Hara:

When I post new posts on robohara.com, notifications get posted to Facebook (via the FacePress plugin) and Twitter (via WordTwit). When I need to update both Facebook and Twitter at the same time, I’ve been using TweetDeck.

Over the past week FacePress, WordTwit, and TweetDeck have all stopped working. Cheese and rice, man.

It started with TweetDeck, which forced an upgrade and then informed users that the new version no longer supports Facebook. Essentially that means that TweetDeck now only supports Twitter. That’s stupid. If it only supports Twitter, then why would I use TweetDeck? The entire point of TweetDeck was that I could funnel multiple social streams into one single interface. If TweetDeck only supports Twitter, then I’m not sure what purpose it serves. From now on I’ll just go back to using Twitter’s default interface. TweetDeck has been deleted.

The reason TweetDeck did this, of course, is because Twitter bought it and didn’t want to expend any development time supporting someone else’s API, especially Facebook’s. (Early versions of TweetDeck even supported MySpace, fercryingoutloud.)

While troubleshooting TweetDeck, I noticed that my last couple of blog posts didn’t get posted on either Facebook or Twitter. Apparently, over the past week both sites updated their APIs, causing older plugins (like the ones I was running) to stop working. Facebook said, “update your plugin”. I checked the FacePress website and was informed that the plugin hadn’t been updated in three years. Greeeeeeeat. After an hour on Google I found that Jetpack for Facebook offers the same functionality — I just didn’t know it because I’ve been running an older version of Jetpack. After upgrading it, I was able to link robohara.com with Facebook once again.

Now this is out of my wheelhouse, since I’ve worked diligently to keep this site and Facebook as far apart as possible, but allow me to put in a few kind words for Jetpack, which I use on all my sites except this one: it does a whole lot without making you jump through (too many) hoops.

I had to do the same thing with Twitter. WordTwit had to be upgraded and new security keys had to be generated. After going all of that, I realized that Jetpack handles Twitter connections as well as Facebook connections, so after doing all the work to get WordTwit to work again I uninstalled it and added Twitter to Jetpack as well. Sheesh.

I used WordTwit for a while, but ultimately switched to WP to Twitter, mostly because it was better about serving up error messages. And in fact, most of the errors I encounter are due to slipping time stamps — server time here never exactly matches Twitter’s server time — or a failure to rouse the gnomes at bit.ly, rather than anything related to the plugin itself.

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The few, the proud, the followers

Twitter, in an effort to persuade users to buy ad space, is making some of their analytics available. Some of the stats to report about my followers (777 at last count):

  • 68% male, 32% female.
  • 85% from the US, 15% from outside.
  • 34% from Oklahoma. Next states in order: California (7%), Texas (5%), New York (3%).

Since at least some of those followers are institutional in nature, I suspect they count everything that isn’t explicitly female as male. I haven’t lately broken down those I follow similarly, but last time I did, there was a small female majority.

The Top Interests list is not quite what I expected:

  • 57% Business and news
  • 55% Politics and current events
  • 49% Comedy (Movies and television)
  • 34% Business and finance
  • 31% Comedy (Hobbies and interests)
  • 28% Political elections
  • 25% Government
  • 24% Talk radio
  • 23% Romance (Movies and television)
  • 22% Financial news

I don’t seem to draw a lot of sports fans.

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And you are…?

Jack Baruth recalls his early days doing that Social Media thing:

Once upon a time, by which I mean the year 2010, I accepted every Facebook friend request I got and I kept my Twitter feed public. Then I was part of three separate incidents in which my social media “friends” pulled various details of my employment, my family life, and my most embarrassing photos (which is to say most of them, really) in a couple of attempts to get me fired from my job, affect my personal life, and/or incite people in my general neighborhood to vandalize my cars/house/already-questionable lawn.

And he did what you’d probably do: backed off and went private. But this, too, has its disadvantages:

It frustrates me to no end that I can’t use social media to connect with the people who legitimately enjoy my writing — or even the people who legitimately dislike it and want to share their concerns and/or criticisms. I’ve been told to convert my Facebook page to a “fan page”, which seems repugnant. I cannot imagine that I have any “fans”. By the same token, I’d like to make a comment on a movie on Twitter without being the target of a sack full of shrill invective from somebody who’s still angry about something I may or may not have done with the wife of somebody he doesn’t even really like. You get the idea. What’s the point of being on FB and Twitter if you’re just building the proverbial walled garden?

Emphasis added.

I am able to deal with this only because I lead a relatively uninteresting life and have accumulated few detractors. (Who was it who said “Friends come and friends go, but enemies accumulate”?)¹ And I’m still, I think, fairly compartmentalized: I tend to treat Twitter as general distribution and Facebook as friends only, though inevitably there is some overlap on both ends of the line.

¹ I’ve seen this quotation, or an approximation thereof, attributed to Thomas Jones, to Arthur Bloch, and to Jayne Ann Krentz.

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Meanwhile last Tuesday

She’s added about 3800 since then:

Rebecca Black has one million followers on Twitter

I think I was #9200 or something like that.

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Instant panic

Earlier this week, persons unknown hacked their way into an Associated Press Twitter account and issued one bogus tweet, which promptly caused a 140-point drop in the Dow Jones industrials. Corrections were hurriedly issued, and the DJIA returned to its previous level.

This incident, says Lynn, ranks among “the top ten idiotic news events of all time,” and she prescribes a solution for those market woes:

I know how to fix the stock market. It needs to run like an older version of Windows. Every time someone buys or sells, after a 30 second delay they are asked, “Are you sure?” Then, if they choose “Yes”, there’s another 30 second delay before anything happens. And any time the stock market drops more than 100 points it blue screens.

I’d make only one change to that: delete “an older version of” and replace it with, um, well, nothing, actually.

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IM through

I hadn’t thought about it lately, but it’s true: I haven’t so much as clicked on my instant-message client in months. I suspect I have seen the wisdom of this viewpoint:

One thing I hate about the electronic age is the expectation of immediacy. Some forms of electronic communication, however, have greater expectations of immediacy than others. Like instant messaging, for instance. I once had instant messaging eons ago, but I am prone to multitasking and getting distracted by more important things than random chitchat. This, of course, pissed off people I was IMing with so I ended up not doing any sort of instant messaging at all. E-mail, on the other hand, is more flexible. I respond fairly quickly if it’s from family or work, but otherwise I can put it off for a couple of days. Or respond not at all. (Or pretend that it got lost in the aether if it’s from someone I don’t really want to talk to.) Twitter is a mix between the two. While I like the IMing aspect of interacting with other people online in a semi-immediate way, I don’t think many people would get really angry with me if I get distracted and respond two hours later.

I am not particularly adept at multitasking, so I probably pissed people off even more. And I have informal Response Times for email, depending on my own priorities: six hours is a hurry, 24 hours is more likely, and 48 hours is the default for some high-volume correspondents. (It does nothing, I have discovered, to reduce their volume.)

The record for slowest response to one of my tweets? Two hundred fifty days: 29 July 2012 to 5 April 2013. “Sorry, I totally just saw this!” she explained. I understood: I’m easy to overlook, and it wasn’t like the matter was urgent.

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Introducing Schedule FB

The IRS routinely looks at your W-2 and that fistful of 1099s. And now they’re reading your social-media accounts:

New reports brought to light by one privacy and data security expert suggest that this tax filing season the Internal Revenue Service may be monitoring social media for any clues of tax cheats.

According to Kristen Mathews, a partner attorney at law firm Proskauer Rose LLP who specializes in privacy and data security, there are reports that the IRS will be checking into individual Facebook and Twitter accounts for improprieties.

Though the agency says that it will only conduct such monitoring if a tax form raises a red flag, it is somewhat unclear to what extent it will be capable of delving into social media accounts.

You think maybe that drunken debauch in Dayton you plastered (while plastered) all over Facebook might get your expenses disallowed?

(Via this Jules Shapiro tweet.)

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Hitting the ‘Deck

Not wishing to face an immediate learning curve when Twitter kills off the original TweetDeck, I installed the new version on the home box last night. Observations:

  • Nobody needs a Reset Password button that big.
  • On the upside, they don’t actually reset it until you answer an email link.
  • There are lots of keyboard shortcuts.
  • I guess I’m used to the old yellow icon; the blue one just looks funny.
  • Memory usage seems to be about 40-50 percent less, which is clearly a boon.
  • On the other hand, I miss the “via” statements that tell which client an individual tweeter is using. (They were scraped off twitter.com long ago.)

So it goes. #vonnegut

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And the cart comes around

Twitter announced yesterday that various versions of TweetDeck, including the one I’ve used for five years, will be put out of their misery in the next few weeks:

To continue to offer a great product that addresses your unique needs, we’re going to focus our development efforts on our modern, web-based versions of TweetDeck. To that end, we are discontinuing support for our older apps: TweetDeck AIR, TweetDeck for Android and TweetDeck for iPhone. They will be removed from their respective app stores in early May and will stop functioning shortly thereafter. We’ll also discontinue support for our Facebook integration.

Reaction in my tweetstream was swift and negative. After all, this isn’t the first time Twitter bought something and then turned it into, um, something else. (There is no small irony in the fact that Twitter’s TweetDeck blog, where this announcement was posted, is on Posterous, which is also being killed.)

There will continue to be desktop apps for Mac and PC, we are assured, which if true means there’s a slight upside: I can get rid of Adobe AIR, the environment in which this old version of TweetDeck runs. (Any day I can get rid of something that Adobe updates at random intervals is a good day indeed.) Still, this new fancy-pants API of theirs had better be able to solve quadratic equations, wash the dishes and walk the damn dog.

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Some friend you are

As the kids say, +1 for this:

As a way to establish and maintain an identifiable on-line presence, I think Facebook is probably around for the long haul. I think there is research on this that says so. Facebook seems lately to have read that research, and come to a decision that it wants to move in on LinkedIn’s turf by offering people a work identity. This, I believe, is a mistake of enormous proportions. I’m basing that on a presumption that people use these tools the way I do, and that’s always problematic I realize. But I don’t want current work contacts to see me on Facebook. Maybe past co-workers, the ones who are kinda “cool.” But there is no reason to go mixing up these two worlds, and if I’m going to be pushed into it because that’s just the way the system expects me to use its services, then I’ll be on my way out too. That’s probably what’s been happening, since most Facebook inhabitants behave more-or-less the way I do.

I shan’t be pushed in this matter. I made a rule for myself about three minutes after signing up for a Facebook account, to the effect that under no circumstances would I accept friend requests from co-workers. (Mentioning this once or twice in front of carefully selected staffers has pretty much insured that I don’t get any, either.) Past co-workers, the ones who are kinda “cool” — no problem.

I can’t, of course, do a thing about Twitter other than hide the entire lot of 32,000 tweets, which is more trouble than it’s worth. And unless someone’s doing a better job of hiding than I’d have expected, I have exactly two Twitter followers from the shop.

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Updated to “Posthumous”

Twitter, which bought mobile-blog service Posterous last year for some preposterous sum, is now taking it behind the woodshed and shooting it:

On April 30th, we will turn off posterous.com and our mobile apps in order to focus 100% of our efforts on Twitter. This means that as of April 30, Posterous Spaces will no longer be available either to view or to edit.

If you have stuff there, you have until the day before to retrieve it.

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#interdit

Le Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie has now taken l’umbrage over the word “hashtag,” and while French Twitter users will not necessarily have Le Commission looking over their shoulders as they type or text, the government-approved term is now “mot-dièse”: “sharp word.”

This doesn’t sound so sharp to me, but hey, it’s France; they’ve got a language to preserve, after all, and un-French terms like “email” and “Quarter Pounder with Cheese” are just so déclassé.

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Unmitigated gallium

We’re all entirely too familiar with the phrase “all the good ones are taken.” Several times a week I hear from someone who wants a really good — and really relevant! — user name for Twitter or Tumblr or Instagram, or a short and snappy domain name. I used to inform them that the time to have asked for such a thing was N months ago, where N = more than they ever imagined. And it’s true even in highly specialized areas of interest:

So, you’re a chemist and you’ve finally decided to find out what all the fuss is about with this thing called Twitter. You decide to sign up, but, for whatever reason, you don’t fancy using your own name. Maybe an element; that would be cool wouldn’t it?

Indeed it would. But how many elements are there, anyway?

[T]here are 114 named elements (we’re ignoring those ununelementium placeholder names) to choose from. Surely some of the more exotic elements must be there for the taking? Well, no. Gone. All of ‘em.

“There may be many others,” said Tom Lehrer, “but they haven’t been discovered.” Fat lot of good that does you now, though.

And what about @gallium, anyway? He is a chemist, but not a very talkative one.

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