So far, anyway:
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
— CIA (@CIA) June 6, 2014
A tentative “well played” from this corner.
So far, anyway:
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
— CIA (@CIA) June 6, 2014
A tentative “well played” from this corner.
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:
you could be the hottest person alive on this planet but if your personality is equivalent to that of a piece of toast I can't talk to you
— Rebecca Black (@MsRebeccaBlack) June 3, 2014
So much for the whole grain.
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:
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.)
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:
I see you shiver with antici …
— Frank Furter (@DrFNFurter) May 8, 2009
— Frank Furter (@DrFNFurter) May 8, 2014
I mean, a lot can happen in five years.
(Via CTV News.)
Twitter’s got bots. Lots of bots. Can you spot a bot? Perhaps some of them will be caught:
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.
Seriously: how much does it matter if someone is wrong on the Internet?
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.)
But hey, I don’t work for E!, do I?
This provoked a brief flurry of #EFunFacts tweets of similar hilarity.
(Via this Amanda Lucci tweet.)
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:
— Charles G Hill (@dustbury) January 1, 2014
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
This strikes me as eminently guffaw-worthy:
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.
Add this to the list of things I wasn’t expecting:
(A couple of these folks have been here before.)
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.
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.
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.)
“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.)
Who knew? The Washington Post is actually getting a handle on how to deal with Twitter snark:
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.
Plunge taken. May the Gods of the Copybook Headings forgive me.
— Charles G Hill (@dustbury) June 27, 2009
Which was about 39,600 tweets ago.
(Via Donna Serdula, who has twelve thousand followers.)
Does this meet the disclosure requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission?
We’ve confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale.
— Twitter (@twitter) September 12, 2013
Then again, do disclosure requirements even mean anything anymore?
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.
(Via the Daily Dot.)
This is what happens when you reply to a tweet with a #reallylonghashtag with the New, Improved TweetDeck:
Stop it from quoting the whole hashtag, you say? As if.
Project: Rollback begins this evening.
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.
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.]
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.)
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:
Surely these can be tacked on without adding more than a few feathers’ worth of program bloat.
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:
The least obvious, I suppose, is Jewel Staite, unless Twitter is trying to remind me that she played Jennifer Keller (!) on Stargate Atlantis.
Some days I can actually get it together:
On the plus side, at least I have enough self esteem left in me to be called asshole about 20,000 times before it starts to make a dent.
— Joan of Blackhart (@MsBlackhart) June 25, 2013
Timing, of course, is everything:
@MsBlackhart This never happened to Pablo Picasso.
— Charles G Hill (@dustbury) June 25, 2013
@dustbury Oh my god. Charles. I sincerely think that you may have just tweeted my favourite tweet of all time. Good job!
— Joan of Blackhart (@MsBlackhart) June 25, 2013
The reference, of course, is to this.
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.
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):
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:
I don’t seem to draw a lot of sports fans.