Tag Archives: twitter

What a Long, Strange Twip It’s Been

I know, I know. I’ve succumbed to the urge to add “Tw” to everything, in this case, it’s the word “trip, when related to Twitter.

I just rediscovered a site that has links to all sorts of Twitter tools, one of which is Twopcharts.  One of the reports Twopcharts provides is “My First Tweet.” Here is my first tweet, nearly 7 years ago.




It is, unfortunately, highly representative of the reasons many people hate Twitter.  Some feel that it is loaded overwhelmingly with “self-indulgent” tweets.

Like my first one.

Like anyone really cared about  my little jaunt to the CVS (or why I was picking up pictures).

I like to think that my tweets (closing in on 10,000 as if this writing) adhered more or less to the 60%/40% balance described in this article.  There’s no way I’m going back to measure it all; but I have a gut feeling that I’m close…and probably maybe closer to 80%/20%.

I wonder what my 2nd Tweet was.

You can reach me on Twitter @Kickstand447.


The Times (& the Pictures) Are Changing

Way, W-A-Y back when — in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s — the online people-to-people communication world consisted mainly of email. And email was a text-only affair.  Usually only a mono-spaced message in green letters on a black screen.  Or maybe white on black.  No pictures. No Arial. And heaven-help-us, no Helvetica.

The way to make “pictures” in your message was to create ASCII Art.  I wrote about this phenomenon in an earlier post.

But now?  Well there’s Twitter. And guess what? There’s Twitter Art (or, more appropriately, #TwitterArt).  Here’s an example:

Another way to be creative (or waste time?). Just remember that that you can use the full range of ASCII characters  to create your TwitterArt.

Have fun!

Too Much News (& Why Should I Care)

The feeling has been scratching around the edges of my awareness for some time, and has only grown the more I use Twitter (and , to a lesser extent,) Facebook.

I am seeing news — BREAKING News! even — that is so nonlocal to me that I can muster only a “meh” or a Seinfeld-esque “that’s too bad.”

And that is too bad.

Although examples are legion, the Tweet above, which I received in my “News, etc.” Twitter list today,  moved me to write this post.

I’m not a bad person; but my immediate thoughts (probably in this order, as I reconstruct my reaction) were:

  • “Why is this clearly non-local (to me) story in my Tweet stream?”
  • “That’s really too bad about the loss of life.”

I’d really like it if I could flip the immediate reaction. But something about the immediacy of Twitter might have colored my response. If it’s not “news I can use” or news that is of broad interest that shows up in that particular Twitter list, then, it’s  noise. To me, at least. (Then again, maybe I should seek out a different BBC Tweet stream to add to my News list.)

Twitter users are exposed to a lot of this type of Tweet: murder, mayhem, violence, abductions, and other forms of negative behavior.  The fact that it occurs nowhere near the user’s location does not lessen the psychic impact.  Even if you gloss over these Tweets and do not have a reaction similar to the one I described above, you are affected by them. Maybe on a deeper level than you know.  It may be below your consciousness, but your brain does register it.

In a lot of ways this is similar to the often-cited studies about children s exposure to violence. (Here’s just one. [PDF]) We Twitter users (depending, of course, on the Twitter feeds we follow) are exposed to a lot of negative input, even if we don’t really pay attention to it.

Just something I’m thinking about.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions on this.  Comments are open.

Live Tweeting From Afar – A New Experience

This past week I had the unique experience of live tweeting at a conference that I wasn’t even attending.

Long story short: I had planned to attend and be part of the  conference’s “Tweet team,” but circumstances arose that prevented my attending.

So I watched the Tweets come in (hashtag: #NSAftworth11) from the National Stuttering Association’s annual conference.  I collected all of them (or at least as many as I could grep), Tweeted some as @Kickstand447 and then put them in a document for others to read.  Click on the link below to read the document.

NSAftworth11Tweets-keep  (PDF; approx. 790K)

The conference formally ended Thursday Saturday evening (7/9/11), so the use of the hashtag has tailed off.  There may be a smattering of post-conference Tweets, and I’ll add them later to the PDF document and repost it.

Thank you to all the live-tweeters at the conference.  I hope to make it next year and add another “voice” to the sessions.

If you have any questions or comments about this file, please leave them in the Comments.

Thank you for reading.

How Do They DO That???!!!

I have seen an increasing number of tweets questioning whether or not a popular link shortener —  bit.ly — may be collateral damage of the unrest in Libya, particularly if Col. Gaddafi hits the Internet “kill switch.”

Further reading indicates that bit.ly is less vulnerable to being blacked out because of Bit.ly’s redundant name servers spread around the world.  Bit.ly’s CEO responded to a Quora question with this.

So, I guess that answers that! And we probably don’t have to worry about dead links because of our widespread use of that particular URL shortener.

But I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I wanted to know how URL shorteners work.  In so doing, I came across the term “domain hacks.” It is the magikal hackery that gave us del.icio.us.  Sublime.

The domain hack generally (but not always) uses the ccTLD (country-code Top-Level Domain) to construct the desired URL.  (The list of ccTLD’s is here.)

There are some other clever domain hacks out there. See some here.

Who knew?

Why Some Ties Are Better Than Others (and I’m Not Talking About Neckwear)

Malcolm Gladwell has a fascinating article in the current New Yorker. “Small Change: Why the revolution won’t be tweeted” discusses, among other things, ways the personal ties we have dictate the relative success of a revolution (or if it is even possible).

Gladwell uses as a benchmark the Woolworth lunch-counter sit-in in 1960. His thesis begins when he points out that the four college students who staged the sit-in were friends, dorm-mates at North Carolina A&T, a black college in Greensboro. Because they were friends who had had long discussions about race matters, Gladwell cited their “strong ties.”

Gladwell also posits that when change involves high risk (as the Greensboro sit-in and further sit-ins did), the key is for people (activists) to have strong ties. He discusses at length the role of strong ties in the years-long civil rights movement.

He contrasted these strong ties with the “weak ties” of today’s social media, in particular Twitter and Facebook. One of the episodes he notes is the use of social media to find a bone marrow donor for a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. The effort resulted in 25,000 people being added to the bone marrow database. There was participation (adding your name to a database), but was there real involvement? Indeed, Gladwell says of this and other calls to donate (e.g., to various Darfur funds):

“…Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice. We are a long way from the lunch counters of Greensboro.”

Gladwell’s treatment of the phenomena of “strong ties” and “weak ties” and their role in the caliber of change (or revolution) is thought provoking. It made me think about what kind of “revolution” I would rather be involved in:

  • a revolution that is high-risk, undertaken with people with whom I have strong ties, and that results ultimately in Large Change; or
  • one that is low risk, undertaken with uncountable people with whom I have weak ties, and that results in Small Change.

Something tells me that the former is much more satisfying than the latter.