Why Twitter?

I do Twitter. Don’t judge me, it’s just another ‘social media’ platform and LOTS of people do one or another of any number of such online communities. Twitter is mine. Of course I’m also on Facebook but that is rather more to keep abreast of family news and views whereas Twitter is about the wider, stranger-populated ‘out there’ community.

I’ve been on it for many years now having originally signed up when I was teaching IT and thought being abreast of new interweb developments was part of the job. If my memory serves me correctly it was being promoted with a simple question along the lines of “what are you thinking?” or “what are you doing?” and an exhortation to share these little gems with others who presumably would be waiting with baited breath for even the smallest crumb of information about what was going on in your life, like going to the dentist, the dairy or driving lessons (etc..) The assumption was that you would also be eagerly lapping up every word that hordes of people from all over the world- not just in your family, your community, your work, or your social circle of friends.

Naturally many, many people signed on but before long many saw it as being a bit of a chore, a joke, having no value for them, as being a platform for opinionated idiots/bigots/racists/politicians or any number of other reasons and left. Of course they were replaced by new hordes and so it established itself as a bit of a phenom (in the new vernacular).

I think it’s morphed a bit over the years and in each modified form attracted a different type of tweeter. There were those who stuck to the tried and trusted personal documentary, those who commented on events at home and away, those who promoted causes, those who used it as a platform for various skills they had (in particular photography) and of course there were the inevitable ‘mainstream media’ jocks and pundits who used it as a platform (soapbox) to have a crack out our celebrities, our leaders and our law-makers. I have found it very valuable as a place to get balanced commentary on a range of things from happenings in and around government (local and national), to news, to general ‘wordly’ things, It must be said, however that some of said media ‘peeps’ have been a bit holier than thou and a bit fuller of their own importance and things have sometimes degenerated into quite nasty argument with vitriol and personal abuse which I hope many found/find as distasteful as I. This has on occasions led to respected commentators deciding they didn’t need to be part of it and leaving Twitter. (The wrong people went!)

It was interesting to me during the election campaign how ineffectual Twitter seemed to be- there was plenty to have a go at the candidates over but I don’t know that Twitter really had the punch that I thought it should have. Of course I may just be following the wrong people? (I don’t think so.)

But of late there’s been a certain feel about Twitter. As a friend of mine tweeted this morning “Twitter seems to have lost its mojo!”

I always felt that Twitter was never as much about ‘ME’ as about ‘my’ – my opinions (as inane as they well may be), my observations (as wide of the mark as they well may be) and my reactions (as predictable or otherwise as they may well be) as well as allowing me to share links to things I find interesting, to share experiences I have had, places I’ve been, sights I have seen, and passing on others’ contributions that I’ve found as being worthy of support. But I hope not about ME.

Unfortunately there are many who don’t hold that philosophy as far as Twitter is concerned, and persist in self promotion, self congratulation and worst of all self pity.

OK- if you’re having problems let people know but those people have lives to attend to as well and in my experience I’m able to do that with a cheerier disposition if those around me are cheerful too. I’ll sympathise with you but I’ll probably be unlikely to be able to do anything but sympathise so telling me over and over or embellishing the basic ‘bitch’ isn’t going to make things any better for you or me. Think of something more pleasant to tweet about, or hush, please! (If I DO think I can help I think I’d prefer to do that on a one-on-one basis and so I’ll contact you via direct message and we can work from there!)

I also have a bit of a vetch against people who persist in posting interminable links or commentary on events they have a personal interest in and obviously believe I should as well! OK- post one link but then let me make up my own mind, please?

I saw a number of tweets (a LARGE number of tweets) of the same photo with exactly the same message. Why a LARGE number of tweets of the same photo and message? The person (who I follow) decided it would be a fun idea (I guess) to send it out to a big number of followers that we obviously both follow,  one follower at a time!!! Guess what- it wasn’t for me! By the way, the photo wasn’t sent to me!!

My timeline has been dominated (or cluttered) by (sometimes night-long and even day-and-night-long) group chats involving four or five people, at least a number of whom I follow hence the clutter, all of whom are having their fun with their clever witty repartee on this and that (and I don’t begrudge people having fun!) but which has little or no interest to me because I don’t share their current interest, their line of humour or the rather cryptic nature of their comments.

There are always other aspects of a Twitter timeline that can be irksome but I won’t go into those here, rather- how am I going to deal with these issue?

Shall I do nothing and continue to be annoyed and develop serious negative feelings against people who, by and large I have chosen to follow, and who I (mostly) quite like?

Shall I unfollow those people who are the worst offenders at any or all of the above, and by so-doing admit I am a bad judge of character having, (by and large) chosen to follow these people? Also by unfollowing make a statement to them that I made a bad choice following them, they are bad people and I want them to go away?

Shall I do something like going private or protected or whatever and reviewing my list of who I follow, but doing the diplomatic thing and telling one and all that I’m doing so and it’s a reflection on (almost) no one of them- ie. fib a bit?

Shall I mute those people who are the main offenders in the matters outlined above, meaning I won’t see what they are tweeting and will only receive their tweets if they are directed to/at me?

Or shall I bite the bullet and leave Twitter all together, thereby turning my back on a whole bunch of lovely people I’ve met, but whose details aren’t so extensively known that we can continue our association outside Twitter?

I think my answers to those questions are Nah! Nah! Nah! Ummm! Maybe.

First up though I will give muting a try and see what the effect on my timeline is- at least in this way I’ll not give offense, my timeline will become somewhat uncluttered, and of course I will find out exactly how much I am a part of these people’s Twitter world. THAT could be a salutary lesson in itself!

Watch this space? Maybe.

156

This is quite interesting- I rank 156 in New Zealand top 274 blogs.  http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/september-12-nz-blogs-sitemeter-ranking/ This is more interesting- I rank 156 in New Zealand’s top 274 blogs, despite not posting on a regular basis. I am a little ashamed to say that I have not posted since a month or so ago (and this is something I must do a little more about than silliness such as this one,) BUT I do find it interesting at what ‘position’ I sit on the rankings ladder!

I hasten to add I’m not about to trumpet that 156 is pretty good any more than I am about to say I could or should do better! I have no real aspirations to be #56 rather than #156 because this is a simple hobby and it’s not driven by any sense of righting wrongs, pointing fingers, preaching or proselytising, making points (political or otherwise). I do enjoy writing ‘this and that’ about New Zealand ‘heres and theres’ but I really only wish to keep it as a hobby and occasional thing.

So what’s interesting, I suppose, is that once something (such as a blog) is ‘out there’ it generates a bit of an audience and this audience can become self-sustaining. I note I have some followers and I assume these are regular readers just as long as I post regularly, and I have links to social media sites (Twitter and Facebook) and these will generate visitors when I post but I imagine most of my traffic are casual visitors who might be searching for information and stumble upon Kutarere’s Blog as a result of tags.

So! 156, eh!!

Social Networking

I am of a past age, the one that came before computers. OK, so it was before more than just computers, but that’s perhaps for another day! It was certainly before the Zuckerburgs, the Jobs, the Gates. I was approaching mid-career when computers became available to all. They’d been around for a wee while but it wasn’t until a few bright sparks successfully played around with personalising them and others saw the potential in applying them in education that they sort of became a ‘tool of the masses’, although that tool was, at that time used on a fairly limited basis.

This of course changed as time went by and digital technology got hold but most particularly after Sir Tim Berners-Lee came up with the World Wide Web.

Mr, sorry ‘Sir’ Dubbya-Dubbya-Dubbya changed the world and subsequent developments made it an extension of almost everyone’s life, both from the business and personal perspectives. Social networking became ‘a thing’ and if anything has out-done Topsy’s Shirt in the growth field it must be social networking. And this is evidenced by this amazing illustration.With mobile phones growing off the back of computing technology everybody is now in a position to carry the web in their pockets or purses and many try to make a business out of it. Amazing.

What I wonder about, though, is how much of this ‘stuff’ becomes redundant within weeks (or even days) of it being the flavour of the month (week, day, hour) and being marketed as a ‘must have’.  (Oh- I saw this picture over a week ago so it is very likely that it is very outdated.)

Tweetvox

Hoho!! This could be fun!

Just ‘discovered’ ‘Tweetvox’, a new(ish) online application that enables people to post ‘verbal tweets’ (which is probably why it has earned itself the nickname of ‘Witter’!)

With Twitter one is able text messages to philosophise, grizzle, brag, link or simply post news or nonsense (no abuse, please) in 140 characters or less. With Witter (Tweetvox) you are able to post verbal messages of up to 2 minutes! Wow! Imagine the rubbish one can fit into 2 minutes!!!

In fact I think that people will be hard-put to actually use their whole 2 minute allowance unless they do plenty of preparation and to me that sort of flies in the face of the online messaging immediacy and spontaneity. Still I don’t doubt that there will be people out there who will carry on talking because they will feel cheated if they don’t use their full entitlement!! Hey ho!

I reckon, also, there are going to be a whole host of people who will do dumb things- for example I heard one ‘post’ that had about 20 seconds of mastication. Yep- the sound of chewing!! Give me strength- how does someone think that’s clever or funny? Remind me not to ‘favourite’ THAT dork!

Anyhoo, I’m gonna give it a bit of a chance and look forward to at least some entertaining or edifying stuff.

WORLDLY WHYS

Someone posted this link on Twitter this morning and I’m kinda happy they did because while the main story didn’t float my boat to any great degree (and I do not intend investing $US99 and a gob of spit to find out how Neanderthal I am!), the ‘post-script’ question and answer did interest me. Over time I have watched a bunch of ‘Discovery Channel’ documentaries on various aspects of ‘Space, the Universe and Everything Else’ and have had a question in my mind for a looong time. “Why are (almost) all visual illustrations and explanations of space stuff two dimensional?”

Surely ‘space’ is the most 3 dimensional thing there is (even though they are trying to explain more dimensional solutions more and more!) and how celestial bodies interact with other celestial bodies has to be 3 dimensional- gravity seems to work in all directions towards a point; the universe is apparently expanding with increasing speed in all directions; black holes suck things into themselves from all directions, it doesn’t matter in which direction we star-gaze but we see stars in all directions, and so on, and on and on!!

So why is it that with all the computing power our scientists have available to them they can’t explain space stuff in a more dimensional way than the top of a table, or a hole in the top of a table, or… They also use the term ‘parallel universes’ and parallel paints a 2 dimensional picture for me.

My next job should perhaps be an email to science@listener.co.nz and ask them the question.

UNCONSTITUTIONAL MP?

Spotted this delightful snippet on Twitter tonight. “Imperator Fish”, a bit of a thorn in several public figures’ sides posted a tweet saying…”A new post: More Wisdom From The Minister For Watching TV” and a link to his blog which showed this.Enough said, I suppose. I have long wondered what value some MPs have been to the National Government, and this does nothing to hint at an answer in the case of Tau Henare. Maybe John Key should run a workshop on the New Zealand Constitution. (And invite Henare.)

TWITTER TERRORISM

It is obvious that one’s view of what amounts to ‘terrorism’ can be significantly divergent from others’, and that’s pretty much what the crux of this case is all about. For whatever reasons people first come to Twitter they will inevitably grow into someone a bit different as they tweet more and more, and gather more and more followers (not to mention the growth in the list of more and more people they ‘follow’ and receive twitters or ‘tweets’ from.) I suspect many will sign up to ‘Twitter” initially out of a sense of inquisitiveness just wanting to find what the phenomenon is all about, because a phenomenon it certainly is. I remember when it first appeared on The Net it was simply promoted by asking people to post, in 140 letters what they were doing at the moment. I suppose the developers had some sense that people would actually be interested in what their friends, or their idols/politicians/notables were doing at any time of the day. Whether they actually meant eating, bathing or clearing of bowels was what people should tweet about or not, it was at that level that many started and continue to participate in the world of Twitter- “@ Jojo’s having a calming coffee” etc.. Of course not all did or do but instead use it for commentary, whether political, social or any other involvement, use it to applaud others’ achievements, use it to promote- themselves, favourite sites, issues, etc., or just use it to make a statement or any number of otherwise motivated reasons.

And of course there are the non-thinkers who consider it a place to post facetious and even malicious entries or to ‘re-tweet’ unsubstantiated rumours, for whatever reason they alone know. Such as those posted by this idiot in Mexico, a country in the throes of drug and gang related violence and killings. In a city where there is real reason for fear and alarm he thought it clever to post messages that reported school shootings and/or kidnappings. To what purpose? I can’t imagine any that wouldn’t be for the purpose of fomenting something.

With the advent of the world-wide-web too many people jump at the chance to have their moment of fame (I guess by doing what I am doing right now I could be accused of the same?) and it seems often there isn’t much thought as to what the consequences might be. This is supported by the sense of personal affront that the idiots display when authorities line them up for those very consequences. Fortunately it will generally play itself out without any real harm happening BUT in this situation this can’t be remotely believed to be the case. Innocent and rightly concerned, frightened and protective parents heard the news the posts contained and took them at face value, and the result? BEDLAM. That there weren’t more serious accidents is very fortunate but the potential for damage from such irresponsible acts such as this are pretty obvious. There is too much thoughtless use of words such as ‘bomb’, ‘shootings’, ‘terrorist’ and such-like nowadays- NOT because the words are dangerous but because the implications are sinister. Ask US ‘Homeland Security’.

Throw the book at this person, NOT because he carried out an act of terrorism but because he is an un-thinking dabbler who should know better. IF it can be found that the motivation was more sinister than mischief, grab another couple of books to throw at him.

WHATILIKEABOUTTWITTER

I registered on Twitter several years ago (here I’m relying on my failing memory somewhat- Twitter has been around for several years, hasn’t it?) but quickly became an active non-tweeter because I felt I had better things to do with the time I thought Twitter was going to require me to invest, and also because I saw evidence that the emergent new internet sensation was going to be awash with the inane, and I didn’t think I wanted to read others’ inane observations any more than I imagine they would want to read mine. The smoldering of my misgivings was fueled by continual instances of reporting in various media of outrageous comments/tweets by bitchy performing arts personalities.

I have returned to Twitter years on because I have seen a change take place as more and more clever and sensible people have become Twitterers. I don’t doubt the bitchiness is still about, but I now simply dismiss the news items and choose not to ‘follow’ anybody whose tweets repeatedly test the bounds of decency or good manners. Of course one chooses the odd politician and you can never guarantee they will always preserve or observe general niceties but that sort of goes with the territory, and I can always simply treat unwelcome tweets with the disdain they deserve. The beauty of a 140 character entry is that you are able to very soon make up your mind whether it’s in the realm of the inane or worth it’s worth the read. Of course the humorous tweets are very clever given the requirement of brevity imposed by the 140 characters- isn’t brevity the soul of wit?

So I now have a divergent group who I follow that ranges from family & friends and associates from my work to politicians and personalities, and these from sports or entertainments that I have an interest in. I follow a few golfers, a couple of rugby players, some sports commentators, a few (very few) politicians and some personalities from the performing arts who I am sure are far too sensible to stoop to the bitchy and who entertain with their wit and insightful wisdom (Jimmy Carr- wisdom? Hahaha!.)

Stephen Fry is one such personality who I enjoy watching in a wide range of television shows (ranging all the way from ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ and ‘Blackadder’, through ‘Kingdom’ and ‘ the quirky ‘Qi’ to documentaries such as ‘Stephen Fry in America’, and I look forward to ‘Last Chance To See’ arriving soon,) and who has embraced Twitter with what almost qualifies as a passion [the archetypical English TwitSorry, Stephen!] While many of his twitterings will be in response to comments of others, or will be agonisings over the progress of Norwich City FC he tweets frequently with personal observations on a wide range of issues and it is these that I look forward to.

The aforementioned Jimmy Carr is also one whose tweets I look forward to because of his rather irreverent view on life. I felt for the contestants in his TV show, “Distraction” but laughed out loud at their sufferings and there is often much of the distractive in his tweets.

There are ‘re-tweets’ that some who follow me have decided are worth passing on and it can be through these that I am able to meet new personalities (such as the clever John Fugelsang) or read the views of others’ on world matters.

I don’t know that I am necessarily a ‘disciple’ of Twitter but I do have a much less cynical view of the application now and look forward to seeing what Twitter will ultimately evolve into, because I am sure that just as my acceptance and usage of it has been modified by the practices of others, so will the expectations of the users of Twitter lead to modification of and fine-tuning of the application itself.
Follow macgibbons on Twitter

TWITTERAGE

What an absolute nonsense- an ‘English’ footballer

Carlton Cole, England striker.

 

is to be sanctioned after his joke posted on Twitter was deemed ‘inappropriate’ by the PC Soccer Policeman, Lord Herman Ouseley (head of ‘Kick It Out’, football’s equality and inclusion campaign.)

The comment. that is so obviously meant as a joke should be left to be just that, A JOKE!!!! Such jokes are made all the time and people shouldn’t have to be continually ‘looking over their shoulder’ to check that there isn’t some wanky PC whiner behind them who run to equally wanky PC authorities because they have no sense of humour.

Perhaps there is a defensive reaction in this from the powers that be whose past actions have led to sometimes ‘delicate’ situations involving race. Had governments not developed such open ‘open door’ immigration policies driven by a collective sense of misplaced responsibility arising out of the colonial years I’m sure there would not be the sense of ‘them and us’, and the underlying antagonism of the indigenous populations.

Cole is possibly well qualified to make such jokes by virtue of his heritage anyway- he has a Nigerian father and Sierra Leonean mother.

Oh well, get out the wet bus ticket!

 

Follow macgibbons on Twitter

TECH WEAPONS

Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain featuring on news reports repeatedly. What do they have in common? One can probably come up with a bunch of factors, but the one that I ‘enjoy’ most of all is the part that modern communications technologies have played in all of them.


Pity some of our western societies don’t start using these technologies for more sensible uses than organising teenage booze-ups or abusing or insulting others.

Cartoons by Tom Scott, New Zealand political cartoonist.

Related.