Primary Tweets – Twitter 2009

Twitter, the online micro blogging service, was launched in July 2006 and I joined at the beginning of 2009.  It was only just starting to grow and my membership number suggests just under 19m others got there before me.  If you think that makes me a late starter consider that if you joined today you would be getting involved with something that [by Oct 2017] over 330 million have tried.

I recall that at the time the service felt fresh and new, lacking the cynicism and fame seeking of today’s model.  When I signed up I did not personally know anyone who used the site and on many occasions I was asked what it was about and why they should bother.

In those early days it seemed users were treated based on their own content and not their ability to retweet the content from others or by just simply being a celebrity in other fields.  You had to work to get a following.  Just being a ‘someone’ and posting a picture of your breakfast or requoting a glib phrase in a fancy font wouldn’t garner appreciation.

As a result I taught myself how to entertain and grow a following.  You will also note that I tried out different and novel ways to use the platform, although the increased growth in people using the platform and the ever growing number of celebrities opening accounts in the year meant that the original user base was quickly being sidelined and I found difficulty getting my own voice heard.

I felt proud of the contribution I made and wrote a story of my 2009 content postings.  I built the narrative to explain to non-service users why I had posted certain contemporaneous comments.  Although fairly comprehensive it is not a complete reposting of every Tweet that year.  You will need to visit my @vinceunlimited Twitter Feed to get absolutely everything.

Finally, for those without the time on their hands to read the whole story and just like the best of the best I have curated this list of my top ten best Tweets of 2009.  Based on my personal choice, not based on views, likes, comments or retweets. They are in no significant order other than date of posting.

Generally I’m a fan of predictive text. However, sometimes my worms come out all fanny and change the moaning completely

Damn. Just broke my Crystal Ball. It fell off the table. I didn’t see that coming

I said “Whats that?” She said “Its an age spot.” I said “Just the one?” It’s suddenly more frosty this morning

The instructions read ‘Store in a cool place’. Which explains why I was trying to get into Samuel Jackson’s movie trailor

Decided to form a band. Our unique theme will be that we’ll perform in cake shops. I guarantee that in five years we’ll be huge

My brother told me he is using chip fat to power his old diesel car. Reckons he gets 73 miles per potato

Male Polar Bear asks his girlfriend to wear heavy make up just for a change. She replies ‘I’m not pandering to you.’

They asked whether the apartment I rent out came with Sky. I said yes. Big blue thing just above the roof

…Sado-masochists Beat Themselves Into Second Place In Online Poll

I tried to get though the Tile Discount Store door but they had reduced it by 50%

Have I picked the ten best?  If you want to know the full and comprehensive story of my Tweets in 2009 go to my website at vinceunlimited.co.uk/twitter2009.htm or if you are using a mobile device try vinceunlimited.co.uk/twitter2009m.htm

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Twitter section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 27 Jul 2018
Tweets First published in Twitter during 2009

Twitter Block

I had some time this weekend to idly look at Twitter.  After I had read the content of those who I follow and then browsed the interesting Twitter Trending topics I started to look for a promising subject to interact with.

The Twitter Trending topics are generally mature discussions by the time they are aired and most angles are covered by then.  Twitter is very much a now thing and subject matter is quickly outdated so getting involved on anything here is mostly futile.

My next point of call may be Twitter’s own selected suggestions.  However these are rarely useful.  With only three suggestions made and each from an algorithm that is too narrow so I usually find these pointless.

If I’m in the mood for discussion I don’t want a viewpoint that is just like my own and I certainly don’t think a conversation with someone who mostly re-tweets other people’s material would be satisfactory.  I appreciate an original thinker, someone prepared to do a little bit of writing.

Finally, in the absence of a genuine random Twitter Feed I look to the suggestions the service makes based on my perceived likes.  In my case these subjects are cars and comedians.  Naturally my tastes are wider than this of course but not according to Twitter.

So I read these offerings and often chip in with comments on the subjects that most interest me.

And, if I have some time, I seek to increase my options by looking at who else is commenting on these subjects and then possibly delve deeper into their feeds as well.

It was during a search like this that I happened upon a user who had themselves commented on a celebrity Tweet.  One that is irrelevant to this tale and now long forgotten.

I checked a little deeper and discovered that this person appeared to use the service in the way that I do.  That is to say original written content, not merely a lazy bunch of re-tweets, pictures of their food/cats or tiresome religious style quotations.  And  I noticed that they had pinned an interesting Tweet to the top of their feed which was a survey about whether a particular, named comedian was funny.

In the way the survey question was set out I immediately anticipated that the author didn’t actually want to know the answer but really wanted to take an opportunity to gather like minded dislikes.

But I noticed the survey was flawed as it offered up three options – Funny, Not Funny or Irrelevant.  You can probably already see why I jumped to the conclusion about the bias of the survey.

Anyway, in a bid to encourage this member I opened a discussion suggesting the flaw in such a survey, positing that one could conclude two answers were correct and a conversation followed.   The Tweeter even posted a ‘like’ on my comment.

They then explained it was only an attempt to measure respondents to see what sort of people they were and I replied with the point that a respondent’s Twitter avatar was not necessarily an indication of who was making the choice.

The author then clarified a point about their original Tweet and them actually seeking an Echo Chamber Effect, which is, to quote Wikipedia, ‘a metaphorical description of a situation in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system’.  They then clearly pointed out that they wanted respondents to think like they did and agree that the comedian was clearly not funny.

In actual fact, although often controversial, the comedian is highly popular so on the spectrum of comedians should generally be classed as funny given such limited choices.

So I took the survey and marked them as funny.  At which point I was able to note that I was the only one who had done this.  Twitter surveys do not let you know the trend or votes until a vote is cast, which prevents forced bias toward a less popular choice.

I wasn’t really such an outlier.  In fairness only eight others had bothered with the survey, a very low, statistically unreliable number, mostly voting for Not Funny.  This contravened an earlier claim by the author that the option Irrelevant was trending.

Then I re-engaged with the author noting this skew towards the idea that the comedian was Not Funny and added a comment that this was a typical response to a comedian’s work in general.  To reinforce the point, I also suggested that, as opposed to comics, poor actors don’t suffer from surveys about the quality of their work.

It appears that this hit a nerve.  A reply came back stating that the survey was over a week old and as I was now responding they assumed that I had actively sought out the Tweet just to be a ‘spoilsport’, along with a suggestion that I desist being such a person and a ending the message with a firm invite to leave the conversation.

A few points to note:

  • The survey was still active and had another day and some hours to finish
  • I found it because it was pinned to the top of the user’s feed.  A place Twitter users can ensure they get maximum attention
  • Twitter doesn’t work that way.  People can join and leave when they wish to.  It is a public forum
  • I could even claim it was my own conversation topic that I was being strongly invited to leave

I felt I had been unfairly libelled about the motive for my conversation and unfairly called a name.  So I decided, as is my right, to politely reply once more.

I noted that they had misinterpreted my intention, that I didn’t seek the tweet but came across it and thought it interesting so started the conversation.  I added that they now choose to terminate it, rather impolitely.  And suggested that I seemingly didn’t fit their narrative.  However I did finally note that I will leave them to it and finished off with a simple message – Be kind.

I had no intention of continuing a conversation that appeared to have reached an impasse.

However curiosity led to me checking to see if a response came and as I was reading the rude comments that were being fired back by the author to their followers, without including me, the feed suddenly disappeared.

I had been blocked.

Unable to see the rest of the continued libel and unable to respond.

It was the Twitter equivalent of someone steaming out of the room whilst shouting back abuse and slamming the door.

Let me be clear.  I do not object to being blocked.  If you can’t handle a conversation that is not feeding your own bias then that is fine.  Everybody has a right to be who they choose to be.

I find it sad, however, that this person does not wish to open their mind at all to a reasoned, alternative point of view.

And downright rude to be libellous without being subject to recourse.

After all, when all is said and done, I took some time to carefully craft an interesting conversation with a low level user of a system where my only expressed opinion was that comedian’s generally get a raw deal and I had taken some of my valuable time to take part in that person’s public survey expressing an honest opinion.  A survey which had hardly received any other traction from a person who I initially thought might deserve more than their handful of followers.  Generally I try to support those with less followers and initially thought I may have discovered another interesting person to follow.

In continuation of my polite attitude towards this exchange I have not sought to belittle the Twitterer on this platform who I had the conversation with so will not advertise their details here.

Nor will I name the comedian who was being subjected to the initial attempted trolling.  In fact it is interesting that although named in the original survey no attempt was made to involve them as no hashtag or Twitter handle was included by the original author.

However, as can be rightly conferred throughout this article I am interested in thoughts about this exchange, the merits and disadvantages of being a comedian and of learning alternative opinions.  So please feel free to comment.

And I promise you, no matter what you think I will not block you.  Because that way I am really blocking myself.

Plus, I know, it does hurt a little.

Be kind.

Author: Vince Poynter

An original article, published here first on WordPress, 26 Mar 2018

The Social Medium

I don’t like what you post on FaceBook.  Or the way that Twitter is used.  I’m annoyed why photo sharing sites are ignored and think that most LinkedIn comments are preposterous.  But don’t worry, all is fine.

I suspect you feel the same about my use of social media.  And probably the way your other contacts do all this as well.  It’s because there are no rules here so we make up our own.

The reason that I dislike all this is that you don’t use these social networks as they should be used.  Which is to say that you don’t use them in the way that I interpret they should be used.  I’ll give you an example.

I don’t use FaceBook to store and distribute my digital photograph collections.  For a start I would think it presumptuous to assume you’d like to see them all and I do like to keep some of my life to myself.  Plus if I wanted to share shed-loads of pretty pictures I’d use a proper photo-sharing site, like Flickr.  It’s the way it was first devised and shall always remain so.

Some selective photos of mine are published on FB which may be of interest to the few friends and family I save this site for.  And every one of them is in focus I might add.

Ephemeral photos that I take are much more suited to the casual nature of Tweeting so you only get to see these if you follow me there.

Which brings me neatly onto the issue of followers and contacts.  And a specific question.  Why do you have so many?  Yes, on the face of it it seems flattering that so many others want to be in your gang but there is a limit to these things and too many lessen the impact.  It is a privilege to be considered a friend but not if everyone is.  And I think it impossible to follow the posts of more than fifty or so active others, across all sites.  So how do you manage your seventy, seven hundred or several thousand?

So this is how you should use Social Media.

At present FaceBook is the worst of the lot.  It has become a dumping ground for everything that is good or bad in social media and tries to emulate and steal the ideas from every other format.  It wants your posts, your pictures, your locations, your timeline, your soul.  By all means use this as a one stop shop if you know no better but as you are are reading this I guess you do know better so don’t!

If FB must be used, use it only for close friends and family.  Restrict posts to interesting things about what you are getting up to.  If you need to arrange a meeting use the phone or text.

Only share photo collections on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr.  And group them by activity, event or date.  With all miscellaneous content clearly labelled so.  And just delete the duplications and the ones with your damn thumb in the corner.

Don’t however treat Instagram as a photo sharing site.  Use this to create interesting, vivid content not as a place to dump every photo of parties, pies and peers.

Respect your Twitter stream by properly following just a handful of people who genuinely interest you, whether they be friends, famous or followable.

Your friends and relations do like to see where you are and what you are doing there so use a site designed for this purpose such as FourSquare.  Or If you are watching something try sharing with GetGlue.

Keep LinkedIn professional.  Only post relevant notes about your career and work related issues.  And no avatar photos of you on a beach or the piste, unless that is your workplace.

If you can’t think of anything amusing, pertinent or interesting to say post nothing.  And when a thought enters your mind carefully choose the appropriate medium.

Only selectively requote or link to other peoples content.  Stop constantly referencing other people’s stuff.  If I had an interest in their diatribe I’d find it myself.  Save the plagiarism for satirists.

Ignore Google + because that upsets geeks, was far too late for the party and Google should stick to searching.

Only please don’t do any of the above.  Because you are you not me.