Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

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40 Words, More Or Less

January 20, 2009

So the #7things meme wasn’t enough? We weren’t sufficiently embarrassed that when @smuttysteff did her list, she found 131 things (here and there)? The pain of tagging (and then prodding, pleading, and cajoling seven friends into doing the same) wasn’t sufficiently burning?

Apparently not. Yesterday I was tagged by @MamitaMojita. Now she seems like someone I’d gladly have a few mojitos with, any time the opportunity arose. Or could be created. Did I say gladly? I meant: giddily. But she invite me out for drinks? No. Instead she tagged me to answer a 40-item questionnaire. Well, not as much fun, Florida-girl! And it’s really only a 39-item questionnaire, since #15 is mysteriously missing. But…okay. I’m in. Rules: Only 1-word answers. Admission: I cheated a little. I squished some words together. That’s okay, right?

1. Where is your cell phone? recharging

2. Your significant other? @vmason

3. Your hair? highlighted

4. Your mother? toaking

5. Your father? bellowing

6. Your favorite thing? enthusiasm

7. Your dream last night? incomprehensible

8. Your favorite drink? martini

9. Your dream/goal? polygamy

10. What room you are in? office

11. Your hobby? kungfu

12. Your fear? indifference

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? happiness

14. Where were you last night? training

16. Muffins? tasty!

17. Wish list item? immortality

18. Where you grew up? South

19. Last thing you did? taichi

20. What are you wearing? BOLD

21. Your TV? nonesuch

22. Your pets? eight

23. Friends? fawesome

24. Your life? larger

25. Your mood? deluged

26. Missing someone? yes

27. Car? MINI

28. Something you’re not wearing? watch

29. Your favorite store? WholeFoods

30. Your summer? Ibiza

31. Like someone? considerably

32. Your favorite color? blue

33. When is the last time you laughed? now

34. Last time you cried? yesterday

35. Who will resend this? Cthulhu

36. One place that I go to over and over? Funkytown

37. One person who emails me regularly? spammers

38. My favorite place to eat? Japan

39. Why you participated in this survey? @MamitaMojita

40. What are you doing tonight? training

It’s often said that Twitter has cliques. I think it’s more truly said that humanity has cliques. But let me do my part here to include some new folks in the mix. I tag: @drlenna @IdaRose @ShellBell4 @lynnelle @legin @omgiwillkillyou @atsirhc
Y’all let me know when you’re done, and I’ll link to your answers here.

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Portland, Infinity, and Beyond

January 16, 2009

I attended the tweetup (Twitter meetup–everything about Twitter must be twprefixed!) in Portland, Maine last night. Some random observations–most not specific to Portland, or even tweetups:

  • Portland, Maine is a cool little town, artsy and funkadelic. The rest of Maine: not so much. But Portland, you’re OK.
  • Portland  is cold in the winter. I walked outside in a suit coat, but the locals were walking by in four layers capped with arctic parkas, looking at me funny. Hey, I’m wearing gloves! It’s a whole 5 degrees F. here. Man up! You too, lady! But to that other slim lady–the elegant one gracefully loitering outside to have a smoke: You, my dear, are hardcore. You, I salute! Inside, the temperature wasn’t much a topic of discussion. I guess by now, all the locals know it’s cold outside, and are bored with the topic. But “I don’t know if I can hack these winters!” and “I wonder how much longer I want to hack this?” are apparently still on the table. Kids, it could be worse. Talk to some friends in Minnesota, or Canada. They hack it. And to the Portland policemen that did a double-take: What? You’ve never seen a car with the windows rolled down? Move along; nothing to see here. Though I must admit, the -6 and breezy on the way home: that’s brisk.
  • “Following” on Twitter is basically legalized stalking. And people love it. It’s not awkward at all in Twitterdom to ask for someone’s userid. Even the hot girls give theirs out without a second thought. No more awkward “can I get your number?” or “what’s your email?” And I mean this not just in a tawdry, trolling-for-romance-and-good-times way. Continued social interaction after a Twitter event–with whomever you like, and at whatever level–is genuinely and admirably easier than IRL. Interaction is the mixing of the human glue. People who’ve not experienced Twitter don’t get how much it helps. The email, IM, Myspace, and Facebook experience sheds little light. No matter how much she baked in a conventional oven, grandma never could understand a microwave oven. Similarly, eventually everyone will take it for granted.
  • The hottest girls in the room aren’t always the Hot Girls in the room. The coolest guys in the room aren’t always the Cool Guys in the room. In fact, they probably aren’t.
  • Those that profess the most shyness or social ineptitude aren’t the shyest and most socially inept people. Far from it. Sure, they may feel shyness or social anxiety just like everyone else who wasn’t born a glad-hander. But the reason you hear their complaints is that they’re articulating them. To other people. Go ahead, reread that. I’ll wait right here. The shyest and most socially challenged are those that don’t speak or express themselves, that don’t interact. Even more so, those that don’t come at all–that that aren’t out there, trying. Sorry to burst your bubbles, people in the 83th percentile of social capability and outgoingness; I know you’re not at the glib 95th percentile, but Get Real already.
  • Everyone judges. I had a discussion with @fashionbitch before the event in which we agreed to sit back, people-watch, and judge to our hearts content. She is apparently famous among the Portland twitterati for doing just that at a previous tweetup. We didn’t do much sitting, but my oh my! did we do some good people-watching and judging. I judged her, she judged me, together we judged other people and groups, everyone else judged us–and then people all shifted around and started the process over again with, and within, different teams.  The Favrd crowd often moans about those who just use Twitter as a sort of chat room. Well, lemmie tellya! The chat-roomers make fun right back! And no one seems to like those who answer what Twitter originally asks: What are you doing? Conclusion: bo-RING! UN-follow! Everyone frames, everyone interprets within their frame;  Phenomenology gives another real-time demonstration. Good fun, and the human condition at work.
  • Trust neither avatars nor usernames. They just don’t convey the person. @timorousme? Not really timorous. @heroicnudity? Great, great username, man–but I doubt it. SRSLY. The truly HAWT girl in the room? Your avatar (and the larger picture behind it) does you no justice. None. NONE. Conversely, those with fabulous avatars can be kinda meh in person.
  • Twitter is more honest than most forms of communication. Sure, we front. Others pose. That girl over there has several accounts:  not all of them are ostensibly female, some of them obviously pseudopeople. (It’s interesting how many people have figured this out.) Fakery, compartmentalization, and best-foot-forward (among other sins and foils) are possible–indeed, assured–as long as it’s humans doing the communicating. But in general, Twitter’s real-time, short, text messages expose more of the real us–the way we really think about and react to things, than pretty much any other media. Messages are longer and more articulate than kid’s txts, but not there usually isn’t time for the careful editing seen with email, nor the retouching ubiqitous with pictures and video. There isn’t space in 140 characters to weave more than a little bit of an artful web. One or a few tweets may front, but it’s harder to do that on a large-scale basis. Your whole body of tweets is available, to pretty much whomever’d like to look them over. Like open source, many eyes make finding the lies, errors, inconsistencies, and omissions faster and more likely. Human communication is only ostensibly honest to begin with, but Twitter’s style and restrictions seem to weed out some of the common dishonesties of other media. The emotional distance of the network also allows and encourages a higher level of openness. So while I don’t believe you’re “the most socially awkward kid ever,” I completely buy the “I’m feeling awkward” admission beneath it; such notes are admirably open and real expressions. This is something you probably wouldn’t talk about face-to-face–or at best, hint at or talk vaguely around. Here, it’s really what you’re feeling. More honest, open communications and an outlet for expression FTW.
  • More honesty goes only so far. The same confortable zones and cliques operate when we’re face-to-face.
  • Social media experts don’t have to be douchetards. No, I’m not precisely sure what that means, either–but I can guess, and it seems the internet insult du jour. @ccmaine was the only “social media expert” that I identified in the room. And she has exactly the right view: “social media experts” = users. There are no email experts, at least any more, and there shouldn’t be a specific, separate, designated class of social networking priests and priestesses. FWIW, other “social media experts” that I’ve interacted with–@lindstifa and @coffeecupkat for example–also seem nice, sane, smart, and unannoying. There may be a bit of  over-judging and strawman-bashing of webcocks.
  • Not all local Twitter communities do the same thing. Here in Nashua, NH we often go out to eat together, get our nails done together, have parties, move furniture, play Rock Band, and travel together, among other things. Some of us have fallen in love with each other. Portland seems to just have stand-up meetings with beverages on the side. Several folks there noted that they almost never see each other except on Twitter and at designated tweetups. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” It’s just interesting to see how different communities act, behave, and are.
  • I’m glad I went. The timing wasn’t so good (I missed another tweetup in nearby Portsmouth, NH scheduled for exactly the same time; next time: co-ord-in-a-tion–try it!). And I missed some of the Portland folks I really wanted to meet face-to-face. But I met some good new folks. And it helped crystalize some general thoughts I’ve had about the twitterati.
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Zolora Three for Thee

January 15, 2009

The odd but interesting @zolora was bored, and her brain cast out three seemingly random questions. I so enjoyed the recent #7things meme (tell us seven things about you that we don’t already know) that I agreed to answer these questions, too. Here they are:

  1. When has your first impression of someone been most inaccurate? Zolora One answered here.
  2. You have to make a 3 course dinner for 50 very important people. What do you make? Zolora Two answered here.
  3. If you led a double life, what would your secret other life be like? Zolora Three answered here.
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First Misunderestimations

January 15, 2009

The odd but interesting @zolora was bored, and her brain cast out three seemingly random questions. I so enjoyed the recent #7things meme (tell us seven things about you that we don’t already know) that I agreed to answer these questions, too. This is one of three:

When has your first impression of someone been most inaccurate?

Like the Z-girl I’m not a big believer in “best,” “most,” or “favorite.” It’s hard to choose the “most,” and I often don’t see the point. But there is a recent misunderestimation that stands out clearly in my mind: @empirebetty, who I know IRL, via Twitter.

I don’t know first who followed whom. We were both looking for other local folks on Twitter, and we followed each other at about the same time. My first impression was massively inaccurate. I thought she was much, much older than she is–both physically and emotionally. As in “I was off by 30 years.” Or so.

I thought she was kind of a fogey, to tell the truth. I pictured her, on the basis of a her updates and a brief glimpse in her avatar, as in late middle age. I pictured someone not terribly happy or outgoing. Now I generally like older women, but I wasn’t terribly keen on the cross-following. I thought she might at some point chide me for not being a good enough Christian, or something like that, and I was more than ready to un-follow her at the first whiff of trouble. Just as a point of reference, my impression was that she was (at least emotionally) even older than my wife, who is 65. (Sorry, EB!)

I started to down-shift my age assumptions as I started interacting with her more directly. She started to seem more social. By the time we planned our first dinner together (EB loves to dine alfresco, so do we), I realized she probably wasn’t too far out of her 40s. Maybe mid-40s. When she arrived, I had an “oops!” moment, realizing she was probably in her 30s. Turns out, her early 30s. So that put my initial impression off by a factor of 2. My read of her emotional age was at least as far off as my physical age guess.

In my defense, I will say that EB used to be vastly more guarded and circumspect. Her “adorably obnoxious” tagline wasn’t yet so fully manifested, her nightlife and romances were not yet eagerly chronicled, and few photographs were to be seen. Her avatar and photos did not convey youth! and pizzazz! to me. Even today, she favors photos like this one from New Year’s Eve that, in my opinion, make her look much older, and from a bygone year besides. That’s OK; they make her smile. But the EB I know is more like this: vibrant, fun-loving, and more than a little devilish.

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7 Things

January 7, 2009

I was tagged by @empirebetty to reveal “7 things you don’t know about me,” then tag 7 more folks. Here goes:

  1. I’m a sucker for the glossy sound of New Wave and synthpop. Sure I like high-brow music, such as Bach and Beethoven on the classical side, or Coltrane, Jonah Jones, and Béla Fleck in jazz. But I’m sadly smitten by “the music of my youth”: Blondie, The Cars, Talking Heads, Eurythmics, Devo, Adam Ant (and before that, Adam and the Ants), Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, The Human League, Kraftwerk and a whole bunch of other lower-brow sounds. I don’t have the musical ear or vocabulary to precisely understand or express what it is about this music, but it’s like Cheetos. I just want to eat the whole bag. And then, maybe a second one. I hear the same slick sounds carried over in more recent bands, be it U2, INXS, or Oasis, and I like them for the same reason(s). And if this weren’t a sufficiently embarrassing admission, I’m equally a sucker for surf rock. Here’s a Pandora.com station that combines these influences.
  2. I like “older women.” This won’t completely surprise those who’ve met my wife. While quite young for her age, you’d have to be pretty unobservant to not notice that she’s a few years my senior. 22 years, in fact. I think it traces back to the fact that, as a child, I spent a lot of time with much older women: my 70- to 90-something aunts, grandmothers, and great-grandmother. I related to them as “other people” rather than “old people,” which made me much more accepting of women of any age when I became interested in the opposite sex. I certainly admire the bodies, the energy, and the enthusiasm of younger women, but let’s be practical. On any kind of ongoing basis, you can have sex, what? Maybe two or three times a day? At the most, on good days. That leaves a lot of hours in which you have to interact in other ways. And so your companions / mates had better be able to make decent conversation, remain interesting, be cooperative and kind, and generally be the sort of person that you want to do things with and be with. Human beings don’t seem to be “fully baked” until about 25 years old. Until then, there’s a lot of, like, you know, immaturity. Ohmigod! There is. And, like, not enough, like, substance. You know? And so 25-on-up is the appropriate age range, with 30-something or 40-somethings seeming like “young women.” That’s enough, at least, to impart some experience, and to get over unrealistic party-always or fairy-tale thinking. Side note: When I was young, it felt like I had the whole MILF category to myself, but these days it seems a lot more men have caught on to the virtues of sadder-but-wiser girls.
  3. I never wanted children. Ever. I knew, from an early age (by 10 certainly, maybe younger) that I never wanted to have children. At the time, most adults I discussed this with tried to convince me that I was Wrong, and that my opinion would change as I grew older. I knew the opposite. They were wrong at the time, and I’m doubly certain of it now. My parents were divorced, and maybe this played into my thinking, but not in any clear or direct way. Don’t get me wrong. I do like kids. They’re so cute and adorable. When they belong to other people.
  4. I’m bad at math. I suck at basic arithmetic; it’s amazing when I can add and subtract numbers correctly, much less multiply or divide them. Yes, I have a B.A. in mathematics, and could easily have gone on. Yes, I took 5 years of calculus, up through the Complex Numbers. (Ulch!) Yes, I did graph theory, combinatorics, and abstract algebra at a graduate level. Yes, I score near the top on tests. Yes, I earned my way into a national competition on the strength of a mathematical insight. But trust me, I’m bad at math. Or put another way, I was good in the same way that many high-school or college athletes are good at their sports: Good or very good compared to the completely untalented general population—but pitted against a real professional or someone with genuine talent, you quickly realize just how pathetic they still are. I studied with a world-class mathematician, and I was just good enough to maybe polish his shoes.
  5. My internal thermostat runs at least 10 or 15 degrees hotter than most peoples’. I’m quite comfortable in 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. I wait until it gets down to 40- or 30-something to use a light coat, and don’t get serious about warmth layers until it’s freezing or below. Most indoor environments are kept much warmer, especially in the winter. That’s not particularly comfortable for me. I start to get hot in the low 70 degrees Fahrenheit, about the same temperature most people think is just starting to be cozy, and I start to sweat about 3 degrees higher. A room that’s 78 or 82 degrees is like an oven to me. I’m forever opening the windows, rolling up my sleeves, or mopping my brow. My desk always has a small fan, and it’s usually on, even in the winter. This leads to no end of social discomfort, especially since many things I love—moving around, engaging in energetic discussion, or consuming anything alcoholic or caffeinated, for example—turn the furnace up even higher. Mommie, why is that man sweating buckets? Because he’s what the Chinese would consider the very embodiment of the Fire element, that’s why.
  6. I have interesting ancestors by the boatload. My forebears include some of the first Jews in America (Portuguese Sheppardic Jews fleeing the Inquisition in 1733), a Cherokee lass separated from the Eastern Band and brought up Baptist in the late 1800s, and a whole bunch of hard-working, Western-pioneering farmer folk from the United Kingdom, especially Scotland. Some of my cousins, descendants of those hardy Scots, their great-great-grandparents having homesteaded Oklahoma and then moved even further West, are still out there farming the edge of the Arkansas River in Colorado. Then there’s the one-legged Confederate sergeant, the exquisitely corrupt government contractor, the druggies, alcoholics, and violent rage-o-haulics, and the insane. One great-grandmother spent a goodly amount of time “at Milledgeville”—a facility started as the “Georgia Lunatic Asylum” (a.k.a. the “State Asylum for the Insane”), but that was watered down over several iterations down to the colorless “Central State Hospital” (still “Georgia’s largest facility for persons with mental illness”). Oh, did I mention the swamp-billies living on the edge of the Everglades, complete with swamp buggy in the front yard? Say what you like, but I come from interesting people.
  7. I’m hopelessly in love with any food featuring an elastic texture. Marshmallows are the paradigm example. I’ll eat marshmallows toasted, or right out of the bag, or Fluff out of the jar. I’ll eat basically anything with marshmallows on or in them. Fluffernutters are great sandwiches,[1] and Lucky Charms really are magically delicious. I even like marshmallowy things if they are objectively disgusting, such as the grotesquely orange pseudo-marshmallows called Circus Peanuts. I’m also fond of Jello—especially if it’s stiffer and springier than usual. That it’s made from the scrapings of animal carcasses? Doesn’t faze me a bit. Speaking of meat byproducts, meats often have part of the skin, ligaments, or gristle that’s quite elastic. Love it! There are also elastic noodles, such as in Pad Thai. Or spongy, elastic breads, such as Mandarin buns. Also mmmmm! Truly, anything with an elastic texture is worth a try.

I tag the following tweeps to similarly reveal 7 things we don’t yet know:

  1. @fistsoffolly DONE! Read here.
  2. @Jessabelle207 DONE! Read here.
  3. @zolora DONE! Read here
  4. @mayjah DONE! Read here
  5. @davislove DONE! Read here
  6. @viciousbleu
  7. @EntropyAS DONE! Read here

[1] Bonus info: Apparently, Fluffernutters.com is also a company that arranges hedonist/swinger vacations. No affiliation with the sandwiches. Once again, Thank you, Google!

UPDATE: TBMimsTheThird provides a nice listing of various folks’ #7things posts.
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Fail Whale for the Favrd

October 22, 2008

Many Twitter users are perfectly happy sharing tweets along the lines of “I am at Crispy Joe’s having a double tall extra milk frappachino with two cherries. Man! Do I ever love me some girly coffee!” or “Going to gym. Good abs day. Tomorrow: Pecs.” Good for them!

But some folks aspire to more. More than answering just “hey, whatcha doin?” they want to amuse, inspire, and entertain. They their very own place in the firmament of the Twitterverse: Favrd.

Unbeknownst to many users, Twitter lets one click a little blank star next to each tweet to “favorite this update.” (Twitter clients may use something different. The popular Twhirl for instance uses a star for something different, and uses a heart icon for favoriting.) Favrd is a service that turns those favorites into an ongoing, crowd-ranked distillation of what is most funny and favored across the Twitter land.

A program at Favrd’s world headquarters uses the Twitter API to look at the favorites of a subset of Twitter users (you can nominate yourself into this group, if you like). These favorites are seen as votes. If tweets get enough votes (currently 3), they are “favrd” and appear on The Leaderboard. Day by day, the best and the brightest are voted up, the votes tallied, and the winners proclaimed.

But the voting process is now broken. Twitter has stopped reliably recording favorites. Twitter has never been known for rock-solid quality of service. Quite the opposite, in fact. Sometimes the whole service has been down, sometimes just a feature like search or keyword tracking. After a particularly shaky Summer, service levels have been generally good and improving. For at least a week however, favorites have not, at least in part, worked. Some tweets can be marked as favorites by some users–but not by other users. Sometimes favorites look like they worked, but are not permanently recorded by Twitter. In other words, the failures are intermittent, and some are of the silent-but-deadly variety. The problem also seems time-dependent. Some unfavorable tweets suddenly become favorable, a day or so later. Unfortunately, most users will have long since moved on.

Many Twitter problems and status updates are reported on status.twitter.com, but the systemic failure of favorites doesn’t appear there. I’ve started a discussion in Twitter’s Developer Talk area, and Twitter developers such as Alex Payne (@ax3l) are aware of it.

I know I’m risking a A Twitter feature is broken!! A Twitter feature is broken!! How ever will I live?! frenzy reminiscent of @Lisa_Nova‘s excellent Twitter Whore video. (And yes, I did tweet my moment of tizzy. You know I did!) But having major Twitter features not work is important. It’s important to users, and it’s important to Twitter as a platform provider. It’s especially important to the Favrd crowd. If favorites don’t work reliably, Favrd might as well be using Diebold voting machines. Favrd Nation, the Fail Whale is upon you.

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So Many Awesome People! I Never Knew!

October 16, 2008

One of the things I’ve learned via Twitter is to be less cynical about people. Yes, there are many, many, many toads and turds out there. I see them–and unfortunately, interact with them–every day. I also interact with good people every day. But the ratio sucks. Middlin’ to poor is the norm, with good, great, or awesome the happy exceptions.

Via Twitter, however, I have found large numbers of people who I greatly like, admire, and enjoy. They’re funny, smart, and delightful. People I’d like to know better, and to spend more time with. People that, via Twitter, I am actually getting to know better, and that I am spending more time with.

Many live in places that I really wouldn’t have expected. Boston, New York, Chicago, Austin, Portland OR, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver, London, Paris, Barcelona–yeah, OK, I expected you to have a few great ones. But you have a lot.

My estimation for The Sticks has been especially enhanced. Take Richmond, Virginia for instance. Is that a place I’d expect to find a lot of truly awesome people? Uh, no. Call me elitist, parochial, or a flyover-bigot, but the honest truth is, I wouldn’t a’ thunk it. Yet RVA has turned out to be a hotbed of awesome folks. So much so it makes me want to actually visit the place. Wow. Have driven through it many times, and been happy to see it in the rearview mirror. Next time, I want to stop. Hell, next time, I’d go out of my way to stop there. Just. Wow.

RVA is not alone. Nor would I have given Nebraska, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Maine, Western Mass., nor a lot of other places much more than the time of day. And yet, there they are, beaming their funny, their smart, and their delightful interior lives out to the world. Even in places like Southern NH, the Bay Area, and Savannah GA that I know well, I’ve found new gems I would not have otherwise met. And people I already knew before Twitter? I generally know them better and like them more than I did before.

Call me sappy, but I’m grateful. You people are awesome!