Posts Tagged ‘ Twitter ’

The TV Tweeters

twitter-tvSo let’s say you’re a relatively active Twitter-user, and you have interesting things to say.

Most of your content is witty (and, naturally, succinct), with real thoughts on real issues rather than endless hashtag soups. You are, in short, a real person with a Twitter account, rather than a Twitter account run by a person.

Subtle difference, but key, that one.

Why — why, I ask, in God’s name — would you then dramatically alter your usage of Twitter for one or two hours a week, turning it into a constantly-spewing font of minute-by-minute updates about one TV show in particular?

It’s one thing from Twitter feeds that are dedicated to TV coverage, or to a specific fandom, or whatever. The people who follow those presumably want a nonstop conversation about their beloved stories (in the “Nana’s watching her stories” sense of the word, natch).

But if you’re spending 90% of your time on Twitter cultivating an audience that likes mostly real-person sorts of discussions, don’t use the remaining 10% of your Twitter-time to inflict a niche discussion filled with actor’s handles, obscure hashtags, and gushy TV crap. It just confuses your poor readers, who were under the impression (carefully cultivated by you) that you were a normal human being with basic social functions.

Also it makes their feeds a hassle to read for that hour. Seriously, the massive wall of Tweets from you? Not helpful.

Put it on another account, so that people can ignore that account. Otherwise you’re going to have to be that much funnier and awesome the rest of the time to keep us all putting up with your weekly fandom splooge-fests.

I Do Not Get #FF

Twitter, ugh.

Using it sometimes feels like playing Mao, you know? Like it’s this completely arbitrary game where in theory you figure out the rules as you go along, but really it only exists so that the people who already know the rules (who are nerds) can enjoy the dirty thrill of hazing without any of the physical strength and/or social skills necessary to actually intimidate, and therefore haze, another human being.

Mao is such bullshit. Anyway, where was I? Oh, Twitter. Right.


I use Twitter in a bunch of different incarnations. Some are more professional than others. Some get more use than others (my personal @GeoffreyCubbage account, for example, has languished for years now).

But in every incarnation, I’ve received at least one “#FF” tweet.

What is #FF, you may ask yourself, if you’re not one of those obnoxious people who live on Twitter and already know this kind of shit?

I have no fucking clue. Or rather, I know what it means. It’s “Follow Friday,” for the untutored among you, and in theory the author of a #FF tweet is basically saying “here, look at all these other Twitter feeds; I follow them and think they are cool so maybe you would like to follow them too.” It looks like a hashtag followed by a blob of usernames:


In the world of Twitter, this seems to be a nice thing. So people are occasionally doing a nice thing for me: sharing my Twitter handle and encouraging other users to follow it.


Only, what do you do with that? Reply and say “thanks”? Retweet it yourself? Go look at the other names in the #FF tweet?

I don’t know, and so I let them quietly wash by me, because I am too afraid of committing some grievous social sin to act. It’s nice to know some social anxieties lurk beneath this aggressively competent facade I’ve constructed online. Still a nerd at heart!

But never a nerd who made people play Mao. God.

Wait, We Give a Shit About the Golden Globes, Now, Too?

Look, the Oscars once a year are bad enough.

I don’t know what it is about “being in a movie” that makes some of you care what that person wears or says at an awards ceremony. I mean, my accountant’s job is pretty intense, what with the myriad income streams and messed-up US tax code, but I’m still not checking Twitter to see who’s photobombing him at the American Accounting Association Awards.

A Lisa Frank trapper-keeper, apparently.

A set of Lisa Frank trapper-keepers, apparently.

So it’s sort of embarrassing, as a member of the human race, to see all my social media feeds suddenly fill with breathless commentary on what a bunch of total strangers are doing in a fancy banquet hall that we weren’t invited to every time the Oscars roll around. Just let them do their thing, guys. It doesn’t affect us.

But whatever. It’s only once a year.

Only now it’s not? I don’t know if it was just the presence of Jennifer Lawrence or what, but god damn did everyone care about the Golden Globes this year. Twitter, Facebook, you name it. All Golden Globes, all the time. Most of you hadn’t even heard of any of the movies up for awards except American Hustle, don’t lie.

I’m okay with film nerds caring. The rest of you, cut that shit out. Wait for Oscar season.

Wonderella had it right (Wonderella is always right):


Gov. Walker’s Grinch-Letter Aide Fired for Racist Tweets

Well that’s a bizarre follow-up to yesterday’s story.

I don’t normally cover the same political fluff two days in a row, unless it’s something incredibly important, but what the hell. We’ll make room for a new development today. It’s weird enough that it’s worth a look.

As long-time readers will recall from way back yesterday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign office sent out a rather grinchley fundraising letter over the weekend, asking parents to donate to Scott Walker instead of buying toys for their children this year. The letter was signed (and presumably authored) by one Taylor Palmisano, the deputy finance director at Walker’s campaign arm Friends of Scott Walker.

In an obvious case of journalists thinking “Wow, let’s see what other stupid things this person has said lately,” a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel blog unearthed a pair of offensive tweets from the same Taylor Palmisano from several years earlier, prompting her swift dismissal from the campaign.


That’s a hell of a news cycle for one campaign finance officer: give the go-ahead to a fundraising newsletter that becomes fodder for prime-time mockery one day; get outed by a major newspaper for you hateful tweets the next, and shitcanned within hours of the revelation.

You could almost feel sorry for her if she weren’t an eminently dislikable person working for a morally bankrupt political campaign. But let this be a warning to all of us: as soon as we make the news for one embarrassing thing we did, the new breed of e-journo will quickly out us for all the other embarrassing things we’ve done, too, before our name fades from the search engines.

Isn’t the 21st century exciting?

J. P. Morgan Requests Twitter Feedback, Receives It; Cancels Request

I’m always sobered by the thought that most people employed by truly awful, society-destroying institutions don’t think of themselves as “bad guys.” It’s very Milgram experiment.

Case in point: apparently no one in J. P. Morgan’s communications department thought it would be a bad idea to use Twitter for an “Ask Me Anything” knock-off promotion, inviting Twitter users to submit questions with the hashtag #AskJPM:


No, really. A roomfull of people employed by one of the most hated corporate names in America sat around and agreed that they should try and start a #AskJPM hashtag. Hey guys, maybe it’ll go viral!

It did.






The company threw in the towel about six hours after their original invitation:


All of which begs the questions — why would they even try something like this?

And the answer, unfortunately, is that most people — including the people at J. P. Morgan — won’t think of themselves as “bad people,” even when faced with overwhelming evidence that they have done horrible things with real-life consequences.

It literally never entered the minds of whatever hapless strategists dreamed this up that everyone hates them because they are bad people. They don’t think of themselves as enablers of evil, despite that being their entire fucking job.

So, faced with massive public feedback to the general effect that “we hate you and you are bad people,” their solution was to stop soliciting public feedback.

It won’t improve people’s feelings toward the institution any, but at least this way whatever “communications specialist” reads the @jpmorgan Twitter feed won’t have to face quite so many reminders of his/her need for a little soul-searching. And really, what’s important here?

3 Things You Need to Understand About Online Listicles

testicle-listicleYou see what I did there, with the numbered list format for the post and everything? Tres ironic.

(The accent was left out ironically, too. And by ironically I mean “putting accents into WordPress is a pain and half of your computers will turn it into a funky upside-down question mark in a box or some shit anyway.”)

Listicles — articles with a numbered list format, rather than a connected narrative structure — are not wholly an internet phenomenon. Cosmopolitan lives and dies by them; more respectable publications like Time, Esquire, and Rolling Stone have all made good and famous use of them in their histories as well.

But, as it does with most things, the internet has cheapened and degraded the art form until it threatens to destroy its relevance altogether, and so you need to understand the following things about your lists of repackaged content from the internet:

1. They Are Curated

This is not objective journalism here. List items are cherry-picked because they work well in the artificial context of the list, not because they’re necessarily relevant.

Someone has put some thought into shoving whatever items you’re looking at in your face. They have also discarded a much larger number of items that they didn’t think would fit. It is entirely possible that you, personally, seeking out your own news, would have found those cutting-room-floor bits vastly more relevant.

2. They Are Designed for Emotional Response

This is a big one. “Wow, that’s cool and I did not know that” is a good starting target for a listicle, but your real social-media expert is going for a more emotional response — “Wow I am angry and I didn’t even know it” or “Wow I am so touched I am crying on my keyboard now.” That’s what really gets people to share your crap.

Do you remember Buzzfeed’s lovingly-curated list of racist reactions to the new Miss America? (No, it doesn’t get a link.) That was not what Twitter looked like if you searched for the #MissAmerica hashtag that night. What it looked like was a sea of inane and harmless tweets about a beauty pageant you’re not interested in, with the occasional fleck of racist argle-bargle bobbing on the foam like a turd.

But you don’t give a fuck about Miss America. You probably even have some nasty thoughts about the contenders tucked away in the back of your mind (bimbos, anti-feminist, catfighting bitches, whatever). You just like to feel outraged, and Buzzfeed brought the hammer down on that emotional fault line as hard as they could. That’s how people build really successful listicles for their employers.

3. Most of Them are Plagiarized

Broadly speaking I don’t have much of a personal problem with the prevailing netiquette, which (among civilized users, at any rate) basically runs “if you post someone else’s content, refer to them as the creator and provide a link back where possible.”

But it is not actually how copyright works, and if they don’t have permission from the creator to display the work, most of your favorite listicles from the internet are probably plagiarized.

Getting your work splashed up on Buzzfeed might get you a bump in hits from the small percentage of users that click through their microscopic citation link — but that’s pretty piss-poor compensation for a revenue-generating article that they would not have had without your labor, and for which you will never see a dime.

Maybe I’m belaboring the point too much here. “Every time you read a content-aggregating listicle you are stealing from starving freelancers,” how’s that?

And I think less of you as a person when you share them on social media. There we go.

Another Day, Another Derp: Ted Cruz Is Bad at Public Relations, or at Least at Chess

Oh Teddy. I don’t mean to keep picking on you, I really don’t.

But you’re always getting yourself on the teevees and the internet machines, because that is where you love to be, and you do it so badly.

On Friday night we got this from the good Senator’s official Twitter account:


Which, cool. That there is some messaging. With the chess game, and the maneuvering, and all, ’cause he and buddy Mike Lee are strategists, see, and they’re playing a long game up there on the Hill, or something. A bold statement in the current political climate.

Of course, the queens and kings are switched (queen on color, folks), which makes you wonder if either of them actually plays much chess, but hey! It’s the message that counts.

I guess the defense here is that having a staff member whose job it is to double-check all your publicity photos for derp moments is an establishment thing, and we’re seeing the real maverick Cruz here.

But if the real maverick Cruz is bad at chess — which is fine — he maybe shouldn’t go out of his way to share his chess games with us. It’s like that guy you know on Facebook (we all know that guy) who keeps posting pictures of the dinners he’s cooked, and they’re all sort of generic brown mush with a few green sprinkles on top.

Politics aside, people…think before you Tweet. A symbolic image that you derped up is just symbolic of, well, you being kind of derpy.

The Boston Marathon Bombings: Tragedy as Social Media Meme

Broadly speaking I think “slacktivism” — the Facebook posting and tweeting of graphics and articles supporting political or ideological causes — probably has a net positive effect.

Boston-Marathon-logo-2015-1024x1024It’s dumb, lazy, and intellectually shallow, but it does at least raise awareness among people who only seek dumb, lazy, and intellectually shallow news. As astonishing as it is to think, there probably are people that genuinely didn’t know about (as a random example) the 2012 NDAA bill until they saw pictures on Facebook with generically-threatening riot police and angry red text. And it’s better to get information to those people in a crappy medium than not at all.

That assumes, of coure, that the images (which I like to call “graphucks“) are disseminating accurate information, which they often aren’t. And the vulnerability of low-information, social-media-using people to false or highly misleading factoids is a major problem. But all that said, at the end of the day it’s more people thinking about things than we would otherwise have, even if they’re not very good at it, so: net positive.

When nationally-televised disasters strike, however, the desire to be seen as doing something on Facebook or Twitter turns the whole thing into a massive cluster-fuck of self-aggrandizement.

Telling the world that your heart is with Boston (or wherever) is about you. It’s a way to let your friends know how caring and empathetic you are.

The bombings yesterday were a real tragedy. I in no way want to diminish or question that. It is terrible when people do things like this, and when other people suffer because of it. That is a thing you can legitimately be upset about, and if it makes you do some deep thinking so much the better.

But saying “oh my god, I’m so shocked” or “positive thoughts to all in Boston” or whatever on your social media feed is just being part of the meme. And it’s a stupid meme that ignores how often this sort of thing is happening all over the world, including and especially in countries where we paid to make it the norm.

Iraq was ripped by a series of bombings yesterday — many hours before the Boston Maraton bombings — killing more than 30 people. Needless to say, most peoples hearts were not with Nasariyah, or with Tuz Khurmatu, or with Baghdad, at least not as far as their Facebook feeds would lead you to believe.

The one set of bombings does not make the other less of a tragedy. It’s not like we shouldn’t be sad about Boston, just because it’s worse in Baghdad. No one should play one-upsmanship with grief.

But if you’re wringing your hands on Facebook about one bombing and staying silent about another, it suggests either that you’re ignorant or that you’re making an active judgement call about which human deaths are more tragic, neither of which speaks well of you.

And as far as the uplifting idea that, even when someone does something terrible, there are so many more good people ready to help, I think a friend of mine said it best:

The only reason we can think that the good guys outnumber the bad is that we’re being attacked by terrorists. The people we’re attacking have no such illusions.

It’s nice to live in a country where security, first response teams, and emergency medical aid are provided by well-funded and at least theoretically benevolent agencies of our own democratically elected government, but that ain’t exactly the universal state of the human condition.

So please — share news articles and live feeds as they update with new information. Direct people to groups and charities helping on the ground, if you know of one that needs support. But stop telling the world how concerned and saddened you are by these acts of evil.

Because odds are you’re not, until you see them on everyone else’s Facebook page.

“The Onion” Calls a 9 Year-Old Girl a Cunt; Apparently This is Different from All Their Other Insincere Satire

I don’t watch the Oscars.

We can start with that for some needed context. I see maybe five new, in-theater movies a year if I’ve been ambitious; a ceremony rewarding people I don’t know for performances I didn’t see would be tedious even if it were well-run and entertaining. (Apparently it’s not? Wouldn’t know; didn’t watch it.)

But you can’t very well avoid the commentary. And apparently some pretty horrible things happened, what with songs about boobs and rape jokes and stuff? That is worth noting, reporting, and condemning! I am on board with that.

Flipping out about a tasteless joke in The Onion, a publication and website devoted to tasteless jokes, less so.

I guess they said this:


And the internet shat its collective britches, because nine years old etc., and The Onion had to run an apology, which they did a pretty adequate job of given that they had nothing to apologize for.

Now, there are limits to both good taste and satire, and even to tasteful satire. But let’s grasp the basic facts here: The Onion, and its Twitter feed, are inherently insincere. They do not believe what they are saying. That’s the basis of their humor.

You look at the recent Twitter feed from @TheOnion and you will see things like:

  • “Daniel Craig Takes Home Pretty Good Actor Award”
  • “Commentary By Daniel Day-Lewis | While I’m Glad I Won, I Personally Believe Abraham Lincoln Deserved To Die”
  • “Wow, chills. Adele’s lyrics “Let the sky fall / We will stand tall” really make you think, don’t they?”

And you know what? Those things did not happen! They are not true, and where statements of opinion are concerned, they are not sincerely-held beliefs.

The staff at The Onion does not think the lyrics to Skyfall are particularly deep. They also don’t think a 9 year-old girl is “a cunt.” Get over yourselves.

We could go on about the merits of the actual commentary behind the joke — the maligned tweet is a pretty good reduction to the absurd of Oscar coverage, which is horrible and backbiting and petty and most certainly filled with nasty words like “cunt” — but that would be beyond the point. This wasn’t a joke that needed defending. It was absurd satire from a website that deals in absurd satire.

It’s okay though. I’m not 100% on it, but I’m pretty sure the apology (emphasis below mine) was a parody anyway:

Dear Readers,

On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.

No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.

The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.

In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.

Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.


Steve Hannah
The Onion

“Parody and satire, no matter how biting” is exactly what that tweet was, unless the author genuinely felt that Quvenzhané Wallis is/was a cunt. So…yeah. Maybe we should just file the apology under “insincere satire like every other goddamn thing The Onion prints” and move on with our lives.

Works for me.

The “Could You Run for Political Office?” Twitter Game

Twitter, according to infallible resource Wikipedia, was launched on July 15, 2006, and as near as I can tell debuted as a way for politically-affiliated people to embarrass themselves in 2009 with Meghan McCain’s boobs:

(Mind you, I have nothing against Meghan McCain’s boobs, and honestly think the only people embarrassing themselves were the ones who criticized the photo — she’s holding a book about Andy Warhol, for crying out loud; clearly this is a post-modern critique of the constructionalist role of celebrity as art, using social media as both medium and message, and the Huffington Post’s eagerness to carry the story [so that they could use a boob shot as the page's default image] is simply part of the installation.

Or that’s what my thesis will say, anyway.)

But, if I can rip your eyes away from Ms. McCain for a moment, Twitter has since firmly (heh, firm) established itself as the way to end your political career for discriminating B-list talk show personalities. Most recently the Romney campaign is taking flak for hiring Richard Grenell and his legacy of misogynist tweets, but many were there before him and many will be there after him.

Which brings us to today’s game!

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The “Could You Run for Political Office?” Twitter Game

1) Pull up Twitter and view your own account (public posts only)

2) Scroll through the last six months or 1000 tweets, whichever comes first (even tabloid journalists get bored eventually, so anything before that is probably safe)

3) Score any posts, links, and retweets that could potentially become cable news fodder as follows:

  • 1 point for linking to hateful or scandalous third-party content with no comment
  • 2 points for linking to hateful/scandalous third-party content with an approving comment
  • 2 points for re-tweeting someone else’s hateful/scandalous tweet
  • 5 points for posting your own original hateful/scandalous tweet
  • 10 points for inappropriate videos/images of yourself
  • +5 points for anything honest-to-god shocking rather than just cable-news-shocking (racial slurs, admitting or alluding to serious crimes, etc.)
  • Multiply all the above by the amount of re-tweets they garnered

Thus, a hateful comment that you wrote (in reply to someone else’s link, perhaps) but that never got re-tweeted earns you 5 points total, while re-tweeting something awful from your favorite radio shock-jock that then gets retweeted by twelve of your followers earns 24 points.

Only score for retweets from your account (in other words, if you retweet something hateful from a third party, don’t score people who retweeted directly from the source or from someone else’s account)

Obviously, you do not need to score scandalous content that you were condemning in your tweet. Use half-points judiciously if you’re not sure something quite counts as scandalous (though in general, if you have to ask, it’s probably bad enough that a cable host with an axe to grind could use it).

Rate yourself:

0 – 10 points: You can clean that up in no time. Why are you even on Twitter?

11 – 100 points: You need to make your feed private and let your staff comb it before you announce, but you should be fine.

101 – 500 points: Your campaign has cause for concern. Delete your feed and lay low for a good long while before coming anywhere near the press. Let the staff make a new one for you eventually, and let them manage all the content.

501 – 1000 points: You should not be allowed anywhere near a political campaign. Even if you get rid of the tweets no PR consultant worth his/her salary will believe that you haven’t left other disasters-to-be floating around the internet somewhere. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

1000+ points: Typical GOP House freshman.

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And that’s the game. Give it a try and let us know how you did in the comments!

For my part, it’s mostly just links to MA101 dragging me down — take those out and I’ve only got 21 points in the last six months. If we count the links that shoots up to 61, still totally manageable but getting into dangerous territory if anyone starts retweeting the wrong links.

So…is your Twitter campaign-ready?


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