[twiiter] The Most Deranged Twitter Posts of 2021 … ‘The great thing about the former Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings is he’s not really a person, as such – he’s a late-period Aaron Sorkin character, a Steve Bannon manqué, a Hogarth of words. He is what a very, very dumb person thinks a very, very smart person is like. He is the one person who understands that – whatever happens – posting will always return to its origins. He is, in other words, a man with a blog. This post reads like someone beat Dominic Cummings over the head with a rock, and then asked him to both describe the contents of The Prince and the political events of 2021. It is unintelligible, and it is exactly what this country deserves.’
[socialmedia] The machine always wins: what drives our addiction to social media … A Long Read on social media addiction. ‘Part of what keeps us hooked is the so-called variability of rewards: what the US computer scientist Jaron Lanier calls “carrot and shtick”. The Twittering Machine gives us both positive and negative reinforcements, and the unpredictable variation of its feedback is what makes it so compulsive. Like a mercurial lover, the machine keeps us needy and guessing; we can never be sure how to stay in its good graces. Indeed, the app manufacturers increasingly build in artificial-intelligence machine-learning systems so that they can learn from us how to randomise rewards and punishments more effectively. This sounds like an abusive relationship. Indeed, much as we describe relationships as having gone toxic, it is common to hear of “Twitter toxicity”. Toxicity is a useful starting point for understanding a machine that hooks us with unpleasure, because it indexes both the pleasure of intoxication and the danger of having too much.’
On Twitter, people say things that they think of as ephemeral and chatty. Their utterances are then treated as unequivocal political statements by people outside the conversation. Because there’s a kind of sensationalistic value in interpreting someone’s chattiness in partisan terms, tweets “are taken up as magnum opi to be leapt upon and eviscerated, not only by ideological opponents or threatened employers but by in-network peers.”
Anthropologists who study digital spaces have diagnosed that a common problem of online communication is “context collapse.” This plays with the oral-literate distinction: When you speak face-to-face, you’re always judging what you’re saying by the reaction of the person you’re speaking to. But when you write (or make a video or a podcast) online, what you’re saying can go anywhere, get read by anyone, and suddenly your words are finding audiences you never imagined you were speaking to.
I think Stewart is identifying a new facet of this. It’s not quite context collapse, because what’s collapsing aren’t audiences so much as expectations. Rather, it’s a collapse of speech-based expectations and print-based interpretations. It’s a consequence of the oral-literate hybrid that flourishes online. It’s conversation smoosh.
[twitter] What Good Is Twitter? … Is Twitter such a good way for websites to share content? ‘Last Monday, I published an article about the history of American innovation as seen through a study of patent text literature. This study found that chemistry concepts dominated science in the early 20th century, but from the 1980s on, the most-cited terms in patent texts were almost entirely in the fields of medicine and computers. Yesterday, chemistry; today, computers. This seemed like a catchy parallel, which might strike some as illuminating and others as over-simplifying. In other words, the perfect tweet. I wrote this message, with a link, and a picture. By Friday morning, it had about 155,260 impressions. According to the new Tweet activity dashboard, 2.9 percent of those users clicked the image, and 1.1 percent retweeted or favored it… but just 1 percent clicked on the link to actually read my story. One percent.’
[politics] The Top Five Political Twitter Gaffes … ‘We can’t decide if this is a gaffe or an unintentional stroke of genius. Who knew Ed Balls would become a social media superstar by accidentally tweeting his own name?’
[funny] Dread Singles on Twitter … a Lovecraftian singles feed… ‘HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA, PEELING BACK THE SKIN OF THE INFINITE, PEERING INTO THE DYING HEART OF THE LAST TRUE MYSTIC, YOLO THEY HISS, YOLO’
[twitter] The Real Weird Twitter Is Espionage Twitter … Is Twitter being used as a numbers station? … ‘GooGuns posts nothing but strings of letters and numbers, like b39e65fa00000000 in intervals of about five minutes on average. The string of characters always ends with zeroes, occasionally with the location service turned on, so you can see that 554705fa00000000 was allegedly tweeted from the “Region of Khabarovsk.” This has been going on all day and all night, for years, with more than 318,000 tweets posted since 2009. But why?’ [via @qwghlm]
[twitter] Grace Dent: 100 things about me and Twitter … ‘I unfollow my friends all the time. I think life’s too short to have someone pissing you off in your timeline. It’s like radio interference in your brain on a lovely day.’
[internet] Social Fax Machines … James Shelley On Social Media … ‘Imagine that you were one of 300 people with fax machines. Each one of you program your respective machines to carbon copy every fax to all 299 other machines. Then, together, you go about your day diligently reading the faxes that pour in.’ [via Sore Eyes]
Weiner needed a more private channel of communication for flirtations up to and including pictures of his package. Since the women followed him already, he could send them direct messages. But to receive their replies, he had to follow them in return. Only then could he engage in flirting or sexual repartee.
Weiner seemed not to realize the extent to which Twitter’s rules still made him vulnerable. The women were publicly listed among those accounts he followed. Since he only followed around 200 people, these new followers seemed out of place among the politicians, journalists, and celebrities on his list. It was all too easy for a political foe to notice that Weiner was adding young women (and in at least one case, a porn star) to his followers soon after a public exchange.’
[comics] The Twitter Hulks … Kottke surveys the Hulks on Twitter …‘HULK WEIGH OVER 1 TONNE. HULK KISS ANYONE HULK WANTS TO. HULK WORRIES ABOUT EDITORIAL OVERSIGHT AT MARIE CLAIRE.’ (Cross-dressing Hulk)
[twitter] Twitter: The great pretenders … some interviews with Twitter’s most successful spoof account creators [@CherylKerl | @chilean_miner | @CatBinLady | @dianainheaven | @DrSamuelJohnson] … ‘I’ve yet to meet a female fake tweeter. I think the whole idea has that mix of Radio 4 panel game and practical joke that appeals to a certain type of nerdy Englishman. At the launch of my Dr Johnson book, it was like a cross between an AGM of trainspotters and the League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.’
[twitter] Inference … interesting look at how to passively geo-stalk your friends … ‘I just wanted to document this for future reference. Certainly not as some impressive moment of Holmesian deduction, or some dire warning about the leaking of personal information. Just as a moment of oddness. That choosing to give away one piece of information publicly, allows accurate inference of other things. Something that has always been true, but for which a new dimension has been introduced.’
[twitter] Sam Leith On 50 Cent’s Twitter feed … ‘If you ever wondered what really went on in the heads of the people you are used to goggling at on telly, you needed wonder no longer: now, thanks to the wonder of Twitter, we would be able to SEE DIRECTLY INTO THEIR BRAINS.’
[internet] In Praise of Online Obscurity … ‘In 2007, [Maureen Evans] began a nifty project: tweeting recipes, each condensed to 140 characters. She soon amassed 3,000 followers, but her online life still felt like a small town: Among the regulars, people knew each other and enjoyed conversing. But as her audience grew and grew, eventually cracking 13,000, the sense of community evaporated. People stopped talking to one another or even talking to her. “It became dead silence,” she marvels. Why? Because socializing doesn’t scale…’
[twitter] Tweeting Too Hard … a blog collecting the most self-important tweets from Twitter … ‘fan belt light came on in the 911 so now I’m driving the Cayenne Turbo S – the backup, backup car. Trying not to think about the Tesla…’ [link]
[twitter] Yet another Twitter worth taking a look at: Shit My Dad Says … ‘You need to flush the toilet more than once…No, YOU, YOU specifically need to. You know what, use a different toilet. This is my toilet.’