Tag Archives: culture

Retweet-Begging: The Bad, The Ugly And The Positively Grotesque

Retweet-Begging

If social media has served any profound purpose, it’s been to reveal just how phenomenally selfish we are, and how manipulative we can become in our quest to be the centre of attention.

If we’re not publicly screwing over our best friend and flushing our own dignity down the toilet in the hope of a single Like from a low-end celeb who doubtless hates our grovelling, servile guts, we’re trying to use other people’s traumas as a means to put ourselves in the spotlight. If, by the end of a social media thread, we haven’t placed ourselves right at the epicentre of the issue at hand, we’ve failed. And it just wouldn’t be a poverty thread if an affluent influencer didn’t wade in with a ‘quote-tweet’, claming to have had a desperately frugal childhood.

Just like real life, social media is all about status, and on Twitter, status was traditionally measured by a user’s Followers total. However, it’s become increasingly well recognised that the Twitter Followers total is close to meaningless as a yardstick of status or influence. Using follow-management apps, it’s easy to churn up a Followers total of 100,000 or more, virtually none of whom will ever pay the remotest bit of attention. Continue reading Retweet-Begging: The Bad, The Ugly And The Positively Grotesque

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How To Avoid Losing Arguments on Twitter: 12 Modern Strategies

Twitter argument strategies

Never has success in an online argument had less to do with who’s right, and who’s wrong. Indeed, many great debaters would privately maintain that there is no right or wrong. Only good or bad debating strategy. And the debating strategies of Web 2.0 can be a far cry from the exchanges we were witnessing just ten years ago.

Online debating has evolved into a dirty, psychological war, and nowhere is the modern toolkit of dirty debating better showcased than on Twitter. For this post I’ve identified twelve strategies commonly used by Twitter’s big hitters. Here they are, in the manifesto of the professional, and not so professional, Twitter debater… Continue reading How To Avoid Losing Arguments on Twitter: 12 Modern Strategies

How Much Does Social Media Need Mr and Mrs Angry?

UK TV Listings 1971
Central England’s programme listings for Wednesday 1st September 1971, in a vintage TV Times magazine. Image by @JPEGJuice.

Once upon a time, there was no internet, and for Mr Way-Too-Much-Time-On-His-Hands, finding a virtual release valve was nothing like as simple as it is today.

He couldn’t just go onto Twitter and disagree with news bots, or call football managers cretins until he got his enraged little ass suspended.

Nope. If Mr Way-Too-Much-Time-On-His-Hands wanted a reason to get his knickers in a twist in ye olde distant past, chances were that it would reach him via a newspaper, a magazine, or a television. But he’d still want to say his piece. So whilst interactivity was a very slow process in the mid twentieth century, print publications pulled out all the stops to expedite angry readers’ letters onto their sensation-hungry pages. Continue reading How Much Does Social Media Need Mr and Mrs Angry?

10 Major Reasons Why Twitter Is The Best Social Media Platform

Why Twitter is the Best Social Media Site

I’ve criticised Twitter extensively on this blog, and I’m not about to retract any of my whining episodes. But I wouldn’t be complaining if I didn’t care, and the reason I care is that Twitter is not only the best social media platform; for many people it’s the only social media platform. I’m using this post to document why. Please be aware that the following points apply at the time of writing, but that policies can change…

TWITTER LETS USERS POST IN ANONYMITY

Oppressive social sites insist that users publish under their real names, because it increases the value of people’s personal data. The platforms claim they make the real-names-only insistence for safety reasons, but there’s nothing safe about forcing everyone to identify themselves in an unvetted public place. How safe would it be if everyone who walked into a night club was forced to wear a T-shirt with their legal name on it? Clearly, it would be a stalker’s, burglar’s, mugger’s, blackmailer’s and rapist’s charter. That’s the reality of real-name-only policies.

Real-name-only policies also inhibit humour, and other fundamental bases for online entertainment. Broadly, they stifle fun and promote an environment that’s little different from being at work.

Twitter has benefitted enormously from its freedom of identity. Not only does it have a fun and progressive vibe – it’s also become a home to major communities who, precisely because of their dependency on anonymity, cannot legitimately exist on Facebook or other oppressive sites. Yes, anonymity assists cowardly trolls to an extent, but the vibrancy and life it encourages almost infinitely outweighs the negatives. Continue reading 10 Major Reasons Why Twitter Is The Best Social Media Platform

Flagbot: The Censorship Protocol That Will Change YOUR Behaviour

Flagbots

Once upon a time, we all used to post on old-style, moderated forums. Forums were far from perfect, but one thing we could be sure of was that if we observed the forum rules, our accounts and profiles were safe. On most forums, moderators would even privately warn members if they were sailing close to a penalty of some kind. How different things are now that massive social media and publishing sites have become the hub of our online activity.

ENTER THE FLAGBOT…

Almost all large, user-generated content platforms now use ‘flagbots’ to moderate their sites. A flagbot is simply a piece of software designed to detect breaches of the Terms of Service, so a human moderator doesn’t have to do it. Great! It’s labour-saving, and that means the sites can spend their money on more important stuff, like… Well, spying on us and selling their findings to corporate thugs, obviously.

There are just one or two snags. The flagbots are engineered not only to detect ToS breaches, but also to actually take immediate, shoot-on-sight, punitive action. So if they get it wrong (and Snag 2 – flagbots have no sense, so they do get it wrong, a lot), masses of innocent users are punished for good behaviour. Continue reading Flagbot: The Censorship Protocol That Will Change YOUR Behaviour

Shadowban City: Why EVERY Twitter User Should Switch OFF Their Quality Filter

Twitter Quality Filter

The Twitter Quality Filter is an innocuous-looking selection in the Notifications tab of the site’s Settings suite. “Improves the quality of Tweets you’ll see”, it says. But that’s not all the Quality Filter does. What it actually does, is it shadowbans accounts that Twitter considers to be of low quality, within your personal space. That means when a “low quality” account follows you, you won’t see it in your followers list, and that could end up causing you problems.

Let’s say you’re followed by an account with views you find offensive. You want to block that account, right? Well, if you’ve left your Quality Filter in its default “on” state, and the offensive account does not meet Twitter’s quality threshold, you can’t block it, because you can’t see it in your Followers list. Continue reading Shadowban City: Why EVERY Twitter User Should Switch OFF Their Quality Filter

What Oath Should Do With Tumblr After The Porn Ban

What Oath Should Do With Tumblr

Agghhh, Tumblr. A technically beautiful site which has influenced the biggest and best blogging platforms, and is still packed with little-known publishing tricks and delights. But management of the blue-walled behemoth has been so frustrating through the past five years. Tumblr has to make money, and it can, but if it is to survive, the proprietor must stop kicking its enticers in the teeth, and put them at the centre of the revenue-earning policy.

I’m going to explain how that could be done in this post, but first, let’s assess where things currently are… Continue reading What Oath Should Do With Tumblr After The Porn Ban