Tag Archives: people

How To Avoid a Twitter Shadowban

One of the most fundamental changes in Twitter’s policy ever, was the introduction, at the beginning of March 2017, of proactive moderation. Previously, Twitter had responded to user reports of abuse, offensiveness and spam on an individual basis, but this had largely failed to tackle an endemic problem with low-quality profiles and annoying or distortive spam.

Because Twitter is so huge, the bulk of this new realm of moderation would have to be automated. Twitter thus set to work devising algorithms which could attempt to identify known traits of low-quality or offensive profiles, and then penalise those accounts. Some penalties would be notified to the offending user; others would not. The classic shadowban is not notified to the offending user.

From the start, circa 1st March 2017*, a large number of Twitter profiles were auto-moderated, and dropped out of the search timelines for varying periods of time. The surreptitious measures which rendered many accounts widely invisible, quickly became known as shadowbans.

[*Update 16/4/2019I’ve now been able to confirm that tweets were being taken out of search based on shadowban criteria before 1st March 2017, but the measures had their publicised launch on that date.]

EFFECTS OF A SHADOWBAN

There are different types and degrees of shadowban, but most typically, the user’s tweets will drop out of Twitter’s default search results. Depending on why the user is shadowbanned, the following consequences may also apply… Continue reading How To Avoid a Twitter Shadowban

Advertisements

Why It’s Time For Twitter To Scrap Like, Retweet & Follower Count Displays

Twitter Popularity Counts

At the beginning of 2015 I addressed the question of hiding the Follower count on Twitter. In the light of Twitter’s more recent consideration of scrapping the Like button, I’m revisiting the subject of public popularity counts, and asking whether it’s time for the platform to wipe them out entirely.

This article is not suggesting that Twitter gets rid of Like buttons, Retweet buttons, notifications relating to the use of those buttons, or summary data for the poster of the content. It’s suggesting that Twitter removes the public display of Like, Retweet, Reply and Follower/Friend counts. The numbers.

WHY ARE ENFORCED PUBLIC POPULARITY COUNTS BAD?

The logic behind forcibly displaying social media users’ popularity counts to the public, is that it strongly motivates platform growth. Crudely put, it shames people into importing fans/friends, or labouring to engage a native audience. In both scenarios, the social sites gain something for nothing. They either gain new users for zero advertising expenditure, or they gain human labour, which will collectively bring a level of value to the platform. Value on the back of which the platform can run ads. That’s the power of shame. Continue reading Why It’s Time For Twitter To Scrap Like, Retweet & Follower Count Displays

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

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

What Does “No DMs” Really Mean in a Twitter Bio?

Twitter No DMs

No DMs!”; long form – “No Direct Messages!“… It’s a prominent chant in certain pockets of the vast Twitter userbase, but why only certain pockets? And is the “No DMs!” admonishment really a necessary inclusion in a Twitter bio? Let’s mull it over…

GENDER BIAS

“No DMs” is much more common among women than among men, which suggests the phrase is largely rooted in a male predatory issue.

The frequent coupling of “No DMs” with “No dick pics” further supports that suggestion. A lot of men do try to use Twitter as a dating site, or a ‘perving’ site, or a ‘flashing’ site, or at least a means to avail themselves of female emotional comforts without having to pay for a premium rate service. However, at first glance, there appears to be some illogicality to the way in which “No DMs” warnings are distributed… Continue reading What Does “No DMs” Really Mean in a Twitter Bio?