Tag: intertubes

Tweet if you’re not a spambot

In the past few months, I’ve gotten a couple of e-mails from Twitter. The subject line even claimed that John Scalzi had tweets for me! I thought, “Holy crap! What have I done that Scalzi tweeted about me? Hopefully, I haven’t shown my ass on the internet.” No, indeed, he did not tweet me or about me, or even in my general direction. The e-mail was simply to inform me that people I follow have tweeted.

Seriously, Twitter?

I guess Twitter is trying to get a few more real people to use their service. I know that I have a few fake followers. And if I ever want some more, I know where to get them. Pretty cheap, even.

Still haven’t figured out what Twitter is for, or how to fit it into my life. A blog is where I can put down lengthy thoughts much like an offline journal, only with the potential for invisible eyes to peer over my shoulder and maybe even whisper in my ear. Facebook is where I can be bombarded into apathy by political messages (more on that in another post perhaps) and keep up a casual relationship with a large number of the people I know or have known.

But Twitter? It’s pretty good for short jokes or quips. It serves up a link salad from multiple sources which is terribly ugly in its native format. Flipboard does help with that.

That’s all I’ve got. Should I give it another chance? Maybe twitter-out for about a week and actually follow it multiple times a day like I do with Facebook (which I honestly gotta cut back on, but that’s the other potential post I was referring to, so maybe later). Several SF authors I like seem to thrive on Twitter, the aforementioned Scalzi and Neil Gaiman ferinstance, but I feel like a Luddite railing against the tyranny of 140 characters.

Am I getting old, or am I right that Twitter is undercooked? Robert, did you ever learn to love the Twitter?

The bird is the word

I’m trying to give twitter a chance, but it appears that my non-early adopter policy has bitten me in the ass. My real name has been taken by someone or something which posted a couple of spam links a couple of years ago and went dormant. He/it has 9 followers, all of whom appear to be other link-baiter pseudo-people. I assume these were created for Google juice. It really pisses me off, because I’d like to have the option of using my real name on twitter, but their account policy doesn’t allow for any remediation unless you have a trademark. Apparently, being famous can help. Perhaps I should trademark my name…

Notice that the policy suggests that an account will become inactive after six months of disuse. Yet they are obviously not enforcing this “requirement”. It makes me wonder how many inactive or barely active twitter accounts there are. After all, I’d barely used mine until the last few weeks or so. Add to this the possible plateau of twitter, and it paints a distressing picture of their future. Although a quick Google search for user numbers paints a more rosy picture.

I don’t know, maybe I’m being a curmudgeon. It’s not that I’m a Luddite… I get twitter from a technical perspective. But I am not the most social person to begin with, and a service that is basically a stream of people talking over one another sounds like a party with my in-laws. Yes, I’m usually the one sitting in the corner or sneaking outside.

So, I’m going to continue to experiment with twitter, but I imagine I’m not going to stop being pissed off about the dead spambot with my real name, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s a party that’s just not for me.

I’ll report back in a few months…


Is there anybody in here?

I don’t think anyone reads this blog but the spambots.

Speaking of which, how does that work? I’ve gotten a handful of spam comments over the last several months. How do they find me? I suppose I could do some research and find out, but I’d rather just pose the question and ponder an internet filled with tiny obsessed subroutines, spreading their seeds far and wide.

In the future, when the internet becomes self-aware, as science fiction and Ray Kurzweil have taught me is inevitable, the entity is going to be an overgrown spambot trying to convince us that we’ve won the lottery, Bill Gates owes us money, a pill can enlarge our anatomy, and that cheap meds are a click away. Perhaps it has already happened.


What will the ruins of Facebook look like?

Just read a rather interesting article, The Ruins of Dead Social Networks. It brought back memories of sitting in my college dorm, searching through text file lists of BBS’s and dialing them up on a screechy 2400 baud modem to see what they had. Mostly, I was downloading files. Though there was socializing in those days as well, my virtual social life was spent on the larger national pay services. My “social networks,” in the current sense, were on GEnie (where a lot of science fiction authors hung out before the internet was the web & where some little known SF and TV writer announced “That Which Cannot Be Named”–later revealed to be Babylon 5) and, even further back, in high school, on the Commodore 64 network, QLink. I still remember when there was a mass exodus from GEnie to that new upstart (and supposedly much better) America Online, before they became merely an abbreviation, AOL.

Ah, nostalgia.

From the above article, here’s a link to someone who is trying to archive a lot of the old text files from the BBS days: Textfiles.com. Though I wasn’t directly involved in that scene, it still brings a twinge of vicarious nostalgia.

I guess if you’re looking for a moral, it’s just this: don’t get too attached to your Facebooks and your Twitters. Maybe they have reached a critical mass that makes them too big to fail. But the ruins of social networks littering the past suggests their time is limited.