Posts Tagged ‘twitter

12
Sep
12

‘Tis the Season…for Hurt Feelings

I’ve seen a number of people on my Twitter timeline who are lamenting all the political talk and sometimes arguments online as we near the U.S. presidential election in November.

While I understand that they want Twitter to go back to being a fun place, with talk of bacon, sex and cute LOLcat videos, among other things…well, that’s not reasonable. This is a major election, with major problems still happening in the United States and worldwide, and tensions are understandably high.

So, you need to suck it up until probably February, when maybe post-inauguration people will calm down a little.

Sure, I say this in part because many of my tweets have been politically oriented. I’ve also balanced that with more general snark and humor, so I’m not exactly on a soap box all the time. But, frankly, what did you expect? This is social media. Twitter still tends to be more fun than Facebook, which seems to be getting increasingly infested with bitter, shallow people who just want to fight…but it’s still a place to talk.

And politics is a valid and important point of discussion. People are understandably concerned about a party on one side that doesn’t seem to have clear solutions to the problems we’re facing (or are working on the problems too slowly) and on the other side a party that’s given up on honor and just makes stuff up now and passes it off as facts then gets mad when fact-checkers dare to call them on it.

This isn’t a recipe for positive change. People are worried, and on both sides they feel this election is pivotal for America’s future.

Are relationships going to be ruined by this?

Yes.

Are some fun times going to become awkward as humor is interrupted by policy talk?

Yes.

But that happened over drinks with co-workers and dinner with the relatives long before social media existed.

Twitter and all the rest are not your havens from the real world. They are places to communicate.

If you don’t like what’s being said, move on to the next tweet. You’ll find the sex and bacon before long, I’m sure.

17
Sep
11

Twitter’s a Drug, Y’all!

So, I’m taking some time off. Wish I could say it was some time off work, but nah, it’s time off from Twitter. I’m going to give it a week and see how things are, then decide how often I want to be on it. (For the record, Twitter is my main form of social media…I hardly ever log into Facebook, Google+ or any of the other major or minor networks)

The decision (which I tweeted about, so people wouldn’t wonder where I went) struck some people as sudden, a few of my favorite tweeps among them—and my wife as well—but there’s a reason. Well, actually, more than one, but most of it boils down to time. Twitter takes time. It can take too much time, and when your life is already chronologically challenged like mine, that’s a big thing. Then again, most drugs are time-stealers.

Yeah, Twitter’s a drug. I said it. More on that in a minute. (And it doesn’t mean I think Twitter is bad.)

So, how did I get to the point I figured I need a good chunk of time off? Well, the tipping point came Saturday morning, when my wife told me she was a bit surprised I didn’t check on her the previous evening when she was sick, and simply came to bed at around 1:30 (which is a pretty usual time for me, just so you know), rolled over to my side, and went to sleep. Apparently, she meant it as a light comment. But it didn’t sound light. And my response led to a response by her which set up a nasty feedback loop. I won’t go into details. We both overreacted. Doesn’t matter who “started it” or who “overreacted more” or even if there was any quantitative difference. But an interesting thing that my wife did was to strongly suggest I not interact with her on Twitter anymore. The “why” isn’t important. What is important is the impression she had that my presence on Twitter with regard to her had caused her some hurt. (How does this tie in with the whole “not checking on her while sick” thing? Trust me, there’s a connection, but let’s not get off track now.)

Also, for what it’s worth, we’ve both apologized to each other for the morning weirdness, and my wife has indicated it’s not necessary for me to step back sharply on Twitter interactions with her nor mentions of her on Twitter. Nor did she ever tell me to stop tweeting for any amount of time. Let’s make that clear.

That very same day, a few hours after the blow-up between me and the wife had blown over, one of my tweeps responded to a tweet I had made the night before. It wasn’t an angry response, mind you. But it was a misunderstanding of the thrust of what I had posted online (Something to the effect of “By what strange alchemy does the Japanese language make most of the men sound angry and most of the women sound inherently giggly?”). My intent, aside from a slight bit of humor, was to point out that whenever I hear Japanese (and this is the only language I’ve witnessed this in), it so very, very often evokes specific gender differences and cultural mores in the very intonations. But my tweep first noted I was engaging in stereotyping and then in sexism. I wasn’t doing either, because my point was what it sounded like, not how I viewed the people who spoke the language, and I simply wondered at why that occurred in the speaking of that language so much.

It didn’t turn into a Twitter argument or anything. She’s reasonable and I explained myself. So, no bad blood. But, on top of the comments by my wife, it was another example of Twitter causing me to step in something I hadn’t intended to step into. Having cleaned up both messes (the encounters with the wife and the tweep) doesn’t make stepping into them to begin with any more pleasant.

So, I started thinking about Twitter. I started thinking about how I use it to be witty. Or snarky. Or edgy. Or insightful. Or banal. Or a combination of these and other things. I wondered if I’m using Twitter too much and trying too hard. Could it be that this particular social network was encouraging me to engage online frequently to the detriment of my interpersonal relationships (marriage, parenting, friendships, etc.)? I thought about how Twitter works in my life. Every few days or so, I might have a day when I didn’t check Twitter much, or at least not until nighttime when Little Girl Blue was in bed, but I pretty much checked it every day. Most days, I checked it frequently, and often I would go back a ways and see what tweeps were saying. Even when I didn’t go back far, just looking at responses to me or by my favorite people on Twitter could take a while.

Does it eat up all my time? No. I’m not addicted. But Twitter IS a drug of sorts.

This isn’t all bad. Alcohol is a drug, too. I like to have a glass or two of wine most nights. I like beers and ales. I rarely get drunk, but a light buzz is nice when the day is done and I no longer have to go anywhere by car or deal with deadlines. Also, almost every day of my life involves caffeine, which is also a drug. Nicotine and marijuana are both drugs, neither of which I have any particular grudge against. There are many other drugs, of course, that are of more concern to me and which I would likely never so much as touch, and most of them do tend to begin the ruin of many a person’s life. Then again, even the hardest drugs can be used more or less responsibly by a precious few people without leading to addiction, personality changes or whatever.

So, calling Twitter a drug isn’t an insult. I’m not knocking Twitter, nor am I making judgments or casting dispersions on people who use it. After all, I plan to come back to it. And Twitter isn’t the only form of social media that can eat at our time, sometimes too much so, or even lead to addictive behavior among some users.

Thing is, though, I could get more done if I stepped away from Twitter. In fact, by stepping away I’m already getting something done: I’m updating this blog for the first time in a while.

I’m trying to write commentary and short stories for four blogs that are solely my own (two publicly attached to my name and two that remain anonymous due to sexual content) and a fifth that I share with someone else (also anonymous and sexual in nature…yeah, I’m a randy kind of guy…sue me.)

Twitter easily eats a couple hours each day. Probably more many days. Sure, I stay up late and do a lot of the tweeting then, and it’s not like I tweet when I’m supposed to be doing work for my paying job, but it still eats up time. Time that could be used for other forms of writing I’ve been neglecting, my fiction being the one first and foremost in my mind. But I also could be catching up on the many movies I want to watch on DVD or streaming on Netflix. I could be catching up on several great cable TV series that I missed because Little Girl Blue hogs the TV during the day and evening. I could be reading more novels that I want to read.

Yeah, you noticed I didn’t mention family. That’s because I don’t do all that much social media when it’s family time or the wife and I are doing stuff. I’ve been known to check Twitter very quickly at times, for example, when we’re shopping or something and I’d otherwise be standing around looking clueless while my wife is picking out clothes for our daughter or something, but I rarely take it out if I’m actually supposed to be engaging with my family. Still, the fact I even do…however rarely and briefly…pull out my phone and turn on the Twitter app during the occasional meal out still says something about the druggy nature of Twitter.

Again, drugs aren’t all bad. If I’m losing my mind due to exhaustion I may need to guzzle my coffee quickly when my family is trying to talk to me. If I’ve had a really rough day, having a glass of wine at dinner might be a good idea just to chill a bit.

But to my mind, there are a lot things I could have been doing that I wasn’t because I was on Twitter (all my blogs have suffered in recent weeks for lack of regular updates, for one thing).

Am I giving Twitter up? No. I like it. It’s fun. And it doesn’t cause me to become violent, spend all my money, engage in hazardous sex, crash my car or anything like that. As far as drugs go, it’s not a bad one. But I’m going to clear my system of Twitter just a little and then reassess after a week how I feel and how often I really want to be on Twitter going forward. I need to find out how much I get done without it, to better gauge how much time I should spend with it in the future.

Maybe that will mean getting rid of many people whose tweets I rarely read. Maybe it will mean taking every other day off of Twitter. Maybe it will means a strict time limit each day. Who knows?

You won’t see me on Twitter for a week, give or take, but maybe you’ll see me here more often.

20
Jun
11

Something in the Water on Twitter

So, apparently my blog post a couple days ago (here) isn’t an isolated occurrence. My wife, Black Girl In Maine (on Twitter here: @blackgirlinmain) retweeted something that another person didn’t agree with, said person then making it into a personal argument with my wife and the person who tweeted the link that my wife retweeted.

With much the same result as what happened with me, there was much overreaction, twisting of words/intent and overblown mayhem over something minor.

So, I don’t know if there are leftovers from the full moon recently, the lunar eclipse, angst over absent fathers or deadbeat husband/dads during Father’s Day weekend, or the upcoming Solstice upsetting the balance of The Force…clearly, something was wacky in our online lives this past weekend.

So, let me share some thoughts/wisdom/randomness about all this (and don’t assume all of these have to do with what I posted about the other day; much of this is inspired by my wife’s experience):

  • If apologize to you, that doesn’t always mean I think that I’m wrong, unless I actually say, “Hey, I was wrong.” It may be an admission that I was partly wrong. Or it may simply mean  that I know you won’t let go of some imaginary shit you’ve built up in your head, and I’m simply sorry I said something to cause you to twist yourself out of shape unnecessarily. Or it may just mean I think you’re fragile and need some token gesture.
  • If I acknowledge that I may have done something wrong at some point in a debate or discussion, this doesn’t mean I have admitted to having been in the wrong. That is, I may have made some mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that the thing you got pissed about originally was because of something inappropriate that I did. Your anger may still be misplaced but I may have subsequently done something wrong in reaction to your misplaced anger. This probably does NOT invalidate my original point.
  • If I say something that you think is directed at you, but I didn’t name you in my comment online, you should NOT assume it was about you. You are not the center of the universe. If I have more than a handful of people following/reading my stuff, there’s a decent chance I’m talking about someone else. I might even be talking about someone in the physical world as opposed to our shared online world.
  • If I continue to be in a discussion or debate with you explaining my position, my continued efforts to explain my position or describe what happened is not some automatic, tacit admission that I “know I did wrong” and am now trying to redirect blame or save face. It may simply be that I don’t think you understand what’s going on or that you’re not listening to me.
  • Picking fights with someone on Twitter or on a blog with way more followers than you have in order to gain “street cred” or get a reputation or draw in new followers isn’t cool. If you can only get people to flock to you by creating artificial drama, you aren’t real…and thus you aren’t worth flocking to.
  • Continuing to hold to your position without budging one iota, particularly if I’ve made some concessions myself along the way in our discussion or debate, doesn’t make you right. Chances are, it just makes you stubborn.
  • If you defend someone, assigning them no blame and me all of the blame, you are in no position to claim that you have not taken sides, nor are you in a position to criticize me for having come down on the side of the person whom I am defending. Because you’re doing the same thing.
  • Passive-aggressive sniping isn’t cool. Be direct. Insult me or criticize me directly. Don’t make backhand compliments or personal attacks on issues that have nothing to do with our discussion.
  • People who overreact to harmless comments make themsleves easy targets. But we shouldn’t take too many easy shots just because they have made themselves easy picking, when we can just walk away instead.

And if you’re anyone online with whom I personally have jousted this weekend, kindly don’t react or respond to any of these points with any reference to our original discussion, whether direct or oblique (that also goes for anyone whom I may have defended or with whom I may have allied). Some of them apply to our discussions, some apply to my wife’s, and some may apply to both. But I don’t want to go in circles over old material, nor do I want to explain to you which of these you inspired. I point out bad behavior in religion and politics around here, for example, and right now I’m pointing out bad behavior online.

Shit, to be honest, the above points apply to a lot of things I’ve seen for years now on Twitter, on Facebook, in discussion forums or on blogs even in discussions in which I was merely a spectator or minor player, and would apply to things I’ve faced before this weekend. I think they are good points for all of us to keep in mind online.

And yes, I’ve made some of the above mistakes at times. But I don’t make them habitually, and those of you who might read this who do perform them habitually, please just stop. Just. Fucking. Stop.

18
Jun
11

Online Doesn’t Mean a License to Let Your Nutso Hang Out

I had one of the single weirdest online experiences in a long time begin last night on Twitter and extend into today. Let me share the generalities without naming names, for general entertainment and venting value, and perhaps impart some social media wisdom on the rest of you. I’m not perfect, but I think I have some Twitter moral high ground here at least in part.

I hesitate to even bring this up after everything dying down, since the people involved  may very well read this, but I think there may be value in this blog post.

So, some background:

One of my tweeps (we’ll call her Scarlet) posted late last night something to the effect of: Oh my god I apparently just broke a cardinal rule of Twitter. Wish there was a handbook.

Me and at least one of her other tweeps asked what had happened.

She told us, without mentioning the name of the other person on Twitter whom she had apparently offended (whom we’ll call MommyBlogger), that she had made what she thought was a light joke, and got scolded heavily for it.

Apparently, MommyBlogger had complimented Scarlet about a blog post or something. Scarlet joked that she assumes all new follower now are ‘bots (a good assumption…most of mine are) and that at first she thought MommyBlogger was a ‘bot. She further joked that “if you’re a ‘bot, at least you’re a very nice ‘bot.”

Most of us, I think, can see clearly that light sarcasm was involved, and it was clear Scarlet knew MommyBlogger wasn’t a ‘bot. After all, ‘bots don’t carry on conversations. However, MommyBlogger got mad and said that Scarlet was inconsiderate and had accused her of being a ‘bot in the open Twitter timeline.

Now, at this point, Scarlet hadn’t named any names; just told us what had happened. I tweeted to her that it’s a shame that happened and if the other person didn’t accept the apology, it might mean she was the inconsiderate one.

At this point, I think I’m done. Tweep in slight emotional distress and virtual hug/commiseration offered.

Then I go to the tab on Twitter for people who have mentioned me and see two tweets from MommyBlogger (whom I do not follow and who doesn’t follow me) who basically tells me, over the course of those tweets, not to trust what Scarlet is saying and that Scarlet accused of her of being a ‘bot publicly and was inconsiderate and unabashed.

OK, so now I’m curious. Because I don’t follow both of them (only Scarlet), their conversation wasn’t in my timeline. But now with my tweep seeming to be embarrassed and confused, and a stranger saying she’s being disingenuous, I go into both of their timelines and scroll way down to find out what they said to each other.

Near as I can see, Scarlet hadn’t been mean, was clearly making a lighthearted joke (not an accusation or anything that could be construed as one) and apologized several times (which she didn’t have to do to this person she’d only just met online if she didn’t take her feelings seriously). MommyBlogger, on the other hand, seems (to my perceptions) to be focused on making Scarlet feel bad and accusing her and telling her the apology is inadequate, instead of accepting any responsibility for overreacting.

Since MommyBlogger has now jumped into my Twitter timeline to make accusations, I send a tweet to her, saying it seemed pretty clear to me that Scarlet was making an obvious joke, not an accusation, and suggested to MommyBlogger that perhaps she’s in a stressful state right now to be seeing things otherwise.

The response I got back was one that, while short, seemed to drip in snark, telling me, essentially. “A mom stressed? Of course moms are stressed”

To which I respond to the effect of: “I know, my wife is often stressed, too, and so am I, being a work-at-home dad with an almost 6-year-old.”

We traded a few tweets. I don’t recall the specifics. It was late, and I’ve since blocked her, so I can’t even see the old messages. But I do recall that she seemed to be very defensive and kind of abusive, actually. I finally told her I thought she was thin-skinned, judgmental and inconsiderate herself, and then blocked her so that I wouldn’t have to see any of her messages in my timeline ever again.

I tell Scarlet to stop worrying, as this woman is clearly off the rails and there’s no reason to lose sleep over someone who’s so petty. Another mutual tweep of ours asks who the person was that Scarlet upset, and I decline to share the name, as I think it would be petty to put her name out publicly. So far, everything has been semi-private, since MommyBlogger and I didn’t share any tweeps, and someone would have to go into our timelines deliberately to even see what words had passed between us.

I think that I’m done. I don’t want a public mess, and to my mind, I’ve prevented one by blocking MommyBlogger and stepping out before she pissed me off more and made me want to publicly shame her.

Oh, no. This morning, I get tweets from someone on MommyBlogger’s side who takes me to task for having called her names. I can only assume that this new person, whom I’ll call ThirdParty, was either contacted by MommyBlogger for defense and support against the cold cruel world, or that ThirdParty reads MommyBlogger’s timeline very thoroughly (I don’t know who would have time for such activity, but I’m sure someone does that).

I spend way too much of my day trying to explain what happened to this new person and, as you can see from the above, the complexities are not easy to fit into 140-character snippets. We never reach agreement. She doesn’t see any of the defensiveness and shallowness that I see in MommyBlogger and thinks that Scarlet and I are the overly defensive ones.

Whatever. The back and forth seems to have stopped (though ThirdParty says some of Scarlet’s friends were bashing MommyBlogger on Twitter. I don’t know if that happened or not, since none of those people are anyone who follows me or whom I follow, as far as I know), and I’m hoping it’s all done for good.

But, that scintillating tale of Twitter soap opera aside, I think I have some advice for people in general, especially people like MommyBlogger:

  • If someone says something you think is mean, express that nicely and ask, did you just say what I think you said? (or something to that effect). Then listen to the person’s explanation and/or apology. Chances are, if they apologize at all, even if you don’t think they apologized enough, you should probably let it go. In my experience, total dickheads don’t say “I’m sorry” at all. They certainly don’t do it multiple times as Scarlet did, and then fret to her tweeps that she seems to have violated some kind of Twitter etiquette.
  • When people you don’t know on Twitter are consoling the person you seem to think has offended you, don’t go into their timelines to turn them against that person, particularly when they don’t know who the hell you are. By invading my timeline to talk nasty about one of MY tweeps, you then put me in a position of wanting to find out what was going on, and you have essentially invited me in to examine things, and possibly make judgments about you. It’s like meeting someone, deciding you don’t like them, and then waiting outside their workplace to tell co-workers and others who see that person most days, “That person is evil!” The reaction, of course, is probably going to be to treat you like a crazy person.
  • But most of all, stop taking this shit so seriously. Even if you think you’ve been insulted online or called something you’re not, block the person. I certainly blocked MommyBlogger after a few tweets illustrated to me that she was probably toxic. I don’t have time for toxic people. If MommyBlogger thought Scarlet was toxic, she should have blocked her, not made a big to-do that drags in innocent bystanders.

In the end, perhaps I called MommyBlogger names that I shouldn’t have. Mea culpa. When someone starts making me uncomfortable, I react. I may have overreacted. But that doesn’t make MommyBlogger blameless in this. There are no saints. There are just people who sinned more than others did, and I have my opinions as to who that would be, which may differ from other people’s opinions.

But damn it, this is social media. You don’t like the company, go away from them. Or deal with them directly. Handle your own shit, and leave the rest of us out of it. Although I should probably at least thank MommyBlogger for giving me a new follower, since ThirdParty has apparently decided to follow me on Twitter despite thinking I’m a nice but totally misguided and possibly rude fellow at times…and I have a blog post for tonight because of all of this.

G’nite folks…

09
Jun
11

Mind Yourself Online

So, class, what has this week taught us when it comes to politics and the Internet?

If you improperly frame and incorrectly relate a key part of early American history (Paul Revere’s famous “the British are coming” ride, for example), a good rule of thumb, when appearing on TV shortly thereafter following all the ridicule, would be to say, “I was on the spot, and I flubbed things up a bit and got a couple different elements of Paul Revere’s life mixed together and a little off the mark on a couple points.” The response is not to say, “I know my history” and then to remain silent as your supporters try to alter the Wikipedia entry on Paul Revere to match your fictitious view of things.

Why?

Because the message is everywhere, and no matter how many supporters you have, the truth is going to come out and more people are likely to shake their heads in disgust at you than to nod their heads in support.

Also, if you have been flirting on Twitter with some young lady, and sent her a picture of your penis and possibly other parts of your manly body, and that gets out, claiming to have been hacked, expressing uncertainty about whether that’s your junk on display, and dodging questions is not the way to go.

It’s the Internet Age. The truth will come out. If it’s your dick online, it’s going to be revealed as such. You cannot hide, and every day you duck and dodge makes it worse. Just come out and say, “I flirted online, as many people do, and it got a little out of hand. I apologize, and I’m embarrassed at myself. On the other hand, I’m far from alone in having done this, and I was not nearly as creepy as many folks who do.”

Own your mistake. Take the power of shaming you away from the media and the public and your political enemies, many of whom have worse sexual skeletons in the closet. Don’t undermine yourself with lies that you must have known couldn’t hold up, assuming you have even half the brains Jon Stewart gives you credit for having.

That’s our lesson on Internet reality for today.

Thank you.

Now go about the regular tweeting of your gonads and messing up of history that you should have paid more attention to in high school and college.

I know I will.

22
Sep
09

I’m all a twitter…how about you? by Miz Pink

I know I shouldn’t oughtta pick on Deke but he did swear never to join Twitter and yet there he is! So, a little tweak for the newly “de-virginized” Deacon Blue-Twitter.

You see, I saw this story:

Actual people physically gather to talk Twitter

Sept. 22, 2009, 7:20 PM EST

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Twitter was a trending topic Tuesday — and not just on Twitter.

Actual people were physically gathered at the Skirball Cultural Center for the two-day conference dedicated to the micro-blogging site. Company co-founder Biz Stone opened the conference with a 40-minute speech about the origins of Twitter and its goal to make a positive global impact, citing the site’s importance in organizing political protests worldwide.

Pro skater Tony Hawk, attorney Mark Geragos, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, actors Tyrese Gibson and Greg Grunberg and addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky took part in panels on Twitter and celebrity.

Yes, that’s right. People gathered for a two day conference to discuss a social media site that only allows you to post what…100 characters or something like that?

Pardon me while I ROFLMAO until I pass out.

I will tease you about you Twitter decision until the day you die Deke.

07
Feb
09

Internet: The New Golden Calf by Miz Pink

pink_globeSo knowing that Deke has been lacking in Internet connection the past few days I strongly considered the possibility of simply taking over the blog and making a few housekeeping changes. Ya know, a brighter cheerier main banner, a WordPress template thats heavy on the pinks and purples…But then I remembered that he knows where I live.

Instead I’ve used Deke’s internet woes as inspiration and got to wondering if the Internet is our modern day idol to worship. The latest false god to put before God himself.

No, I’m not planning on giving up my Web fixes. Not asking you to either. But I think alot of us if we looked really hard at our use of the Internet (blogs, discussion boards, online games, social networking sites, online publications, etc etc etc) I think we might find that we spend more time there than we used to in front of the boob tube. And alot of us still spend a lot of time sucking the glass teat too to get our fix of reality TV and whatever else.

I think alot of us feel lost and/or angry when we lose that Internet connection. We start fiending like addicts in some cases. And I think many of us are TOO connected now thanks to Blackberries and Twitter and stuff like that.

No I don’t think giving up the online action is the answer because being connected has many positives. But I think we need to watch ourselves, lest we put our online desires before our more pressing needs like actually working on important things, spending time with family and…oh yeah…God too.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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