Archive for January, 2010

Why did you leave Twitter?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

The most frequently asked question of me in the past 3 months is the title of this post. I’ve gotten about a dozen phonecalls, a heck of a lot of private messages, instant messages, facebook mails, emails (remember them?) and even LinkedIn messages asking me why I wasn’t using Twitter. Some even seemed hurt, the same reaction some gave me when I went off drink for a year.

There were all sorts of bets happening when I headed to Cuba towards the end of October about whether I could stay offline for the 12 days I’d be away for. No hassle at all, though my text bill was massive.

When I returned from the holiday, I logged into Twitter and saw countless amounts of bullshit. There were hapless spammers getting everyone to hashtag Twitter messages about where they were from, wannabe experts on business and social media talking themselves up and retweeting praise about themselves and then the usual keyboard cowboys passive aggressively doing the whole “certain people” stuff. So I logged off for another few days. Nothing you can contribute to those conversations except “Shut up”.

Photo owned by sean_oliver (cc)

The slugtards blogged how I was too busy with work to use Twitter but that, like everything else they do and say was wrong. I deleted and removed some folks on Twitter and added more over the time and a much larger cull is needed before I start using it properly again. I still used it to have private conversations with people over the past few weeks. A few thousand messages since October, Twitter tells me. I’ve been using it as an information source too. Hands down, Twitter is more useful for gathering quality information than the 350+ news feeds I sub to with Bloglines. Human filters work. I was still reading Twitter on a daily basis and favouriting anything I found useful. You can see them here. Some people even subbed to the RSS feed of it. Bless.

Privacy is dead when Twitter is about
Oddly, even when not using Twitter in public, you will still feature in public. Anything you do elsewhere gets mentioned on Twitter by people and this includes media stuff, public talks, blog posts, Facebook status updates and even where you check into on Foursquare. It’s interesting for me that it shows you just cannot be private anymore. Unless the only people you know are not connected to anything or anyone online. Foursquare is a very small and closed network to me yet my activities are shared on Twitter by others and so to the public. When I met people on the street, there were Twitter messages about it. On a daily basis I was part of the Twitter space without being there. Very odd and something to consider.

And more. Most of the social media jesters put up numbers on their blog entries (while declaring it ain’t a numbers game) about how influential they are based on the number of times their posts were Tweeted about. The thing with Twitter is that it’s spambot heaven. Mention social media in a blog post and it gets tweeted and retweeted without you doing a thing. The 25 years blog post got 30 tweets from bots alone. Twitter is the web copied but with viraled content, morphing and evolving into a mess.

Flaming Marshmallows
Photo owned by jronaldlee (cc)

Did I miss Twitter?
And did I miss being on Twitter and conversing? Not really no. Every now and then I wanted to contribute something useful and ended up doing it via private message or emailing the person with the message instead. Or I wanted to tell some muppet to shut up. There was more of that alright. It was interesting to be there though and to be just an observer as all this data flew past. Once you take part, the data changes and corrupts the conversation you observe. It also showed that your opinion doesn’t actually matter in the greater scheme of things. Questions I could have answered would get answered anyway, when some eejit needed to be told he was clueless there was someone else to do that too. This is good and this is bad. It means that if someone in your group leaves or can’t contribute anymore then the group can still function. Distributed power etc. It’s bad for those that feel that they have to be a needed part of a community and need to define who they are in life. You’re not even a number on Twitter…

A friend (who also uses Twitter) believes that there’s a massive groupthink going on in Twitter. This is possibly true. It’s like being at an Ard Fheis at times. Reality gets parked as everyone claps each other. Maybe because sending out an opinion is easy, it’s sent to people who are interested in your opinion and it’s generally without consequence and so these factors combined makes you think somehow that your opinon is divine. There’s plenty of people too on Twitter who say absolutely nasty stuff on it that they wouldn’t have the balls to say in another setting. And they’ll get clapped for it. I’m an optimist about tech and social tech so I think that kind of stuff will all sort itself out in time. It’s still new and developing.

I’ve been back on Twitter since Jan 1st and using it as a plaything but it’s amazing that saying nothing for a while gets so much attention in a system that’s always about lots of conversing.

Fluffy Links – Monday January 4th 2010

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Blag nua o Pól Ó Muirí – Ultach.

New blog. (To me) Izziepoptarts

Another blag nua: Jennifer O’Connell.

Agus another. Triona’s.

Platforms. Possibly and over-used term at the moment but JP has one of the best posts on what they mean by platforms and the potential of them.

Space nerds. Talk from the bravest astronauts ever.

If only every web app was designed with this blueprint.

This sounds like it’ll turn farily abusive fairly fast. Car pong.

Via MetaFilter History of the world through 100 objects in the British Museum. BBC Radio4 series starting on January 18th 2010

Remember the priest that suggested stealing from shops was ok? He gets pelted with canned goods. Interesting protest.

Christmas ruined by … Dublin Airport.

Permanent TSB are saying what about women?

Oh. Deer.

Jump around

W.B. Yeats’ works fall out of copyright today

Friday, January 1st, 2010

70 years after death I believe. So it seems most of Yeats’ writings are now in the public domain. I’m sure we’ll see versions of his works in Penguin Classic style versions which is nice but boring. Given the content itself is now free, it would be nice to see some nice bespoke works being brought out to wrap this content.

19th December
Photo owned by Dan Strange (cc)

And with 2010 being the year of eBooks, digital paper, tablets and the like, it would be nice to see creativity around the digital delivery mechanisms. Maybe Enhanced Editions. A W.B. Yeats iPhone app like the Guardian App? Visuals, audio and text combined and bringing you something new each day perhaps? Or something more experimental and creative like Agrippa.

I wonder will the ad companies latch on to Yeats to sell Whiskey and the like? Bill Murray quoting some lines in a Japanese ad perhaps.

Course this would make a great death metal song:


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity

Ones to watch in 2010

Friday, January 1st, 2010

This is the 4th Ones to Watch list with the others ones being: 2007, 2008, and 2009.

The idea is simple enough, I pick out Irish individuals who I think will do something that will make an impact in Ireland or elsewhere and challenge the status quo. In no particular order they are:

Mark Little
Given Mark is already starting with a new news initiative, this prediction is lazy enough. However, Mark is still one to watch as it is the first time an Irish person with massive traditional media experience is embarking on such an interesting project. The video linked to above might give you an idea of what Mark wants to do. Thankfully it’s not another Huffington Post or a clone where increasing pageviews is the business model.

Will McInnes and Tom Nixon
Will’s related to people in Tipp, Tom looks Irish. Good enough for the Irish soccer team, good enough for this post. Will and Tom head NixonMcInnes and are doing some clever and social things on the web for clients and the greater industry. The company has an amazing democratic philosophy, they care a hell of a lot about their staff and that attitude is the same for their clients and what they do. That attitude is going to influence a much greater sphere and while the upcoming social business trend could be over-hyped, agencies like NixonMcInnes are redesigning companies by helping them to become more social. Social media in the nice form forces a business to be more transparent and when it’s done properly a business becomes better to serve their customers and (hippy stuff warning) make the world a bit better.

Joan Mulvihill
Joan is the new boss of the Irish Internet Association and before getting the job she was doing a lot of work helping those who lost their jobs/were made redundant. I think this is a perfect match as she’ll understand how people and businesses are thinking in 2010. Hopefully with Joan we might see the IIA gain recognition again as an org that represents all businesses that use the web and to encourage more to do so.

Ian Healy
Ian looks after a Leaving Cert website and got a lot of kudos for his insane coverage of the Hard Working Class Heroes event in October. A music nut, evangelist for many of the rising stars in Irish indy music and someone working on numerous projects. Great to see people work so prolifically to help out a section of society. Once he gets the Leaving Cert out of the way let’s hope to see him embark on something a little more fun.

Dena Walker
Everyone’s favourite Mancunian in the Irish digital world. Dena is a marketing and PR whiz while never wearing the cape that the gurus wear. Fun at events, direct and forthright, she’s someone I hope to do some work with in 2010 and hope the switched on companies out there think the same.

Pat Phelan
Pat is a barnacle to these lists, I just can’t remove him. Pat’s 2009 saw him take it to 11 and it seems 2010 is going the same way. MaxRoam has grown and evolved a lot over time and Pat’s way of working without the boundaries of state support and iterating a product and selling from day one is one good example of a way to do business. So will MaxRoam conquer more in 2010? Sub to his blog and see.

Donal Skehan
I hope most people know who Donal is at this stage. Cook, great photographer and singer in a pop group called Industry. Donal has been blogging for years at this stage and is proof that hard work does pay off. His cookery book came out late in 2009 and is all over the place in shops. Think it might have been the first cook book I bought that I’ll make use of. I think 2010 will be an even greater year for Donal. No pressure now mind!

Lisa Pereira
Lisa is a producer with Morning Ireland and the one who has them podcasting, doing live video from the studio and interacting with people on Twitter. Morning Ireland recently won a Golden Spider award for their work online, their work was part-reason why RTÉ picked up the Grand Prix at the Irish Web Awards and 2010 is probably going to be a year where more media outlets and more sections of RTÉ will get into that same aul lark too. Her work so is already a strong influence and everyone is watching to see what MI do next as lots are sure to follow.