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Tag Archives: twitter

The Great Internet Clearout: Most Things Must Go!

I’ve pretty much given up on blogging, mostly, I think, for the same reasons that I’ve never been able to keep a diary that lasted for longer than a few days, in which the entries would become shorter and shorter whilst increasing in tedium. My main worry is that I’m simply not interesting enough, or that my life isn’t particularly worth showcasing to the wider world. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary; granted most don’t do a PhD, but then most people would rather not be bored to tears with the sorts of things I find interesting (or they have a set opinion in their mind about how what I’m studying works based on what ‘They’ said -I’ve never been able to work out, or get anyone to explain to me, just who ‘They’ are; the Illuminati?). This desire to avoid talking about something beyond the usual quickly becomes apparent at the start of meeting someone.

‘…I’m currently working on concepts & thought, and what they consist of; are thoughts computational in the same way a Turing machine is, for example’

‘Oh cool…… So do you like football?’

Twitter and Facebook are two things I’ve also abandoned for largely related reasons. That and – just give me a sec whilst I adjust my tin hat- privacy concerns (seriously, I don’t know how everyone can be so comfortable with that stuff -‘What do you mean uploading all these pictures of me doing semi-illegal things to a private server where you’ve agreed that they can do what they they will with it, might, at some point, come back to haunt me; the recent obsession with linking Facebook profiles to amateur porn springs to mind). What becomes depressingly clear about social networking with friends, that is, having the ability to find out every single thing that a friend has, or hasn’t, interacted with at most points in any given day, makes you realise just how boring & uninspiring you -and people you know- are. What was nice about friendship (‘in the good old days!’) was that this strange thing called a ‘private life’ used to exist alongside your ‘public life’. Whilst your friends would get to know intimate parts of your life, they were usually spared the woefully dull aspects, like what you ate for breakfast or that really clever observation about people in queues you had that turned out to already be mass-printed on a t-shirt on some hipster clothes site. You knew about the important aspects of a persons life; you knew the hidden things that made them them. Now that everyone is OK (nay, obsessed) with habitually documenting every single experience of their lives in ‘the cloud’, that is no longer the case. When you used to meet up with friends, you related to them the more notable things they’d missed since you’d parted in order to fill them in. Now if you haven’t seen someone in a while (and that usually now means less than 24 hours) you just look at their profile and become overwhelmed by 3,000+ ‘updates’ made in the past hour; who has the time to wade through all that, especially once you multiply that by however many hundreds of people you might have as ‘friends’.

The great thing about actual clouds is that once they reach a certain size, they break up and the water that once comprised it falls as rain; in other words, it purges. The problem with ‘The cloud’ is that it doesn’t. It just keeps swelling, and if it reaches capacity, instead of ‘purging’ some -or all- of itself, it just adds more space to fill up (i.e. the companies that own the servers simply buy more). The internet, construed as some kind of entity (which, for the record, it isn’t), is an obsessive hoarder; a seriously demented creature that can’t comprehend getting rid of anything. All status updates, tweets, mind-numbingly stupid blog posts (……) are all seen as representative of human development (or is a chance to milk some money from someone at some point), so it’s all kept. Gmail proudly boasts that you need never delete another email again because, well, it has more space than anyone would ever need so why wouldn’t you? Am I alone in thinking this sort of mind-frame is lazy at best, demented at worst? Most emails that reach most inboxes are spam, or contain as much meaningful information as the average spam email (I haven’t, technically, bothered to look into this, but I can’t imagine I’m far wrong); I really wouldn’t be surprised if 75%+ of Google’s Gmail servers were emails that no-one is ever going to read or find useful at any future point in their lives (I imagine for businesses they need to keep hold of a lot of details simply for record keeping and so on, however I’m concerned with Joe Public).

Hoarding is a dysfunctional behaviour; if your brain stored every single sensory experience, you’d quickly become overwhelmed and go insane. In reality, our brain filters out a hell of a lot of information, discarding a lot of what isn’t helpful; this is a good thing (FYI, my take on concepts is that, by their very nature, they aid in this process).

As the internet increasingly feels like you have to wade through a hell of a lot of shit in order to get to something remotely worth anyone’s time, I say that we need a good spring clean. Youtube, for one, could probably use  99.9% of its videos being taken off the internet, if for no other reason than just to save everyone the hassle of having to fight through it all just to find a video that is at least moderately entertaining. How many hundreds of videos are there of people singing along, or lip-syncing, to some popular song? More importantly, who the hell actually watches these videos? Who in their right mind might think someone (who isn’t bat-shit crazy) would want to watch them lip-sync to a Britney Spears tune (I confess that I have absolutely no clue what songs or artists are popular these days, and this has been the case since at least 2001)? What’s the best that could possible come out of that for either party? Is there an organisation desperately in need of people to lip-sync to various songs or speeches (to be fairy, if the not-too-distant memory of the 2008 Olympic Games were anything to go by, China might) that hires scouts to scour Youtube for?  Does that account for the ludicrous amount of views those videos get?

A lot of Twitter and Facebook (etc.) needs culling too. At the time of writing, the following was a trending tweet:

#WhenIWakeUp I either stay in my bed or check my phone or Twitter. RT if you do the same :)”

(It has been retweeted over 100 times -I assume that figure has risen too)

That tweet has been saved in the Library of Congress (in case you weren’t aware, all tweets are now being permanently stored there). Alongside classics of literature. Amongst some of the very finest uses of the English language by some of the greatest minds that have lived on our planet we are now storing such gems of auto-biographical snippets.

Maybe every single website, video or picture should have a thumbs up/thumbs down (or tick/cross, etc.) next to it, and if something receives too many negative votes, it gets taken off the web permanently. We’d have to set up a worldwide committee to enforce it, but think of the benefits. Sure there’s room for abuse of the system, but I’m starting to think it would be massively outweighed by the possibility of never having to acknowledge the existence of a Rebecca Black video.

Any takers?

Because debating over Twitter is virtually impossible…

@DaveGorman : I’m using the version of the Oxford Dictionary that came with my Kindle. It says ‘a humorous or malicious deception’. For the sake of being über nerdy, we’ll use the Oxford English Dictionary Online:

An act of hoaxing; a humorous or mischievous deception, usually taking the form of a fabrication of something fictitious or erroneous, told in such a manner as to impose upon the credulity of the victim.

The definition is ambiguous in terms of intentionality on the part of the ‘hoaxer’. For example, I may explain to someone the current affairs of the world and impose on them a world view which is utterly negative without intending to. As communication is an active process (it requires a speaker to try to communicate something & the listener to interpret what is being communicated -what I say and what is heard are two different things), a person may unintentionally trick someone into believing a falsehood. I might say to a friend ‘I was with my girlfriend last night night and put my meat sauce into her pie’, which he might take to mean that I was talking about sex, when in actual fact I was merely trying to tell him about my secret recipe sauce that I added to my girlfriend’s meal which I thought really brought out the flavors of the dish.

Paul Chambers was charged with ‘sending a menacing electronic communication’. The fact that a non-threatening/menacing tweet was construed as menacing by the judge when in fact it was ‘innocuous hyperbole’ (according to Paul Chambers) means the message was deceptive (what was communicated and what was intended are at odds with each other), and the fact that it was of a fairly trivial nature (no-one at the airport took it seriously and no-one was harmed, except maybe Paul Chamber’s anonymity to the general public) -and that the intent of the tweet was a joke (& went on to spawn the #Iamspartacus movement which, at the very least, I found amusing)- would make it mischievous/humorous rather than serious/upsetting/etc. Of course that doesn’t make it a good hoax, by any means.

Saying all that though, I have my doubts that the person at the BBC who tweeted the original message we’re debating over never intended any such discussion or slant on the meaning of hoax 😛 (I assume hoax just sounds more ‘flashy’ -and less wordy- than ‘trivial tweet that somehow generated unnecessary controversy’)

Background information for everyone else:!/asleepunderenon/status/6819400875253761!/asleepunderenon/status/6828742483644416!/DaveGorman/status/6854574161793024



Death Metal & Dragon’s Den

Dragon's Den Duncan Bannatyne judging at a Bat...

Duncan at a recent death metal concert, where he reportedly sang a brutal death metal cover of Savage Garden's 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' whilst rubbing himself with pigeon blood. Image via Wikipedia

It’s always helpful when you forget the name of your own blog, getting pissy at Chrome’s URL bar that isn’t giving me the address I was hoping for. Then I temporarily snapped out of my idiocy and realised my blog was named slightly differently from my totally ignored Twitter account. Thus the most exciting part of my day, getting to my own blog in a manner that would be in all liklihood the shittest puzzle game ever, is over. So here I am.

One of the reasons I’m here, writing this, is because I’ve promised myself to do something constructive related to writing. Partly so I can kid myself that my days aren’t just spent wanking to Youtube videos and partly so I can pretend I do do something TOTALLY WORTHWHILE with my time. Or something like that. Truth be told that after one of my parent’s talks about how I have no money, no job and a significant lack of job-worthy skills, I promised to start writing blog posts regularly so I could pretend I was interested in a job in media. Apparently thinking that if you can’t get your ideal job no matter how unlikely that is, then giving up on the world and collecting rusty bean cans to lick in the dead of night while crying silently to yourself does not count as a particularly clever outlook on life. It certainly doesn’t put your already totally paranoid parents’ fears to rest.

My total lack of forward planning can mostly be put down to the fact that I honestly don’t think I have much to offer the world. Sure, I am pretty good at being an absolute prick at social gatherings, but it’s hardly a skill that a) the work force tends to prize and b) has much of an application outside of work, even at social gatherings. I guess prickish people, scared at others finding out how socially retarded they are, could hire me out to draw the heat away from them, but I can’t imagine this to be a booming industry. I imagine that pitching this idea to Dragon’s Den wouldn’t work for a variety of reasons either. Partly because I’m not entirely sure what I’d need money for, apart from to piss up a wall. The other main point being that I am fairly confident the members of Dragon’s Den are ten to the power of Tosser more prickish than I am and could therefore get more business than me. I, for one, don’t get people with far less money than me to pitch their really quite stupid ideas to me while I sit surrounded by my own money. As an aside, why do they not put their money in a bank like everyone else? Is this why they’re rich and we’re not? Put money into a bank and you can almost guarantee that some high-flying wanker will decide what to do with your hard earned paper with all the skill and accuracy of a method of investing whereby you paint prostitutes different colours and you invest in something related to the colour of the prostitute who can snort the most coke without looking like a human-shaped sherbet fountain. Clearly the best way to protect your money is to sit on it on national TV guarded by a Gollum lookalike in a business outfit.

I could comfort myself with the thought that at least other people my age are in just as much shit as I am. At least I have one goal in mind. Even if that goal is twenty football pitches away and the ball is a foot high breeze block. Course it would be fun to be some sort of critic, but really, aren’t there enough already? I could be an outspoken music critic but this is slightly hampered by the fact that a lot of the music I listen to is either so obscure that I am the band’s fan base, or is in a genre of music that no one reads any of the sodding reviews for (I’m looking at you death metal). Case in point, I occasionally DJ for an alternative music society in York and like to play a whole range of stuff, mostly because melodic death metal is some of the most boring music on the planet so an entire set of that makes me want to erase Gothenburg from history. If I play something from an album which Terroriser and Metal Hammer haven’t shut-the-fuck-up about, which in the metal community makes it ‘widely critically acclaimed’, no-one has sodding heard it. Maybe this just says something about the metal scene in York, but when I’ve spoken to people from other areas of the country the response seems mostly to be the same (my research for this claim being largely based upon imagination -piss off).

So what I am getting at is that Duncan Bannatyne should stop writing reviews for death metal albums and that I should consider putting my (non-existent) money into a bank and not just hoarding it and other shiny things like some zealous magpie. Or something like that.

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