Tag Archives: twitter

Look Up…but don’t look away

I’ve seen this video circulating around social media in the last couple of days.  Look Up is utterly fantastic and spoken word used to its very best…on social media.  Yet it’s about putting your phone down and not using social media.

I don’t disagree with the video.  There are many aspects of it which are true.  We do need to rely less on social media, our phones, our on line lives.  We do need to get back to meeting up with real friends in the real life rather than pretending that those we talk to on line are all we need.

Only, I couldn’t help but think to myself that all these advances on the Internet have helped people.   They’ve made sure that a grandmother in Britain can talk live and see live her grandchildren in Australia.   Pictures can be exchanged immediately, moments after being taken, ensuring that loved ones don’t miss out on important days because of distance.  The video highlights the love found because the boy looked up from the phone and asked directions from the girl who happened to be walking along the street.  Yet many people meet each other on line now.  It’s hard to say you should leave the phone behind to meet the person of your dreams when the person of your dreams may actually be on line.

I’m a huge football fan, with social media and the Internet at my finger tips I can, if I can’t make the match, live the highs and lows of my favourite football team with fans who are at the match or who can’t make it but we can equally share the drama.  Those at the match provide insight, media companies provide their commentary, the Internet provides it all.

Breaking News comes to me quickly.  I tap an app on my phone and the latest news is at my fingertips.  A bleep from my phone alerts me of news to come.

I’m not sure I can, I’m not sure I want to live without that.

We can do small things though.  We can not be so rude as to check our phones while on a date, while out with friends, while eating dinner with our spouses or children.  We can make sure our children don’t vegetate in front of a games console or tablet but get out smell the fresh air, interact with real life.

Yet there is something else I realise, by reading social media, many of my friends are doing this, they are living life, they are merely reporting it via social media.

So yes, Look Up, but don’t look away.


Twitter, keep the block and introduce a mute function

TwitterAnyone paying attention to Twitter on Thursday will have noted their changes to their blocking feature.  Then their subsequent reversing of those changes to revert back to the original settings.

I had first noticed something different about the block feature when someone sent me a message to tell me they thought Twitter had been unblocking people they had blocked.  I had a look, seemed like that might be so – yet it still said *blocked* on the person’s account that I checked.  I didn’t think much more of it because Twitter, like much else on the Internet, suffers various glitches.  It would right itself within time.

As it turned out, it wasn’t a glitch it was a change to the block function.  It meant that instead of blocking someone outright, that the person being blocked wouldn’t know about it, they’d still be able to interact with the other user’s timeline.  In effect, they would have been ignored, or for want of another explanation *muted*.

Personally I wasn’t happy with that decision.  If I block someone it’s because I want absolutely no more interaction with them.  I don’t want to see their tweets, I don’t particularly want them seeing my tweets, or being to use them in any manner.  It’s one of the very few safety features that Twitter actually has in place that I felt worked.

It turned out I wasn’t alone in my feelings towards these changes and a few hours later, following a Twitter backlash, the changes were reversed.  Good news.

In a statement from Twitter they said that they felt that a user knowing they had been blocked was not “ideal” due to the possibility and fear of retaliation.  That may be true.  So it got me to thinking.

A while back I used to use Tweetbot for iPhone to access Twitter while on the move.  A simple function built into their software was the *mute* function.  It’s as simple as it sounds.   You were able to mute a user without any aspects of the block function coming in to play.  It didn’t unfollow them or anything like that.  You muted them for as long you wanted, then reversed the mute when you wanted to read their tweets again.  Simple, and they never had to know.  It’s a function that Tweetbot still uses so it must work.

It’s also a feature that Tweetdeck uses as well, allowing users to mute people or terms.  It’s a simple function.

So why can’t Twitter introduce a mute function as well as a block function.  This gives people more choice in how they deal with their own followers.  If there is abuse going on and a user has had enough then let them use the block and report functions.  If it’s just a case of not wanting to see someone’s tweets for a while because they’re off on a tangent about something or they’re over-tweeting or, if indeed, someone who is receiving abuse would rather the other person didn’t know they were *blocked* then that’s all where a mute function would come in to play.

Essentially, having the option of either gives more power to the user to deal with people how they see fit.

Think twice about Twitter death rumours

This point came to me this evening when I saw that there had been a Twitter rumour about Margaret Thatcher dying.  This isn’t the first time that this rumour has circulated around Twitter and it comes a day after rumours that Prince Philip was suspected to be very ill.

These sorts of rumours are not doing Twitter any good.  Social media, particularly Twitter, has stormed ahead in the last year or so in bringing breaking news from all over the globe to the ordinary person long before our news channels pick up the story and, indeed, people use Twitter as a way of keeping up with the news rather than trawling news sites.  Twitter has the added advantage of its social side so while you’re checking up on the news you can also be catching up with friends whether they are Twitter friends or real life friends.

We know Twitter works because there are so many people using it from the ordinary person on the street to sports stars, politicians, actors and even leaders of political parties, presidents and prime ministers of various countries.  No one wants to miss out on what’s going on and the chance to share their news with their followers.

So, as I said before, Twitter has become the place to be for the latest news…until you start getting the rumours.  I Googled “Twitter death rumours” and it seems you’re not anyone these days unless you’ve had a Twitter death rumour.  Reese Witherspoon had one where she was apparently stabbed.  The Pope has had a death rumour, Denzel Washington, Fidel Castro, Assad, Rowan Atkinson, Kim Jong-Un…oh the list goes on and was today joined by the Margaret Thatcher death hoax Tweets.

Regardless of how you feel about any of the individuals on the list above, the death rumours are only going to serve to do damage to social media, Twitter in particular.  I’ve already read on Twitter tonight, a few times, that people are going to be more cautious about what they do when they see a Tweet announcing the death of someone.  I believe that a few media typed re-tweeted today’s Tweets about Thatchers death.

Personally, I think it’s best to always exercise caution when I see a Tweet about someone being seriously ill or being dead.  It’s something that comes naturally to me as a person who was taught never to leap two feet into something without assessing the situation first.  Not just on Twitter but in life and work.

The sad thing is, if these Twitter rumours increase and people start to lose faith then Twitter loses its lead in bringing people news before the news channels and people start to wait on the news channels to confirm what they’re reading on Twitter.

With so many users, Twitter will never be rumour free but I would hate to see it lose its edge because of them.