Back to previous post: The Colorful Holiday Customs Of Our European Friends

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Shameless Commercial

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

December 26, 2009

Making Light on Twitter
Posted by Patrick at 12:46 PM * 74 comments

More and more people are using Twitter as their default method of trawling the web. It’s not surprising. Once you get your bearings (and get past the obligatory stage of sneering about people “tweeting”, har har, about “what they had for breakfast”), it’s not only compelling in that familiar internet lab-rat-going-for-the-cocaine-pellet way, it’s also surprisingly useful. A well-chosen mix of Twitter friends and interesting public figures can not only deliver a kind of “social proprioception,” but can also serve as a filter for events in the larger world—if it’s important or interesting to you, there’s a good chance you’ll hear about it first on Twitter. (Of course, as a heuristic, this is only as good as the people you follow, but that’s true of social life in general.)

Teresa and I have both been intermittently on Twitter for a while, as tnielsenhayden and pnh respectively. Abi is evilrooster. Avram is, well, avram. Jim is, I think, suspicious of the whole thing.

That said, today it occurred to me that if Twitter really is going to be a lasting piece of intarweb infrastructure, maybe I should grab the “makinglight” namespace right away. Amazingly, it was still available, and if I’ve configured Twitterfeed correctly, the newly-created makinglight account will now report and link to new posts to Making Light’s front page and to new Particles and Sidelights as well. Coming soon on Making Light: sidebar linkblogs by Abi, Avram, and Jim as well, just as soon as we can devote some more time to the great slow-motion renovation of the site.

Of course, Boxing Day is all about this kind of low-key noodling around. Hope you’re all well, and that if you were celebrating yesterday, you’re well on the way to recovery now…

Comments on Making Light on Twitter:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 12:54 PM:

You fiend! That's almost enough to get me following Twitter.

#2 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 01:12 PM:

Just follow the RSS feeds of Twitter accounts, Tom.

First step's free.

#3 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 01:14 PM:

As well-known sportswriter "King" Crimson said many years ago, it's only talk.

#4 ::: eyelessgame ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 01:25 PM:

So you are tnielsenhayden and Teresa is pnh.

Wait, no. Clearly you meant to say "Me and Teresa", not "Teresa and I".

#5 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Steps:

1. Click on pnh link

2. See "Spem in Alium, performed by the Kronos Quartet."

3. Boggle. Quartet into 40-voice motet doesn't go!

4. Google.

5. Listen on Lala.com link

Wow. They don't get the same surround-sound effect as eight five-voice choirs, though.

#6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 01:39 PM:

eyelessgame: Right. Fixed.

#7 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 02:07 PM:

mercy! have mercy on the aged and inflexible!

some of us oldsters had trouble enough getting onto blogs ("what's this aitch, tee, tee, pee thing, dear?")

now you want us to adopt a brand new technology? it's just too much.

the youngsters are doing it, i know. but they're *young*.

anyhow--where do you receive these tweets exactly? do they go to a new hardward platform, i.e. do you have an iphone or blackberry? or do they go to your desk-top, in which case where? do you have to have a "facebook page"?

sigh...this is very depressing. i'm sure there are guides out there. but i was just getting used to the blogging structure. and now you're racing away, while i try to shuffle faster, clutching my walker.

#8 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Calmly now, kid bitzer! Nobody says you have to adopt a brand new anything. We're not planning any radical changes to Making Light.

Fundamentally Twitter is just a web site: twitter.com. Anyone can create an account and start posting what are in effect tiny blog posts, 140 characters or fewer. Once you've created an account, other account-holders can choose to "follow" your posts. You can choose to "follow" the posts of other participants as well. "Following" is asymmetrical -- you don't need anyone's permission to follow them, and they don't need yours to follow you. (You can, if you choose, create an account that can only be followed by people you pre-approve, but only a small minority of users do this.) Once you've followed a few other Twitter users, when you visit the site, you'll see their latest posts laid out in a string, the most recent ones on top.

There's a little more to it, but not much; most of what's right about Twitter has to do with its extreme simplicity. Private messages can be exchanged between users who are mutually following one another. There are (a couple of) ways to reply publicly to another user's particular post. There's a new (and mildly controversial) provision for easily "retweeting" somebody's post to your own list of followers.

Yes, you can follow Twitter on your mobile phone. If you have an older, not-very-smart phone than is nonetheless capable of text email and/or SMS, you can even arrange so that only a subset of what you follow gets sent to your phone--say, for instance, only posts from your spouse, a sibling, and two friends.

In addition to the web site and mobile phones, there are a lot of Twitter client programs, free and pay, available for Windows, the Mac, Linux, and various smartphones. Some of them add features not present in basic web-based Twitter. I use Tweetie 2 on my iPhone, but on my computer, I find the web page entirely adequate.

None of it has anything to do with Facebook, except insofar as many Twitter users also have Facebook accounts, and some people use various software tools to post the same brief one- and two-line posts to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. I personally can't stand Facebook and nuked my account there some time ago.

Anyway, explanations aside, nobody says you have to run out and clutch Twitter to your bosom. The gist of this post was to tell Making Light readers who do use Twitter that they can now subscribe to a new Twitter account that will nudge them when there's new content up at Making Light. The goal isn't to direct energy away from here and onto Twitter; quite the opposite.

#9 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 02:58 PM:

Something that helps (I think) to explain what people can get out of Twitter:

SatScenes (SatScenes) on Twitter

Basically, take a photograph on Saturday, twitter it with @SatScenes in the tweet (this makes sure I notice it) and become a part of the weekly set.

SatScenes tweets the photograph (so you can follow along on a Saturday) and each week I put thumbnails of all the photographs and their location on my website :

Twitter Blog

with links through to the original pages and a list of contributors. I include some sort of historical snippet about the date and the result becomes a conversational piece in its own right.

The only downside I've found is that the blog never gets comments because they are all talking to each other on twitter!

Seriously, there's a real community growing up around it and most people submit a photo a month. And I've found it useful to show people (especially my mother) how twitter can be about the little details without focusing solely on "what I had for breakfast this morning" (although we get those photos too).

Personally, I really enjoy watching trends and seeing all the day-to-day minutia from people from different places.

#10 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 02:59 PM:

thank you, patrick. i may relax my grip on the lifeline alert-button a little bit now. and i may even go over to the twitter site and have a look around (i can cope with websites, mostly).

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 03:12 PM:

Kid Bitzer: Twitter has some nifty emergent properties. Like, if something large and striking happens and a bunch of people tweet about it, the core words for those tweets will suddenly pop up in the Twitter word-cloud. Also, it's so small, simple, and narrow-gauge that it's hard to shut it down. People in the midst of disasters and war zones have been using it to tell the rest of the world what's happening.

There are lots more than that.

#12 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Enquiring minds want to know: Why "evilrooster", anyway?

#13 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 03:52 PM:

#12 -- I hesitate to suggest this may be cognate with Terry Goodkind's Evil Chicken.

#14 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 04:18 PM:

The only real annoyance I've found is the disconnected replies:

@somebody I agree.
----
@someoneelse Funniest thing I ever heard!
----
@yetsomeoneelse If true, that means death for us all.
----

When directly following someone you don't see these, but they show up in the Twitterfeed posts. So either you hunt down what they're replying to, or pretend it's a Bob Newhart one-sided-phone-call routine.

#15 ::: Janice in GA ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 04:27 PM:

Wow, just the other day I looked around on the site to see if y'all had any Twitter links.

I'm old, but not THAT inflexible. :) I like Twitter.

#16 ::: Mags ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 04:40 PM:

That first paragraph might be the best explanation of Twitter for Noobs that I've ever seen. Thank you.

Another explanation I use is "IMing with 150 people at once (or however many follow you)." I'm sure the people who follow me for Phillies commentary are confused by my tweets about Jane Austen, and vice versa, but it's all in good fun.

#17 ::: Mags ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 05:03 PM:

#14: In the web interface, if you hover your mouse over "in reply to somebody" just below the actual tweet, you'll get a link to the tweet to which the person is referring, if you're really curious.

There is, however, some merit to the Bob Newhart idea.

#18 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 05:11 PM:

Thank you all for the explanations (and waving at kid bitzer from over here with my cane).

I've been mildly curious about Twitter, and have a Facebook account, but I seldom use that because the format is so cluttered that it annoys me.

#19 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 05:39 PM:

@18

be careful with that cane! you could poke somebody's eye out! (kids these days...)

yes, thanks for lucid explanations,all.

but if it's just another web-site you visit, then why not just visit making light directly?

#20 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 05:41 PM:

Bruce Baugh @12:
Why "evilrooster", anyway?

I've been evilrooster on the web for a good nine years now. Indeed, there are very few contenders for the name (I don't have it on Yahoo! or ebay, but most of the other places I've wanted it I've got it.) I think it's not been much contested because it has the word "evil" in it. The fact that it's faintly masculine has not been a bad thing, what with the way the internet can be, but that protection is pretty well gone now that my real-life name is clearly linked to it.

I use it in real life too, a little. My bindery is the Evilrooster Bindery, and I have a little left-facing rooster finishing tool I use as a maker's mark on all my books.

It's fitting because we already have a barnyard theme in our online personae; Martin is sunpig even more places than I'm evilrooster. The name itself is the product of screwing around with Elizabethan sayings. We were talking about the line from Romeo and Juliet:

Thy head is as full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat

And over time and discussion, it turned into as full of quarrels as an evil rooster is of eggs. Martin turned to me and said, "Evilrooster. That would make a good web ID."*

The people I know who keep chickens tell me that it's a redundant term.

-----
* We didn't know about Scalzi's next band then.

#21 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 05:54 PM:

Mags @ #16, "the people who follow me for Phillies commentary"

The Phillies are worth commentary?

(I'm biased. A: I'm a Dodgers fan, and B: our local sportscasters insist on showing us Phillies highlights every evening because Shane Victorino is Maui-born. The Phillies might win some otherwise completely meaningless June game, but two minutes of precious screen time will be devoted to Victorino's single and stolen base or something. They don't even do a crawl of other MLB scores anymore.)

#22 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 05:56 PM:

kid bitzer @19:
but if it's just another web-site you visit, then why not just visit making light directly?

Because in the New Regime, the website visits you.

More seriously, Twitter isn't something you'd use to follow just one website. But to find out what we're talking about here* in the wider context of the large and complex net of people you tend to want to hear from, it's invaluable. It's a mixed stream of the personal (my sister, my first boyfriend) and the public (Neil Gaiman, Clay Shirky).

I've talked people down from panic attacks after their tweets made it clear they were needing an external viewpoint. I've made at least one friend on Twitter, reconnected with people I haven't seen in years, practiced my Dutch, helped amplify crowdsourced investigations, subtly poked my boss that he was being an ass, and showed off my kids' snowmen.

Like anything that people make, it's both stupid and useful at once. People create communities in the strangest places and using the strangest tools.

----
* Assuming arguendo that a list of post titles really reveals what we're talking about. Stop laughing!

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 06:11 PM:

Abi @ 20... Evil Rooster, aka Yolk Sothoth? Meanwhile, in Arhamandeggs...

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 06:12 PM:

Abi @ 20... Evil Rooster, aka Yolk Sothoth? Meanwhile, in Arkhamandeggs...

#25 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 06:20 PM:

It would be nice if the Open Thread got its own special Twitter name, regardless of what number of thread it's currently at; that thread gets buried and can scroll off the bottom when other, more specific, threads get spikes of large activity.

#26 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 06:22 PM:

thanks, thou pernicious poultry, thou treacherous trede-foul, thou baneful hen and henly bane.

so i could ask twitter to tell me when there are new posts on making light *and* on the 5-10 other blogs that i routinely check into.

this would obviate my having to check this site to find out about new posts (and new particles). but if i want to find out about new additions to a thread, i still have to come here, right?

in a later iteration, could you also have it notify twitter when particular posters add a comment? so i could subscribe to, i don't know, all of jack sprat's comments on making light threads, and get notified when sprat adds new ones.

#27 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 06:33 PM:

It's a mixed stream of the personal (my sister, my first boyfriend) and the public (Neil Gaiman, Clay Shirky).

Also, it's not restricted to individuals. In addition to the abovementioned examples, I follow news organizations (BBC, CNN, Le Monde) and science-related accounts (CDC, New Scientist, CERN). Many tweets include a link to longer articles, so the 140-character limit isn't a real limitation.

If it weren't for the people with whom I stay in touch only via Facebook, I'd have zapped my account there already.

so i could ask twitter to tell me when there are new posts on making light *and* on the 5-10 other blogs that i routinely check into.

kid bitzer @26, the sites/blogs have to be configured to push their info to a given Twitter account (in our present case, @makinglight). You can follow @makinglight's Twitter posts, for instance, but you won't be able to ask Twitter to fetch details of Blog XYZ's latest posts if Blog XYZ isn't putting them on Twitter in the first place. (That's basically what RSS is for.)

#28 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Kid B -- yeah, what Pendrift said. Twitter's primary purpose isn't to provide a service notifying people of when other sites have new content; that's just a secondary use some sites, us included, have found for Twitter. Twitter's primary purpose is lightweight conversation among self-selected but open-ended groups of people.

If what you primarily want is a reliable way to be kept abreast of new content on multiple sites, you want to set up an RSS reader, which can be a free-standing program like NetNewsWire for the Mac, or a web-based service like Google Reader. Whether you use a program on your own machine or a web service, the basic principle is the same: you subscribe to the RSS or Atom feeds of sites you want to keep up with (our RSS/Atom links are in the right-hand sidebar on the front page), and as time goes on, your reader shows you new content on those sites as it appears. Depending on how each site's feed is set up, you may just see a headline and the first couple of sentences of a new post, or you may get the entire text of each article or post. In either case, you can easily get from the news reader to the originating site with a single click.

Unlike a lot of sites we do offer the ability to subscribe to individual comment threads, like this one, with a unique feed URL visible in the upper left hand corner of each individual-post page, but frankly I don't recommend it for regular participation in our conversations; RSS and Atom simply aren't robust enough to keep up with a good fast-moving Making Light exchange. But they're fine for keeping up with "front page" content on Making Light, and on most other blogs and news sites.

#29 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 07:26 PM:

oh hell. so i'm actually *two* technologies behind. rss is still to me unknow.

#30 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 07:29 PM:

Kid, I can't program a video recorder to save my life. And although TiVos and other DVRs have been common consumer items for years, I've never used one.

The existence of a technology doesn't mean we need to use it.

#31 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 07:32 PM:

This explains why I found 16 new-follower emails from Twitter in my inbox when I got home from Massachusetts a little while ago.

My first thought was aggressive Twitter spam, but then I looked closer, and recognized some of the names.

#32 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 07:54 PM:

PNH @30, hey, nuclear missiles have been around since before I was born, but I've never figured out how to launch one.

#33 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 08:02 PM:

And Brooklyn thanks you, Avram.

#34 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 08:51 PM:

Twitter requires being succinct.
Urp.

#35 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 09:03 PM:

abi @ 20: The people I know who keep chickens tell me that it's a redundant term.

Yes. Every time I've worked on a farm with roosters, I've had to watch my back constantly, or risk being attacked from behind. Nothing major, but I don't appreciate having my legs suddenly and surprisingly pecked. Rotten rat-bastards move too quickly to be caught, too.

#36 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 11:14 PM:

Twitter can also be used for less common ideas, such as the Foglio's wonderful serial adventure on Othar Tryggvassen's Twitter Feed. For me, I just post quotes out of context, which only come up once in a blue moon. Sort of defeats the purpose, but since I had to register I thought I'd have something. (booklore, if you're really curious. In a year I haven't even gotten to forty tweets.)

#37 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 01:41 AM:

me @25: It would be nice if the Open Thread got its own special Twitter name, regardless of what number of thread it's currently at

Actually, I'd settle for a prominent permalink to the current Open Thread on the site's main page; I've mentioned that before, but the idea hasn't seemed to gather any traction.

#38 ::: Lisa L. Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 02:29 AM:

Think of Twitter as a combination of old tech (the telegraph) and the new; blogging.

Twitter is a way of instantly and publicly "telegraphing" micro blogs, since a Twitter post (a Tweet) is limited to 140 characters.

#39 ::: AndrDrew ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 05:25 AM:

I described twitter, and the contractions used therein to my aged Grandmother and she said it sounded just like when she met and then chatted with her husband over telegraph. Nothing new in the world.

#40 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 07:43 AM:

Dammit, I knew sooner or later somebody would explain Twitter in such a way that I'd have to figure out how to use it.

Curse you, Nielsen Haydens, for being so ... so ... helpful.

(Also, greetings all from Southern Kentucky. I do so love hotel WiFi.)

#41 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 10:36 AM:

The Massachusetts Historical Society has a twitter feed that has been posting John Quincy Adams's tiny diary entries on a 200 year delay. So at least one person was producing twitter-sized messages before the telegraph, as well.

#42 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 11:01 AM:

This is such a good idea I stole it for myself. Now Whatever has its own Twitter feed. You'll get your idea royalty check in the new year.

#43 ::: Mags ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 12:04 PM:

#21 Linkmeister: "Phillies commentary" = "squeeing over my fake boyfriend Chase Utley" + "complaining about the umpires"

Also, Shane Victorino is made of awesome.

#44 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Paula: That's why I don't use it. Some are born succinct, some achieve succintness, and some have succinctness

#45 ::: HenryR ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 01:22 PM:

Jo @44:

You could disemvowel yourself before tweeting.

#46 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 01:32 PM:

@41--

okay, that did it. for some reason, the chance to read diary entries from j.q. adams' diary was enough to make me go check out twitter.

and while i was there, i also found making light (and john cole, and jill @ feministing, and a few other things).

and i survived! lived to tell about it!

still--i'd feel a lot better if i could find the coarse-tune knob and the fine-tune knob on the site.

#47 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 01:34 PM:

You don't owe me a new keyboard, Jo, only because I don't express my amusement violently.

#48 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 01:41 PM:

Mags @ #43, ah, that's different. I can get behind howling at umpires.

And your photo causes me to ask that perennial Hot Stove League question: "When do pitchers and catchers report?"

#49 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 03:02 PM:

It’s not surprising. Once you get your bearings (and get past the obligatory stage of sneering about people “tweeting”, har har, about “what they had for breakfast”), it’s not only compelling in that familiar internet lab-rat-going-for-the-cocaine-pellet way, it’s also surprisingly useful. A well-chosen mix of Twitter friends and interesting public figures can not only deliver a kind of “social proprioception,” but can also serve as a filter for events in the larger world—if it’s important or interesting to you, there’s a good chance you’ll hear about it first on Twitter.

And then there's the fact that so many people get online partly or mainly or only with their cellphones these days. I don't know, perhaps some of the more expensive really new state of the art very smart phones give you the same web experience as a bigger computer, but on phones where the display is tiny and the browser takes forever even to go to a different part of the same page, nevermind following links, something with guaranteed small pages is pretty useful.

That said, today it occurred to me that if Twitter really is going to be a lasting piece of intarweb infrastructure, maybe I should grab the “makinglight” namespace right away. Amazingly, it was still available,

I'm more surprised that out of all the Avrams in the world, the one from here got the avram handle.

#50 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 03:47 PM:

Raphael @49, first, there aren't really that many Avrams in the world, compared with Chrises or Kims or Lis.

But my secret is that I read a bunch of tech blogs, so when a new service comes along, I often find out about it within the first few days. Then, if it's free and looks potentially interesting, I grab an account under my preferred handle, and save the account info in a password wallet app in my Palm. Then I generally forget about it. If, months or years later, it becomes the Next Big Thing, I can dredge my account info out of my Palm.

I failed to do this with LiveJournal, which is why I'm agrumer there; same with Flickr. But I'm avram on Delicious, Tumblr, Vox, Dreamwidth, BrettspielWelt, and a bunch of other places.

#51 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 06:20 PM:

(in retrospect, I sound really spammy, for which I apologise. It's really just a case of over-enthusiasm for bright, shiny things)

#52 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Jo @44, but that was only 111 characters!

#53 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 06:35 PM:

Sylvia @ #51, speaking only for myself, I've now read a month's worth of Saturdays and I like the Twitter blog.

#54 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 06:39 PM:

Avram, #50: *sigh* You just had to bring up the idea of grabbing a username before it disappears, didn't you.

Well, my preferred username was long gone (no real surprise there), but my second choice is something no one else is likely to grab, so I got it. I'm now starcatjewel on Twitter; feel free to follow me, but don't expect to see much.

#55 ::: Arthur D ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 06:55 PM:

I wonder if anyone could have predicted 10 years ago that the future of communications would still go through SMS length messaging.

Still, thanks for the Twitter feeds. I regard short messages to be an interesting challenge.

#56 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 07:26 PM:

Lee @54: Namechk might be useful in extending the reach of starcatjewel. That, and boggling at the number of login-enabled sites out there.

I wonder if The Mine Project will take off.

#57 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 07:27 PM:

I contributed a piece to what is supposedly the world's first Twitter album. Confession: although my contribution is a legal tweet, I've never actually used Twitter.

#58 ::: Sandra Cormier ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 08:51 PM:

There is only one Chumplet as far as I'm concerned, and that's me!

#59 ::: Sandra Cormier ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 08:51 PM:

There is only one Chumplet as far as I'm concerned, and that's me! http://twitter.com/Chumplet

#60 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 10:34 PM:

I don't do Facebook. I do Twitter (debcha) because it's lightweight, I control what I post, and there is no baggage attached to who you follow and who you don't (unlike 'friending' on Facebook).

Here's a few people that this group might find interesting to check out. To reiterate, if you go to www.twitter.com/username, you can see what they've been saying recently, whether you're using Twitter yourself or not.

Neil Gaiman: neilhimself
Ken MacLeod: amendlocke
William Gibson: GreatDismal
Dave McKean: DaveMcKean
Wil Wheaton: wilw
Annalee Newitz: annaleen

and a few that are just fun:

Richard Stevens (of Diesel Sweeties): rstevens
Sockamillion the Cat: sockington
Maureen Johnson: maureenjohnson


#61 ::: Ruth Temple ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 10:50 PM:

Thanks for setting this up, PNH, and Abi, I'm another of your new Twitter followers post this post.

I've been enjoying the arts community both near and far, and various online pals via Twitter, ramping up over the past half-year. It's quick and easy over the iPhone, in short bursts of time to read, and so on. Anyone else notice how online communities help one locate folks in one's $interest-group locally? Ravelry has been big for me that way, and now Twitter buddies have started coming to the local weaver's guild and handspinning night, too. I like this aspect some bunches.

#62 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 11:27 PM:

#52 Avram
# 40 Jo

I am short. I have rarely been thrilled about being short. Compensatory long-windednesss... Jo is also not an elongated physically person. Hmm.

I got on Facebook several weeks ago. I do not play the games there. I use much FCC-disapproved terminology: I have my one-line usage settings which alert me of rude habits of websites wanting to infest my computer with tracking code, etc... some pages there are more than a hundred Steekeen Crap Cleekeetee-Cleeks involved.... one things that ticks me off is "I want default settings which automatically show the duration that the rude site thinks it's going to spy on me for, and I want to be able to specify when trying to open a webpage, the duration I will allow tracking tags to go on or to be told to go swive themselves (what I'd really like to do is the content of the tracking tag mangled to sat something rude to the server with the uncouth behavior in the first place.... and no, I don't want to have to go learn how to do that....) .. anyway, there are webpages that spew more than 100 tracking tags and scripts from third party content trying to drive me bugfuck with e.g. animated assholishhness each of which pops up a sort-of-modal box in my face, pissing me off can causing me to use use FCC-finable comments...

#63 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 11:46 PM:

What debcha said in #60, about Twitter following being blessedly free of the baggage of "friending" on Facebook. First and foremost, because it's asymmetrical; you don't need someone's permission to read their posts (unless they're one of the few people who lock down their entire account). Secondarily, because they simply call it what it is, "following", instead of poisoning it with the emotionally loaded term "friending" (a fault shared by LiveJournal as well).

#64 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 12:03 AM:

(ROFLMAO at myself for inflicting the below on the denizens.... disclaimer, it's MOSTLY fictional!)

I'm a exhibitionist
My Tweets go to the world
I've a page on Facebook
Site on MySpace, flag unfurled

I've got a Wordpress weblog
And LiveJournal lots of friends,
I'm an exhibitionist
My promoting never ends!

You can see my fanfic
I'll sell it to you cheap
And I think of dollar signs
For money I shall reap

Self-publishing I've got some deals
And Author House will print
I'm an exhibitionist,
The Internet's my mint!

I'm a exhibitionist
My Tweets go to the world
I've a page on Facebook
Site on MySpace, flag unfurled

And here I am on Making Light
And elsewhere I shall troll
I'm an exhibitionist
And I'm here on a roll!

#65 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 12:52 AM:

My new brother-in-law (who's here at his parents' place for the holiday) told me the story of Neil Patrick Harris joining Twitter. His first tweet was along the lines of:

"With 'Dr. Horrible' such a success, people have been telling me to get on to Twitter. Okay, here I am. So what's with this 160 cha"

(Looking upthread I see that Jo made the same joke, only in a more literate way....)

#66 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 04:23 AM:

I follow the big_ben_clock, though it's an hour out for my time zone.

And I really must restart my Just2Say account.

#67 ::: kristinekoleman ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 04:23 AM:

My main occupation is searching for new displacement activities - following up links via Twitter (thanks, for this one, Neil Gaiman) is a great way to keep me stuck halfway through chapter one of my next novel.

#68 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 05:57 AM:

Patrick @63, that said, I find it a bit annoying that, whenever I unfollow anyone, Twitter reports this to me as "x is no longer your friend".

#69 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 09:54 AM:

Linkmeister @53 Thanks! It's just for fun but I enjoy it.

abi @66 I love the Big Ben Clock twitter stream. It's the only one I have set to broadcast a window on my desktop on my twitter client. It's an hour out for me too but still has saved me from being late a few times. And it just makes me laugh to see all the bongs popping up.

Raphael @68 I think that might be a client issue? On the website it just seems to change the "Following" button to "Follow".

#70 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 11:37 AM:

Neat things found via twitter: Scott's Last Expedition (twitter account) and weblog where the Scott Polar Research Institute is posting Robert Scott's diary, along with photos and Google maps showing the progress of the team.

#71 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 02:21 PM:

You may want to consult Mrs. Stephen Fry's Indispensable Guide to Twitter.

Others may enjoy the messages of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

#72 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2009, 02:51 PM:

I was on Twitter about a year ago, and then kind of abandoned it for a while. Still have that old Twitter account and now use it for a few things, but I've recently opened a new one which I hope to make better use of. You can find me as Stormie_OH.

#73 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2009, 04:20 PM:

An interesting serious article about Twitter. It's gotten me thinking about something potentially useful that I might be able to do with my account.

#74 ::: Kintair ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2009, 05:04 PM:

the down side of this of course is where a brillaint Blog writer (and author) stops blogging and just posts their tweets as their blog entries - blog goes from a wonderful joyful read to junk in no time flat

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.