HOW TO TWITTER #3: Are You a Robot?

I'm sitting here, faffing with some stuff before I go make lunch, and I get a Follow notification. As is always the case, I go look at who it is, and then realise that there's a 99% certainty I just got followed by a robot.

Here's how I check the validity of followers 😀

It's another of my 'How to Twitter '22' Handy Dandy Guides. Time to play 'Spot the Robot Follower!'

Say hello to Nancy Donald. I’ve highlighted five things about Nancy’s profile that make me think twice about following her. They are:

1. The Avatar
2. The Username
3. Their ‘Description’
4. Followers and Following
5. They don’t follow anyone I do [WARNING KLAXON]

This is Nancy Donald's Twitter header, which I've marked with five potential red flags, as detailed in the Tweet itself.

1. Lovely lass. If I used Google Lens, I wonder if I could find out who this really is… you’d be surprised what searching people’s avatars can turn up. In this case, no matches, but this is the standard warning that what you see is not necessarily what is real 😀

Sometimes you don’t need a programme, a human being is far superior ❤

2. A username with numbers after it is a good indicator of a new account. I suspect this account has been created in the last 72 hours (and yes, look, account was created January 22) It must be said at this point that many older Twitter users have numbers after their names. Why? Because, in many cases, they see no need to change their names, or they do not know how to. It is reasonably easy with other checks to work out the difference. This all boils down to you making informed decisions over whom you follow and how you then interact with them.

3. I like a good positive affirmation, and in this case you KNOW you're not being sold something… except, of course, you are. Robots hide in people's feeds to avoid detection and to propagate disinformation. that's why who they follow and who is following them is so important.

4. Is the killer. The eight people who follow them are as far away from my interests and ideals as it is possible to get. Looking at their Likes and their media, there is no actual interaction at all with anything I’d consider as normal or indeed compelling to me.

Finally, 5 goes without saying really. yes, at some point you will be followed by people who don't follow anyone else you do. It's how small becomes huge in this space. However, if you take the time to look at the follows when you are small… you can make this a better place.

If Twitter will not (and in many cases simply cannot) police accounts fast enough, learning how to report the wrong-uns yourself is a useful way not simply of keeping this space useful, but weeding out those only interesting in impersonation and disruption.

I know what to do.

Yup, I lose a follower.

However, I stop this person scraping MY feed, and using me a hiding place.

When was the last time you actually checked who you follow?

/ends

I have blocked @NancyDo40742302 and I'm fairly confident you should too.

Originally tweeted by Another 🗨️ Reeson 💭 to start 2022 💬 STRONGER (@InternetofWords) on January 16, 2022.

How To Twitter #2: The Only Way is @-ing…

#2 in a series of How to Improve your Twitter Gameplay: The Only Way is @-ing…

I never really used to grasp how Twitter makes conversations you think are mutual end up as genuinely one-sided, until I started participating in group experiences. The assumption is that if someone presses ‘Follow’ that they’re reading what you’re saying.

INCORRECT ANSWER.

There are so many other factors at play: where they read your tweets (app/browser) and how that is set up. It also assumes that you’re not muted, which can often happen if you’re a prolific tweeter. Take it from someone who’s been told this to their face. It happens. The ONLY way you guarantee that someone is following you has read a tweet you’ve made is by including their @/username in a tweet. Never, EVER forget this. This can also be a useful way to ascertain whether you are also muted, if that is something that you need to know.

We follow people for lots of reasons: often in the hope that will, in turn, grant us a larger following ourselves. I’m not lying when I say I can manage about 600 people’s responses, and that’s the limit. If people are following as many people as they follow? They’re not listening. If it really matters that you talk to someone? Twitter is really not the place to do it. It’s great for random interactions, and for casual advertising. Make it anything else and the chances are it will get messy. If you are lucky enough to have decent friendships and engagement?

But seriously, honestly, truthfully, you are VERY LUCKY INDEED. Also, if you are investing a lot of emotional significance into ‘interactions’ where you are doing the majority of interacting? The chances are it’s a one way relationship. Make your choices with care. Again, take it from a fool.

TL;DR: if you want to guarantee an answer to a Tweet from that person you want to impress? Use their username.

If you get silence when you do?

Sometimes, that’s how we know that the importance we place in an interaction is not the same as how another person sees it.

/ends

Originally tweeted by Another 🗨️ Reeson 💭 to start 2022 💬 STRONGER (@InternetofWords) on January 15, 2022.

Hashtag Poetry #12

Every day in 2022 I’ll post six lines of unique poetry on Twitter, and then archive it here for posterity with some additional observations. Here is Poem #12:

Been a Week, guys, but we made some huge, massive, brilliant progress.

Hashtag Poetry #11

Every day in 2022 I’ll post six lines of unique poetry on Twitter, and then archive it here for posterity with some additional observations. Here is Poem #11:

I thought I’d broken my PC this morning, but it turns out that Firefox was broken for everybody. Today was the day I ruined my Wordle streak, and it was when 13 days of full on hard brain-based effort plus Monday’s blood donation finally brought me to my knees. Tomorrow will be better.

Hashtag Poetry #10

Every day in 2022 I’ll post six lines of unique poetry on Twitter, and then archive it here for posterity with some additional observations. Here is Poem #10:

This was the ice on my car roof at 7.30am, and I felt if I didn’t take a photograph of it there and then, nobody would believe that something so beautiful could have happened on something so unexpected. Some days, it is moments like this which grant me the ability to push through adversity. I was very grateful for the art. It could be leaves or feathers: nature duplicates the Universe, and the Universe in turn grants infinite complexity to the natural world.

Pick up some rubbish today, and recycle something problematic. If you don’t save the Planet, no-one will.

Hashtag Poetry #9

Every day in 2022 I’ll post six lines of unique poetry on Twitter, and then archive it here for posterity with some additional observations. Here is Poem #9:

Some days, you find yourself seeing the World through fresh eyes, often when you least expect to. Today has been like that for me. An awful lot has been done as a result. An awful lot more has been uncovered for the first time. It’s the right moment therefore to capitalize on my conclusions…

HASHTAG POETRY #8

Every weekday in 2022 I’ll post six lines of unique poetry on Twitter, and then archive it here for posterity with some additional observations. Here is Poem #8:

The smarter of you will notice two things. Firstly, this is late, because today I got the priorities misplaced, and a lot of emotional stuff has happened between Friday and here. However, as it is now remembered, we’re back in the game. Secondly, this is now a Monday to Friday gig, so when I get overpowered again by emotion, there’s somewhere for me to go. For now, we’ll work on having this up tomorrow morning 😀

One Hour a Day

We’re almost ten days into 2021 and currently, I’m drafting 3-4 poems a day. This would appear, on casual investigation, to be both unsustainable and frankly ridiculous, when nothing is further from the truth. The source of all this creative fervour isn’t a change in diet or some wonderful exercise programme. It’s 9-10am in front of a screen, being inspired by the creative forces behind the Kendal Poetry Festival.

For me and about 150 other poets, The Writing Hours [Resolution/Revolution] is granting permission for us, as writers, to intentionally take time for ourselves every day in order to be stimulated and encouraged by reading other people’s work and participating in group activities. There is no formal structure, no workshops or feedback. It is just us, a pen or a screen, and wherever the mood pushes Kim and Clare to go.

It is also useful to know that an outstanding, emerging poet such as Hannah is also gaining so much from what’s being given, freely and often with a great deal of honesty and earnestness. It’s not just the facilitators who you’ll learn from, too. I’ve picked up countless nuggets of useful information from the chat room, and there’s already a Facebook group for those people who want to share their work to an understanding audience.

I’ll be honest, I’m being very selective on what gets shared. The work being generated personally is in my mind so good, that some of it has already been submitted to other places. One particular poem I would go so far as to say is the best narrative piece I’ve ever written, and as a result is now forming the foundation of the first serious sci-fi sub to a specialist magazine.

One of the two poems in the new Podcast also came from these sessions last week.

It is still possible to get tickets for Week Two onwards (use this link) and if you have a few spare pennies lying about it would not be hyperbole to state this is a fantastic way to start your day, not simply in the right mindset but with the benefit of a group of like-minded individuals to work and support you. If you’d have told me I’d be in a room of 150 people every day, starting my year like this a year ago, I’d have not believed you.

I’m already working out how to keep the momentum going once this all ends on February 1st.

Dean Friedman is Following Me on Twitter

Back in March 2020, just before the first lockdown hit, something happened that, it must be said, made me realize that whatever other people might try and attest, Twitter will never be anything other than one of the best things that ever happened to me. The story I am about to recount was first told on my personal blog, but is being repeated here again because, finally, I’ve begun to write the poem whose title is the same as this blog post. It’ll hopefully be done this month and then, I will share it with everyone.

Meanwhile… I feel some time travelling coming on…

Imagine, if you will, it is 1977.

I am 11 years old. I hear a song on the radio for the first time that immediately captures my attention: Ariel. It’s by a bloke called Dean Friedman: an American singer-songwriter, for whom that is, at the time, his only ‘major’ US hit. However, this is not about success, but quirkiness catching both my ear and that of a Radio One DJ I listen to obsessively: Noel Edmunds. Thanks to him, I am compelled to seek out Friedman’s second album ‘Well, Well’ Said the Rocking Chair and shortly afterwards I become obsessed with one particular track.

I still carry that same song with me, to this day.

It remains the quintessentially perfect piece of narrative storytelling: a breakup song to end all breakup songs, but not obsessing on what’s been lost, but how to pull yourself together after the fact. It’s uplifting and smart and has the most killer saxophone solo in the middle, but what keeps it fresh in my head after forty years are these four lines of poetry which, let’s be honest, have never been bettered:

Take a look at the place you call your home
you’re reflected in all the things you own
and the seeds of reason you have sown
they’re a measure of a part of you that’s already grown…

Not gonna lie: for a good few years I literally carried those lyrics around with me too, wound tight inside a tea ball locket. I am happy to reveal that to you, dear readers, because I know we’re at that stage in our relationship now. It’s remains on a playlist that gets listened to weekly, and has been stuck into numerous other best of compilations over the years. When I inserted it into an online one back in March 2020 which was posted on Twitter, things started getting funky…

I can still remember the complete, abject disbelief when I first saw this on screen. Not only had the man whose song I’d made into a mantra for moving forward liked the fact I’d highlighted the song in my playlist, HE WAS NOW FOLLOWING ME. How was this possible, exactly? I didn’t @ him, he wasn’t directly mentioned in dispatches, but here he was, and remains. Dean’s still working online and playing gigs and has new songs out as I type this. You might move away from the people who influence you, but those people remain a constant regardless. In all the chaos we’ve now collectively experienced, it’s good to know Mr F remains one of the good guys.

I promised I’d write ‘Dean Friedman is Following Me of Twitter’ nearly a year ago, and the draft is still there, waiting for the right moment… and here I am, starting 2022 on a high. It seems the right moment to pay back a debt, too, so time and effort will be taken to ensure the final result is the right, fair and correct summation both of the story and his connection back to an 11 old girl who knew that, some day in their future, words would matter like nothing else ever could.

It’s taken a while, but I think I’m ready to do my pre-teen self proper justice.

Hashtag Poetry #7

Every day in 2022 I’ll post six lines of unique poetry on Twitter, and then archive it here for posterity with some additional observations. Here is Poem #7:

It’s been a week full of new possibilities. I started a Podcast yesterday, and it’s been more popular than I ever anticipated, and by that I mean 68% of the people who started listening to it actually finished it. The other 32% of people we don’t talk about. I will be spending the weekend celebrating my triumph.

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