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Friday, September 5, 2014

It's Almost Time to Abandon Twitter

Posted by Paul Constant on Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 10:59 AM

I've been a fan of Twitter for five years now, and a vocal Twitter advocate. But over the last year, I've become less and less enchanted with Twitter, to the point where I've thought about quitting the service multiple times. My complaint has nothing to do with advertising in the timeline—they've gotta make money somehow—but with the normalization of Twitter discussion. It's become a boring stew of self-promotion, self-righteous finger-wagging over the latest media event, pointless arguments that never change minds, and inane chatter about television shows. I roll my eyes at Twitter a lot these days.

Part of the reason I've not quit Twitter yet is that I still believe in the simplicity of the service: Short bulletins, arranged in strict chronological order, amounting to a real-time view of how thousands of people see and understand the world. I've harbored the suspicion that if I unfollowed a number of people who I now follow—especially the media types, who are the most infuriating—I could remake my timeline into something worth my attention again. There must still be people out there in the world who are intelligently toying with the formal constraints of Twitter, who have something interesting to say, who don't want to bludgeon the world to death with their boring opinions?

Today, though, it occurs to me that maybe it's time to quit Twitter once and for all. Twitter can't stop talking about Twitter—specifically, they're discussing this Wall Street Journal overview of a presentation by Twitter CFO Anthony Noto:

Twitter’s timeline is organized in reverse chronological order, a delivery system that has not changed since the product was created eight years ago and one that some early adopters consider sacred to the core Twitter experience. But this “isn’t the most relevant experience for a user,” Noto said. Timely tweets can get buried at the bottom of the feed if the user doesn’t have the app open, for example. “Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better.”

Noto does clarify that chronological order isn't going completely away: "Individual users are not going to wake up one day and find their timeline completely ranked by an algorithm.” But that's not enough of a promise for me. If Twitter fucks with the chronological order of the service, I will be done with Twitter. If I couldn't trust Twitter to provide me with real-time updates of protests in Ferguson, or the Occupy protests, or the Boston Marathon bombing, I would have no use for Twitter. I can find some other way to hang out with friends. I already belong to one social network that whitewashes the news and churns out a repetitive slurry of feel-good posts; I don't need another one.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Great Facebook Kiss-In

Posted by Dan Savage on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Michelangelo Signorile wants you to show your support for football player Michael Sam—and your contempt for the people who are still freaking out about Sam kissing his boyfriend—by changing your profile pics on Facebook and Twitter:

"Gay people need to be kissing more in public. There simply needs to be more queer smooching to desensitize the world. So with that, I hereby launch the Great Facebook Kiss-In, urging everyone—whether gay, straight or bi—to change their profile pics to two women kissing or two men kissing. Maybe it's you and your husband or wife, or your partner or sweetheart, or you and a friend. Maybe it's your dad and your dad, or your mom and your mom. Maybe it's two other people you just like a lot or you think are hot. Just change your profile pic to a kissing same-sex couple, and urge others to do the same. And for that matter let's do it on Twitter, too. One day in the future we will look back on all this ridiculousness and laugh. But that's only going to happen if we do exactly this kind of thing a lot. So change those profile photos now."

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Point Is Mute

Posted by Paul Constant on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Twitter users: You know how sometimes you follow friends and they go on long rants about TV shows that nobody should ever care about? And you know how you don't want to unfollow them because it feels too rude? Today is a very happy day for you: Twitter is enabling a mute function, so you'll be able to feel like a polite friend without clogging up your timeline with useless information.

Muting a user on Twitter means their Tweets and Retweets will no longer be visible in your home timeline, and you will no longer receive push or SMS notifications from that user. The muted user will still be able to fave, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won’t see any of that activity in your timeline. The muted user will not know that you’ve muted them, and of course you can unmute at any time.

I can think of a few folks I'll have to mute during baseball season. Speaking of muting assholes on Twitter, I just started a Twitter list of potential 2016 presidential candidates and other prominent political types. You're welcome.

Non-Twitter users: God, Twitter is so stupid, isn't it? Who cares what you ate for lunch? It's all like, whatever happened to human interaction in real life? Doesn't anybody remember what eye contact was like? Why, just the other day, I looked around on the bus and everybody was Twittering on their phones and nobody was talking! It's outrageous, is what it is. Simply outrageous.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Twitter Is Great Because of Its Limitations

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Yesterday, Twitter made some changes to its service. Ashley Feinberg wrote about them for Gizmodo:


Not only can a single tweet now hold multiple photos (each with up to 10 tagged friends), but none of that extra baggage takes away any of your precious characters.

I'm not crazy about Twitter's newfound love of photographs. I love Twitter for its words, its one-liners and brief observations that can change the way we look about a breaking story. But most of all, I love Twitter for its constraints. As I've been saying for years, Twitter was something akin to a new literary form in the way it constrained its writers, haiku-like, to 140-character chunks of text. And if you wanted to include a photograph with your text, you'd lose twenty characters of that 140. If you wanted to include a link and a photograph, as a lot of news organizations do in their tweets right now, you're down to 100 characters. So how do you relay important information, remain readable, and squeeze your voice into 100 characters? That's the challenge of Twitter, and it's made me a better editor over the years. My refusal to use text-speak—I'll occasionally put in an "&" in place of an "and," if I'm desperate—means that I have had to strip my thoughts down to their barest, most clear states.

But now that 20-character penalty is gone for photographs, and you don't have to use up any characters to tag another person in the photos, either. The constraints are slowly fading away. It's a relaxation of the rules of the game that makes the whole thing less fun to me. I'm not swearing off Twitter or declaring Twitter to be dead or anything like that, but I do forsee a change in the way people use the service. It's very likely going to become something like a real-time photo-sharing service, where the words take a back seat to the image. That's already happened with blogs, and with Facebook, and with pretty much every site that I've ever enjoyed. Words coax and argue and inspire. Images grab your attention. Images lead pageviews. Images sell shit. In this economy, images are always going to win.

There are still ways to counter these changes, of course. I can and will happily unfollow anyone who posts more photos than texts. I can shape my Twitter stream into whatever I like. But I can also see a point where, if Twitter is incautious, these changes completely sap the fun and creativity out of the service. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Wow, My First Tweet Was Fucking Stupid"

Posted by Christopher Frizzelle on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Someone in the office just looked up their first tweet and said that. You can look up your first tweet here. Everyone rolls their eyes when an internet thing like this comes along, and then we all turn toward our computers and do what we just rolled our eyes about doing. My first tweet was apparently a Flannery O'Conner joke. #embarrassing #typical #figures

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Today in the Funniest Thing on Twitter

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 3:59 PM







I'd join in... but I'm not worthy.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Today in Awesome Twitter Responses from Cher

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 1:59 PM

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I'm stealing "Lana Del Rey THAT" as my new catchphrase.
Hat tips to WOW!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cameron Diaz Weighs in on Sound of Music Live

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 1:29 PM

I was too busy poisoning my tonsils with bourbon at last night's annual Mercury karaoke party to hate-watch NBC's The Sound of Music Live starring Carrie Underwood. Luckily for us, Cameron Diaz was watching and tweeted the definitive opinion on the subject.

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And really... isn't that all that any of us need to know?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I've Got Drones in Different Area Codes

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 9:44 AM

The real question: Who filled out the form?


Related.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Yay! More "Celebrity Mean Tweets"!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Jimmy Kimmel's "Celebrity Mean Tweets" segments are not only consistently hilarious, they play a valuable public service: Hopefully mean tweeters will watch this and say, "Hey, I really hurt that celebrity's feelings... and I got on TV. LET'S DO IT AGAIN!!"

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Call for Socializing Social Media

Posted by Eli Sanders on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Benjamin Kunkle at n+1 has issued a manifesto:

1. Social media should be socialized because services tend to be or become monopolies. Most private enterprises, whatever their business, have at least a few competitors. Large social media companies—Facebook, Twitter—tend to lack competitors, for the simple reason that their platforms are not compatible. I can’t create a profile on a non-Facebook site that then appears on Facebook, and no microblogging service could emerge to challenge Twitter unless it were capable of inducing mass defections. Social media services or social utilities, as they would better be called, are thus more like highways or railroads than like car manufacturers or freight companies.

Also: "Social media should be socialized because its content is produced by society at large, and society is distinct from the economy." Or, as a Tweet that recently came my way put it: "We're all unpaid interns working for Twitter in exchange for exposure." Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stephen Colbert's Newest Tweet Machine!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Fox News has been having a rough time of it lately—for allegedly creating false Twitter accounts to bolster their image, and for... you know... lying all the time. Luckily for them Stephen Colbert is there to help them out by setting up a brand new Twitter account called @RealHumanPraise, which substitutes Fox News anchors into lines from positive movie reviews... every two minutes! Watch his explanation here, and check out the small hilarious sampling below!




If this doesn't rescue Fox News, nothing will! Read 'em all here!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Does This Make You Have a Feeling? Selfies at Funerals: The Tumblr

Posted by Kelly O on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 2:59 PM

"Love my hair today. Hate why I'm dressed up #funeral"

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Joyce Evans: Reigning Media Twitter Queen!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Yesterday I alerted you to the hilariously tone deaf tweet by Philly's FOX 29 reporter Joyce Evans, who compared a local drive-by shooting/murder to an episode of Breaking Bad in order to lure in viewers. Though she's furiously backpedaling at the moment, and I suggested she should have her Twitter feed taken away forever, a quick look at her other tweets shows that this is a reporter WHO REALLY KNOWS WHAT SHE'S DOING on social media! Don't stop, Joyce!







Unfollow her at your peril!

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

South Park's Alec Baldwin is the Best Alec Baldwin (Much Better than the Real Alec Baldwin)

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Last night's South Park slams Alec Baldwin, homophobia, Twitter, thumbs, and generalized internet diarrhea all in one HEEE-LARIOUSLY perfect clip. Watch this quick before they yank it! (Audio NSFW!)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Using Photoshop For Evil

Posted by Dan Savage on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Today's most terrifying Internet thing.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More and More, Governments Are Requesting Private Information from Twitter

Posted by Paul Constant on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Twitter, which has apparently been much better about saying no to the NSA than the other tech giants, says that more and more governments want to get a hold of your private information:

The company's latest transparency report, now a biannual affair, shows a steady increase in information requests from governments around the world, including those for user account information, which Twitter said typically are made in connection with criminal investigations or cases. For the first six months of 2013, Twitter received 1,157 requests, up from 1,009 in the second half of 2012 and 849 in the first half of 2012.

Whenever I write about Twitter and privacy, people tend to respond with something like, "isn't Twitter for narcissistic over-sharers anyway?" And, you know, sure, kinda. Partially. But governments aren't interested in your public posts about what you ate for lunch. They're interested in the identities behind anonymous Twitter accounts. They're interested in Twitter's private messaging system, which has become a preferred way for protesters to keep in touch when they're planning and undertaking actions. There's a lot of very damaging private information on the site, even though it has a reputation as being too public.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Does Twitter Put a Kink in Your Armor, and Eventually Kill You? A Blogtown Poll

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 2:14 PM

After his Twitter blow-up last week in which he called Daily Mail reporter George Stark a "queen" and insinuated he liked anal sex (in my family, that's a compliment), Alec Baldwin has vowed to quit Twitter FOREVER. Here's what he told Vanity Fair when asked if he would return to the social media platform:

Never. No. I went to Jimmy Gandolfini’s funeral, and when I was there I realized Jimmy Gandolfini didn’t have Twitter. Jimmy Gandolfini was so beloved as a person, and he was so admired as an actor, and he didn’t give a fuck about social media.

I really learned a lesson at the funeral. I said to myself, This is all a waste of time. Meaning it’s fun sometimes, but less and less, and less. It’s just another chink in your armor for people to come and kill you.

A poll, if you will.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

That's a Good Tweet

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM

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BTW, don't miss my monologue in this Friday and Saturday's LONE WOLVES: Solo Sketch Comedy Show entitled "Taylor Swift: Music Superstar." It's got puppets.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jose Canseco Probably Shouldn't Be Allowed on Twitter

Posted by Paul Constant on Wed, May 22, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Jose Canseco, who has been accused by both of his ex-wives of domestic violence in the past, was approached by police officers in Las Vegas as part of a rape investigation, according to Canseco's Twitter feed. How did Canseco respond? By tweeting the name of the woman Canseco says has accused him of rape, along with what he claimed to be a photo of her and her phone number. The tweets—there were two clusters of them—have since been deleted, but BuzzFeed has screen captures of them (with the name and personal information redacted).

Now, people are calling for Canseco to be kicked off of Twitter for posting the personal information of a woman whom he believes has accused him of rape. I used to follow Canseco on Twitter because he was kind of funny, but his propensity to angrily publish the personal information of whatever woman he's obsessing over—and he's done this on multiple occasions—was way too creepy for my tastes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tweet Wars: Michael Ian Black vs. Marc Maron

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Whether this is an actual Twitter catfight or a fakey promotional stunt, few people do passive-aggressive MEOW PFFSST! PFFSST! tweet wars like the one Michael Ian Black and Marc Maron are currently engaged in. Here's just a sample. A SAMPLE!

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Meeee-OW!! Read the entire war here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Twitter Vs. the New York Times: Who Will Survive?

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, May 2, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Here's a provocative headline from CNN Money:

Peter Thiel: Twitter will outlast the New York Times

Sounds like an old-fashioned bar bet to me!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Best Twitter Conversation About Fluoride of the Day! (Perhaps Ever?)

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 12:59 PM

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Follow @IanKarmel and read his weekly column "Portland as Fuck." Oh, and for more info on that idiotic fluoride/Nazi myth, there's this. Seriously, guys. Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The 15 Commandments (of Twitter)

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Courtesy of Doghouse Diaries, here is perhaps the ultimate unwritten Laws of Twitter list—presented in convenient "score card" format.

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While I generally abhor anyone one person or organization declaring "rules" for the internet—I thought this was pretty spot on. Notice anything they missed?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Old People Reading Rob Delaney's Tweets

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 1:44 PM

We are all in agreement that comedian @robdelaney has one of the most heeeelarious twitter accounts in the Twitterverse—and I'm sorry I just said "Twitterverse." Fuck a "Twitterverse." WHERE WAS I?? Oh, yeah. To celebrate Rob Delaney on his show, Jimmy Kimmel gets a bunch of old people to read Delaney's tweets... and they do a great job! GREAT JOB, OLD PEOPLE! You can die now.

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