Thursday, 30 April 2009

No good can come of it...

Many trivial things have caused my faith in the human race to momentarily lapse into a billion teeny-tiny, Piers Morgan-shaped particles of despair, futility and hopelessness over the years - just lately, most of them new UK Radio and TV sitcoms, alas - but tonight's catalyst:, a website dispensing witty status updates to the witless.

No good can come of it, I tell you.

Or as Generatus might have it: "Tim is in his growlery" (from its mood options I selected 'anger' (it didn't have 'existential dismay'); Generatus apparently selected 'twee'). But it's not actually Generatus's status updates themselves that I'm particularly dismayed by, it's the people I'm imagining using the service... I mean, who would do that? Or rather, why do that?

Fair enough, plenty of people have difficulty expressing themselves - I can understand someone feeling a bit down, but wanting to say so in a way that sounds self-deprecating rather than self-pitying; for instance. And I dare say some people will find updates on there that sum up precisely what they wanted to say but didn't know how to say until they saw it. Of those kinds of uses none really bothers me, they're still somewhat expressive of the person behind his or her update. But, on the whole, doesn't artificially generating status updates sort of defeat the whole purpose of a status update?

A status update is about who you are; Generatus seems to be more about who you aren't: you aren't imaginative, you're not good at wordplay, you rarely come up with something funny, you'd like to appear more 'mad' (all those options are in the Tag Cloud), so you go to Generatus for updates that will cultivate your chosen (false) image. Now, is it me, or isn't there something faintly dispiriting and lonely about that image? about the self-delusion behind it? the calculation? the desire to be someone else? the effort that would have to go into maintaining the facade?

But I'm probably taking it a bit too seriously. After all, I think what really makes me recoil about Generatus is this: thousands of Colin Hunts out there, every one of them clicking on that 'madness' option...

Truly, it doesn't bear thinking about.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Twitter Watch: 3

Enough - for this week at least - about Twitter's rate of growth, Twitter vs. Facebook, Ashton Kutcher's quest for 1,000,000 followers (or for English viewers, Mitch Benn's), and all those other identikit stories that seem to surface in one form or another on Twitter every other day. Time, instead, for some (mostly) pointless 140-character fun and nonsense: analyses your tweets, to determine your style of tweeting and your personality - then accuses you of being a POET (if you're me, at least).

The plot to each of Shakespeare's plays rendered in 140 characters, by JS van Buskirk.

Anonymous secret-sharing website PostSecret, but in Twitter form: SecretTweet.

And to make your secret, erm, doubly secret, you could always post it to Textgasm as well, I suppose.

'I tawt I taw a LOLcatz!': cat pictures captioned by random tweets from the Twitter public timeline. More such mashups here, including illustrated headline feeds from CNN and the BBC.

Avast! The good ship Twitter has been boarded by pirates (is nothing safe?): Post Like a Pirate (if you must).

Apparently you can win $5 on Twitter, just for knowing stuff. Who says Twitter's a waste of time?*

Because poking's not nearly annoying enough for just the one social network: Twaction.

An (almost) daily Twitter themed comic strip.

Why use Twitter to roll dice? I don't know... because you can?

And if all that was too exciting for you; well, you should probably get out more. If it's raining again, though, you could always calm down with a quick meditate: at selected time intervals InnerTwitter will send you reminders to 'Stop. Listen. Pay attention to what is before you.' (Also handy if you are out, and crossing a road, probably).

Next post: almost certainly something other than a collection of links; I should have a bit more time next week, hopefully.

*not one of the questions.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Serves them right for Ikea, frankly

When search engine-friendly news copy and Twitter collide:

More word-based fun

If copious Twitter retweeting hasn't collapsed their server again, the Scrabble prone amongst you might have some fun over at DeepLeap. The aim of the game is to make words out of a stream of randomly appearing letters, with points deducted for non-existent words and not using up letters, and extra points awarded for consecutively correct words, longer words and clearing the board. Apparently it's still "just a demo" at this stage, but it's playable enough already - and presumably will only get even better.

(Link via Very Short List).

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

More Twitter watching

More news from the world of 140 characters...

Twitter clients

"The new Seesmic Desktop is a dream application for the frequent status updater" - Mashable

"TwitterGadget embeds a powerful Twitter client right into your Gmail account" - Micro Persuasion

"With HootSuite, you can manage multiple Twitter profiles, add multiple editors, pre-schedule tweets, and measure your success" - indirectly via @BenOkri

Twitterary news

"We need to get more across in fewer words. The Twitter poem tries to respond to this and the feeling of freedom" - Ben Okri in the Guardian

"Resonance FM are inviting writers to participate in the development of a new play for radio, with dialogue entirely sourced through Twitter" - BBC writersroom

The t(w)ipping point?

"Is the G20 summit a turning point for Twitter?" - Daily Telegraph blogs

"Twitter traffic explodes... And not being driven by the usual suspects!" - comScore

"Twitter growing twice as fast as Facebook" - AllFacebook blog


"Did Demi Moore's Twitter feed stop a suicide?" - abcNews

Twitter + Courtney Love = lawsuit

"Clearly, it's possible to defame someone in very few words"
- MediaPost


"Twitter switch for Guardian, after 188 years of ink" - Guardian

"We've created an unprecedented partnership with Twitter to build a
platform for publishing Guardian content on Twitter: We call it Gutter" - Guardian (love the WordPress bit)

"Keeping the most complete list of April Fools' Day Jokes that Web Sites have run since 2004" - @AprFoolsDay

More light relief

Because tweets are just too long:

(via Mashable)

Twitter founder Biz Stone on The Colbert Report:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Biz Stone
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

(via Mashable)