Tuesday, 4 November 2014

long distance love

Everybody wants to be my friend
But nobody wants to get higher
Long-distance operator
I believe I'm stranglin' in this telephone wire

Every day we get more and more dire warnings about the use of social notworking networking. Today it was about Government Agencies spying on us - or was that yesterday? Evidently Terrorists use Facebook to arrange their nefarious activities. If they can work out how to use Facebook they're welcome. The 24 hours I spent on it was so awful an experience I'm seriously traumatised by it.

Still, yesterday there was a story in the Independent in its i100 section that caught my eye (no pun intended). For one thing it was brief but it did annoy me. Always a good thing. The article suggests that "unpopular Twitter users" (sic) shouldn't waste everybody else's time by bothering to even think about tweeting a comment. 

This ridiculous piece of "analysis" by the Technical University of Madrid suggests that the only reason anyone would use Twitter is to gain a huge amount of followers. Now, I'm aware that some people click to follow people in the assumption that if you follow someone, they'll automatically follow you in return. It seems that the name of the game is to gain as many followers as possible and be retweeted more than anyone else. The article states:

“Having a larger number of followers is much more important than the user’s ‘effort’ or activity in sending lots of messages,” lead researcher Rosa M. Benito said. “The data shows that the emergence of a group of users who write fewer tweets but that are largely retweeted is due to the social network being heterogeneous.”

Does anyone know what that last part actually means? It doesn't make any sense to me. It does, however suggest that the standards of journalism in so-called quality papers is sinking ever lower. Since newspapers realised that nobody buys them any more so they have to spew everything up onto the internet, the art of proof-reading seems to be rapidly disappearing.

I thought using the various social networking platforms was to be able to keep in contact with (real) friends and family, make a few jokes and pass around a the occasional good article you've found.  Oh, and for the more intellectually challenged,videos of animals being hilarious. Mind you, I did find it quite funny that people quickly jumped onto the Russell Brand/Parklife bandwagon. I'm reminded of the interview with the so-called "inventor of the internet©" Sir Tim Berners-Lee when asked what he thought of his brainchild. He replied, "Well, I didn't expect so many cats."

Anyway, I remain obviously an unpopular Twitter user with very little influence on the world at large. I'm devastated. By the way, if you can understand what the hell the graphic that accompanies the article actually represents, keep it to yourself.


Zouk Delors said...

Isn't it an illustration of the the heterogeneity of the social network? Or is it an early Guy Fawkes party?

The link to the original story doesn't work on my mobile: the bit.ly link (what's the point of that, btw?) reroutes to what looks plausible as the target address, but the story doesn't come up.

PS Cats are the best! http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=PtbjH8Tm4fM&list=FLPadP9YZNZsKnrmyqMgx4pg

Dave Leeke said...

Hi Zouk,

Yes, it's as you say but I find such visual representations difficult to get my head around. It probably works best as a Guy Fawkes party.

I use bit.ly links as some of the addresses are so long they don't fit the 140 characters of Tweets. As I've already shortened them, I use them when linking on blogger too. The article is really rather slight so you're not missing much! Talking of links, your youtube one only comes up on my laptop as a page of what to watch. No cats, though!


Zouk Delors said...

That makes sense. Have you heard about Twitter 2.0? You can have as many characters as you like, haha.

The YouTube links ok to "This Film Is About Cats Flying" on my phone. Take the "m." out of the address? It's one of a number I favourited before Google bought YouTube, so maybe those are the "suggestions" you mention.