Category Archives: Twitter

In Which First Contact Goes Horribly Awry

First Contact: Not the desired outcome

I had an interesting encounter on Twitter this morning, that could surely be used as a case study for alienating people who should be your allies.

Let me preface this by saying that @jimmiebjr is one of my oldest and dearest Twitter friends. In fact, he registered for Twitter the same day as I and was probably one of my first follows. He was unfailingly helpful to me as a new blogger, and still is a source of support and encouragement. So when this turned up in my timeline, you can imagine that I was a little put out.

Okay, I’ve never seen you before and not only do you show up in my timeline, insulting a friend, but you toss in some minor vulgarity to boot. And here’s where it all goes…weird. Mute? Huh? Until April? This apparently means “block,” but not before shooting off a couple of self-righteous DMs. Whoa! Way to overreact! And call names! And condescend! Tell me this. Am I crazy, or did he not involve me by including me in an @ reply? And really, what was the point of including me, other than to try and make Jimmie look bad in front of his friends? How childish is that? Honestly, I don’t even know what their debate was all about. I was just objecting to him insinuating himself into my consciousness by insulting a friend. Talk about being an a**hole…Pot! Meet! Kettle!

Here’s a tip for Mr. Crabbypants. If you don’t want people to respond to you, don’t include them in your @ replies. And if they do reply, don’t quote Scripture to them to try to shame them for participating in a conversation into which you invited them. I believe this is all covered in Social Media 98: Remedial Twitter. Oh, and another thing. Blocking people for having the temerity to point out your own rudeness? Not the best way to maximize your network.

Zefram Cochrane would be turning over in his grave. You know, if he were born yet. So the next time you approach someone for the first time, how about a simple “Live long and prosper.” You’ll be better for it.

(Of course Mr. Crabbypants will never see this post because – hey! – he blocked me. And he’ll continue to wonder why people accuse him of being condescending.)

Update: It appears that Mr. Crabbypants’ awkward use of social media puts him in good company. In fact, Chapstick gets it so wrong, they actually make him look good. I hope they’re not actually, you know, paying anyone good money to update their Facebook for them.

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Filed under Social Media, Twitter

Oh, Noes! I’ve Been Twitter-Scammed!

I’ve been pulled over by the police only one time in my driving career, 16 or so years ago. I was in my Ford Aerostar; my youngest daughter was behind me in her car seat, screaming because she’d lost her toy. I was driving southbound on Interstate 405 in stop and go traffic between Bellevue and Renton, Washington, when I noticed flashing lights in my rear-view mirror.

I was mystified as to the reason I was being pulled over, but made my way to the shoulder and stopped. While the Trooper got out of his car. I twisted around to pick up my daughter’s toy and, in the process, came about halfway out of my seat. When I turned back around, I was confronted with a State Trooper standing at my window, gun drawn. Let me tell you, that’s an experience you never want to live through.

Of course, when the State Trooper saw me reaching around behind me, he had no way of knowing that I was picking up a toy; he had to assume I was reaching for a gun. For my part, it never occurred to me that reaching for a toy could be mistaken for reaching for a gun because, well, I would never draw a gun on a police officer.

I’m sure you wondering what this has to do with being Twitter-scammed, so I’ll get to the point.

Eleven days ago, I noticed a new follower on Twitter, InTheStimulus. It was an intriguing username so I clicked through to check out the profile. There were a handful of tweets there, and it looked as though the intention was to highlight examples of wasteful spending in the ARRA legislation. Looked interesting, so I tweeted:

“I recommend @InTheStimulus for all those who want to know where their hard-earned dollars are going to be spent.”

With that tweet, InTheStimulus faded from my memory until one of my Twitter friends DMd me yesterday to let me know that I’d been “featured” on the DailyKos. As it turns out, InTheStimulus was a dummy account for one of the “investigative reporters” frequenting the DailyKos and the tweets, rather than being actual examples from the ARRA legislation, were fabricated.

Of course with perfect hindsight, I can see that it was foolish to recommend InTheStimulus without investigating further than my casual once over but to be honest, just like my experience with the State Trooper, it never occurred to me that someone would deliberately post false information because, well, I would never deliberately post false information.

This is quite the story over at the DailyKos. They’re getting a real kick out of all the gullible conservatives who fell for their clever ruse. That’s not really my concern; I’ve raised 3 teenagers and I’m used to this sort of juvenile derision.

But InTheStimulus goes on to make an excellent point:

“…be careful of what you read and believe on Twitter. I think some of the leeway granted to InTheStimulus is based on the soundbite nature of the site; people can get away with no citations, which is less likely than with a conventional blog.”

So I’d actually like to congratulate InTheStimulus on an excellent social science experiment and thank him (her?) for an excellent reminder that, while my intentions may be honest, not everyone’s are.

(For those of you who may be wondering, I was pulled over for having expired license tabs; no citation resulted. I think the Trooper felt the drawn gun had been punishment enough.)

An Update from Bamos at Daily Kos:

Wow, I wasn’t expecting this to get noticed again. The InTheStimulus account doesn’t exist any more. After this diary, some conservatives noticed it and spread around the word that it was a hoax. This is a surprisingly level-headed response by one of my followers.

I did change the username, delete all the old posts, and start again with the same followers list with TheAngryRighty – personally, I’m amazed you can do something like that. I haven’t touched it in a couple weeks, though.


Filed under DailyKos, Twitter