With one tweet…

Last night I felt like a rather seedy voyeur watching something terrible develop; unable to physically intervene but equally unable to stop reading the unfolding events.

Let me explain.

One of the people I follow tweeted about someone else, asking if anyone knew them because they were worried.  Curious as I am, I went to see the timeline and was horrified to read the tweets this person was posting as they attempted to end their life.

This person; so lonely, so desperate so…  I don’t know, so at the edge of the precipice and ready to fall over.  And it was their last tweet at just before 8pm “sluggish now…” that I found most upsetting.

Of course, the power of Twitter meant that retweets for help were fired off left, right and centre as people tried to find out the real identity of the account holder and their address so the police and paramedics/ambulance could get to them.

Luckily, when I checked this morning, they had been found and had been taken to hospital.

Good.

And I really, really hope that they get the help they so desperately need and the reassurance that they are not alone, that depression is not a weakness and that there is help out there.

Whether or not any non-Twitter people knew what was going on with them is neither here nor there.  On face value, it was one person tweeting so, you could say that Twitter saved their life which is a wonderful thing.  However, I want to ask this question, and please believe me when I say that I am not judging this person at all, I genuinely want to know.

If they had really wanted to commit suicide, would they have broadcast it on a powerful social networking site where their tweets would be seen and acted upon, or would they have just taken the pills and slipped away without anyone knowing what they were doing?

My thought is that they wanted to be found because despite them not wanting to carry on anymore and thinking their life to be worthless, tweeting live about what they were doing would get them to safety, which luckily it did.  However, I have never suffered from serious depression or other mental illness so I don’t know how I would feel in that situation, which is why I am asking.

Your thoughts please.

P.S. I have not forgotten the poor love who prompted me to write this post, and I wish them all the best and hope that they and all others suffering out there, find the comfort and solace they seek.

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To retweet, or not retweet; that is the question.

What’s the deal with retweeting and why do we do it?

I sometimes get confused when I see people retweeting things that I know goes against the grain of their beliefs.  That is until I realise that they are NOT doing it because they agree with what the author has said, but because they want to highlight how idiotic/wrong/stupid/ignorant/inflammatory (delete as appropriate) the original post and possibly the tweeter is.

However, if their assumptions are correct, then aren’t they just feeding into the ego of said poster?  I can possibly guarantee that the originator of the offending tweet won’t give a tinkers cuss that people think that they are stupid; bad publicity is still publicity right?

I’m saying this as last week one of my Facebook contacts posted a link to an American tweeter, who in his bio, claims that he is a true Christian, loves his country and wants it back (whatever that means…) and all the good ole’ homemade apple pie crap that goes with that.

All very well until you look at his tweets and you realise that he is the polar opposite of what a Christian is and is one of the most repugnant, repulsive people I have seen on Twitter for a long time, utterly suffering from a pinguitude of his ego and a total blatherskite.

How do I know this?  Well, after seeing my FB friend’s link, I made the mistake of clicking through and reading Mr Full Bloodied Redneck’s tweets, which were disgusting.  Then I looked at his mentions and he was being called out for being the racist bastard that he is by everyone and being retweeted left, right and centre, so that many others would be able to see what an utter dick he is.

Did he care?  Not a bit of it!  He laughed at what others had written, turned on them when they tried to reason with him (NB: these fuckwits CAN NEVER be reasoned with, so don’t even try) and carried on his merry way spouting his nasty gibberish and revelling in the publicity he was getting.

So, what is to be done with these people?  I don’t know is the short answer.  I did nothing and perhaps I should have reported him at the time.  I was only reminded about him when I saw a retweet yesterday evening which prompted me to write this post.

We can stop feeding the trolls and get them barred from places like Twitter, but there will be many more where they come from, and their network of cohorts will still be there.  His name has been bandied about on Facebook and Twitter so much that if he was being paid for the number of hits his profile gets, he would be laughing all the way to the bank!

Suffice to say, I don’t really want to see my timeline containing retweets highlighting and publicising the low life that hangs about in cyber space; it will only sadden and anger me and I don’t want my Twitter to be like that.  I can also hold my hand up to contributing to his publicity in a small way as I am writing about him, but the difference is that I have not and will not name him.

I’m not here to tell anyone what to do; you choose your own path, but should I come across someone like this person again, I might be inclined to report them to Twitter.  Rest assured that I won’t be retweeting anything they write.

Spam

Spam.

I hate it.

I hated that revolting (alleged) food stuff that we had at school, and I hate the spam that lands in my in-boxes and on my Twitter timeline on a daily basis.

In the run up to Christmas on Twitter, it was mainly links to get gift vouchers from places like IKEA, MacDonald’s burgers and others that I have forgotten about.

Since then on Twitter, it is only links to porn sites and they either follow me or mention me in a tweet.  You can spot them a mile off before you even bother to check out their accounts.  (My email spam is always about how to enlarge my penis or the cheapest places to buy my Viagra…)

I rest my case!

In the last week alone, I have had about 15 people follow me that have the same avatar of two blond girls kissing each other.  Their bios either say that this year they will be having sex on the moon (!) or that when they kneel down, it won’t be to say their prayers.  However, they all have one thing in common:

THEY REALLY, REALLY GET ON MY FRIGGIN NERVES…

I told one to fuck off today, and even after looking at their timeline and seeing that alot of their tweets were not just links to porn sites sent to random people, but had some normal stuff the likes of you and I might tweet, I didn’t care and did it anyway.  Then I reported them as spam and blocked them.

And you know what?  I don’t care if they are a genuine person, and likely to be offended by my reply, that is the risk you take when you make it your job to chuck this kind of drivel out into cyberspace, and if you land on my timeline in any way, I will report you.  That’s your tough shit as far as I am concerned, you are a parasite that is multiplying at an alarming rate and needs to be eradicated.

I know that I am not the only one who feels this way, but apart from continuing to report them, I’m not sure what the answer is.  Other than taking a machete to their heads.

In that case, my next tweet may well be from prison!

“The black hit of space…”

I overheard a conversation on the bus the other day from these two ladies talking about how pathetic those of us that use social mediums to communicate with, are.  I would have happily ignored them but one of them said:

“She is always on Twitbook…”

I nearly burst out laughing at that and well, that was it, I had to listen to them then, and on and on they went about how people are stupid morons for living their lives through FB etc, never off their phones, always pressing buttons and not talking to anyone in the flesh and so on.

And it got me thinking; are we in control of how much we use Twitter, or does it control us?

For me, I would say that I am fully in control of Twitter, and I would also add that as far as I am concerned, Twitter is the phenomenon that has taken over in the appeal stakes to FaceBook.  I love that it is instantaneous and that it did not matter that I knew no one when I set up my account.  With FB, I always feel that there is some maiden aunt looking over my shoulder frowning at what I upload so although I’ll check it every day, I rarely post anything on there anymore.

I am fascinated by the freedom of Twitter; you really can say just about anything you like and even though I have read things that have caused me to take a sharp intake of breath, on the whole I think that the good eggs on Twitter far outweigh the nasty ones that lurk in undergrowth.  However, let’s not forget that the nasty ones can be utter vicious bastards and enjoy hurting others…

Of course people do tweet saying that they are leaving because they are either on Twitter all the time, or other people have annoyed them by posting nasty, rude and insulting comments.   It is a shame they feel they have to do that as they will no doubt have followers that really like what they post and don’t want to lose that connection with them.  Of course there is nothing to say that they cannot continue their friendship by swapping email addresses etc outside of this medium, and hopefully they will return to Twitter at some stage.  Some just like to take a breather for a few days, who doesn’t, we all need a break now and again, no harm in that!  Some have to leave due to illness, either themselves or family.  Totally acceptable in those times of stress.

The funny thing is that people do like to look down on others who use Twitter, FB or the myriad of other forms of cyber social networking.  They think we have no life outside of these mediums and call us sad and lonely.  I have had that said to me before and have had people laugh because I am on Twitter.

Well you can just fuck off with that idea!  I have as full and varied a REAL social life as I want to thanks.  I see those that I want to see as often as I want to and I consider Twitter  an extension of that.  If I don’t want to tweet I won’t and I don’t feel guilty about using it nor should I be made to feel less of a person either.  In addition, I would not have got around to writing this blog if I had not discovered Twitter and read the many wonderful blogs that other people write.  It would have stayed just another one of my ‘something that I want to do and will get round to doing one day’ projects.

Twitter is a powerful medium that helps get important messages out there and across the world in a blink of an eye.  It is also a great way to follow the famous and infamous, meet other like-minded people and build friendships.  It has a fluidity about it that FB does not have (well, in my opinion anyway, but what the hell do I know?).  I have met some really lovely people through it that I never thought I would have done and I hope to continue with that. 

Twitter is here to stay, so embrace it, enjoy it but don’t let it get you down; life is to short for that!

Twatting about on Twitter

I joined Twitter in April this year and so far have written over 2,250 tweets.  Admittedly alot of them have been replies to other people’s tweets as well as re-tweets done by me and to me, but I like to think I have contributed to the richness that is Twitter with my stupid banter and pictures.

I have a Facebook profile as well but I always felt that putting the odd comment, thought and status like remark on my Facebook page as I do on Twitter, would not only raise a few eyebrows but would get people contacting me asking me why I was putting up that shit on FB.  Especially as I know some of my friends there get irritated when their contacts advertise what they are doing along the lines of –

“I am going to cook rice for dinner tonight”

“Hoofuckingray, good for you!”

“Here’s a picture of a seagull”

“So fucking what!”

So, I looked for somewhere else to do that on and discovered Twitter. At the time I was not ready to write a proper blog, so thought this would be a good introduction to the art.

I wanted it to be an experiment and set up a profile without using my real name.  I was curious to discover if people really will follow people they don’t know based solely on the content of their tweets.  I know, I know, I was naive but I honestly was not sure how Twitter worked and had never been able to see the point of it before!

I chose LondonStanding (see below) as it is based on a bit of amusement between me and my sister when driving back from visiting family in Southend.  When you reach the Queen Elizabeth Bridge you can see London in the distance and because we love this old city, we would just nod and say to each other “still standing”.  Writing this now, I understand how stupid it sounds to outsiders, and it certainly is only a bit of emotional fluff that means nothing to anyone else but we liked it.  We still do.

So, my next job was to think about what I should put in my bio, which was originally “Living, Loving Looking at London Standing”, because I wanted to talk about things in this city of mine that make me laugh, make me smile, piss me off, highlight events etc.  I thought the bio quite clever at the time, however, I soon came to regard it as trite and rather pretentious!

One thing I did not want to do was to make my account private, I don’t judge others if they choose to do so, but I wanted to share my rubbish with the world – why should I suffer alone, eh?

My first few tweets again were an experiment as I referred to myself in the 3rd person – oh good grief, I really am an idiot, what a prat!  I would advise you not to troll through 2000 odd tweets to see the crap I wrote at the beginning.  Oh the shame, oh the shame!  And if you do, just remember that I will hunt you down and kill you if you unfollow me now.  I am very fond of my followers and don’t want to lose you!

I remember the feeling when I got my first follower, it was like winning a lottery, and I felt I had accomplished something.  On reflection, I wondered if they thought that I would be tweeting only about things to do and see in London, and as my style was evolving and changing, within a few weeks, they unfollowed me.

Apart from those I chose to follow that do let me know about things that I am interested in, I wanted to find some people who seemed to post random stuff like I wanted to do.  And over time, as I found more people like that, I looked at their style and realised that alot of them were really, really funny!  They posted videos and pictures and used words in a much cleverer way than I could.  There are two that immediately spring to mind, and I loved (and still love) their cross Twitter banter and these new people gave me ideas on how I could alter my style and allow my humour to put its head above the parapet and have a go.  I am in no way as good as them and I am not trying to copy them, but it is fun giving my madness free rein.  I still post about things I have done and places I have been to as I want to let others know about them so that they can go and find out for themselves.

I also realised that people use naughty language on Twitter and I know I can swear like a trooper, so it pleased me I was allowed to add the odd expletive on a public forum and no-one would bat an eyelid.  And if they did, they would soon unfollow me.  Ooh the freedom that gave me.  Not that I use bad language all the time on Twitter you understand, but having the freedom to choose to do so was good.

Well, that meant that I had to change my bio because the original was still rather po faced and misleading, and I was not happy with it.  So I added a little humour at the end to signify that I was not up my own arse all the time and crossed my fingers.  It seemed to work and I gained a few more followers and began to have little conversations with them now and again.

By now I was completely bored with my original bio so deleted it and started the transition to what it is now.  I wanted to incorporate my love of playing with words (again, not an expert) so over a couple of weeks, I revisited it and tweaked it until I was happy.  I might change it again but for the moment, meh, it’ll do!

P.S. since I wrote this post, I have changed my user name to Miss_Alaynius.