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Discussion > Tweet and blog

U juz sey dat cuz ur jelus.

Is it 'cuz'? I retain the ability to be shocked by the spellings my son comes up with in texts, though I think he's pretty consistent. Twitter doesn't tend to produce such radical re-spelling, though shortened forms like u, 2 and r are pretty common. What a world, eh. "Not like it was in my day" has itself become such an understatement that it will have to be put into premature retirement like much else.

Jan 3, 2013 at 6:25 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I guess I must just be too old for Twitter :)
If as Richard says there are good things happening there then it must be worthwhile but a conversation like the Pielke jr thread on BH is not possible on Twitter imho, willing to be proved wrong though.

Jan 3, 2013 at 10:57 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I can't go and look at that conversation now very easily, I'd have to know it was there and have to follw one or both of the people having it. In effect it's obscured from my curious eye by obscurity! I need to know it's there to find it!

Compare that with a blog, where I know where it is, I can search on topics and names, and I can read the conversation in a normal dialogue fashion. It stays where it is forever. It's searchable on google.

Jan 4, 2013 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I don't think anyone is suggesting that twitter should be a replacement for blogs, just an additional tool. In fact one of its useful functions is as an alert system for interesting blog posts, particularly those outside your usual blog circle. Further detailed discussion can then take place at those blogs.

Jan 4, 2013 at 9:13 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Unfortunately Paul, some of that discussion takes place on Twitter itself, and is effectively lost.

Jan 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames


If as Richard says there are good things happening there then it must be worthwhile ...

But you have something other than my opinion at the top of the thread - I gave eight links to Twitter conversations from 1st January involving ten people including Andrew Montford, Brian Cox, Richard Betts and Barry Woods. By giving URLs I was enabling you to make a judgment for yourself. (Something you failed to do when arguing that I should be banned from Bishop Hill recently by the way. That meant others would be unable to judge the context and in some cases even the meaning of the snippets you came up with. So I thought the principle might be worth underlining in this less heated context.)

Jan 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


Unfortunately Paul, some of that discussion takes place on Twitter itself, and is effectively lost.

First, Twitter throws nothing away so it's not lost in that sense. Storify isn't the only attempt to reconstruct some narrative or other from the pieces. But the deeper issue is the one I, then Paul, have been asking about: how come there is interaction between people on Twitter who never talk to each other on blogs? Is that because anonymous ranters do not play any real part in destabilising the conversation as Twitter encourages one to see it? I think that's a key factor and it has a profound and subtle relationship to the way so much is 'lost' as you call it. Perhaps more needs to be lost in places like this?

Jan 4, 2013 at 10:09 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I would guess it's precisely because of the (apparent) volatile nature of the messages that allow people to speak more conversationally, I do get that. And if people open up and have frank discourse because of that, then I agree it should remain volatile - my only regret is that some of it *should* be preserved, but by doing so it might inhibit its existence in the first place.

I supposed faced with this paradox, the only way to make sure you see it is to get involved.

Jan 4, 2013 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

richard - if anything twitter is MUCH, Much worse for anonymous people trolling and breaking up conversations..

Jan 4, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Ha Barry, thanks for that spanner in the wheels of my theory!

I tried to be careful in what I said:

Is that because anonymous ranters do not play any real part in destabilising the conversation as Twitter encourages one to see it?

The key (but inadequate) phrase being 'the conversation as Twitter encourages one to see it'.

I think our different perspectives on this would be due to our different usage of Twitter. Most of my climate-related Twitter usage in the last three months has been clicking on Andrew's feed (the web page @aDissentient, not through any mobile app or anything fancy like that) and then the "View conversation" option on tweets - often hours if not days after the event. That way I seldom get to see anonymous tweeters at all, let alone rants. But you, I assume much more in the moment, obviously do.

I think one has to say that it's a real strength of the latest Twitter software that it filters out so much of this stuff as it reconstructs 'conversations'. Just the first step of putting Humpty together again. And never a replacement for blogs - hence the 'and', not 'or', in the title of this thread (and the fact that I didn't try to do this as a series of tweets).

Jan 4, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

In reply to shub, Barry Woods and Richard Drake (comments 12:14 PM to 3:45 PM, Jan 3).

I'm the guy behind QTCV

You're right shub:

"Mann has simply revealed too much of his character, much to his detriment, via Facebook and Twitter."

The piece I wrote just followed the interaction between Mann and only one commenter on his Facebook threads. Yet that revealed a lot. God (or Google) knows what else is to be found in his social media. I didn't trawl his Facebook account for the worst I could find. I followed a tip from Tom Nelson about one comment and then Google searched for others by the same commenter.

I was going to use just a couple of those comments (almost as an aside) in an article about the Mann vs. Steyn defamation case, which I had started to write before Christmas. After a break, I came back to it on the 29th and the scrubbing had taken place. So it then became a kind of forensic exercise to prove those comments ever existed and to explain why they were scrubbed.

I don't follow Mann's social media. I'm not even registered with Facebook and Twitter.

Jan 4, 2013 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Ross

David Ross: thanks so much for stopping by.

I don't follow Mann's social media. I'm not even registered with Facebook and Twitter.

Funnily enough I read this just after taking in Why I’m Quitting Instagram by Ryan Block (which means he's also quitting Facebook). I recommend the whole article but he concludes:

We’d all be much better off simplifying our technological footprints and consolidating our trust in the few services that provide us the greatest value with the fewest unintended side effects. In the end, I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m a quitter.

And you should be, too. People wondering what there is to gain by thinning their online accounts sometimes ask: “Why quit?” Instead, I think every once in a while we should all ask ourselves: “Why stay?”

Like Stephen Fry and myself Block much prefers Twitter and LinkedIn to Facebook, because of the complete control they give you over your 'outward appearance'.

There is much else we could discuss, not least how Mike Mann has messed up on social media, and I hope we do spend time on that, but that's how my slow-moving brain was whirring as I saw your post. Your example shows it can be smart to be a watcher, not a participant, in many of these services. Welcome!

Jan 4, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


as a user of both LinkedIn and Facebook, I was wondering why you thought LinkedIn had more 'appearance control' than Facebook? I'm no FB fan, but you can customise your public footprint to almost nothing (as I did recently, nobody except friends can see me now, and only a subset of those can see everything)

Jan 4, 2013 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

TBYJ: Was just editing that paragraph when I saw your question. I am a very sporadic user of both FB and LinkedIn and, as such, I don't have a very comprehensive answer to your question. In that paragraph, I was really reflecting Ryan Block's view:

This is in contrast to Facebook and any other social tool that allows any user in its social graph to associate you with all manner of unrelated career- (or even potentially life-) changing posts or images.

I have some experience of what he means on FB and I don't think the same has happened to me on LinkedIn, so I trust his judgment, but he's the expert I'm leaning on, more than my own experience. He may be thinking of the massive majority of us who don't try and twiddle the knobs of permissioning and visibility. His wider point, going back to Friendster, backs this up: none of us have the time to track such things, including terms of service and ownership changes, except for a very small set of services.

Jan 4, 2013 at 3:59 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Slightly unfair on FB I think, to say that 'any user in its social graph' can 'associate you with all manner of...' because you can control all such associations, in terms of visibility or even existence.

Jan 4, 2013 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Ha, I'm editing old posts as you comment on them. First time that's happened to me here since I became a registered user on BH, which was a surprisingly short time ago. I often choose the vanilla version of a service - and in the case of Facebook that certainly is true. If you've been cleverer than me there, great. But like Fry I prefer Twitter and that's where I will tend to learn the system more, because I like it more.

Block may have been unfair to FB - feel free to put him right on that on his own blog. But the Twitter model remains much simpler to me.

Jan 4, 2013 at 4:08 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I think a lot of people, especially younger ones, are being incredibly naive about the dangers of social media. I think there will eventually be a mass reaction. Those services that do not respect privacy will suffer.

When printing was first invented some people put the same faith in pamphlets as they did in the Bible, simply because it was the printed word. Even in the early twentieth century some people trusted newspapers to the same degree as encyclopedias. Now people are more cynical. No sane person trusts Wikipedia content as much.

But many still aren't as wary about privacy as they are about veracity.

Even without social media, the power of the Internet enables you to build the kind of comprehensive dossier on people that newspapers keep on celebrities. It's not always just snooping. If you're going to cite some piece of information you've found about someone, you have a duty of care to ensure it refers to the same person and not a namesake. You have to cross-reference. I also try and look further because I don't want to diss someone based on a few errant examples. Maybe he's a really nice guy and doesn't deserve the criticism.

Of course, some will do the opposite and cherry-pick to paint the worst picture possible like the 'denier' bios on DeSmogBlog, which some like Prof. Parncutt apparently view as a death list.

Some can also interpret attempts at verification as something more malevolent. When Franziska Hollender appeared at WUWT to study the 'deniers' in their natural habitat, I posted one small snippet from her flickr account and she freaked out. She seemed genuinely alarmed so I went to some length to try and allay her fears.

Jan 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM | Registered CommenterDavid Ross

David: very valuable. I need to process that and I hope others will. Stay tuned.

Jan 4, 2013 at 6:57 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I've claimed at various times (usually on one of Richard's nym threads) that although I use a nickname here, a clever person could find out my identity in 15 minutes. I wonder if i was being a little pessimistic.

Apart from the one or two people who have my real contact details (Martin A and Paul Dennis as well as the Bish himself) does anyone fancy compiling a dossier on me? :) Just for fun, you know. Might be fun and funny to see what was unearthed.

Jan 4, 2013 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Of all people, I will be the last to volunteer. I have my reputation to consider :)

But a very good experiment, if some folks less identified with the dark side of real names want to pick it up. Report on a new discussion thread? (A big compliment, not a brush-off. This could go somewhere.)

Jan 4, 2013 at 7:19 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I know how *I* would do it, but being a techy myself I have a head start on this type of sleuthing. Perhaps I should do one on.. say... Dung, although he leaves fewer clues, that would be tough.

Jan 4, 2013 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Thanks Richard for recommending Twitter - my account is only a few days old but I'm finding it quite fun and useful (if a little dangerous). Do you know, is it possible to block whole groups of people from following you? I find I'm blocked from following Michael Mann, and I'm struggling to believe he'd have the time or inclination to block someone like me individually? Any ideas anyone?

Jan 11, 2013 at 4:10 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

As far as I know, or certainly have experience of, Philip, blocking has to be done individually. Not wanting to imply that Mr Mann is paranoid or anything of course. I assume he has an assistant for such tiresome tasks.

Jan 11, 2013 at 4:18 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Crikey, good work if you can get it. Thanks, Richard!

Jan 11, 2013 at 4:34 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

The tweet stream set off by Richard Betts correcting @BarackObama that John Cook's paper didn't say 'dangerous' is notable in a number of ways, not least that real names on Twitter aren't always what they seem.

May 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake