Life, the Twitterverse and Everything

“I love this tool for cleaning up follower issues. Cannot live without it”

Saw this comment in a Tweet just now. The words “Can’t live without it” keep ringing (or is that ‘twinging’?) in my ears. This person is talking about some bit of software that let’s them prune their follower list…or something. Which is kind of amusing since most people using Twitter seem to be in a hurry to get as many followers as possible as quickly as possible.

Its not just the crazy sense of perspective in that Tweet. It also reminded me how self-referential the Twittersphere has become; how obsessed with itself and technology it is. And how grand it’s sense of it’s own place in history and its power to shape current affairs and even democracy itself.

Twitter is fascinating to watch, for sure. I read in the paper today one of the founders likened creating Twitter to putting a bat and a ball into a jungle clearing and hiding while the natives invented baseball.

Have people really reached a point where they can’t live without it? It looks like some have. Personally, I’m teetering at a point where the prospect of stopping using it is almost as attractive as using it, as I did with Facebook some months back.

ShiftThis newsletter WP plugin – RIP (and good riddance)

102 unwanted test emails finally spells The End for ShiftThis newsletter plugin

I spent $30 on this plugin.  Actually, $60 because I also bought it for a client. From the beginning, it was a complex nightmare to get working but I stuck with it.  It came with one basic newsletter template and no user-friendly means to edit or change it.  On top of that, the plugin maker found it easier to piss off his customers rather than provide an after-sales service.  Shame.

It also failed to move with the times (read incessant WordPress upgrades).  Within a few months, it began sending random test emails – hopefully just to my address.  Then it lost all its graphic editor controls.  For the last couple of issues of my newsletter, I’ve had to copy and change HTML code.  It’s been a pain in the arse, frankly.

And this morning, my iPhone suddenly informed me that I had 102 new emails in the space of a minute or so.  Great.  Straight into WordPress plugins and deactivate.

So long, ShiftThis WP newsletter.  Like I said, you almost made it – the Holy Grail of blogging; the working, workable blogger newsletter.  But you blew it.

So we had 11 beautiful months together.  And then it had to end.

Why?  You had the technical skills – that was clear from the start.  What you didn’t have was the social skills to make the most of social media.  From the very beginning, you treated your customers like an annoyance you could do without.

500 years since Henry VIII came to the throne

And this is how far we’ve evolved?

dickViagra spam.  We’ve all had it.  (Haven’t we?!?!).  It comes in all shapes and sizes: there’s the text-only, ‘appeal to your sense of masculinity’ kind.  There’s the ‘picture of the yummy pills’ kind.  And now this.  An appealing ‘before and after’ dong picture.

So here we are, 500 years after the coronation of Henry VIII.  In that time, we’ve mastered trans-oceanic navigation, created the industrial revolution, risen into the air, sent men to the moon and invented the digital computer. All for what?

So that our economies can fall apart because we’re all too greedy to stop consuming and too technologically rapt to stop ruining the environment?  And because – if the explosion of spam of all kinds is any kind of mirror – too guided by our dicks to evolve beyond the blood-thirstiness of the 16th century.

Ah well.

Google. Earth. Perspective.

This picture puts today’s Google Trends into a kind of perspective.

The Earth pictured from space – as seen by the US Apollo astronauts in the early 1970s (above).

Below is the Earth as seen by Google Trends – the top 100 US Google searches – Dec 9th 2008:

“3. visanthe shiancoe

“4. visanthe shiancoe locker room

“5. vishante shiancoe

“6. shiancoe naked

“26. shiancoe video

“27. visanthe shiancoe site youtube.com

“34. shiancoe penis

“38. shiancoe minnesota vikings

“50. shiancoe exposed

“59. shiancoe towel

“65. vikings’ shiancoe shown on tv barely wearing towel

“74. visanthe shiancoe naked video

“79. shiancoe picture

Thanksgiving thoughts from a Native American perspective

Google elevates Native American thoughts of Thanksgiving

I wanted to find out exactly Thanksgiving was all about. Before I’d gone two steps, I found the Oyate web site – a Native American site dedicated to ensuring that histories are portrayed correctly and in balanced way.

In a sobering (and from what I’ve read, accurate) account of the relationship between the first Pilgrims and the indiginous peoples of America, the site deconstructs 11 ‘myths’ about Thanksgiving – and ends with this:

For many Indian people, “Thanksgiving” is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation.

As currently celebrated in this country, “Thanksgiving” is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship


Personally, I give thanks that this web technology can give a voice to people who for so long haven’t had one.