Category Archives: our day and age

spambots and social media experts are meeting in the middle

Are spambot Twitter accounts getting smarter, or are actual people just creating dumber Twitter profiles? Below I present three profiles that I came across in my normal Twitter usage (ie, I didn’t go looking for them). One is spam, two are real. I think.

Spambot 3 Spambot 2 Spambot 1

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My Digital Resolutions For 2013 (Not Numbered)

  • Never read the comments section.
  • Treat Facebook and Twitter like a phone call, not a television.
  • Do not flip out when a free website changes its terms of service. They’re allowed to do it; you’re allowed to stop using the website.
  • Support web artists whose work you value with purchases, not just pageviews.
  • Stop freeloading and donate to news outlets and service organizations whose missions you value.
  • Remember that sharing a link is neither a vote nor a donation.
  • Use Facebook only for conversation and link sharing, never as the platform for created content.
  • Stop reading articles with titles that begin “Top 15…” or “8 Best…” etc.
  • Continue to not use emoticons anywhere, in any fashion.
  • Apply a high standard of relevance and interest before attempting to tell someone about a video or comic you saw online.
  • Tweet like your girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, future employer, and favorite aunt are all reading it.
  • Make sure your blog post is important before going back to edit it after it’s ben publishedd.

Kris Straub and Twitter as an immune system

Yesterday I was an unhelpful wise guy on twitter in response to Kris Straub:

But this exchange lead to an entertaining framework for understanding Twitter interactions: Twitter as an immune system.

  • Step One: someone tweets out an honest question
  • Step Two: the twitter immune system reacts by clogging the question with jokes. This does not answer the question, but it keeps the question alive longer and brings it to wider attention
  • Step Three: while the smartasses are keeping the question alive, actually helpful people are researching and composing their responses
  • Step Four: question answered

The New York Times Could Kill Me And All My Friends If It Wanted To

I can’t count how many times I’ve had the following conversation with my 20-somethings friends:

“So I learned recently that there is a connection between [type of exercise or diet] and [health concern I didn’t use to worry about but now worry about a lot].”

“Oh, yeah, I read about that too.”

“New York Times health blog?”

“Yup.”

The New York Times is pretty much my only source for health news (except the occasional random Wired article). Thanks to the NYT, I feel better about drinking coffee, feel guilty that I don’t do more crosswords, aspire to do more interval training, and carry the burdensome suspicion that there are 1,000 things I need to do to prevent my joints from collapsing and my attention span and memory from going to shit, and I’m only doing 4 of them.

It looks sinister if you stare at it long enough.

Which leads me to this realization:

If the New York Times wanted to kill thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of middle and upper-middle class people between the ages of 22 and 42, they totally could. All they’d need to do is slip the deadly advice into their health articles.

The Easiest Way to Make Our Cities More Livable

Honestly, this is the best idea I’ve had in months.

Car horns should be as loud inside the car as they are outside the car.

I’ve written about car horns before. They are probably the biggest daily drag on my quality of life as a pedestrian and a bicyclist. If you could measure the stress and anger spewed like shrapnel in every direction by car horn detonations, I bet the cost to our health care system would be titanic.

You can’t get rid of them entirely because they’re “safety features.” But make the driver experience that awful sound the way their victim bystanders do, and the horn would quickly become used for what it’s supposed to be used for: emergencies.

The benefits would go beyond sidewalk stress and anger, too. Car horns give us the illusion that we have some control over the jerkoff six cars up who isn’t driving at the instant the light changes green. Make this change to car horns, and we learn a little patience (while thanking the driver who takes one for the team and honks anyway).

We’ve also diminished the car horn as a signal of danger by using it constantly. Make them unpleasant to honk, and everyone will pay more attention to the horns we do hear.

Seriously, Washington DC. Make this happen.

The Vow is the sequel to every romantic comedy ever made

This would be a better poster if she was lying comatose in a hospital bed.

I will likely never see The Vow, which opened last weekend. But I learned this about its premise:

A car accident puts Paige (McAdams) in a coma, and when she wakes up with severe memory loss, her husband Leo (Tatum) works to win her heart again.

This could be the sequel to every romantic comedy ever. At the end of any movie in which two people fall in love and get married, the woman conveniently obtains a coma and the husband has to win her heart again (thus allowing for a rehash of the same movie).

“Shit,” says the husband. “We’ll have to meet cute again! And she’ll probably also consider a pompous and/or mean guy who is obviously not right for her.”

Seriously, with Hollywood so enraptured by sequels, I can’t believe they missed the opportunity to graft this movie onto an existing franchise.

Think about the possibilities:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith Take A Vow: Angelina Jolie has a coma, and Brad Pitt has to both win her heart back and explain to her why she has all these assassin skills. It’s 1 part romantic comedy, 1 part Jason Bourne movie.
  • Vow to Drive: Carey Mulligan hits her head, and Ryan Gosling returns to town to quietly make sure she and her son are doing okay. She’s getting harassed by medical bills, and Ryan Gosling ends up killing a bunch of HMO lawyers before leaving town (again).
  • Love Vowed Actually: Every person in the movie falls into a coma and a whole new cast of famous actors and actresses, each playing a doctor, fall in love with their respective patients.
  • We Vowed To Free Willy: Willy hits his head on a submarine, gets an orca concussion, and ends up back in a zoo somehow.
  • E.T.’s Head Hurts: E.T. gets a concussion from a bike accident and in his confusion calls in a distress signal. His species destroys planet Earth.

Nation Looking Forward To Day When It Won’t Be Able To Find Iraq On A Map Again

Wilmington, DE – With President Obama declaring the war in Iraq officially over, Americans breathed a sign of relief that they soon would no longer be able to find Iraq on a map again. “I clearly remember the day in January 2002 when I learned Iraq was a country,” said Norman Griswald, a Wilmington accountant. He and other Americans reflected on the brutal realities of nine years spent knowing about a place outside their immediate lives. “Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani. Al-Falluja. The Ba’ath Party,” Griswald added somberly. “Jesus, I still know what I’m talking about.” Medical experts say the loss of worldly ignorance Americans suffered during the Iraq War might take days or even weeks to recover from, but given time Americans might again know only that Iraq is one of ten countries with four letters in its name.