And have you left Twitter?

This was the question recently posed by a friend at the end of an email.

The quick answer is yes!

I have also deleted my LinkedIn, Google+ and about.me profiles.

The next question I presume would be to ask me why?

To be frank, despite my long and illustrious association with the Internet and the various communication protocols it carries, I’ve never been much of a social networker. I’ve never used Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest – and don’t have any burning desire to!

I have been a member of the LinkedIn community since 2004. I viewed it as a handy tool for making business contacts and perhaps career development, but that view has changed. I found their ‘people you may know‘ recommendations disturbingly accurate. I don’t like an algorithm being able to piece together my social interactions in such fine detail. Next it was the nagging endorsement solicitations, avoiding them was harder than dodging chuggers.

The final nail in the coffin was the weekly ‘profile views’ email showing exactly who had been looking me up. At first it was interesting in a voyeuristic way, but it quickly dawned on me that the owners of the profiles I’d been idly browsing would also receive these notifications. The day I received an email from LinkedIn with a smiling photo of one of my exes, I took affirmative action and deleted my account.

Twitter is a slightly different story. Again I was a fairly early adopter, opening my account in January 2009. As an information broadcast medium I like the Twitter model. I used it primarily for keeping up to date with local events and a route for making complaints to service companies (Hello SW_Trains !)

What I wasn’t comfortable with however was the realisation that I had become slightly addicted to the constant stream of news and miscellany. Feeding my information junkie habit became an all too frequent distraction.

So I decided to go cold turkey and simply uninstalled the mobile app. After a couple of days the urge to automatically check Twitter (after email and BBC News) gradually subsided.

Let’s see how long I last ūüôā

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Twitter journalism

I’ve ranted previously about shoddy BBC journalism, more recently I’ve seen more examples of what I term Twitter journalism. The worst protagonist for cultivating this drivel is Daily Mail Online, but that’s their¬†raison d’√™tre and absurd sensationalism is what you expect when you visit their site.

It’s sad to see the scourge of Twitter journalism now creeping insidiously¬†into BBC News.¬†There’s no better example than this article on BBC News:¬†HD signal ‘lost’ during Wimbledon

That looks interesting I thought, surely as lead broadcaster the BBC would be the most dependable news organisation to go to for the low-down.

How wrong could I be! Never have I seen such a moronic and baseless article, totally devoid of facts or informative content.

It starts well enough:

Viewers watching Andy Murray and David Ferrer’s Wimbledon quarter final clash missed vital seconds of the match as BBC One HD went off the air.

So what was the cause?

“It was down on Sky [and] Freeview,” said one viewer on Twitter. “Sky had a very basic fault message on a black background. Freeview was just black.”

You’ve just told us that. We don’t need it reiterating by a random faceless quote.

But the match was still available on the BBC’s standard definition channel.¬†Dozens of people complained about the loss of picture on social media sites.

Yes yes, I understand that people were rightly upset about the break in transmission. So what actually happened?

“Who’s stolen BBC HD?”¬†asked Neil Sculley¬†on Twitter.

“When will the HD return?”¬†added Richard M. “It’s been about 20 mins and no announcement.”

No factual news content here, just a few questions scraped up from Twitter. I’m still none the wiser.

Some viewers reported that when the picture did return, it was a standard definition picture, not HD.

But, by 18:00, normal service appeared to have been restored.

“Appeared”? In case you hadn’t noticed, you work for the BBC. Wasn’t there someone in the internal directory you could ask?

“Panic over, HD resumed on BBC,”¬†said Jamie Grace.

“Murray is now even uglier and angrier than normal.”

So the official confirmation of service being resumed was another comment on Twitter?

It’s no wonder the author of this ‘article’ hasn’t dared put their name to it.

Shame on you BBC.

Twitter Typosquatting

I just mistyped twitter.com as twtter.com and was surprised to find that I was redirected to what looked like a Twitter survey / competition page.

The logo at the top of the page is presumably¬†deliberately¬†designed to fool you into thinking that it’s an official Twitter survey:

Congratulations!

You’ve been selected to take part in our short, anonymous 30 second questionnaire. To say “thank you”, you’ll have the opportunity to receive one of our exclusive offers including a Airline Travel Voucher and Win an iPad2. Start this short survey now.

I tried going to twtter.com a few times and was redirected to a number of alternative domains, each with the same fake ‘quiz’:

I got bored of harvesting all the various quiz and survey related domain names (they actually had some really good names), but I collected around 70 and submitted them to the OpenDNS Community tagged as Adware.

Incidentally, if you’re not already using the fantastic OpenDNS service then I highly recommend it.