What is the BL code?

A proposed Message Code for Twitter and any social network.

The BL code means "broken link." It tells someone that a link they sent out was defective.

Geekly speaking, it should be "resource," but I won't get into why. I think the average Twitter user can remember, "Broken link," Busted link, Borked Link, etc..  Not going to spend much time writing this up formally, yet, but feel free to comment/disqus it below.  Perhaps we can make it grow!

As always, I reserve the right to completely discard or discredit this idea at any moment, and without warning or notification of any kind.  #SoSuckit

When To Use The BL Code

Anytime you click someone's social feed links, and get any type of fail, and want to quickly, with a minimum of keystrokes, tell the sender that the failure happened, so they can fix it, hopefully before their bad link gets too much traction with their followers, retweeters, etc. 

The failure may have been due to:

  • Failed links (404s, etc.)
  • Video, page, or widget failure.
  • The earth gets hit by an asteroid and we all die.


What are Message Codes?

Among the many needs we have in the social space, is more codes to give some quick semantic or semiotic meaning to social media messages (tweets). Twitter has become the 21st century telegraph, on many levels. But it still lacks its own modern morse code for daily use.

Mostly for my own fun and use, I am creating a few codes as the need for them becomes apparent. Most languages and syntaxes get set in stone far too quickly, but you can be sure the social namespace is going to get crowded, as our social nets evolve.  I'd like to see an organic, bottom-up evolution from daily use for the most ubiquitous daily codes. Let local dialects flourish! Hopefully there will never be too many at the root level. I'd like to see lean, mean and very clean (and thus, easy to adopt).

Twitter is the proverbial herd of cats, and the only way anything can happen is over time, with enough people doing it. It gets easier if what we want people to do is really SIMPLE. Thus, I have come up with these few…

The Tweet (Or Transmit) Codes:


MT = Modified Tweet/Transmission

Substantially changed to mock or clarify, but may have altered meaning. Be sure to check original, if it could matter.

FF = Follow Friends

Follow anyone, anytime #FF Hashtag.

BL = Broken Link or Resource.  [new]

Please repair & resend… and/or delete bad original.

CC = Carbon Copy Recipent List   [proposed]

Do Not Retweet. Recipients only need to receive it ONCE (and not be tweet-bombed).

DR = Don't Retweet/Retransmit [proposed]

Do Not Retweet. Only copy & paste the message/URL it is linked to (or ignore/discard/keep as just a memo).



Why Define These Codes?

Because I can, of course.  And because they are needed, and because I want to use them right now, myself, and feel my 6000+ followers would, as well.  Each is based on years of daily practical tweeting.  Few would argue that I do and read a lot of that, and I feel my years of programming and interface design skills makes me at least as eligible as anyone else is to make hideous mistakes.

I am sure others, with an interest in such things, will come up with a more robust standards scheme to build on my meager beginnings, or just overwrite them completely. I'm down with either outcome.  For now, Shoq codes are an intuitive and useful language start, that could assist in the evolution of more useful tools (quickly).

See Also: My "MT" signal idea

Can you do this on Twitter… just make stuff up?

So who's gonna stop me, you? Yes, you can just make stuff up :)  Twitter is a community defined tool; many of the better ideas, including the RT, #hashtags, and other conventions came about via an ad hoc adoption by the community itself.  What works is what people decide is useful, and they just start using it. As of September 10th, 2009, I had been using the BL signal for about a week. I intend to keep using it.  If others find it a good idea, it will endure, and future digital anthropologists may find this page and understand its origins. If it doesn't, it's just one more of my thousands of bad or failed ideas nobody will remember a month from now :)

So many people asked for these, it was easier to just post them here. They are in reverse chronological order. Best read from the bottom up.


Ok, #iamthankfulfor is now bring out the saps and slop artists. Time to close that tweet deck column until next year.

Dear #IAmThankfulFor: By the time a tag like this trends, it jumped the shark 6 hours ago. Start then. You'll enjoy it more :)     

#iAmThankfulFor having worked this poetic tag for hours before it soared over the fucking shark on a jet ski.       

#iAmThankfulFor for douchebags who know they are douchebags and spare me the unpleasantness of pointing it out to them.      

#iAmThankfulFor for everyone who ever lived that consciously sought to leave something good for future generations.       

#iAmThankfulFor for people who tell me my words strike a cord with them. Twitter makes me feel like a writer, sometimes.       

#iAmThankfulFor people who believe justice isn't always fair & fairness isn't always just, but caring about both is always right.       

#iAmThankfulFor for our socialistic ancestors who left us National parks to enjoy       

#iAmThankfulFor for having had a father who taught me that smart wasn't about what you know, but what you do with what you know.      

#iAmThankfulFor for people who prove every day that ethics and good character can be as natural as sunlight.       

#iAmThankfulFor some Conservative dingleberry that was too culturally clueless to know what "teabagging" meant.       

#iAmThankfulFor for living twice as long as I had even known my father, but still learning from him every day.        

#iAmThankfulFor for people who see a void in the world, or someone's life, and make an effort to fill it with something good.       

#iAmThankfulFor people who are on Twitter without any financial motive to be here.       

#iAmThankfulFor Educators, scientists, physicians & others who find reward in achievements not measured by net worth.       

#iAmThankfulFor for people who can be thankful for things that do not directly affect them.       

#iAmThankfulFor people who fearlessly welcome a chance to learn about life and experience outside of their own.       

#iAmThankfulFor Early & mid-twentieth century Americans who worked hard to give us advantages we're taking for granted.       

#iAmThankfulFor for those writers, artists, musicians and poets who make life richer with work they're rarely paid to produce.       

#iAmThankfulFor cats who let us to be selfless servants without any expectation of getting something back–ever.      

#iamthankfulfor learning in 9th grade that John Galt was not a real person, and that, unfortunately, Ayn Rand was.       

#iamthankfulfor not being one of those inspid "thankful" tweeters who could make even a Hallmark card writer yak on himself.     

#iamThankFulFor for Twitter, which has brought me a world of new friends I might never have known without it.      

#iamThankFulFor for a mother who taught me that some arts could reveal truth as well as some sciences.

#iamThankFulFor having had a war hero dad who fought for his country w/o needing to validate himself talking about it.