Twitter's new Shared block lists are well intentioned…

I myself discussed such tools years ago with friends and associates—often in public.  But, we never imagined such a feature being executed by Twitter without some kind of interactive host service to keep them accurate, current, annotated and cancelable. Yet that is what Twitter has just announced.  And many people are celebrating, but I fear prematurely. 

I strongly feel that any seasoned Twitter user will be able to see the very large — if not fatal — flaw in this idea that will probably make it unpopular, controversial, infrequently used, and thus, not really the significant anti-abuse tool that Twitter and its proponents think it will be. In fact, it will actually offer new ways to abuse users.

I've discussed it with enough people I trust to know I am probably correct in my take on this, but perhaps I am l not. So let me lay out my fears and let's see what you think?

The Shared Block list idea is very basic 

I "export" my list of say 600 blocked people to you (I really have far more), and you being a big fan of mine, "import" my list and voila! You now block everyone that I blocked. Simple, right?  But what if I blocked them:

  • by accident — this happens 3-5 times a month on many devices (I, like many, can block people in the same week and rarely remember who or why until someone asks or tells me.)
  • because of some transient issue, grudge, gaslighting, or gossip. Drama you couldn't care less about.
  • I just don't like them, or hate their position on some topic or issue that you aren't even aware of or feel passionately about
  • my friend @SnippyWitch hates them and would kill me if I didn't block them, too
  • their shoes offend me, and I want thousands of my followers to block them… just because I can
  • a political operative in my stream copied my block list to thousands of other operatives so they know who I don't like — and then tell them.

Do you see the problem? These are just a very few examples. I can think of many others. I'm sure you can, too.

But, you say, people can be selective about which names they import!

Yep, and that sounds good on paper. But in actual practice it will rarely if ever happen on a large scale such as this.

Are you likely to take the time to study and learn about every name you see in my list of 600 accounts (or even 60), most of which you won't recognize, even if you already follow them? I myself follow thousands of people I enjoy seeing in my feeds, but I'd never recall their names on sight. And like me, you're very unlikely to notice that one special account that you like, but I don't. Yet if you imported my list with only a cursory glance, and no investigation as to why I blocked someone that you did not, poof, they're gone from your world forever.

But wait, there's worse!  Twitter's new feature also has an option to export not only your entire block list, but each and every name on each and every block list that YOU imported.

So now, in order to be fair to some people that you know could be innocent, or just to be responsible, you would have to review not just your own blocked names, but also those names on every list that you import.  Considering all the possible false positives already mentioned, can you see the potential for chaos, confusion, and unfairness? 
And worse, is the vast Scarlet Letter potential. if you end up on one famous/popular person's block list that many of their close friends and associates use, you will be forever invisible (or tarnished) to those people, and neither they, nor you will even know it. Even if you're on that list totally by accident, you have just been wiped from the face of their Twitter timelines, with very few options for remedy or recourse. It happens virtually every minute on Twitter. Not a day goes by that most of us don't see tweets like:

"Sorry, I blocked you by accident"; or "Hey, @tinkletoes, I just learned you blocked me, How come?; and finally, "Hey @ShortWad, please tell @JakeTapper to unblock me, willya?"

The ugly fact is, that now merely being on ONE popular person's shi…err… block list… will result in perfectly innocent people being blocked by very large numbers of that person's followers, friends, colleagues, contacts, and associates, and then exponentially, to far more people as their block list propagates to their own followers.

People will just be inexplicably disappeared from each other, bi-directionally, cut off from one another, and neither the blocker nor the blockee will even know that it happened, let alone why.

And even worse, resolving the oversights, mistakes, or malice will need a lot of open-channel communications across multiple timelines, streams, and communities. Correcting even a single error will require everyone who imported the list to be informed of it.  And that's if anyone even wants to bring it up.  Who wants to be seen broadcasting:

"Hey,@Caitlyn_Jenner, why did you put me on your block list available to your five million followers? What did I do to deserve that?" 

Few of us want to go through that. Correction, none of us do. Yet if you can't see it happening, and almost immediately, you could be new to Twitter.

Any way you look at it, despite the good that was meant to be achieved by Shared Block Lists, I fear very bad things coming from this idea. Even if it only gains popularity among a handful of sizeable accounts, it could wreak absolute havoc upon potentially thousands — even millions —of social graphs and relationships, or simply crush Twitter's wonderful ability to discover new and interesting people.  And you're not going to care that not everyone is being harmed by this optional tool, if it is you, a friend, or even your employee being harmed.

Just reclaiming one important relationship, personal or professional, could require a lot of time, effort—and even embarrassment.

While righteously trying to address the many issues of abuse that exist online, I fear that Twitter has made a mistake rushing into this particular feature with no public feedback, a very primitive import/export implementation, and virtually no communications capability for editing, updating, annotating, commenting, or appealing any of names contained in these distributed black lists.

If I am correct, it is likely to be a disaster already happening, especially for innocents who get tainted and/or rendered invisible to large numbers of important people and communities merely because one popular account distributed their name in a widely distributed Shared Block List.  

That's my take. What's yours? Your comments welcomed below (they're moderated, so don't expect them to show while I'm sleeping.)

Further Reading

When do Twitter block lists start infringing on free speech?   By @mathewi

An exchange between @mathewi and @anildash concerning "Free Speech" issues

  • FYI: I agree with Dash. There is no free speech issue here.



This is a response to requests from people asking me to publicly defend myself against the extraordinary series of tweets about my relationship with @vdaze (Jessica) and my character.

Doing so would only further escalate a sad public end to a private and personal relationship. Instead, I am stepping out of this drama. I will have no public response to any of this campaign or these tactics, beyond the one already made on my blog.

My friends, family, business associates, and others are entitled to know all of the facts. I will provide them with full documentation privately. The documents will speak for themselves.

To all of you who have expressed concern and support, my grateful thanks. I appreciate your wisdom and kindness more than you will ever know.

– Matt aka Shoq

My good buddy Andy, (@dvnix) has alerted me to a potentional security issue for some facebook users. I haven't personally confirmed this, but it seemed important enough to pass on to you.
Andy writes:
As of January 1 2012, people who use Selective Twitter to update their Facebook status may be exposing their Twitter IDs. While not a problem for some, those who desire to keep a modicum of anonymity between the two communities might find this disconcerting.
The fix is very simple – go to and untick "Include a link to your twitter profile below each update?" This will prevent the behavior going forward.
Additionally, you can go and hide previous posts from January 1st on forward by going to the "All Activity" section of your Facebook page. To access this, simply replace "YOUR_USERNAME" with your Facebook ID:
To hide the post utilize the furthest icon on the right of each activity entry. It should allow you to choose "Featured on Timeline", "Allowed on Timeline" and "Hidden from Timeline". Choose the latter to hide the affected posts.


The Problem

As you may have heard from my whining over the past few days, there is some kind of major fail with Twitter's API that is causing massive freezing and hangs in Tweetdeck Desktop for SOME users. 

The problem is NOT just affecting Tweetdeck. Hootsuite has different symptoms (slow posts, etc), but it's all related. Many clients are probably affected, but again, it's probably random symptoms on random accounts so it's hard to pin down what is happening to whom. Software is just like that sometimes. It sucks,I know. We just have to deal with it. At least until the next Rapture solves this crap for all of us :)

Why some are punished and others are not is something only Twitter engineers, or your god of choice can explain to you. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for that answer, but it really doesn't matter.

What does matter is that you can help them fix this problem sooner by sending them "debugging logs" which are stored on your computer.  The more of you who do this, the faster the problem may be fixed:

Here's how to help

It's really much easier than it looks. Just read slowly… and breathe.. for the love of dog… breathe :)


Where do I find the log file & How do I enable debug logging in TweetDeck?

From time to time you may be asked to provide a log file when troubleshooting a problem with us here at TweetDeck.

Your log file is named "tweetdeck-app.log" and can be found in the following folder:

  • Mac OS X:  Places/(your username)/Library/Preferences/TweetDeckFast.FFF[random letter and numbers]/Local Store
  • Windows XP:  C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\TweetDeckFast.FFF[random letter and numbers]\Local Store
  • Windows Vista:  C:\users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\TweetDeckFast.FFF[random letter and numbers]\Local Store
  • Linux:  /home/(your username)/.appdata/TweetDeckFast.FFF[random letter and numbers]/Local Store

Please note that some of the folders may be hidden.

Email it to the address you will have been given and we will be able to have a clearer picture of what is going on.

Debug Logging

If you are asked by TweetDeck Support to enable debug logging, here's what you need to do:

1. Find the file debug.xml in the following location:

Mac OS X:  Places > Home Directory (ie your username) > Library/Preferences/TweetDeckFast.FFF[random letter and numbers]/Local Store

Windows XP:  C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\TweetDeckFast.FFF[random letter and numbers]\Local Store

Windows Vista & Windows 7:  C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\TweetDeckFast.FFF[random letter and numbers]\Local Store

Linux:   ~/.appdata/TweetDeckFast.FFF[random letter and numbers]\Local Store

Please note that some of the folders may be hidden.

2. Edit the file using a basic text editor (eg Notepad, NOT Microsoft Word or suchlike)

3. The file should look like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>




4. Change the word "false" to "true" so that it looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>




5. Save the file, overwriting the original.

6. Restart your TweetDeck (and run it until the problem has occurred a few times).  Now when you send your debug information to TweetDeck Support, we will have much more detail than normal. 

Power users: If you want to be really nice, delete or empty the actual log file first before running Tweetdeck. This will give them a nice clean log, but it's not vital to do this.

7. Attach the log file ( tweetdeck-app.log ) to an email and send it to:

Please note, once you have been informed by TweetDeck Support that we no longer need any more logging, you should perform this operation again, but change the "true" back to "false". Detailed debug logging will slow down the operation of your TweetDeck so should not be left in place when not required.

8. Finally, use the Retweet button below to pass this on as far as it can travel. (This is very important.)

That's all there is to it. You're done! And thanks. This will be a huge help to the developers at Tweetdeck and Twitter.


UPDATE/NOTE:  Twitter has a very poorly-timed bug. If you're having trouble changing your avatar, see note below.


I so rarely do this, but as I wrote in a post last week, and detailed in my primer on the crisis, what is happening in Wisconsin is too important to not do everything that we can to show support for the demonstrators there; locally, regionally, nationally, and globally, and on Twitter, Facebook, or the back of your damned car.  

Last night, filmmaker Michael Moore asked everyone to wear red to show our solidarity. And this morning, my old friend @hankronan messaged me and suggested Wisconsin Badger Red for our Twitter dress, also known as our avatars.

Now given Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck's faux-fixation with communism lately, the color red might not have been the best idea, but screw 'em all. Wingnuts don't own the color wheel, eh?

Look my progressive/liberal friends and neighbors: this is our Stonewall, Waterloo, and <historical name your battle of choice>.

But win or lose, it cannot be our Last Stand.  So please don't just sit on your ass and watch. Do something; anything. Send yourself, your money, some pizza, or call a union and ask what you can do. If nothing else, just make a Tributar like mine shown at upper right. (I've provided some tools to help you make one below.) 

If you want to be subtle, just stick a red square or dot in the corner of  your avatar. As with much in life (except some of my posts), it just doesn't have to be complicated to be effective.

It's the least you can do. The very least. You only have one country, and you may not have it for much longer. So fight for what you have, and fight as hard as you are able, while you still have a country to fight for.

As always, please use the Tweet button to distribute this post to anyone that should care. Thanks. (Note: When you use the button, you increase the #tally, and that encourages others to do the same. This has greater impact than simply retweeting the message that brought you here.)

Tributar Tools

Avatars with some special image, color or text signifying some event or cause are often called "twibbons." I never like terms that are twitter-centric, or for that matter, dedicated to any one social media service, unless they are only applicable to that service. So last year, I coined the term "tributar" at Urbandictionary,com, after seeing Keith Olbermann make one to honor his late-father last year.

Tributar Editors

  • — is probably your fastest and easiest option. It's very easy, and the site has instructions. Or if you enjoy tutorials, here are some video guides.
  • — is very easy to use, according to @angryBlackLady.
  • I really never use these tools — because I really don't do many Tributars, personally, so if you know a better tool, please tweet it to me at: @shoq. I will post here.

Image Editors

If you're not a Photoshop wizard and you want to do it yourself, here are some web-based tools you can use. While it may seem like a lot of work to learn the basics of image editing, it won't take more than 15 minutes to change a color the first time if you have no experience whatsoever. And then you'll know how to do it for the next big thing.

Human Editors

  • Just look for someone with a cool red avatar, and ask them how they made it, or if they will make one for you.
  • If you want to volunteer to make them for others, I will be happy to post your twitter handle here. Just tweet me at: @shoq.

Computer Code For "Badger Red"

One of the code(s) below will render a shade of red in your editor:

The PRECISE WISCONSIN BADGER color is: (Hat Tip to @gaborger)

  • RGB: R 191 G 0 B 0 …or
  • Hexidecimal: BF0000

My Tributar above uses a slightly brighter value, for contrast with a darker image like the @Shoq panther:

  • RGB:  R 254 G 0 B 0 …or
  • Hexidecimal: FE0000

If you don't know what these codes mean, it doesn't matter. You can probably figure out where to put them in your editor. If not, just pick a nice red from the editor's palette and move on :)

Twitter Avatar Bug

UPDATE/NOTE:  With their usual perfect timing, Twitter has a bug and it's not displaying the "Change Profile Image" button on Settings/profile screen.  They claim it's resolved, but it's not.  To work around this, just hold down SHIFT key and press your browser's reload button. After a few times, the button should appear. If it doesn't, try clearing your browser cache first  (Google-it for your browser) and try again.



This page will explain, in the simplest possible terms, why many use a period or other character before a @Twittername. While I once wrote a widely circulated explanation, it was rather dense, and I find that at least a third of my stream still doesn't understand the issue. Thus, I felt a simpler explainer might help.

What is the period (or other character) before the "@twittername" for?

In the simplest possible terms, it "breaks" Twitter's native (built-in) reply threading (a fancy techy term for connecting tweets together).

Without it, your Tweets beginning with @someName will NOT show up to your ALL of your followers, UNLESS they happen to follow both you and the person you are replying to. 

Will only a period work?

Nope. Almost any character will work just as well.

All that matters is that the ?@ character combo be the very first characters in your tweet text.  That said, the period, because I and a few others hammered Twitter streams with it for over 2 years, has become the de facto standard. I would not deviate from it because a) it will just confuse people, and b) there's no reason to. The period is so small, that while anyone can still see it, they visually just tune it out. It has no impact on Twitter readability.

Doesn't that waste a character in my text?

Yes, but LOLs waste 4 (including the space after), and we know you ain't giving them up, right Spanky?  Now STFU about one lousy character and keep reading.

Why would Twitter want to hide my replies from my followers?

The logic is that by only showing replies to those who follow you and the person you're  engaging, innocent bystanders who are not interested in your conversation will not have to see it.

Twitter did not always do this. All replies were seen by everyone no matter what.  While this forced change of Twitter behavior caused a huge furor at the time, as with many Twitter changes, the userbase had no choice but to eventually learn to accept and live with it.  In fact, even I have come to welcome the change. But then, I never did mind the logic. It was the very confusing way they chose to implement it (and spring it on us without much diplomacy) that irked me (and others).

Again, back in May of 2009, I wrote about Twitter's "Replies Issue."  Read it if you like the grim details. Otherwise, find something better to do—such as keep on reading.

But doesn't using this trick make it hard to follow a conversation?

Sometimes, but rarely. The downside is that it breaks Twitter's native connections, so users of (and some clients), cannot "thread together" the stream of messages between the two participants. This is often called "reading the conversation."

Why don't I (and possibly you) care?  Because the best "conversations" usually involve many more than two people anyway, and the threading never worked for that at all.  So I simply use "search" of all the names I care about. It's an extra step, but since most of my frequent engagements are all with people I follow anyway, we all see each other's updates. So it's only only when the discussion is with someone I don't follow, or when  I want to see what the whole herd is saying that I bother to use the search method. But I do it so often, it's not a bother. I usually have a browser search page open all the time, and I just change the names and press go.

Should you always use this technique?

Absolutely not. The rule of thumb should be "Is this something of interest to enough of my followers that I want them all to see it?"  If the answer is no, then simply reply normally without the period.

So why does @Shoq appear to use it so often?

Three reasons:

  1. Because the majority of my tweets are about political or social issues that I feel are of interest to all or most of my stream or they probably wouldn't be following me in the first place.
  2. I may be responding to some wingnut with a dozen followers and I want to amuse or inform my stream about the idiot.
  3. I use it so often for 1 and 2 above that it's become a habit I don't always break when I should. Me so bad. I hate me for it. You can too.

Doesn't Tweetdeck (and other clients*) give you the option to see all replies?

Yes, it does. But Tweetdeck is only one of dozens of popular clients*, and support for this special feature is very rare at this time. And (the client which most people still use), has no such support.

Why doesn't Twitter just build an option into their client?

Because neither software development nor software developers are very rational entities. They do things in their own way, in their own time frame, and for their own reasons. They really don't give a rodent's rectum what you think about it.

But not all developers are total asshats. Hell, if I ruled the world—or at least Twitter— I would implement a "Reply and Reply to All" feature. Just like email. Yeah, it's simple. That's why they missed it.

Where can I learn more?

You can't. All of human knowledge on this topic stops right here. You could Google for it and prove me wrong, but nothing good could come of that. This issue is confusing enough, and you have already been well-armed with all that really matters. Learn to be content with the easy answers. There are so many hard ones that we all need to worry about.

*Oh, and WTF is a "Client?"

Something I get asked about often, so I think I should finally explain it here, even if it has very little to do with Twitter replies.

I can do that, because, at least within the narrow confines of this document, I rule the world :)

A client is a term programmers and us techy types like to use to describe a program that communicates with another programmed service on a remote computer somewhere. Tweetdeck is a client for Twitter, Google Reader is a client for news feeds, etc..  Often, many clients will exist for the same service. (Twitter has hundreds, but only a dozen or so good and well supported ones).

How do I use a Bidet?

Now this is something you could have Googled for yourself. But as you have so often come to expect from me, I've saved you all that time and effort. You're welcome.

How to use a Bidet Properly (Video)



Note: This post was written in early 2011. But nothing has changed. Millions of Twitter users still don't understand that while it has some value, Twitter's built-in Retweet function has all but ruined a key benefit of Twitter for discovering and recommending information to our followers.

You need to understand why in order to understand why you miss a lot of stuff on Twitter, and why others miss your RT recommendations... routinely,

It will also explain why my followers so often see me using the old style (copy and paste) RT method instead.


Well, it's been well over a year since Twitter implemented its built-in "new" retweet feature, which for many of us, immediately wrecked what had been one of Twitter's best features: the old retweeting style which evolved organically from the user-base, and with no input from Twitter whatever.

Naturally, something that millions of people loved just had to be replaced by something confusing and destructive to the Twitter experience, just for the sake of their business model and investors.  So, replace it they did. And in so doing, they created a huge level of completely preventable confusion for both new and old users alike. Confusion that still wreaks havoc on your timeline, even though you're probably not even aware of it. I am just fed up with explaining this over and over again, and still kicking myself for not writing this post over a year ago.  My purpose here is NOT to rehash all the details of what Twitter did, or why. You can click here for that. My purpose is simply to tell you clearly, and without all the confusing details, just…

Why you should NOT (always) use Twitter's built-in retweet feature

There are three very big reasons:

Reason One: Your followers won't miss important stuff you want to recommend to them.

To help you understand why, consider this scenario involving you and two other followers:

@Newbie is some follower you just followed recently. He has about 250 followers himself, and you decided to follow him because he tweeted some funny cat pictures now and then.

@Oldbie is a follower you've liked and trusted since you first got on to Twitter.

One morning, before you woke up, @Newbie retweeted a tweet concerning a really big story in your field of interest. He used Twitter's built in RT feature. It was a story you would really want to know about.

Later that day, @Oldbie retweeted about that the same story, also using the built-in retweet. As you respect @Oldbie, you would have clicked to read his tweet immediately had you seen it. Unfortunately, you never saw @Oldbie's tweet because Twitter's built in RT logic doesn't show you items that:

  • have already been retweeted by any of your other followers. 
  • you follow the original tweeter, and thus, Twitter assumes you don't need to see a RT of it—FROM ANYONE.

If you do see a RT of someone you don't follow, you only see in one time. Twitter simply increases the tally of how many users retweeted that first tweet that you received earlier from that relatively unknown @newbie person. Of course, that tweet came in hours ago, and is now so far down your timeline, you were never likely to see it anyway.

But wait, there's more bad news: Suppose the Tweet that both @Newbie and @Oldbie are new-retweeting was posted by someone else that you follow. In that case, you won't see either of their retweets because Twitter logic assumes you saw the original tweet, even if it went by long ago while you were sleeping, nodding off, having sex. This is a massive fail when big stories are involved. Unless you saw the original when it appeared in your timeline, you will NEVER know about it no matter how many thousands of people RT it. And this is absolutely horrible. It squashes one of Twitter's greatest values: allowing people you trust to filter what you see.

So, now do you see the problem? Twitter decided that you only wanted to see a single instance of a tweet, no matter who sent it, or when, and without any regard for how long you have known a user, nor whether you even recognize, respect or trust them. Thus, because you like some of @newbie's cat pictures, or didn't notice the first time an original tweet showed up in your timeline, you completely missed all the secondary reminders from other friends concerning that story. (And this explains why we often don't see something all of our friends are talking about, too.)

Now you might say, "but I hate seeing dozens of retweets of the same thing." And you're right, sometimes that can be annoying. But keep these things in mind.

  1. Repetitive tweets tell you a story mattered to a lot of your followers. You might ignore the first few retweets you see, but when the 3rd, 4th or 5th come in, you're going to notice, and may well be glad that you did.
  2. Repetitive tweets tell you something is really important, or you wouldn't be seeing so many of them. Even on my mobile phone, all those retweets just help reinforce for me what people find important. And that counts. A lot.
  3. The repetition is not nearly as annoying as missing a story that could be important to you, nor missing out on all the comments that can sometimes be as important as the story itself (or at least funnier). And this leads nicely into the next reason you don't want to use built-in Retweets…

Reason 2:  Users can't add their own comments to the built-in retweets

This one you probably know something about already. But you should not underestimate its importance. Comments embedded in old-style Retweets are one of the very best ways to learn more about a story. More importantly, they help you to discover new users whom you would never know about had they not added a funny or informative comment to a manual, old-style retweet. 

For example, consider this retweet from @newbie, who is now using the old RT method so you WILL see it regardless of who else retweeted that same item already:

@newbie: This story increased my profits! RT @nerdish Study says hire only very good spellers.

Not only did you discover a new interest that you shared with @newbie, but at the same time, you discovered a new person named @nerdish. Without that all important old-retweet comment, it would probably have sailed right on by you if you're timeline was even modestly busy.

Reason Three:  New RT minimizes the impact of Twitter campaigns

Often, we want to let people and organizations know how we—and the crowd—feels about something. With Old style RT, they'll see thousands of tweets aimed at them. But with the new built-in RT, they may not even see a single one.  Let that sink in. If you want @piersmorgan to know how pissed off you are about something, he'll never see it in his mentions unless you use the old RT.  Be lazy and use the New RT, and it's like saying "ditto" on some lone tweet he may never even see. You scream, but no one hears.

Now, you may be saying to yourself…

"What good is all of this if those followers don't play by the old retweet rules as Shoq has laid them out here?" A good question:  If it all depends upon what THEY do, and has nothing to do with the choices that YOU make, then why bother? 

Three good reasons:

  1. It does affect you. The same rules applied to what you can see will have bearing on what others see from you when you use the new RT. Sure, if you're the very first person among your followers to retweet someone, your RT may get seen. But if not? Then it's just one more number added to the tally on the first Retweet showing up in the timeline of people following both of you.
  2. Because only if you understand the impact it has on you, can you ever explain it to them so that they don't do it. And of course, so you won't either. 
  3. As I demonstrated when I created the #MT and the shorter #FF (for #followfriday) tags, change happens on Twitter over time, as the crowd discovers a better mousetrap.  If YOU stop relying on new RT, others will too.

So now you know

Twitter has a lot of reasons to want you to use the new retweet; reasons that have everything to do with them making money by reporting tweet metrics to advertisers, but absolutely nothing to do with the value that you and your followers will get from Twitter.

For me the choice is simple

Old Retweets are the very essence of Twitter. Sometimes I will use a new RT when I'm in a big hurry and just want to be sure at least some of my followers will see a tweet. But this is usually when I really don't care enough about it to give it special treatment, or when the tweet is so densely or specifically worded that I really can't easily condense it down to something that I can fit a comment into. Alas, if the tweet was from earlier in the day, only those who don't follow the original tweeter are even going to see my recommendation.  Again, for me, this aspect of the issue is a massive fail. It impedes our ability to recommend things to our friends, or those who rely on us as a filter of news and information.

As for you, well…

You're gonna do what the hell you do no matter what I say anyway. And that's how it should be. But at least now you know the stakes. Twitter is a very powerful tool for communication and knowledge sharing. Sometimes it seems like the only people who don't quite understand that well enough are the fine folks at Twitter.


Back story on the "New" Retweets (by Shoq)

About the MT signal (by Shoq)l

Dear friends:

As some know, I am alway hesitant to make charitable appeals, because the Internet is rife with cases of scams, phony dramas,  or attention whores claiming some fender bender caused them serious trauma and need your dollars to survive (or more likely, buy more Spaghettios for their dinner). Few ever try to confirm these things, or confirm them well, and many get stung. Even if they don't know they were stung, it happens far too often.

And almost as irksome, is the fact that it's so hard to decide who is deserving of Internet appeals for charity.  We can't help everyone, but that shouldn't mean helping someone is out of the question. In the end, like much in this life, it's the luck of the draw.  My own rule of thumb is that for someone to really warrant broad-based Internet appeals, the beneficiary must have extended their own life or generosity to others in some measurable way. I feel this case passes that smell test and deserves our generosity.

Since I never accept Internet appeals at face value, I have personally spoken with @chrisWiggins (at his Google number) and confirmed all of this. I hope my word is good, and you can rely on this being completely legitimate.  His mother has a marvelous record of human kindness and generosity, and deserves all the life we can buy for her.

I hope you will help with whatever you can afford. Even a single dollar will count.

Thank you so much.


The story: Please help Karen Wiggins

The donation page:

@chriswiggin's  Linked-in Page:



Yes, Chris is a recent hire at Google. But they have working stiffs, too.(They're not all Googleaires).  He's no more able to save his mother alone than most of us would be in a similar circumstance.

Welcome to Twitter! It's about time you got here.

This primer has some tips and resources you'll need to get oriented. There are trillions of tutorials available on Twitter, many of them pretty poor. Twitter's own help pages are among the worst of them.  But there are some adequate sites and pages, ranging from this brief overview style, to the far more extensive, tutorial-about-everything style, such as Mashable's Guide To Twitter.  Even the bad ones can still give you the basics.

Note: Twitter 101 For Business is probably better than most of their materials, and worth a look, even if you're not a business.

I suggest you glance at that one, but ignore the rest (for now). Just wander around, asking questions and endearing yourself to people by being clueless and vulnerable.  Just bear these things in mind during your first week:

  • Tip 1: As in most of life, most people don't know what they're talking about. Twitter has a LOT of those people, and many of them are probably advising you right now. Just send them away. Tell them, "go, I'll learn by stumble."
  • Tip 2: If you're a celebrity, like Tiger Woods's penis, I suggest you ignore the volume of people tweeting at you for a  few weeks. Relax and spend time with a handful of friends and co-workers, and learn how to follow people and "feeds" at your leisure. It's easier than you think.  Select one or two really skilled people and listen to them. This keeps you from being overwhelmed by too many tutors.  But don't assume their habits are everyone's habits, and never assume they understand even 1% of what Twitter is about. They don't. And you won't either, for a long time—if ever. Use your desktop and a program like Tweetdeck.  Don't try to absorb all the culture and tricks on a tiny mobile interface. Spread out.
  • Tip 3: If you're a liberal minded person, politically, the Progressive community is your friend here. You'll find many of us on the #p2 tag. You can read about what the #p2 tag is here.  Whenever you see it, a progressive is tweeting out to the progressive community, or some wingnut is spamming the tag and probably calling you a socialist fag. If you're unlucky, these same conservative hatriots can often be seen using their own "#tcot" tag (and others like it).  These "#hashtag" codes are just little identifiers for what people are talking about. It's very informal and primitive, but it works. Clicking on tags will show you the "conversations" (the tweets) happening at those tags.


    Try it. Click #p2 for filthy commie libs, or #tcot for screaming Beck fans who want all liberals to be sent to Super Max concentration camps.

    If you're a conservative minded person, my only tip is this: Facebook.

  • Tip 4: Follow people you can trust to follow people worth following.  But don't stick to your bubble pals (the friend of friends who probably dragged you to Twitter). Pick people you know are interested in diverse issues and ideas. They come upon the most interesting things to know of at any given time. Beware of your own natural tendency to cluster and nest with only people you know.Twitter is about discovery of people and ideas. The best of those are often outside our comfort zones.
  • Tip 5:  Don't be a dork. Especially if you're famous. if someone passes you a tip, or a resource, or an idea, at least tweet a simple thank you.  You don't have to know everyone's name, or that their grandma's dog just died.  But try and explore the very personal exchanges and relationships you can have and enjoy here. You just don't know it yet.
  • Tip 6: Just ask your feed how to do things. Example:  "@shoq, what the hell is "new retweet;" "What's a hat tip?" "How do I start juicy rumors about @pressSec and @kimKardashian?"

That's it. You'll pick it all up from here.

Most of all. Enjoy it. Yes, it's a brave new world, but it's also an interesting and fun one.

Clients You'll Want

Client programs take social media to a new level not usually found on the web verisons of many applications  Nobody you like uses the website to access Twitter:

  • Tweetdeck (makes Twitter MUCH easier). . Tweetdeck is  where you want to be, to start. There are many other programs, but they all work similarly.
  • Hootsuite —  gets better all the time. Tweetdeck is still what I use, as I find it closest to the user experience that I think should be the bare minimum in today's social media ecosystem.

Resources You'll Want

Verify Your Twitter Account — Very important. Celebrities and people important to Twitter can get it done. Just ask your staff to follow instructions.  We little people have to suck it.

Basic Twitter Terms You Must Know

What is Twitter "Blocking"

How to get started with-twitter — As stated above, just one of many tutorials. One is just about as good as another at the start. Get the key ideas; learn by doing.

Twitter Help

Top 50 Twitter Acronyms, Abbreviations and Initialisms by @digiphile — A very good guide by a saavy social media thought leader.

Shoq's Tips — A number of things you won't find easily. Including tricky issues like New Retweet vs. Old Retweet, etc.

What does #FF or "#Follow Friday" mean?  — Since Friday is your first full day, you're about to find out.  It's not one of Twitter's finer traditions. Read about it here. — All the lingo in one place. Not for the squeamish. — A dictionary of tags (best picked up by just watching and asking)

Journalists on Twitter — A decent, if not exhaustive directory of people you will surely be interested in. Remember, there's far more insight and ideas than what come across in any one community.

Directory of Twitter Lists — Lists are a great way to follow the tweets of many people in various interest areas, without actually following individuals.  You just follow the list, and browse the tweets of the people in them. —A General Twitter Directory — The Progressive Community on Twitter. Hardly definitive, but most of the leaders and core people are there.

About Gametags — Which are an amusing way to waste hours of time creating completely silly, often riotously funny, poignant, or humiliating tweets about breaking news, or really dumb or annoying people and events.

How To Verify A Tweet  — Useful for Journalists, or anyone trying to confirm the veracity of a Tweet on a fact or news story.

Note: This page will change often. If you are referring it to friends, please ask them to check back often. If you feel it needs new concepts or resources, please post a comment.

As always, using the Retweet button below will expose this page others.

Typical of conservatives, the minute their values are impacted—the moment THEY are personally impacted—the first thing they do is dive for the cover of victim status, and DEMAND someone (government?) DO SOMETHING!

Pastebin Document by #Tcot Warrior @GregWHoward

Twitter bills itself as “without a doubt the best way to share and discover what is  happening right now.” However, it is rapidly becoming the best place to cyberbully,  post pornography, and engage in the nastiest and most vulgar speech possible, all  with impunity. Despite growing protests from long-established users, Twitter  continues to officially turn a deaf ear to the growing outrage.

Read every delicious drop of hysteria  from this "White" knight

It is not that there are not valid concerns some might have about content—particularly where children are present on the net. But it's the sheer cluelessness in his screed about an entire history of censorship, liberties, and the slippery slopes that are ensured the very moment we start talking about anyone deciding what is and isn't appropriate.  Such "TOS" rules were always ruinous on most services, and it's the very freedom of twitter—even it's anarchic freedoms—that we were just praising last year in Iran (and many are trying to crush in China).

What's he's asking for is the 2001 version of AOL:  An army of tweet nanny's in Mumbai, who will decide what little Muffy and Conner can hear today. And a few of them might even stop liberals from calling him a wussy.  

Most of the time, this guy is running around Twitter spewing arch conservative Beckisms that just make me cringe.  But he's really outdone himself here.  And it's so typical of what these modern angry conservative men are about. Control. Of everyone and every thing but their own wretched little lives.