Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Poor Choices

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  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    people are taking it way to seriously as a medium of communication.

    Twitter is now a major source of science. At work I use it to feed me tables of contents for the journals I need to read. I use it to follow key people in my field. It is a media where scientists feel free to comment quickly on their latest results or results from other labs that they find exciting.

    Without meaning to offend, those people who dismiss twitter as a useless toy for children are doing it wrong.

    Sure I follow ‏@EmrgencyKittens because pictures of cute kittees make me smile but I also follow Jonathan Eisen ‏@phylogenomics because, well if you know what his tag means you'll understand.

    Twitter may have been invented for social media but it doesn't mean us science geeks can't make it useful the way we did with every other piece of the internet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Still, I dispute that there is a fixed internet culture that we can't do anything about.

    This blog site is absolute proof of that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Yeah. In essence the Twitter form is the telegram, which historically could carry the most important and significant and emotional news. Some people use it frivolously. Some don't. To focus on the frivolous is just prejudice.

    It took me a long time to adopt Twitter after many of my online contacts already had, and I couldn't see the point at first, but after a while, all the little messages, from close friends to people I sort of internet-know, added up to something neat.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Some people use it frivolously. Some don’t. To focus on the frivolous is just prejudice.

    It makes about as much as sense as bagging the printing press as “frivolous” tech, because it’s used to produce tabloid newspapers and porn as well as the deep and meaningful stuff. I’m also down with the proposition that dicks be dicking no matter what the medium, same as it ever was and will always be.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I personally make foodie tweets, and selfie tweets, and zingers, and post links to interesting things I read, and tell self-deprecating FML stories, and chat, and seek support in hard times and give it. All part of my Twitter life.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Unfortunately not helped by revelations that two were made up…

    Especially when one of them is coming from a veteran broadcaster who's normally stayed out of controversy, too. Unfortunately there are likely a lot of other occasions where shit gets made up, and the perps get off scot free.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Haters bullied Charlotte Dawson and treated her as public property, says Rosemary McLeod, who then declares her guilty of “self-mutilation by surgeon”. Sigh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Along with everything else that's horribly fucked up about that column, it's seriously unedifying watching another round of pass-the-ticking-parcel punditry. Charlotte Dawson was bullied -- but it was all done by THEM never US. Hell, I'd suggest its time for certain people to grow the fuck up but that's insulting to children.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Honestly, I don’t know what the hell Philip’s issue with David’s piece is so what’s the point of taking it up with him?

    In think it goes back to an earlier post by David. Philip feels that David breaches the privacy of friends who can't respond.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    It's standard practice.

    Much of the alleged "spontaneously user generated" stuff on the internet is actually produced by (badly) paid "content creators".

    Those clever "viral" videos? They've usually been extensively seeded by marketing agencies who pay people in developing countries a dollar per thousand likes/views.

    The pop charts? Chart rigging is so much easier without the expensive physical plastic - you just pay people a percentage to "buy" millions of downloads - and of course the record company gets most of the 67c back and adds the rest on to the artists ever-growing debit account.

    And if the government and media feel there's far to much uncontrolled content getting out there and fancy locking the internet down a bit? Just hype up "cyber-bullying" and get your people posting heaps of fake nastiness to fuel the outrage machine.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The pop charts? Chart rigging is so much easier without the expensive physical plastic – you just pay people a percentage to “buy” millions of downloads – and of course the record company gets most of the 67c back and adds the rest on to the artists ever-growing debit account.

    Digital chart rigging happens in some places -- South Korea -- but not really in paid downloads. Streaming services are much more amenable to the click-farm model. It costs you nothing upfront and then you collect on the publishing.

    One interesting example that no one can get to the bottom of: NZ On Air's Soundcloud account. It has a staggering 1.27 million followers, mostly from Asia, and no one knows why. There were celebratory noises when followers started to rocket, then slightly anxious "are we doing this?" messages. But no. It has just ... happened.

    And if the government and media feel there’s far to much uncontrolled content getting out there and fancy locking the internet down a bit? Just hype up “cyber-bullying” and get your people posting heaps of fake nastiness to fuel the outrage machine.

    Seriously? No. People come up with enough nastiness in their own.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Seriously? No. People come up with enough nastiness in their own.

    We faked the Moon landing. And trolling.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Katita,

    Without meaning to offend, those people who dismiss twitter as a useless toy for children are doing it wrong.

    I don't use twitter and in fact am a hopeless facebooker. But I have been bullied (in the old school manner).
    I guess if media such as twitter work for you then great; but if you find your blood pressure rising or your sleep/ ability to function affected in a negative way then ... don't go back. One could argue that may be harder if you are a "celebrity" but I think that's more to do with the need you may have to be wanted/liked. And that sort of behaviour can be played out anywhere by any of us.
    Is it kind of a form of self-harm to keep going back to a place your can easily(?) avoid that makes you feel lousy? That doesn't make online bullying ok in anyway, but we have some responsibility to understand what it good for us and what isn't.
    Of course I can't really claim any moral high ground by not using social media - it's likley I miss out on a lot. But then again I still get to shout abuse at the 6 o'clock news in the privacy of my own home. My family snort at me in derision - but I'm ok with that ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Katita,

    I have not got the Facebook and Twitter thing ether. I find them disappointingly lacking in what I use the internet for. I am happy to just use forums such as this, which have creative merit, or to use the internet as a library. I have dabbled with code and that is ultimately where it’s at for me. I don’t see a lot of creative scope in the big template social media systems for myself.

    I feel the same about television. I don’t find reality tv particularly stimulating . I prefer documentarys and drama where I am likely to marvel at the art and science of it all.

    My social medium has more frequently been the dinner party where we share where we are in real time and at the same place. I do this with out the alcohol because I can’t manage to moderate.

    Am I having some sort of mental breakdown?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to steven crawford,

    My social medium has more frequently been the dinner party where we share where we are in real time and at the same place.

    I would love to be able to do this, with the people who mean the most to me. But they live in three different countries, and all over New Zealand, so that's never going to happen. Fortunately for me, they're all on social media.

    I am happy to just use forums such as this, which have creative merit

    An old friend of mine and I used Twitter to spontaneously co-write a limerick the other day. Different spaces lend themselves to different kinds of creativity. I really want to use Twitter to write a line at a time story now.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Different spaces lend themselves to different kinds of creativity.

    I believe you (we) wrote a story on here once. Something about rugby players, zombies and a ref in a pink top, IIRC? That was the most fun I've had standing up, I mean sitting at a keyboard, in some time.

    A P A Story. :-)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2448 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JacksonP,

    Sadly, perhaps the greatest example of collaborative writing this country has ever seen appears lost.

    In the mid-90s, two naughty scientists at a CRI set up the Shortland Street Script Generator (I think that's what it was called), a simple web app which allowed participants to write a fantasy Shorty script, by taking a line at a time.

    The results were, frankly, incredible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to JacksonP,

    That was the most fun I’ve had standing up, I mean sitting at a keyboard, in some time.

    So glad. Because that was a Bunch of Fun for me. I love collaborative creativity. I suppose we could use PAS to do a 'paragraph at a time' story. The only problem might be people making additions at the same time.

    This might be the most thoroughly I've derailed a thread for a while...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I really want to use Twitter to write a line at a time story now.

    You already did. You just received it by text.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    You already did. You just received it by text.

    True. Those were fucking brilliant. Kind of sad I missed the Twitter end of that, though - Megan ran this for me, as there was no 3G at my mother's death-bed.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    What I remembered was that it massively snowballed, and I had real trouble finding a narrative flow. So, just like single-person writing.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Emma Hart,

    This might be the most thoroughly I’ve derailed a thread for a while…

    Yeah, nah. The community that writes together.... something.

    I believe this was where the 'Oh, the huge Manatee' line came from too.

    It was literally the best of times.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2448 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steven crawford,

    to use the internet as a library

    Twitter is really good for that. Many people don't use it for chitchat but for keeping up with knowledge, like Bart said. Best human search engine I've ever seen.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    app which allowed participants to write a fantasy Shorty script, by taking a line at a time.The results were, frankly, incredible.

    I've watched a Star Wars movie done in the same way except shot on film by many contributors from around the world. It was great, cant remember where we got it from but.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Cottrell,

    Apologies for the blatant self-promotion, but having read through the comments and noting a fair few people say they don't know much about depression, just thought I'd post this piece I wrote about living with depression and being suicidal. Obviously Charlotte Dawson's death prompted me to write it, but I tried not to comment on her specifically because I didn't know her. I only know the kind of pain she was living in.

    Since Feb 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply

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