March 18, 2010

Twitter 2: Why I Unfollowed You

Buon giorno. Last time, I discussed why I will not follow some people on Twitter. This time, it's slightly different: Unfollowing. (No, it's not a real word outside of social networking, but it's still useful.) I am not one of those people that needs to have loads of followers to validate my existence; in fact, I trim off the followers.

OK, so I've been Twittering, Tweeting, Retweeting (gosh, those terms make me feel so manly...ha!) for a while. Then I see that I'm getting bothered by some of the material that appears before of my eyes. Here are some of the reasons that I may drop my following:

  • Although I knew what I was getting into, someone sends links almost exclusively. Sure, I want news. But not quite that much! It would help if the person had personality instead of acting like some kind of posting bot.
  • They ignore my links. As almost a sub-point to the above, I post some links myself. When I have a new Weblog posting, I'll share the link. When people are not clicking on it (even though the link is directed to people that I share a common interest) and reading my stuff, I get frustrated and trim them off as well. Petty? Maybe. But it's Twitter, not a real-life relationship.
  • Not what I expected. Sure, I looked at the profile and so forth. But now, they do not write much that I want to see. Your interests have changed.
  • I feel like I'm eavesdropping. There have been times that I've followed public figures because I expected news and announcements, but instead, they were using Twitter for the communication purpose for which it was originally designed.
  • Lying about communication. There are some people that have Weblogs and say, "Tweet me" because they have disabled the contact information and comments sections. So, I tweet them. No response. I get the impression that they are too full of themselves to actually reply to comments or questions, even though they openly invited them. I don't want to see your face any longer.
  • Moodiness. My readers know that I struggle with depression. Sometimes, I have to deal with boredom. So, sometimes I get into moods and ruthlessly trim some of the ones I follow. Or maybe I just plain felt like it.
  • They unfollowed me first. It may sound childish, but if someone does not want to read my tweets, they probably feel that I have nothing to offer to them. So, they probably have very little that I need, either. Besides, there are services that can tell you when you're unfollowed or list who follows whom, if you really want to get that much into it.
  • I really don't like Twitter that much in the first place. So I may drop the whole thing again. Right now, I'm using it to give and receive information.
So, there you have it. And you can see, I'm not being Fragile Freddy, easily getting offended or had my feelings hurt. I'm not obligated to follow someone back, or continue to follow them. The same goes for Facebook. People want me to be a "friend", just for the sake of adding me to their Facebook game harem. I feel so dirty... In both cases, I don't freakin' have to "Friend" or "Follow" or anything else.

In the real world, I take friendship much more seriously; it is a kind of commitment for me, and I choose to be a friend. If you have me as a friend, I'm there for you. If I'm your friendly acquaintance (such as in an office setting) and we forget each other when we're out of sight of each other, well, that's not true friendship, capice?

Here's a link to the real world: Impermanence. Online relationships like this are fleeting and superficial. In the real world, they should have depth; this requires a little effort (and love, and caring, and compassion) on both parts to make it last. But in both "worlds", things change. People change. Sometimes, it's foolish to force a friendship to last. You lose touch with someone, and now it's just the occasional e-mail. Or nothing at all. In that case, you may need to think about whether or not to let it go. Online, it's faster and easier. If you've been unfriended, the pain will usually be brief because the whole "relationship" was superficial.

If I've Unfriended or Unfollowed you and you're upset, I found an article that may help. Read around the profanity, it's still funny and has some truth in it. "The Five Stages of Pain After Being Unfollowed", click here.

Addendum: I came across something after this was posted for a while. If you want to see who unfollows you, an excellent resource is "Goodbye, Buddy!", updated daily.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to Facebook and tend to imaginary crops. Then I'm going to see what some of my girlfriends are posting.

March 17, 2010

Twitter 1: Why I'm Not Following You Back

Buon giorno. I have to get some thoughts out regarding Twitter, and I will have a few installments. The next one will probably be about "unfollowing". If you don't use Twitter, I hope you will read these anyway, because I believe they have some deeper meanings for our communications habits in general. The "rules" or procedures for social networking are different in many ways from "real life", but there are also some things in common. One rule is that the rules are constantly changing.

Wow, lookie here! Someone decided to "follow" me on Twitter. Naturally, I click on their profile to see what they say about themselves, what they have "tweeted", who else they follow, how many followers they have and so on. And when they decided to follow me, there is an expectation that I will feel obligated to follow them back. Not this little gray duck.

By the way, in the real world, we don't "follow" people that we just met unless we're looking for a restraining order.

"Why didn't you follow them back, Cowboy Bob?"

For me, there are several reasons:
  • We have nothing in common. I was posting about Conservative politics, they write Weblogs about motorcycles. No personality is expressed, either. Just "business". Addendum: Some are lazy cafones that probably used a "bot".
  • They have hundreds, or even thousands, of people that they follow. Yeah, like you're even going to see anything that I write? Deep, personal relationships happening here, I can tell.
  • Just a spammer. Yep, people follow only for the sake of selling you something. I have actually blocked followers because they're spammers.
  • All they do is post links. Sure, I look for Conservative news on there. I scan the links very quickly.
Twitter is a great place for millions of people to broadcast their wisdom in 140 characters or less and get ignored by millions of other people. Or ignored by your dozens, or hundreds, or thousands, of followers. If people hooked up with family and friends like Twitter originally intended, they could have some decent interaction.

By the way, I have similar thoughts about Facebook. Sure, I have a few friends that I have not met in real life. But I have connected with people that I do (or did) know before. And I do not "friend up" people left and right because it is very difficult to develop friendships in forums like that. If I have an e-mail address and don't have to deal with imaginary wars, pretend farms, fake fish or whatever, I can deal with the person more directly.

Here's something to take back into the real world: Expectations. If you go into relationships, situations or whatever with expectations on how other people are going to act, you're going to be very disappointed. Take reality as it is, not what you want it to be.

March 16, 2010

Classic Scam

Buona sera. I was hoping for something to let some venom loose on, and what did I find in my Inbox? A scam. And not just a scam, but one of the classics. So, I'll perform my public service of educating you on this stuff (and you can refer others back here so they can see this and learn something), and also try to humiliate the scammers. One way I do that is to post the thing that they sent (and they sent it three times to an account that I have under one of my assumed names). And I checked the headers (you don't have to, they're often faked). Although it pretends to be for the UK, the headers say that it came from Mexico.

Here we go. I'll show you what was sent, and then tell you some things about it. Most of my regular readers do not need a refresher course, but it won't hurt in case you're getting rusty.

Dear WINNER [No name, of course]

We wish to congratulate you over YAHOO AWARDS CENTER ( UK ) UNITED KINGDOM
Postcode Lotto E-mail program. [Don't get greedy, people! You will not win from something that you never entered, and probably never knew existed.]

(i) Amount Won: (GBP£1,000,000.00) {One Million Great British Pounds
sterling) [If this was on the level, they would have no need to tell you the amount.]
(ii) Ticket Number: (ES42071-002)
(iii) Batch Number :( EU-175508)
(iv) Reference Number :( ES07-84-09-00-221)

TO YOU. IMMEDIATELY. [Sure, I'm right on it, Cupcake.]

1.  YOUR FULL NAME…………………….. [Like Hell I will.]
2.  COUNTRY………………………
4.  TELEPHONE NUMBER………….. [Then I'll have to change my number later on.]
5.  FAX NUMBER………………….
6.  MARITAL STATUS………………. [Want the names of my girlfriends, too?]
7.  OCCUPATION…………………… [Classified]
8.  MY DATE OF BIRTH…………….
9.  SEX………………………….. [Again, do you want their names?]
10. BATCH NUMBER……………… 
12  TICKET NUMBER........
13. AMOUNT WON………………..
14. YOUR PRIVATE EMAIL…………. [You mean you don't know it?]

We are at your service 24/7

CONTACT OF YOUR AGENT: +44 703 182 1943 [That is a British country code.]




BLOW IS OUR INTERNET WEBSITE [Yes, they really did write "blow"!]

OK, so not only are these stronzos trying to scam me one way, it's a scam for their casino Website.
Below (or is that "blow"?) are the rules. Chime in with the comments to add more rules, share experiences, thoughts or what have you, capice?
1. Never reply, it only validates your e-mail address and you'll get more spam and scams.
2. If you follow the first rule, you won't need this. But here it is, anyway: Never give out any personal information. This is the age of identity theft, not the age of Aquarius.
3. Don't get greedy; if it sounds too good to be true, then it really is too good to be true. 

So, is everybody with me on this? Don't reply, never give out personal information. Gosh, that was fun!
Update: Dear old Paul got his account closed after I reported him to Hotmail. It's nice to see that they took the report seriously. But keep in mind that these accounts are free, and he can easily sign up for another one and strike again. 

Losing Your Self

"He has gloriously vindicated the right of the individual to be individual."

Yes, I deliberately spelled the title that way. Plenty of people have sounded alarms about how the leftists are taking over the country for the sake of Statism. The loss of liberty is unimportant, it is only the state and big government that matter to these kinds of people. I will not go into detail on that now, it's been done better by other people. But the cowboy in me sees other things happening as well.

When the state controls things, the individual is unimportant, just a cog in a wheel. Do what you are told and clam up. You have no real identity any longer. We saw this happen under Fascism, Communism and Socialism. It is becoming that way in the United States, because Statism is growing here as well.

This is not just a government phenomenon (although I wonder if some leaders take inspiration from governmental models). It happens in cult-like religions, businesses and other places where the individual is not valued, but is a "resource" to be squeezed dry and then replaced. Businesses will use "DiSC Profiles" to pigeonhole people; you have spent a lifetime building up who you are today, and yet, you can be reduced into something that can be figured out in mere moments. That is degrading and dehumanizing.

Cowboys are not welcome in these situations, what with their individuality, personalities, ability to think for themselves, work for the common good and still maintain their own sense of self.

The quote at the beginning of this article is from the brilliant TV series "The Prisoner" (the original, not the dreadful remake). All along, the leaders were trying to break our hero, known only as Number Six. In a final attempt at deception, he was told that he had won and they asked Number Six to lead them — and yet, his name was never used.

He held onto his principles, values and his mind. There were attempts at deception. The same with us, today. You may be forced into a mold, to march in lockstep, to become a faceless member in a crowd. Jesus sets you free and affirm your individuality. Business wants to control you, as do cult religions. Government wants to control and enslave you. Hang onto your mind. And maybe watch a classic Western.

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