My Twitter Wish List (Then Again, Maybe It’s More of A Rant)

Ever heard of “Christmas in July?” Well, if Santa’s listening on this last day of June, how about:

• An End to Spam Followers. Seriously, I will PAY for Twitter if it means I can review new followers without fearing my kid will see full-frontal naked people. I mean, c’mon. (A conspiracy theorist might even suggest that this is all a cunning plan on behalf of the Twitter masterminds to get us to surrender our credit card information, but I won’t go there.)

Rational RTs. Is there anything worse than someone retweeting misinformation? Yes, people who do it repeatedly. Sure, we all make a mistake now and then (guilty!), but just because information is zipping past or pops up as a link in Trending Topics does not mean it’s accurate.

And as for the dreadful Jeff Goldblum/George Clooney/Natalie Portman death rumors, one didn’t even need to check first to see that the site where two of the the stories originated were fake. The tip-off? The big ol’ disclaimer at the bottom of the “breaking news story” page that it was… a fake news site. (More)

Look at it this way: if we want Twitter to be a credible source on par with traditional news organizations (and I still think that’s a bit of a stretch), then we need to try to tweet as responsibly as we can. Sure, the potential is there as the Iran Election story has shown, but it’s like my 8th grade computer literacy teacher taught us in the ’80s: Garbage In/Garbage Out. For the youngsters, that means that the end-product of technology (including social media) is only as good as what we regurgitate, er, contribute

• Secret Twitter Police. Am usually not a fan of tattle-telling, but the above situations merit some sort of underground network capable of putting out fires left to build while the folks at Twitter HQ plot the next round of upgrades. I’m not saying we need to censor people’s freedom of speech, but a measure of decorum can keep Twitter from becoming passe, as more of us seem to be burrowing behind Facebook’s privacy screen. 

Got a wish? Feel free to share. Unless, of course, you’re a spammer. Then kindly go away.

9 Replies to “My Twitter Wish List (Then Again, Maybe It’s More of A Rant)”

  1. I agree with everything except the gustapo part. Let me be blunt. People who mindlessly retweet completely erroneous BS deserve to look like fools when they are shown to be such. Like you say everyone makes mistakes but having people police what we say to make sure we are not spread misinformation is just stiffling our voice. People should learn to open their eyes and look out for themselves before acting like lemmings. If you post guards to make sure nothing leaks out that isn’t true not only are you oppressing freedoms of speech you are also perpetuating this downward spiral of declining intellect. When people need not worry that they maybe being taken for a ride at their own expense then they just become mindless followers and stop thinking for themselves because well frankly they don’t need to. They can sit back and be spoon fed everything safe in the knowledge that someone is sitting over their shoulder washing their information for them as it is piped in. I don’t want to sound as if I am trying to pick you apart I just feel like people need to learn to police themselves and not accept everything they see as blatant fact.

  2. The post was a rant. You can pick apart a rant all you want. =) In fact, I’m flattered you took time to reply at all.

    I thought like you for a long time, too–that people could (learn to) act like grownups. Um, not happenin’. I’m also not sure that Gestapo is quite the lengths that I’d like us to resort to, though that would certainly spring to mind from the “Secret Police” snark I tossed out.

    Yet when OVER 24 HOURS pass and the full-frontal chick still pops up on my screen after I’ve blocked and reported her, then things have spun out of control. [ETA: And as for the misinfo, AP/REUTERS/ET AL have editors in place to stop ridiculous info from being spread as fact. Again, if one wants credibility for social media, you gotta have some sort of standards. I don’t think it’ll happen, which is why I don’t buy the whole “Twitter is the new media go-to source,” not with Twitter in its current free-form state anyway.]

    Therefore, I pretty much stand by the idea, in its essence. The Twitter masterminds can figure out the details. They need to jump on it, frankly…for those of us who use Twitter at home and from work and would rather not have to put locks on our accounts because of the full-frontal crowd. Might as well just be on Facebook, as I suggested.

    Without some measure of discipline put in place… I think Twitter may jump the cliched, proverbial shark.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree that there need to be measures in place for those “Hey look at me **** my brains out” accounts that are created and spammed endlessly. I just don’t think it wise to put in place a monitoring system to check the integrity of our posts. Who would be doing it and what would be their interests in it. If something they felt was not post worthy floats on by their monitoring unit would they toss it just because they had the power to? Or maybe we implement complex AI to do a filter of posts but again someone has to program that and what is to stop them from playing a bit of God with the algorithms. I guess my biggest complaint with any censorship of a persons posts is the fact that it is censorship of a persons right to say whatever they feel like be it good or bad. But, again I would like to see the zombie accounts and the bot spammed **** videos eliminated so even I am in a conundrum when it comes to how much is too much censorship. And as for being a media go-to source, I am sorry but if anyone actually feels like any type of social network can be a media outlet they really need to seek some sort of gullibility counseling. Absolutely no offense intended to anyone by that statement but if you are looking for news on the internet then go to your preferred news source and get it there and leave all hope of finding a sliver of truth outside of any highly regulated, maintained, and closed system. Even Wikipedia is an open to the public forum and that is why it is not a credible source for information though most people will believe whatever they read on there. But, now again I am starting to ramble on and beat a dead horse into the ground.

      It has been a pleasure to be able to have a well thought out and informed debate rather than a flame war and name calling session like so many disagreements turn into on the web. You keep writing these rants and I will keep dropping by to post my two cents.

      Take Care

      1. “I am sorry but if anyone actually feels like any type of social network can be a media outlet they really need to seek some sort of gullibility counseling. ”

        I seriously snorted at that one.

        “It has been a pleasure to be able to have a well thought out and informed debate rather than a flame war and name calling session like so many disagreements turn into on the web. ”

        Ditto. I think we’re in far more agreement than disagreement on the whole. Happy tweeting!

  3. Pamela, from your mouth to Twitter’s ear…I think the recent delay in deleting blocked avatars was due to the followers upgrade they did today. Don’t know if you saw my tweet about how to clear out the backlog of spam: go to settings and protect your updates, and you’ll be able to go clean up the spam (you get an extra ‘remove’ button when you’re in protected mode) Then go back and un-protect. The new upgrade is supposed to now block many of those auto-bots. And anything new that does get through will disappear if you block it like it used to.

    Dang, you work fast!

    I do think it would have been nice if Twitter had alerted us that this upgrade was coming and that followers would be funky for a few days, would have save us a lot of complaining tweets!


  4. Rants are good. Agree with your first point wholeheartedly. It’s been so frustrating blocking and blocking and NOT seeing those truly, and seriously x-rated avatars disappear.

    Thoughtful re-tweeting, yes. People gotta think. I don’t believe in an outside enforcer controlling the information that gets tweeted, though. Twitter seems to be fairly good at self regulating.

    I saw the Jeff Goldblum death tweets last week, and did go to the website. Was shocked of course, given what had already happened that day.

    Did NOT see the bottom disclaimer (the print was actually pretty small, and *normally* there’s no reason to check on a news website to see if there’s a “this really isn’t a newsite” disclaimer on the footer. (certainly will from now on, if anything seems fishy)

    I wouldn’t ever automatically retweet that type of news anyway, so I didn’t jump on that bandwagon. I took 2 minutes to call my sister, and in that time, people were already tweeting that it was a hoax.

    So, in that respect, I think sanity mostly prevails.

    And Laura, bless you for finding out how to block avatars by changing privacy settings temporarily!

  5. I’m thinking now of more of a “time out box” for *repeat* troublemakers/suspected spammers.

    It’s not entirely unheard of, you know, to have ordinary people stationed around to keep the peace. Plenty of sites empower “moderators” to clean out rubbish.

    In that respect, my idea is entirely unoriginal, you know.

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