Monday, June 22, 2009

Twitter in the News

This just in!

News “tweets” may come from unreliable sources!



Ok, look: a while back, I didn’t know what to make of Facebook. At first, it seemed like a sad popularity contest, but now it has essentially replaced,, MSN Messenger and my email account. So I guess you could say it’s pretty useful.

Twitter, though? The jury’s not in just yet, but right now I’m leaning towards “Eff that!”.

It would appear that the main purpose of Twitter is to send out tweets and track tweets sent out by people you care about. At 140 characters (I think), these are essentially the equivalent of Facebook status updates (chalk up another “replaces” to Facebook).

I don’t know about you, but status updates are just about the most annoying aspect of the Facebook experience (next to news feeds that include quiz results as to what vegetable your friend is most like. Wtf?! Stop with the stupid quizzes already!).

Yes, I know there’s more to Twitter than that, but it seems to me that Twitter is best used by those who are involved with marketing/PR and who care to follow strangers’ thoughts on their product or field.

Me? I couldn’t care less.

For years I’ve been arguing with people about the place of blogs in society. Blogs are one person’s opinion, venting out into cyberspace, with little or no responsibility. I wanna say that Cory Doctorow needs a bitchslap? I can do that here.

But don’t – I repeat DO NOT – try to tell me that bloggers are the same as reporters or on a par with mainstream news outlets.

The difference is simple: accountability.

Twitter, for the most part, is simply micro-blogging.

Boingboing had a post today about tweeting in Iran during all this protesting of the recent general election, and it boils down to this: people can’t make heads nor tails of what the heck is going on because there’s so much chaotic, unorganized, unreliable info coming their way.

Via Twitter?



The post reads in part:

“Several fellow passengers agreed that one of the feelings shared around the
Iran story is the sense that so much information from new, unfamiliar sources
seems to be flooding us, without good filters, or many trusted, authoritative

If only there were companies willing to organize this chaos for us and who would be held accountable for misinformation…

Wait…you mean like…this? Or this? Or this?

Just because you don’t trust your doctor 100% doesn’t mean you should be running to a shaman, folks. Carry some salt with you and you’ll be ok.

The tragedy is when these news folks start drinking the Twitter Kool-aid, as Boingboing points out:

“And overall, cable news is doing a lousy job anyway. Blowhard anchors reading
random tweets, and logging on to Facebook groups? Thanks, but I can do that
myself -- without the theatrics.”

The sad part is that in their quest for instant news, the old reliable news organizations are starting to regurgitate the unreliable stuff. And, so long as they say, “it’s being reported that…” well, they’re off the hook now aren’t they – since THEY weren’t the ones reporting it, they were just reporting that it was being reported.


You know, with all this unreliable stuff floating around via Twitter, it can’t be too long before someone tweets something irresponsible enough to warrant a lawsuit for libel.


Would tweeting to millions that a famous musician assaulted you when in fact it was someone else count?

And if you have time to tweet, dumbass, you have time to dial 911. At the very least the guy should be charged for tying up emergency phone lines.

Can we start calling irresponsible tweeters "twits"?

Yeah, you're right: "attention whores" works too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pet Peeves: TTC

To pick up on Alison’s lead, I thought I might vent on one (several) of my pet peeves:

The TTC and how we use it.

Some of my complaints include:

1. Morons who stop as soon as they enter the subway car. If there are people behind you, you’re blocking the way and making it harder to get on before the door closes. I know you may be getting off at the next stop but - don’t worry – you’ll be able to get off even if you move into the train. Right now you're just being rude.

2. Morons who use stairs at busy stations when there’s an escalator right next to it. If you are at a busy station like Bloor or King and you are going up, say, and there’s an up escalator next to a set of stairs, you’re not being lazy if you use the escalator; you’re being considerate. If you use the stairs despite the escalator going your way then you’re just going to create traffic issues for the people coming DOWN who have no choice but to use the stairs. Use your head and take the escalator.

3. Morons who are paranoid about being able to get off at their stop. Whether you’re taking the bus or subway, there’ll be lots of time for you to get off once the vehicle stops. Pushing your way to the doors while the vehicle's in motion just creates the possibility you’ll lose your balance or knock someone over. Keep calm – you’ll get off. I’ve only seen one person miss their stop because they couldn’t get to the door in time and that was at Rosedale at rush hour in a packed car. But who gets off at Rosedale?

4. A$$hole jerks who rush to take seats ahead of women, children and the elderly. Give me a break. I give these guys the death stare and will occasionally confront them if it’s particularly egregious. Is this a cultural thing? Are these people from patriarchal societies or somehow raised not to respect others? This is perhaps the worst offense in my mind. I’ve simply gotten used to not sitting if the car is busy. Even if there is the odd seat available, it’s quite likely a lady will step on at the next stop or two, so I just keep standing.

5. Clueless morons who talk on their cell phones on the TTC. If you get a call, make it quick and speak quietly. Just because you’re having a hard time hearing the other person because of the ambient noise around you does not mean they can’t hear you perfectly fine if you speak softly.

6. Oblivious morons who walk while using cell phones. This applies anywhere. People tend to walk with cell phones the way they drive with cell phones: not well. They get distracted, slow down, don’t watch the flow of traffic and just become a nuisance. If you need to use your phone, move off to the side and let others continue on their way.

7. Distracted TTC drivers. I’ve seen drivers use cell phones, talk to attractive passengers and even do Sudoku puzzles while operating the vehicle. This is beyond silly and dangerous. If you see this, tell the driver off. You have my blessing.

8. Inconsiderate morons who use inadequate headphones while listening to their crappy music. Ear buds are not headphones. They are for use while you’re jogging outside, not while commuting between Eglinton and Bloor. You might as well take out the buds and crank the speakers ‘cause we can all hear the music anyways – you might as well let us hear it at full quality. Jerks.

9. Litterbugs. Seriously; throw your crap in the garbage/recycling. What are you – five?

10. TTC drivers who pump the brakes. Someone needs to train TTC drivers to drive as if people are standing inside their vehicles ‘cause – guess what – they ARE!!! Stop driving like “gas” and “brake” are your only two options and you must alternate between them as often as possible.

11. Streetcars. ‘Nuff said.

12. Space wasters. Look, chimps can put building blocks together. Why can’t we stand inside TTC cars in such a way as to maximize space and capacity? I see people sitting and standing at the oddest angles and worst positions, preventing people from getting on at rush hour. Move your ass into the train and stand shoulder to shoulder. How hard is that? You’ll be helping others get to their destination and helping to ensure our position at the top of the food chain.

13. Lack of communication. In New York City, if the train is delayed for 10 seconds (no exaggeration) an announcement is made apprising passengers IN THE CAR of the situation. In Toronto, not only are announcements rarely made, they are often only heard on the station platforms and not in the car. The people in the cars need to know, too, so that they can get off at the next station and walk if the delay is severe enough. Besides, even if they can’t get off, having some information will keep them calmer than if they’re left in the dark.

14. Drivers who don’t know how to stop. The bus posts are there for a reason. They tell the driver where to stop. If they don’t stop in the right place, the back door (where you’re SUPPOSED to get off) may open to a trash bin or bus shelter, thus preventing people from getting off. This can especially be a pain if you have a suitcase with you. Happened to me? You bet.

15. Paranoid morons who insist on going out via the front door of the bus. Not only is this inconsiderate towards the people trying to get on, but it defies the sign at the front of the bus telling you to please exit via the rear doors. I’ve seen people literally push their way to the front from their seat at the back of the bus just so that they can use the front door. Why are these people afraid of the back door? Were they traumatized by a back door as a child? Speaking of back doors, guys, think of the bus as your body – front for in, back for out. It’s meant to be one-way traffic; like your @$$hole, @$$hole.

I’m sure I have more complaints…but I hate complainers – they’re one of my pet peeves.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When news isn't news: Sosa took steroids

Seriously: is ANYONE surprised by this?

Probably not. Ain't that sad?

(If you are, you clearly haven't seen before and after pics of the guy.)

And if none of these guys gets elected to the Hall of Fame (which they shouldn't), then shouldn't we also put a big fat asterisk next to their records and formally apologize to the Maris family for all the hooplah in 1998?

The saddest quote comes from Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry who said:

"To just speculate from an era of how many years it was of who did and didn't do what, it's impossible. It's just time to put that whole era behind us and move on."

Yup. Let's forget the era that saw all sorts of home run records fall and saved baseball from the post-strike slump.

And we thought the STRIKE was bad.

Doesn't Pete Rose seem like an angel now?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Election fever

Seems elections are in the news again. We here in Canada may be facing one soon if the opposition ever gets up the nerve.

Iran recently held an election, too.

Which prompts this question:

Why is it that whenever one of the "bad" countries holds an election - with or without international observers - there's all sorts of news coverage about the possibility of election fraud and how it should not be allowed to stand?

...This coverage largely from a country that quite possibly allowed George W. Bush to steal an election that changed the face of world politics. (Maybe two.)

'Cause, you know, if people are protesting they must be right...right?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Good karma: Darrelle London

Ok, you know me: I rant. But I'm thinking that maybe if I take a little time to try to spread a little good news I'll have a little come my way, too.

Or at least maybe I'll avoid being reincarnated as a cockroach.

I was at the Peter James Project cd release party at Clinton's last night to support the lovely and talented Alison Jutzi who was one of the opening acts.

If you have not checked this gal out do it NOW.

I'll wait.

Anyhoo, while I was there, I heard some good stuff. Dan Mclean Jr started things off well with a kick-ass re-imagined rendition of Bad Company's Feel Like Making Love.

Alison was up next and had the audience laughing along to her tunes about second-best friends, Facebook and racist grannies. (W00t!)

The headliners were solid, too, with Irish ex-pat Peter James Fox and his band belting out enjoyable reggae-infused rock tunes.

But the delight of the night - other than the aforementioned goddess of folk - was Darrelle London, a blonde waif of a gal who played catchy, whimsical tunes while playing the keyboard. Her set was really fun - "light with a bite", I'd call it. I was trying to think of who she reminded me of and I think her website gets it right - Chantal Kreviazuk (especially "Before You") - mixed, I'd say, with a dash of Bjork. From "Sure, you broke her heart but she’ll put you in your place with a wink and a smile."

So after you're done checking out Alison's music, pop by Darrelle London's site and see if you like what you hear. She'll be opening for Amanda Mabro at The Rivoli tomorrow night (June 10th).

Then, for good karma's sake, write your own blog post about how neat I am.

The world has enough cockroaches.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Archie + Veronica - Betty = "Ideal"?

A little fluff for you.

Much ado was made last week of the news that Archie Andrews had finally made a decision between Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge and chosen…Veronica.

Many were shocked, many were saddened, many cheered, many people said “Archie who?”

But let’s not get too carried away. They once killed Superman, too, you know. It remains to be seen if this thing will ever really play out. I mean, judging by the faces of not only the heart-broken Betty but the best pal Jughead, this seems like an unlikely path for the long term.

There can be little doubt that interest in the comic will rise over the coming months as the six-parter unfurls. Is this just a marketing ploy? Maybe. But it’s a dangerous one.

Whether it’s Moonlighting, Scarecrow & Mrs. King or Spider-Man, we’ve seen time and again that having your romantic storylines “settled” can be a bad thing. Where does the story go from here? What becomes of Betty now that she can no longer pine for Archie without looking like a home wrecker? Does she hook up with Jughead to drown her sorrows?

If the storyline does end with an incomplete nuptial, where does that leave our heroes? I mean, Veronica and Archie may have some lingering tension, but surely Betty would be forced to move on. I mean, if THIS is not a sign she should get her sh*t together and stop being a doormat…

Let’s face facts: Archie could never end up with Betty unless the strip was coming to an end. I mean, THERE’s a storyline that has nowhere to go. At least with Archie & Veronica you still have the relationship with Mr. Lodge to play with. What good is a happily-ever-after ending with Betty?

The article I read on the subject bothered me, though. One part reads:

“People who vote for Veronica-Archie are the idealists, the people who say, ‘I'm voting for the glitz, the glamour, the high energy, the sexiness, the ideal [and] they might not even care so much that it'll only last five years,'” says the Toronto-based registered family, marriage and sex therapist.

Those who yearn to see Archie and Betty get hitched take a more realistic, traditional view, she says. They're more grounded, are thinking long term and have more of a sense of “for always and forever.”

Um, maybe I’m in the minority here, but I happen to think the “always and forever” IS the ideal. Who in their right mind thinks “Ideally, I’d marry a rich, sexy, glamourous person and maybe get divorced in 5 years after it all fizzles.”

Huh? No thanks.

Good thing I’m not glitzy, glamourous, nor high energy so I don’t have to put up with shallow Veronica lovers.

(Sexy, I can’t deny. I am that.)