Tag Archives: Twitter

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A collection of web 2.0 bits and bobs…

Mikey posted a bunch of reflections on the web and ministry the other day in a stream of consciousness bullet point diatribe. They’re tips that are worth reading – and a good perspective from somebody who is in ministry and thinking about how technology can be used as a platform for the gospel and for building relationships.

Blogs are definitely different now Part 1

Blogs are definitely changing now Part 2

Blogs are definitely changing Part 3

Blogs are definitely changing Part 4

Blogs are definitely changing Part 5

Once you’ve finished reading those and you’re all depressed about the internet and stuff…

I’ve recently started using Twitter heaps more. It seemed all I needed was a better app on my iPhone and the new Mac app. You can follow me @nm_campbell if you like. Let me know if you’re a Twit too.

I’m also getting close to having 100 fans on Facebook. Which is cool. I’ve started using that Facebook page to share links that I maybe once upon a time would have posted here (and possibly eventually will). These links appear on the top right of the blog proper, so if you’re a feed reader I suggest you join the masses and “like” St. Eutychus.

If you are a feed reader you might have noticed a bunch of new links on the bottom of feed items – these come courtesy of feedburner – you can now click a few different links to share stuff you like where you like. Isn’t that exciting. I like it when people share the stuff I’ve found. It somehow legitimises the time I waste on the Internet. So please do it.

And, I’ve installed a theme that I paid for (called Standard Theme) on my coffee blog and Venn Theology. I’m trying to decide whether or not to install it here too. Check them out. Especially my coffee blog – thebeanstalker.com. I’m pretty happy with it.

That is all.

Links, Links, Links: Some tabs opened in my browser

I just spent a couple of days at Stir, a conference in Queensland featuring Al Stewart and a bunch of Christian people from around the state. It was very encouraging. But before I went, I had about a thousand tabs open in my browser that I had planned to blog. Here they are.

The Twitter users who have single letter accounts (a to z): from the Atlantic.
Taking a look at the users who make @replies easy.

“Unsurprisingly, nearly all the accounts are used heavily. The average single-letter Twitterer has Tweeted 3,266 times, follows 302 people, and is followed by 2,896. That might seem like a lot relative to the average user, but none are celebrities or power users like a Tim O’Reilly and his 1.4 million followers. @T aka Tantek Çelik, a developer, has the largest number of followers in the group with his 13,005.”

The best bit, @c and @k are now married to each other. Brilliant.

NineMSN takes a look at terrible business terminology, or management guff:

“The 2010 winner is the investor Chuck Davies who was quoted in the FT saying: “He is a deep-dive, granular, research-oriented person who really understands the inner workings of companies and is just a very free-cash flow, hard-asset-based investor.” He was speaking of one of the men who may take over from Warren Buffett; on the basis of this testimony one rather hopes someone else can be found instead.”

While the SMH deals with similar terminology applied to surrogate parenting

“Terms such as breeder and gestational carrier are dehumanising. The experience of carrying and giving birth to a child is profound. It is also difficult, painful and life changing. The changes go beyond the merely physiological to the core of our personhood.”

I can understand the emotions that drive people towards surrogacy, and they’re murky ethical waters, but I can’t imagine what it does to a kid – especially if genetics play some role in the formation of identity.

I’ve just signed up for Kindlefeeder, and Instapaper – two services that bring online content to the kindle so that you can read stuff offline in a purpose built document reader. Fun times. Instapaper also saves stuff to your iPhone.

I love this post from Mark Thompson – I think some people are all too keen to toss out terminology not found in the Bible because of a propensity to employ it to describe ministry roles – this is a better balanced picture methinks (and a warning about what ministry is and isn’t):

“In an era when some fear their backs are against the wall and that we must do everything in our power to arrest Christianity’s slide into oblivion, the temptation to rework this classic understanding of Christian ministry is felt keenly. The ministry of the pastor is recast in terms of images gleaned from outside the Scriptures: a leader, a manager, a mission director. Yet these images must be subverted by the dynamics of the biblical gospel if they are to be of any use. The Christian leader leads by praying and faithfully attending to the ministry of the word. Effective management takes place through prayer and the consistent, faithful teaching of the Scriptures. The mission is properly directed by teachers rather than strategists, by prayer warriors rather than vision casters. It would be wrong to portray this as a battle between either/or (e.g. teaching vs leading) and both/and (e.g. teaching and leading). One is the means of the other (e.g. we lead by teaching). Christian leadership, management and mission direction is not simply a modification of what we might find in other walks of life. It is an entirely different phenomenon.”

This “List of Common Misconceptions” on wikipedia is like mythbusters for common old wives’ tales and other miscellany. Here’s one somebody quoted to me today (in a milestone I discovered my first grey hair. On a youth convention):

Shaving does not cause terminal hair to grow back thicker or coarser or darker. This belief is due to the fact that hair that has never been cut has a tapered end, whereas, after cutting, there is no taper. Thus, it appears thicker, and feels coarser due to the sharper, unworn edges. The fact that shorter hairs are “harder” (less flexible) than longer hairs also contributes to this effect.[77] Hair can also appear darker after it grows back because hair that has never been cut is often lighter due to sun exposure.

Here’s another one:

A popular myth regarding human sexuality is that men think about sex every seven seconds. In reality, there is no scientific way of measuring such a thing and, as far as researchers can tell, this statistic greatly exaggerates the frequency of sexual thoughts.[102][103][104]

And the BBC reckons the King James Bible changed the way we speak English. Not surprising really, given its influence on the written word. Alister McGrath has even written a book about its influence (Amazon)
(and there’s some stuff on thees and thous in there too):

“The translators seem to have taken the view that the best translation was a literal one, so instead of adapting Hebrew and Greek to English forms of speaking they simply translated it literally. The result wouldn’t have made all that much sense to readers, but they got used to it, and so these fundamentally foreign ways of expressing yourself became accepted as normal English through the influence of this major public text.”

“David Crystal in Begat, however, set out to counter exaggerated claims for the influence of the King James Bible. “I wanted to put a precise number on it,” he explains, “because some people have said there are thousands of phrases from the King James Bible in our language, that it is the DNA of the English language. I found 257 examples.””

Pretty funny that he’s from Begat, given its use in genealogies of the Bible.

I’m a long time mafia nut – I, at one point, was planning to write the next great mafia novel. I read heaps of “true crime” mafia confessionals to prepare. Maybe one day I’ll do it. In the meantime I’ll savour stories like this one. Where the good guys win. Slate has a look at how modern mafioso are making a dollar.

“Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the Mafia has begun stealing millions from the EU through a sure-fire scheme—wind energy. Enticed by government underwriting of renewable energies—Brussels ordered all 27 EU nations to use one-fifth renewable energy by 2020—the Mob has focused on its own backyard. (Italian wind power sells at Europe’s highest rate, a guaranteed 180 euros per kilowatt-hour.) In 2008’s Operation “Eolo”—named after the Greek god of winds Aeolus—eight alleged Mafiosi in the Sicilian coastal town of Mazara del Vallo were charged with bribing officials with luxury cars for a piece of the wind energy revenue. Police wiretaps recorded one man saying, “Not one turbine blade will be built in Mazara unless I agree to it.”

Animoto seems like a cool site for making videos that are “killer”… which means videos that connect with young people. You have to pay money for the good stuff.

Stanley Fish has written an interesting book on how to write and read outstanding sentences (Amazon Link)
. Sounds fun.

Slate reviews it:

“[Fish suggests] we should be examining the “logical relationships” within different sentence forms to see how they organize the world. His argument is that you can learn to write and later become a good writer by understanding and imitating these forms from many different styles. Thus, if you’re drawn to Jonathan Swift’s biting satire in the sentence, “Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse,” then, Fish advises, “Put together two mildly affirmative assertions, the second of which reacts to the first in a way that is absurdly inadequate.” He offers, “Yesterday I saw a man electrocuted and it really was surprising how quiet he became.” Lame, and hardly Swift, as Fish is the first to admit, but identifying the logical structure does specify how satire functions at the level of the sentence and, if you want to employ the form, that’s a good thing to know.”

Watching the flood

At the moment I’m sitting on level five of a building in Southbank, overlooking the river. I’m watching a truck out the window, across the river, on the Riverside Expressway. It’s crawling. The same truck has been in about the same spot for the last fifteen minutes.

I’m also playing with Instagram – an iPhone photo app that I like.

And delving into the Twitter hash tag world for the first time.

These floods are amazing – and weeks of watching the rest of Queensland go underwater have instilled an odd panic in lots of people. The office is pretty bare. Lots of people have left. Rumours are flying (thanks to Sky News) about the impending closure of Brisbane’s public transport system. Nobody is quite sure whether or not that’s happening. Us marketers/PR people are a hardy bunch, and will no doubt be the last out of the doors.

Yesterday my sister-in-law who lives in Toowoomba walked into a shop just before the inland tsunami swept cars and utes around the streets like an over-zealous street cleaner.

My parents-in-law are bracing for a second round of flooding on their farm outside Dalby. It’ll probably go higher than the last one – and doubtless do more damage.

These floods are crazy. Crazy.


Are you a Christian and into Social Media?

If you are, and you have thoughts about how to use Facebook and Twitter in ministry – then you should totally head to Venn Theology (which I assume you all read already) and comment on this post. Do it.

Image: Well timed Dilbert from Church Crunch.
In a week or two I’ll start not cross promoting so much because I’ll assume you’ve all been made aware of it. But in the meantime, I like this post a lot. And I think it’s important and I’d like to make it a bit of a resource post when I have conversations with friends who are in ministry and are thinking about how to use “social media”… I have those conversations often.

Life imitates webcomic

Somewhere in my archives there’s a story about people putting the ideas put forward by XKCD into some sort of real life application. Well. Here’s another example (previous examples include adults filling their lounge room with colourful balls to make their own ball room).

Somebody did this. And you can follow the progress of the eBay robot on Twitter, and read about the source code here with an update here

  • It runs every day at 8pm (although it was earlier today because I was testing it)
  • It gains $1 every day, and has a 1 in 3 chance of buying an item on any particular day. This means that it will save up money to buy some (slightly) more expensive items.

The method it uses to select items:

  • It has a bunch of top-level categories it looks in.
  • For each of these categories, it searches for the term “Free shipping”, specifying both pay-now and buy-now, sorting by newest listings, with a maximum of 100 items returned per category.
  • For each of these items, it filters on buy-now price. It tries to spend at least 50% of its savings.
  • For each of the surviving items, it looks up the individual auction details to find its shipping information so it can filter on free shipping. Despite searching for the term ‘free shipping’ to start, only a small number of items have this.
  • At this point I have a list of items that match the price requirements, and can be bought with a credit card buy-now.
  • I then sort this list by ‘rarity’ – doing a search for the item title, and finding the item that returns the least results. As the objective here is to buy strange and esoteric things, rarity is preferred.
  • Finally I buy the rarest item and subtract its cost from the bots savings.

Sounds fun, right? The guy responsible made a couple of changes yesterday:

  • It now tries not to buy in categories it’s bought from before. No more stamps! (probably)
  • It biases towards auctions with more expensive shipping costs – If you check out the trademe listings, you’ll see there’s quite a lot of items for $1-2, but the more interesting things typically have higher shipping.
  • The ‘only bid every 3 days’ rule is gone. Now it will wait until it has at least 20 items that it can possibly buy before making a bid. This is strongly dependent on how much money it has, so it should come to about the same thing.

So far he’s bought some watch batteries, some stickers, and a casio watch. Hooray.


Social media strategies for churches

I was talking to some people yesterday about churches and social media strategies. I’ve followed a bunch of people who are involved with ministries, and churches, and promoting ministries and churches on Facebook. And I think they’re doing it wrong… but what would I know.

The wrongness was the spirit of my speculative posts “Has John Piper ruined Twitter” and “Has Mark Driscoll ruined Facebook” – most churches rely on their minister posting pithy one line updates to Facebook and Twitter generating an echo effect where people retweet and like and share to their hearts content. Which is only part of the social media story, and is usually pretty lame. Blowing one’s own trumpet is never cool. No matter how good your faux-hawk is, and no matter how much you’re able to make grown men cry in your sermons. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate Desiring God and Mars Hill, and Piper and Driscoll, and I think they contribute greatly to the global church and use the Internet brilliantly. But you’re not (unless they’re reading this) Piper or Driscoll. And if you’re a minister of a church and you’re filling my Facebook or Twitter news feeds with how much God is moving in your church, or how great your sermon was, or how great it was to spend time with your church family  – and that’s all your doing – then that’s really not why I’ve added you Twitter in particular, or probably, being really honest, on Facebook. I’ve added a person, not a ministry PR machine. I want your reflections on stuff, and if you’re a minister then that will doubtless include stuff about your church and your ministry, and how much you love your people, and how awesome they all are… but please, don’t be a two dimensional caricature. You are not your church. Get a Facebook page for your ministry – but even then, don’t be lame about it. Don’t just spam people with endless things about how good the stuff they were already at was, and don’t spam them with things about upcoming events.

Social media is social. It’s meant to be interactive. The best social media strategies do what is called “seeding” content. You don’t blow your own trumpet. You get others to blow it for you. If you run a church Facebook account, or Twitter account, why not ask a bunch of tech savvy people at church to post their own thoughts, advertisements, photos or reflections to TwitFace? Why not ask people to live tweet certain events, or go home and serve their brothers and sisters by posting the thing that struck them most about the sermon. Don’t do it yourself. Why not get people to post photos of your events, get them to make them their profile pictures. Get them to talk to each other (that’ll show up in the news feed of mutual friends). Get them organically promoting events and inviting their friends personally, rather than sending out some form email.

Social media works best when it is social media – when people are participating in the production and distribution of content – rather than just contributing to the noise side of the signal to noise ratio on the internet. People’s inboxes (in all virtual forms) are so full of rubbish and spam – why not contribute some meaningful content and interactions to their lives instead of just trying to be an ever present presence online.

And if none of that seems to work, if you can’t get people saying stuff about your church online, then maybe consider this webcomic (via ChurchCrunch)…

Kanye: The Saviour of Twitter

I confess, yesterday, while sitting in Greek and waiting to hear which way the independents would swing (in favour of democracy or broadband flavoured pork) I was relying on Twitter. Mainstream media is great for fact checking and objectivity – Twitter carries the can for immediacy (you don’t have to have your stuff approved by an editor). Because most of Australia was glued to live coverage anyway the pressure for news sites to post the info first was pretty low. So 1 point for Twitter.

By my count twitter is up 2 points currently – because they boast another scoop on mainstream media – the stream of consciousness rants and thoughts of one K-West. They’re needlessly and pointlessly interesting. In the last couple of days he posted a stream of stream of consciousness (a river of consciousness perhaps) thoughts that cobbled together (let Gizmodo do it for you) amount to a lengthy apology to Taylor Swift for last year’s Grammy interruption, and an apology to his fans who had to leap to his defence as a result.

An excerpt:

“The media has successfully diminished the “receptive” audience of KANYE WEST. Taking a 15 second blip, the media have successfully painted the image of the ANGRY BLACK MAN, The King Kong theory. I’m the guy who at one point could perform the Justin Timberlake on stage and everyone would be sooo happy that I was there.

People tweeted that they wish I was dead… No listen. They wanted me to die, people. I carry that. I smile and take pictures through that. I wear my scars. It’s almost like I have to where a suit to juxtapose my image and I won’t lie: IT WORKS!

I wrote a song for Taylor Swift that’s so beautiful, and I want her to have it. If she won’t take it then I’ll perform it for her. She had nothing to do with my issues with award shows. She had no idea what hit her. She’s just a li’l girl with dreams like the rest of us. She deserves the apology more than anyone.”

Aww. Shucks.

You might remember Tea Party Jesus, words from members of the new “conservative force” in American politics in speech bubbles on pictures of Jesus. Well, Jesus Needs New PR has gone one better. Kanye West Jesus.

Further proof, if required, that Kanye is not the messiah, just a very naughty boy with a palpable messianic complex.


An interview with Kanye

Kanye West doesn’t really do interviews. He doesn’t like journalists much. But his recent foray into Twitter has created some interesting opportunities for journalists to quote “on record” comments from Kanye. Here, Slate takes his comments on Twitter and builds an all access interview around them.

The summary of the method of putting this interview together is as follows:

“West has agreed to speak candidly to me on a wide variety of subjects, to run his mouth but remain pithy at the same time, and to grant me virtually round-the-clock access to his life—no publicist popping his head in and telling me there’s five minutes left. As conditions go for writing a profile, these are extremely favorable. No, I don’t get to ask any questions, but I do get a constantly updating record of West’s thoughts, whereabouts, cravings, jokes, meals, flirtations, bon mots, and on and on. In the face of a mountainous info dump like West’s, isn’t the basic work of profiling—building from the raw material of everything someone says and does toward a more focused sense of who they are—as relevant as ever?”

Here’s a sample of the “interview”…

“Flying back from Silicon Valley to New York, West wanted to show me images of some recent kingish purchases he’d made, along with various treasures he had his eye on. It was a giddy tour of ancien régime-looking finery that didn’t end until well after the plane had landed. There were two golden goblets—thin-stemmed and etched with an intricate floral pattern—that West said he planned to use for drinking water. He was particularly excited about a bowl that squats regally on a gold base. The bowl is made of milky, hand-painted porcelain, with two grippable gold lions curling up its sides. “I copped this to eat cereal out of,” he said, adding that he’s been fantasizing about buying a horse. It’s hard to say exactly how much, if at all, he was joking.”


Banning social media a band-aid solution

The Penrith Panthers have joined a bunch of other major sporting teams (including Manchester United) in banning their players from having a presence on popular social networks Twitter and Facebook. I can’t see, from a branding point of view, how this is a good thing for the club – surely having the players use these mediums productively, for the benefit of fans, would be a more beneficial long term strategy.

There is, of course, the danger of players being people. Being a bit too human. Airing dirty laundry. Or, doing what LeBron James just famously did in the U.S – using the medium to generate buzz around their playing future and leveraging up their salary and status. I can see why clubs would want to stop that sort of behaviour.

But the Panthers say they are doing this to “protect the players” essentially from themselves. Here’s what the Panthers have said about the policy (from FoxSports):

“We don’t want our players using these social networking websites. They are an invasion of privacy. They can be dangerous.”

Well, not really, they’re not an invasion of privacy but a forum where you can voluntarily make parts of your life unprivate. Nobody is questioning the capacity for these platforms to be misused. But dangerous? Not really.

Brisbane seem to have a more measured (and reasonable) approach:

“The Broncos have added a clause to their code of conduct that states any player posting a detrimental comment on Facebook or Twitter could be fined or suspended.”

My former employers had a policy along similar lines – with instructions not to engage in narky online flamewars (a paraphrase) we were to participate in online discussion in good humour, while recognising privacy and confidentiality concerns.

The FoxSports story, I think, hits the nail on the head when it comes to the motives of these moves:

“NRL clubs are deeply concerned about what players post in their status bar and whether their party photos are a “bad look”.”

It’s ultimately not about player safety – but about managing the NRL’s brand. And at this point I think the heavy handed “no go” social media policy is treating symptoms of the problem rather than its root cause. If players weren’t doing anything (in public, or private) that could be posted online in an embarrassing way – then there wouldn’t be a problem. Keeping the players off Facebook doesn’t stop photos being put up, nor does it stop those photos being sent to a journalist.

The real key to not damaging your brand via social networks is to not be doing stuff that would damage your brand. That’s where clubs should be directing their energy and attention.

There’s a further danger, which this story picks up, of players not present on Facebook being impersonated by people with less than optimal intentions. Apparently it’s happening with superstar Jarryd Hayne right now – and previously it has been an issue on Twitter for people like Kanye West (who apparently joined up just to avoid being impersonated). You can read his expletive laden all-caps tirade at Twitter impersonators from last May here at TechCrunch (I can’t find it on his actual blog)…


Say no to “tweets”

The New York Times has banned its journalists from using the word “tweet” or any derivatives in their stories (possibly with the exception of describing the noise made by birds). Awesome. Instead they must use “wrote on Twitter” or “said on Twitter”… here’s an excerpt from the memo (via The Awl).

“Except for special effect, we try to avoid colloquialisms, neologisms and jargon. And “tweet” — as a noun or a verb, referring to messages on Twitter — is all three. Yet it has appeared 18 times in articles in the past month, in a range of sections.

Of course, new technology terms sprout and spread faster than ever. And we don’t want to seem paleolithic. But we favor established usage and ordinary words over the latest jargon or buzzwords.

One test is to ask yourself whether people outside of a target group regularly employ the terms in question. Many people use Twitter, but many don’t; my guess is that few in the latter group routinely refer to “tweets” or “tweeting.” Someday, “tweet” may be as common as “e-mail.” Or another service may elbow Twitter aside next year, and “tweet” may fade into oblivion. (Of course, it doesn’t help that the word itself seems so inherently silly.)”

To tweet, or not to tweet*

It had to happen sooner or later. Such Tweet Sorrow is a dramatic rendition of Romeo and Juliette conducted through the construct of Twitter. The actors don’t follow the dialogue so much as commentate on the action, in true Twitter style. It’ll run for five weeks.

“The scriptwriters have played out a story grid with key events in the play being scheduled over the next month. But the actors playing the characters on Twitter will improvise the dialogue throughout the day, including interacting with their Twitter followers.

Every morning the actors receive a three-page mission document which informs them of the key events that need to take place during the day.

The project was jointly funded by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Channel 4’s 4IP fund and Screen West Midlands.

On the Such Tweet Sorrow website, it’s possible to gain an overview of all of the different Twitter accounts, including the ability to view the entire play in a time-line.

Set as it is in the real world, the play will react to news events taking place during the next month. This obviously means the general election, one of the most tweeted subjects on Twitter, but also the London marathon, where one of the characters will be taking part.”

To follow, or not to follow*…

*I am aware that this is actually from Hamlet. If you feel the need to correct or castigate me for misappropriating a line from one of Shakespeare’s plays to head a post about another please do so constructively – with a better reference.

Internet loop

Have you ever tried to procrastinate for just a minute and ended up in an infinite loop of social networks. I try to create my own loop by sending all of my posts to Twitter and Facebook – and then sharing them in google reader and sending them to Twitter again. People must get so sick of me if they follow me everywhere… but that’ll teach you. Stalkers.

If I enabled one of my plugins that creates a new post from every tweet and the other plugin that creates a new tweet from every post I’d have some sort of perpetual internet motion going on.

Anyway, here’s a nice flow chart that documents the phenomena.

social media loop