Tracking the soaring stocks and junk bonds of social media, helping you to invest carefully and speculate wisely. (By Rhodri Marsden)
February 18th, 2014
London'ss first computer, the fastest in the world at 1MHz. May 1950. pic.twitter.com/jOHrh2sEFB- Historical Pics (@HistoricalPics) February 18, 2014
No-one, of course, is under the misapprehension that any of the people behind these accounts are astonishing photographers with the ability to skip through space and time, capturing images and digitally flinging them forward to 2014 for our delight. We know that they're just aggregators, or curators at a push, just mining the web for cool stuff and serving it up. It's easily done, and it's evidently much appreciated; many of these accounts have hundreds of thousands of followers.
The opening day of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in 1977 pic.twitter.com/la3JUIDGVQ- History In Pictures (@HistoryInPix) February 18, 2014
But the photographers that actually snapped these pictures – pictures wonderful enough to be shared and reshared thousands of times over – are rarely if ever credited. There's been a certain amount of grumbling online about this in the past few weeks, but one person, @PicPedant (aka @brownpau) has seen fit to try and redress the balance in some small way by posting the correct credits in a righteous, bold but (I guess) ultimately impotent way. "Punctilious internet killjoy at the forefront of the New Debunkonomy," reads the bio. "Obsessed with attribution & Photoshop." We should really salute him for these efforts he's making.
It's an important point that @PicPedant is making, but he can only do what he has time to do; monitoring the entire output of dozens of "look at this!" photo accounts and tediously appending information that should have been posted in the first place is a tedious job. @PicPedant helpfully links to Google Image Search in his bio, presumably to demonstrate how easy it is to source and credit these images. So I had a go. Earlier this afternoon, @EarthPix posted this:
Whitby, England pic.twitter.com/L8rEqkOm4h- Earth Pics (@EarthPix) February 18, 2014
At the time of writing it's been favorited around 1,700 times; that's a lot of love out there. But who took the picture? A quick search leads us to this page; we discover that it was taken by a chap called Ian Snowden, a photographer from North Yorkshire. The presence of a "buy now" button on that page, just underneath the photo, feels like a strangely quaint plea with a hollow ring to it. It would be nice to think that one of the 1700 people who loves that photo would buy it from Ian. But I'm not going to hold my breath.
February 14th, 2014
Rising: Curveball Tweets
Take @coffee_dad. Coffee Dad can be relied upon to post pretty much every day regarding coffee. As noted in an earlier Twitter Index, tweets related to consumption of coffee are pretty much endemic throughout Twitter, but in the case of @coffee_dad it's his raison d'être. He lives for coffee, and for tweeting about it.
buying coffee- coffee dad (@coffee_dad) May 25, 2012
ready for coffee- coffee dad (@coffee_dad) May 25, 2012
pouring my# coffee- coffee dad (@coffee_dad) May 25, 2012
slowly sipping coffee- coffee dad (@coffee_dad) May 26, 2012
But then, for some unknown reason:
driving down the road where my son lost his life and i lost everything- coffee dad (@coffee_dad) May 26, 2012
Take @RealCarrotFacts, who has amassed over 150,000 followers by occasionally giving tips, advice or making observations regarding the humble carrot.
if You are plan on giving a family or lover a carrot for chrintmas, don't wrap it yet or else it be rotted and damp brown on Dec 25 trust me- Carrot Facts (@RealCarrotFacts) December 7, 2013
If you tape a carrot to your forehead befor bed you might dream about carrots but it didn't work last night I dream about a boat and a crab- Carrot Facts (@RealCarrotFacts) December 9, 2013
bring a carrot to a funeral as a way of saying "im sorry your dead here is a crispy vegtable"- Carrot Facts (@RealCarrotFacts) December 17, 2013
Remember to leave santa the tradition chrishmas treat: plate of raw carrost and $4- Carrot Facts (@RealCarrotFacts) December 25, 2013
the price of a bag of carrots is not much- Carrot Facts (@RealCarrotFacts) January 15, 2014
But then, for some unknown reason:
Maybe there someone out there beside megan. Some one who love me for who i am?- Carrot Facts (@RealCarrotFacts) January 17, 2014
Take @ReutersPolitics. Day in, day out, you'll see links to news stories hot off the wires regarding political manoeuvrings in the USA:
Senate panel says attack on U.S. post in Benghazi was preventable http://t.co/9hfEG3Y7cq- Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) January 15, 2014
U.S. judge rejects challenge to Obamacare insurance subsidies http://t.co/8hWTsUB2Sj— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) January 15, 2014
Senate panel backs Raskin for Treasury post, again http://t.co/ANtyVemyDf- Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) January 15, 2014
But then, for some unknown reason:
OLRTXT HUMA POL WASH DIP AID HRGT US SS AFR ENR EMRG OILI REFI OILG VIO NRG LAW CIV SECUR WAR SDPP;CNPET.UL... http://t.co/1Yy4disWJF- Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) January 15, 2014
Judging by the number of times they're favourited and retweeted, it's clear that posting an occasional curveball tweet does wonders for your popularity. It's almost enough to make me go on Twitter right now and post something about palaeontology. Or something.
February 13th, 2013
Falling: Roses Are Red
Anyone can do it; you just come up with a second line, make a note of the sound of the final syllable and rhyme the bastard in the fourth line – a primary school exercise. Or, alternatively, you can just write "roses are red" and then insert whatever you like in the next three lines because everyone knows what you're doing. It requires no skill, no effort, and that's why Twitter is currently awash with them. For the last hour I've been wading through them. Here, in reverse order, are the worst 10 "roses are red" poems floating around Twitter at 11:00 GMT on Thursday 13th February.
10: The impassioned political statement, with added tagging of @HuffPostUKCom in the vain hope that it'll be included in a round-up of the best "Roses are red" poems of the day:
9: The sudden switch into a different language, which is fine, except "bulaklak" doesn't rhyme with "blue" and I don't know what she's laughing at.
Roses are red, violets are blue; punyeta ang mahal ng bulaklak HAHAHAHA!-; Dennise Cruz☝️ (@Denshooo) February 13, 2014
8: The unexpected lurch into a different metre altogether, leaving you fearful that this will lead to a wealth of random poetry being posted on Twitter with the prefix "roses are red, violets are blue":
Roses are red, violets are blue. He's for me, not for you. If by chance you take my place, ill take my fist and smash your face.- Britney Spears News (@4BritneySpearss) February 13, 2014
7: The one that leaves you feeling strangely unsettled:
Roses are red, Violets are blue, Tomorrow is valentines day, It shall be a big day.- AndreiMahone (@xoxoMaaaahone) February 13, 2014
6: TOP BANTZ LADZ:
Roses are red, Grass is green, That polishing won't do itself, Luv, Here's your Mr Sheen#rosesarered- Norman C Gull (@NormanCGull) February 13, 2014
5: The persistent and utterly pointless beseeching of a boy band member:
@Calum5SOS 🌹💎🌹💎🌹💎 calum hood from 5sos roses are red violets are blue i want a follow from you because i really love you 😋 💎🌹💎🌹💎🌹7— (@cliffpunk) February 13, 2014
4: The man stumbling around in a minefield of romance, ramming a stick labelled "poetry" into the ground at random:
Roses are Red like the colour of my heart.Your eyes are blue like the ocean. who Be my Valentine to make my life complete.- Martin Bennett (@BennettMartinb) February 13, 2014
3: A suggestion that you run around Huddersfield:
Roses are red, Violets are blue, Please volunteer, Your parkrun needs YOU!... http://t.co/VDFnjaP4yH— Huddersfield parkrun (@Huddsparkrun) February 13, 2014
2: An attempt to emulate Simon Le Bon's lyric to "Hungry Like The Wolf":
Roses are red Violets are blue. You're about as pleasant As World War 2.- Jake Duff (@D_Duberstein) February 13, 2014
1: "What rhymes with Jalfrezi?"
Roses are red, Violets are crazy, I'm going out with the lads, for a beer and Jalfrezi #hatevalentines- Dunstan Bentley (@dbhoops) February 13, 2014
February 10th, 2013
Falling: Valentine's Day
As a result, love is very much not in the air right now. The level of hatred for Valentine's Day is surging off the scale. In fact, if I were a more entrepreneurial man I'd turn the following tweets into a series of gift cards, as they seem to strike far more of a chord with the general public than "Our love is special, for we were destined to be; against all odds we found each other and I promise you that I will never let you go."
Valentine's Day can kiss my arse.- ~sarcasm queen~ (@CourtneyySusan) February 7, 2014
Fuck off Valentine's Day you're a prick you pointless holiday dickhead. Don't even get the day off school you're useless and cost me money- Conor Deeks (@MicrowaveCoffee) February 5, 2014
Oh piss off Valentine's day and all the shite that goes with it!,- Hannah James (@HannahLeSpanner) February 10, 2014
People that moan about being single on Valentine's Day are absolute attention seeking twats. NO ONE GIVES A FUCK- becky ♡ (@itsbexx_) February 8, 2014
Valentine's day: fuck yourself!- My lITtle LePRecHauN (@Miridpv) February 10, 2014
Valentine's Day: Making single people feel like shit since AD 496.- Sheep&Cheerful (@properbopeep69) February 10, 2014
Valentine's day is such shit- HAPPY BIRTHDAY VIC♥ (@adlovesmusic) February 10, 2014
Valentine's day can suck a fart out my arse tbf.- kirsty Parker (@limedasparc) February 7, 2014
U don't have a valentine on valentine's day? Some people don't have a mother on mothers day or a father on fathers day, so shut the fuck up.- Never Leaving Justin (@BieberbucksNL) February 10, 2014
Valentine's Day's coming up. I plan to light a candle before my evening wank.- James Dudley (@MrJamesDudley) February 9, 2014
Hallmark is a bitch. Fuck your Valentine's day bullshit.- Fucking Lucy (@luccyford) February 10, 2014
Fuck love songs, valentine's day, cute shit, and romantic stuff.- SarahLee (@sarahparkhurst) February 10, 2014
Valentine's Day is a shite excuse for a holiday.- The Pope (@PopeRichard) February 9, 2014
Fuck Valentine's day. This year I'm setting up an air-defense system programmed to take out fat flying kids packing bows & arrows.- Elmacdad (@MdUNH) February 10, 2014
February 6th, 2014
Rising: Norwegian Political Herring Recipe Chat
"I can't find my special recipe for herring salad in the moving boxes," he wailed, digitally. "Does anyone remember it?" Many people responded with their own herring salad recipe suggestions. But then, out of of the blue, came a tweet from the Prime Minister – "Iron Erna" as she was dubbed in some sections of the Norwegian media – who had defeated him in the election less than four months previously.
Jeg finner ikke igjen min egen oppskrift på sildesalat i flytteeskene. Er det noen som husker den?— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) December 21, 2013
"Hi Jens," she said, "I have not found the herring recipe in the Prime Minister's residence :)" Classic Erna, there, attempting to shake off her stern image with a smiley face and a polite reply. What she probably didn't expect was that tweet winning the award for BEST TWEET – I kid you not – at last nights Norway's Social Media Awards. The accompanying statement from the jury read as follows: "The winner of this year's post / tweet works on many levels. It is spontaneous, shows humor and has a bite. After an intense campaign, thrilling duels, and a hard fall, this tweet is a charming testament to an open Norway. A funny little thing that showed how politicians can joke together even if they are political opponents."
.@jensstoltenberg hei Jens, jeg har ikke funnet sildeoppskriften i Statsministerboligen :)— Erna Solberg (@erna_solberg) December 21, 2013
"Thank you to the jury for the award for Tweet of the Year. Sorry I could not be there in person, but I would like to thank you via Twitter."
Tusen takk til juryen for prisen for årets tweet. Beklager at jeg ikke kunne komme selv, men jeg vil gjerne takke dere via twitter. #smd2014— Erna Solberg (@erna_solberg) February 5, 2014
February 4th, 2014
Flatlining: Flooding the alphabet
January 31st, 2014
yeah. I'm a little sad right now.- Cali Campbell (@Starheart424) January 16, 2014
Migraine. Day two. That is hell.- Tom's banana (@gelooogen) January 31, 2014
@anagramatron, a project devised by a chap called Colin who tweets at @cmyr, uses a Python script to parse tweets, sort the characters into alphabetical order and look for matches. When matches are found, Colin checks to make sure they're valid, and then he tweets them. Easy when you know how.
Earl Sweatshirt is so dope- hannah. (@HannahHutson1) January 13, 2014
I swear its so hard to sleep- I AM KING SOLOMON (@TheNewBlaq) January 30, 2014
I don't know if it's the nerd in me, the writer or the geek that finds this project so deeply satisfying. Possibly all three. They're like beautiful equations.
Perfect relationship ♡- 5 Weeks ♡ (@Iam_Nelisa) January 20, 2014
Reflection Shit Paper.- Timmy Lomarda (@agentemsss) January 25, 2014
With my own coding ability limited to changing text to UPPER CASE in a CSS document, I salute Colin's work and rank it alongside the discovery of penicillin or something. The intricate details of the project, which whizz about three inches over my head, are detailed over at github. Here's my favourite:
my summer break is two and half months- Elina (@gomezfade) January 14, 2014
My mom thinks fat men should wear bras...- Riley Adams (@rileyadams13) January 30, 2014
January 30th, 2014
Flatlining: Why are you following me?
In truth, the act of following someone can be so benign as to be almost meaningless. The reasons people follow other people are many and various, from random impulses to misguided social media strategies to a complete misunderstanding of the way Twitter works. But one thing is clear – it freaks people out. They want to get to the bottom of it.
@erinraese why are you following me I don't know you- Lee (@LeeadamLee) January 29, 2014
@B_Mells Why are you following me?- Junior Gordon Band (@jgb_band) January 29, 2014
@betting_news Why are you following me? I hate gambling in all forms. I will never use ANY gambling service.- David (@theplaguedoc) January 29, 2014
@bubbubcoffee why are you following me I dont even drink your coffee- GamcTheFig (@gamccc) January 29, 2014
@BarneyStinsonHI heeyyyyy dude!!! Why are you following me?? Maybe I just don.t get how this twitter thingy works... Oh well- Talia (@rndmawsmnss) January 29, 2014
Sometimes you've got to ask people more than once, and they still don't tell you. It's infuriating.
@philrtaylor why are you following me?- 20w6d&I_meet_my_lil1 (@Its_Ana_And_Me) January 29, 2014
@philrtaylor I have asked you once already. WHY. ARE. YOU. FOLLOWING. ME!?- 20w6d&I_meet_my_lil1 (@Its_Ana_And_Me) January 29, 2014
Or sometimes, the query uncovers a family dispute that Twitter is about to elevate into a major row:
@GinaLoveSalgado why are you following me- Bryan A.Salgado (@BryanSalgado82) January 29, 2014
@BryanSalgado82 why did you follow me. Dont ruin this for me- Georgina (@GinaLoveSalgado) January 29, 2014
Sometimes, people are rude, and then they're asked to explain themselves, and then they make a half-hearted attempt to be friendly.
@DavidRayyy learn to fucking follow the law- ARR (@Antiraceradio) January 29, 2014
@Antiraceradio who are you? And why are you following me?- David Rayyy ✌️ (@DavidRayyy) January 29, 2014
@DavidRayyy hello David, I’m antiraceradio- ARR (@Antiraceradio) January 29, 2014
But here's the masterclass of how it should be done, with everyone emerging from the exchange happy and contented.
@MataInTheHole why are you following me?- Zlatan (@Satiesameer) January 28, 2014
@Satiesameer Huh? Because, I saw your account and decided to follow you. :/- Adam. (@MataInTheHole) January 28, 2014
@MataInTheHole Cheers haha- Zlatan (@Satiesameer) January 28, 2014
Of course, the mystery of why anyone follows anyone on Twitter at ALL is a far deeper philosophical question, way beyond the remit of this post. It's probably best not to think about it at all, you know, like black holes and dark matter, in case it reveals some troubling truths that we're not fully prepared for.
January 28th, 2014
"The year 2019. After Earth is decimated by pestilence & war, mankind attempts to colonise a distant planet. Here, Kevin Keegan sets up his new football academy."
This is @GalacticKeegan, a combination of dystopian sci-fi storytelling, philosophical musing and Kevin Keegan. Having travelled to Palangonia in the Antioc Nebula to commence his work as a football coach, Keegan is keen to get stuck in:
Football is my lifeblood and even if I have to travel to the far side of the known galaxy to give these lads a chance, I'll do it.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 22, 2014
Apparently I'm one of 16,000 humans here so far, I feel privileged. There's 39 million of the native lads - look forward to meeting them.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 22, 2014
But it's not long before Keegan has to battle with a very hostile and unfamiliar environment, his trusty guide Galagag by his side.
I'll tell you, honestly, that was a shocker of a night. I really don't know if I made the right decision coming here.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 23, 2014
The night before I left Earth I was back and forth to the loo but that was nothing compared to this. Galagag is as stoic & unfazed as ever.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 23, 2014
At 2am (Earth-time, I still have my old watch on - I have no clue what time it is here) we were attacked by four large orange wolves.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 23, 2014
Galagag didn't flinch so I thought they were friendly at first. I said "we have orange Wolves on Earth too! Well, old gold, anyway."- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 23, 2014
And like that. one jumped at me. I could smell its breath, stinking of rotting flesh and a sour, stale odour I couldn't identify.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 23, 2014
'A bit like Mike Ashley's director's box!', I thought, but there was no time to say it. I closed my eyes, ready for the end.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 23, 2014
And like that, Galagag produced this massive sword and lops the head clean off! Incredible. Well, that was enough to scare the other three.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 23, 2014
I went to hug the lad but he turned away. "You saved my life!" I said. I felt so overwhelmed. He walked on and I followed with new respect.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 23, 2014
I have no idea what the point of @GalacticKeegan is, but as ever, I find myself strangely thrilled by doomed creative projects that have no raison d'être other than the gloriously misguided ambition of the person or persons behind them. At the time of writing, Keegan is locked in a cupboard:
It was inevitable something like this would happen. I got trapped in the loo at Craven Cottage for four days in 1999.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 28, 2014
I'm actually starting to get quite concerned now. The door is completely stuck. I would love it if someone came up and let me out.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 28, 2014
Ultimately, perhaps @GalacticKeegan is a plea for human beings to reconcile their differences and celebrate the rarity of life... or maybe not.
I miss Earth.- Kevin Keegan (@GalacticKeegan) January 25, 2014
January 24th, 2013
Falling: Fake tube announcements
“Oh, I’m afraid the Victoria Line will be *quite* operational when your friends arrive…” pic.twitter.com/kEgYpANSZC- Antonio Lulic (@AntonioLulic) January 24, 2014
Yesterday, however, it was @SimonNRicketts's fake tube announcement sign that did the rounds:
Other people bought into it, bless them, and subsequently suffered the ignominy of people bellowing "FAKE!" at them:
Oh, Victoria line. You're my hero. pic.twitter.com/pYl4xRY8Xy- James Tilston (@jamestilston) January 23, 2014
While an MP just decided to pass it off as his own work, the scoundrel:
Full Victoria Line service will hopefully resume tomorrow, although officials say it's not set in stone...http://t.co/dzh0uL7vk7- David Lammy (@DavidLammy) January 23, 2014
Of course, as @SimonNRicketts pointed out straight away, these images are the product of an online service that's been around for a while and is custom-made for generating LOLs in the event of an incident on the underground:
(PS: You can make your own fake Tube signs here) http://t.co/CCSBaXCukc- SimonNRicketts (@SimonNRicketts) January 23, 2014
If you go to the site, you'll find a page where the last 50 or so signs that have been generated are visible for everyone to see. People are still attempting their spins on the concrete gag, of course, hopeful of social media fame approximately 24 hours too late:
More intriguing, however, are the ones that people are producing to email between themselves and their co-workers about other co-workers that they don't like very much:
Anyway, the more people that know that this useful service exists, the less likely it is that we'll have to cope with people wailing "FAKE!" next time someone posts a fake tube sign. It's OK, Sherlock. We know it's fake. Things don't have to be real to be funny – although it usually helps.
January 20th, 2014
Rising: Being nice to Nigel Farage
Analysis of tweets sent to the leaders of the four main political parties is evidently not that method, but I spent this morning doing it anyway. Politicians as odious and unappealing as George Osborne and Ed Balls regularly have streams of abusive tweets sent in their direction as a result of their pronouncements on this and that, so monitoring the Twitter replies sent to Cameron, Clegg, Farage and Miliband would surely provide some kind of barometer of something or other. Even if that something or other was my own patience levels.
I navigated my way to their replies and scrolled down, seeing how long it would take me to come across an abusive message. David Cameron, standing in the House Of Commons for the weekly session of PMQs, would surely be called chorizo-face or luncheon-meat-head sooner or later, but it took 91 tweets sent over the space of four minutes before I found someone calling him a fuckstick.
Next, Clegg. Clegg cuts such a forlorn figure these days, with contempt directed at him from all parts of the political spectrum – including his own party – that I expected his replies to be packed with withering insult. But no. I had to scroll through 176 tweets sent over the space of two hours before coming across anything you'd term abusive: "Back-peddling yellow-belly, no-bollocks Clegg."
@nick_clegg back peddling yellow belly !! No bollocks Clegg- Adam Mitchell (@AdamMit44545813) January 22, 2014
A surprising statistic, that, but maybe an outlier. Maybe people just can't be bothered to insult him any more? Anyway, over to Miliband's replies, and the very first tweet I saw was this charming reference to The Muppets:
@Ed_Miliband fuck off beaker- nathan crossley (@Nathan_Xley) January 22, 2014
Farage's, by comparison, were full of fawning praise. I sat open mouthed as I read them. "This isn't what Twitter is about," I thought to myself. "People in the public eye are supposed to avoid looking at Twitter in case they see someone calling them a shit-knocker. But people seem to like Nigel. They really do."
I scrolled through 45 tweets sent over the space of one hour before finding this:
@Nigel_Farage you are an absolute penis.- angie (@tis_me_angie) January 22, 2014
The thing is, Angie, it appears that your views on Farage's similarity to a penis aren't as widely shared as you might think they are.