follow the humming…

I present for your consideration a new blog I’ve started following, followthehumming | Then and now, and some bits in between.

Andrew is using the 10 years of diaries he kept from 1985 to look at what’s changed between then and now. Looking at such things as Elite, why a Kindle is more than just reading and why we used to call places, not people. It’s an interesting blog, well worth following.

You can follow him on Twitter too, at @followthehum. Ten points to anyone who gets the reference in the blog title.

All this talk of diaries made me realise that I missed my ten-year anniversary of starting a blog. It was on 13th March, 2003, to be exact, over on LiveJournal. I’ve had a variety of blogs in a variety of places since, but the LJ blog is still going.

I’ve made dozens of friends around the world, and posted an awful lot of stuff.  In fact, it’s 10,109 journal entries, with 34,840 comments posted and 62,420 comments received. I know that’s over ten years, but, like whoah, dude. That’s totally a lot. </Keanu>

Anyway, via the wonder that is LJ Archive I’ve, well, archived it all to a handybendy archive on my PC, dropboxed it up so I don’t lose it, and can use it to see what I was up to, ten years ago. Full credit to the Chief Hummer for the idea. *hat tip*

Back in 2003 we were down in Kent, visiting the in-laws. We’d gone to the beach and Ed was communing with the sand and eating ice cream. I was laid up in bed, watching Kind Hearts and Coronets. Brilliant film.

Ten years on and young master Ed still likes nothing more than a good day out down the beach, more or less irrespective of what the weather is doing, and, of course, ice creams, and  I still think Kind Hearts and Coronets is a fantastic film. So, not much has changed in that respect. Hopefully future entries will be somewhat more enlightening.

So, dear reader. I give you a shiny new blog to follow, and a new blog series from YT.

Watch this space. And follow the humming…

Twitter’s magic number

twitter follower wordcloud

wordcloud of the twitter bios for people I’m following

Last night, as I was surfing the stream of consciousness that is my Twitter feed, I stumbled across a problem.
I’d seen someone I wanted to follow, but got a message telling me that I couldn’t follow them. I tried again, with the same error.

I had a poke around, and realised that I was following 2,000 people. Once I’d recovered from the size of the number, this rang a bell – wasn’t there some kind of limit?

Ah, yes. Twitter says:

Every account can follow 2,000 users total.
Once you’ve followed 2,000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow. This number is different for each account and is based on your ratio of followers to following; this ratio is not published. Follow limits cannot be lifted by Twitter and everyone is subject to limits, even high profile and API accounts.

I’m quite careful who I follow – I don’t randomly follow people back just because they add me. I know some people do this, and treat Twitter as a numbers game. This baffles me, but that’s a topic for another day.

I have a look through recent tweets and see if they post interesting stuff. I’m a listener – I follow interesting people, without necessarily expecting (or needing) them to follow me back. I’m quite sure there are some defunct accounts in there. but who has the time to weed out unused accounts?

For me, there are a couple of categories of people on Twitter that I follow:
People I know, either in real-life, or via interacting online. A lot of local Leeds/Yorkshire-based folks

Now, I can realistically expect that the first group may well want to follow me back. I interact with a fair number of them on a daily basis and have made some good friends online via Twitter.

Same with the second group – small local indie places build up a following and again, interact with their customers. My day wouldn’t be complete without seeing what the coffee guys are up to.

The third and fourth groups though? They’re the broadcasters, spreading a message. They’re not (usually) interested in following, and there’s no particularly compelling reason for them to do so – they’ll see any  @-replies mentioning them and can interact with their fanbase without following individual users.

There are some exceptions, obviously. I’ve chatted with a few of my favourite authors via Twitter and some do follow back. Others purely use twitter as a broadcast medium (which is fine) and don’t respond or interact at all.

Anyway, I digress (slightly). Twitter has some advice on what to do if you’ve hit a follow limit:

If you’ve reached the account-based follow limit (2,000 users), you’ll need to wait until you yourself have more followers before you can follow additional users.

That’s not really helpful though, is it? At time of writing, I’m being followed by about 1,390 twitter users. Now, I’m not sure what the magic ratio is to be allowed to follow more people, but say, for example, if I hit 1,500 followers, I can follow a few more people.

For that to happen, I’d need to get another 110 people following me, and this is the crucial bit, without me being able to follow them back, should I wish to do so...

What are my options?

  • Have a cull of people I follow.
  • Suddenly become really really interesting and magically get more followers.

I’ve had a go a the first one using one of the plethora of twitter ‘unfollower’ tools (I tried ManageFlitter) and trimmed off about 100 accounts. But I’m sure I’ll hit the magic 2,000 limit again before too long and I’m back in the same boat. And, as I said earlier – I’m following these people and companies because I’m interested in what they have to say.

So, Twitter. Sort it out. Do you really need a limit on the number of people someone can follow?

I’m @dakegra on twitter. Feel free to follow. 🙂

Daily blogging

Regular readers (hi!) will be aware that today is the final day of #DaBloPoMo[1].

It’s been an interesting month and whilst fun, there have been days where it’s been hard coming up with something to talk about. There are other days where it’s been hard to find time to talk about something.

But, I’ve made it. Day 28. Woohoo!

Interesting to look at the site stats too – I’ve seen a *massive* jump in traffic to the blog in February.

Feb site stats.

Partly due to the volume of posts, I’m sure, and partly due to me pimping the posts via Twitter. More on that in a second.

I also got a massive spike in visitors from The Pen Addict. and more specifically, their Ink Links post on the 9th, which contained a link to my stationery geek post.

As for promoting the blog posts on Twitter, I’ve been setting up scheduled tweets to go along with the automatic tweet which goes out when a new post is published. I’ve tried to tweet early evening, late evening and first thing in the morning, to try and pick up different audiences. It seems to be working, though I had some (possibly tongue-in-cheek) feedback the other day that I did nothing but pimp my various Skyfall-related posts.

I’ve tried to vary the tweet wording slightly as well to see what works best.

If you’ve seen a tweet from me over the month, what time of day did you see it? Or do you subscribe to the blog via email? Read it in your RSS newsfeed reader?

Tell me more, dear reader. And thanks for staying with me through DaBloPoMo.

Who knows what March will bring…?

[1] Dave’s Blog Posting Month.

online vs. offline personas

Eleanor Snare (@ebsnare) , in her blog post Online vs Personal Self looked at the question of what do you hide or embellish online, if anything. The question arose as the subject for this week’s lifestyle bloggers (#lbloggers) chat. Sounds interesting, I thought.

She raises some excellent points, and it’s something which I’ve thought about a few times over the years. Is my online persona different from the real-life me?

Yes and no.

Online gives you more of a chance to edit yourself, and present your version of events in a manner which you control. Rather than being put on the spot when someone asks you a question, you’ve got a chance to sit back, pause for a moment (or an hour, day, week) before responding. Or you’ve got time to write a blog post then go back through and tidy up your thoughts before posting.

Yes, I do do that. Think about what I’m posting. Mostly. Some days I just let the thoughts fall out of my head via my fingers into a text editor and post it up.

Really must stop doing that.

Anyway, onto the question of whether I hide or embellish my online persona. I don’t think I ‘hide’ anything particularly (other than the fact that actually I’m an 83 year old truck driver from Wisconsin[1]), it’s more that I choose what things I talk about in a positive choice sort of way, rather than hiding stuff from anyone.

Apart from the Wisconsinite thing, obviously.

I choose to talk about things which interest me. They may not interest you, or indeed anyone else, but I’ll talk about them anyway. I often thing that blogging is a form of free psychiatric help – rather than pay someone to sit and talk to, I can witter on here to my heart’s content. If someone replies, that’s fine, and we can have a chat about the relative merits of Skyfall, or what Oscar-winning films we’ve seen, but if no-one does, then at least I’ve got the words out of my head.

This is getting a little long, so I’ll leave it there. But I’ll throw the question over to you – do you hide or embellish your online persona? Are you also an elderly truck driver from Wisconsin? Stop by and say hello!

[1] Obviously I’m not really an 83 year old truck driver from Wisconsin[2]
[2] I’m from Idaho, and a youthful 78

DaBloPoMo – day 24 recap

Day 24 of #DaBloPoMo. Time for another recap. Last time we did one of these was day… [checks] ten! blimey. Doesn’t time fly.

juggling clubs

Since then we met my juggling nemesis, namely my set of juggling clubs, which I *will* defeat learn this year. I took a funky photo of an apple, talked Moleskines, then introduced you to Umphrey’s McGee.

Good aren’t they?

Immediately after that we had The Great Mug Incident, then things went a bit photo-heavy. We called in at the beautiful Fountain’s Abbey, took some long exposure photos, asked if it was art.

Blue skies over the Yorkshire Sculpture Park were followed by a Leeds sunset before heading back to the YSPfor some Jaume Plensa.wpid-IMAG1017-1.jpg

Then came the highlight of my month so far. Yet another sunset photo, but this one I was particularly proud of. It made it into Flickr’s Explore! Woo!
sunset

This prompted a musing as to whether it’s a popularity contest (or not).

I briefly talked about the joys of the Fitbit One, and the reasons why I sold mine. I sort of miss it.

Finally, yesterday we watched an awesome Japanese dude plane wood. Seriously, it’s amazing.

Four more days, dear reader. Four more days of #DaBloPoMo. What will March bring, I wonder?

It’s not a popularity contest…

or is it?

Yesterday, I posted a photo called Yet Another Sunset. It was a shot I took out of the window at work, looking over to the Town Hall in Leeds. I quite liked it.

This morning, I discovered that the original photo, posted up on Flickr, went into Explore at #47. And the stats went nuts. All day I’ve been getting flickr notifications. As it stands now, the photo has had 803 views, 78 favourites, and 22 comments.

sunset

Weirdly, it’s not my most popular photo, and currently sits in third place. That said, it’s only been up for a day!

In 2nd place (in terms of views), there’s Fractal Veg, with 1,025 views
fractal veg!

and in the top spot, What’s In My Bag, with 1,829 views
what's in my bag

No, I don’t get it either.

Do you follow your stats?

DaBloPoMo – a recap

Well well, dear reader. Here we are on day ten of #DaBloPoMo[1]. It’s been going quite well thus far, I think.

I’ve talked about a number of things thus far. On day 1 we had a chat about amusing spam, followed up by a post prompted by @LeedsBookClub talking about the film Labyrinth, in which you can see me playing with my ball.

No, it’s an crystal[1] juggling ball. Filthy minds, you lot.

Did you watch the videos I failed to embed? Really, you should. Let me try again.

Day 3 and I was playing with a pulp fiction cover generator.

Then I talked about being a stationery geek. This post got picked up on The Pen Addict’s Ink Links and blog views went nuts. Well, relatively. Tons more views than usual. Still getting traffic now from it. Thanks Pen Addict!

I had a chat about coffee, then rambled at length about ebooks and kindles. Another good post for views, that one.

That led onto my love affair with books, prompted by Becs of Bits and Bobs Becs. She left a great comment on the ebook post too, with a link to a wonderful letter by Harper Lee.

Following up the book theme, I looked at interesting things found inside books, with particular reference to something awesome I found in a lovely little book of poetry.

Then yesterday I was a little ill, so left you with a photo of a tree.

It’s been a busy ten days, dear reader. I’ve got a whole host of other things to natter on about in February. Watch this space!

[1] Dave’s Blog Posting Month. But then you knew that, right?
[2] ok, ok, it’s clear acrylic. Still looks cool.

Spam – cue the vikings

Today marks the start of #DaBloPoMo[1], a month-long festival of blogging, courtesy of YT[2].

Today’s topic is spam[3]. Cue the Vikings.

We’ve all experienced the weird and often wonderful messages that you get via email. Most of the time the spam filters are pretty good at sifting out the offers for various pills and potions, get-rich-quick schemes and other assorted offers. But, every now and again, one gets through.

I *love* trawling through spam emails. Some of the subject lines and fake authors are briliant. I had one many years ago purporting to be from a Yooit Hugentobler.

Seriously. How awesome is that name? It’s become a mission to try and squeeze it into a short story somewhere. Yes, I know it’s probably horribly rude in some language, but still.

I usually skim the contents of my gmail spam folder, on the off-chance that something is in there that shouldn’t be. A while ago I was struck by some of the titles, and mused that they almost sounded like poetry.

I present, for your edification and enjoyment, a pome. I call it ‘Spam, entitled’. Made up entirely of genuine spam subject headers.

To himself on the Crumpetty Tree
Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle
Beware of cold, deterministically skipped
Why it falls quick? Did you asked something?
Spin the wheel of chance
See you there, address attached.

Now, it turns out the first line is from Edward Lear’s The Quangle Wangle. I rather suspect that Myrtle’s slippery slopes are *not* Lear though. 🙂

These days, you also get spam via Twitter. Which is all to be expected. Some of it, again, is pure genius. I present, for your enjoyment and edification, the pure unadulterated joy that is @Horse_ebooks

Dear reader. What’s the best spam you’ve ever seen?

[1] Dave’s Blog Posting Month. I told you about it yesterday. Weren’t you paying attention?
[2] YT = Yours Truly. ie. me. The ‘Dave’ part of DaBloPoMo. Hi! *waves*
[3] No, not the meat product inna tin. The other type[4]
[4] Though that is interesting in and of itself. More later. Perhaps.

blogging, or look out February, DaBloPoMo is coming!

I really enjoy blogging. I’ve had a blog in various guises and flavours for the past ten years. Some of you have been following me all this time. Crazy stalker types. I love you.

But, for one reason and another, my posting has become a little… sporadic.

I’d like to propose a challenge. You may have heard of NaBloPoMo (akin to NaNoWriMo, on which I have mused elsewhere) – National Blog Posting Month.

It’s usually held in November, alongside NaNoWriMo, but for my purposes I’m treating February 2013 as my personal NaBloPoMo. Or DaBloPoMo.[1]

The premise is simple. A post a day on a subject of my choosing, every day in February.

Who’s with me?

[1] Dave’s Blog Posting Month. But you worked that out already, didn’t you? Clever reader.