leave our trolls alone

Awww, look at the ickle troll!

Since the media uproar about the whole ‘Twitter abuse scandal’ (which I wont validate with an explanation as this is not my point here!), the term ‘troll’ has been used incessantly.

In fact, just this morning, BBC Breakfast asked the question on their Facebook page:  “What do you think needs to be done to tackle Twitter trolls? At 0720 we’ll speak to a senior police officer about threats and abuse on the social network.”

Now, I have been ‘social networking’ on internet sites for about 20 years (Yahoo! Chat anyone?) and I am fed up with seeing ‘troll’ used in this way.

An entry on the ever amusing Urban Dictionary sums up how normal internet users view a troll:

1a. Noun

One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

1b. Noun

A person who, on a message forum of some type, attacks and flames other members of the forum for any of a number of reasons such as rank, previous disagreements, sex, status, ect.

A troll usually flames threads without staying on topic, unlike a “Flamer” who flames a thread because he/she disagrees with the content of the thread.

1c. Noun

A member of an internet forum who continually harangues and harasses others. Someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation, but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them. Trolls often go by multiple names to circumvent getting banned.

For example, on our local newspaper website, there have been a number of stories over the years about the campaign to save our local cinema.  There is a troll on the site currently calling himself ‘Cornbeefur’ that flames on almost every story, but especially anything to do with the cinema campaign, using the same language all the time, mentioning people dressed as ‘darleks’ (sic) etc because he KNOWS that it is going to get a rise out of all the people that have been passionately supporting a campaign that he doesn’t consider worthwhile.

That is a troll, and I have to admit, I have trolled in the past.  I would be surprised if the majority of people that spend a long time on the internet haven’t trolled at some stage.  Have you never been contrary just to annoy someone whose views you don’t agree with? (especially those that you don’t know, so don’t necessarily care about their feelings).

So, now that there have been high-profile online abuse cases (forget all the internet abuse that has come before that, they weren’t marginally famous feminists, and therefore unimportant), the media are branding these people trolls.  They are not trolls, they are online abusers.

Although trolls aren’t fluffy, they are rather amusing if you can get out of your own arse long enough to see them for what they really are.  Threatening and abusive people are not really funny (although often blockable) they are exactly what they are.

Don’t take away our trolls BBC and other media.  Learn what social media is, accept what a troll really is, and report criminal harassment and abuse for what it is instead of making the internet (and especially Twitter) out to be some out of control crime-fest to those who don’t use it and have never intended to!

PS – this post is not intended as trolling.

the twitter diaries – imogen lloyd webber & georgie thompson

The Twitter Diaries

Seeing as Twitter has been around for almost 6 years now, I guess it is hardly surprising to find a book almost entirely composed of tweets between two people.  In fact, it is probably more of a surprise that it has taken this long – although I am not altogether sure that it’s the first…it is just the first that I have come across!

The Twitter Diaries begins on New Year’s Eve when a society party in New York held by Peter Mignon enables is the setting for a meeting of 30-something Brits Stella Cavill (wannabe shoe designer to the stars) and Tuesday Fields (sports reporter).

When Tuesday returns home to London, they start tweeting regularly as @StellaCavill and @TuesdayFields (the book was released on 21st May, and the accounts have been active since then).

Over the next 365 days, they talk about everything – love, life, their careers, family and pop culture.

This should be totally up my street – I am an avid tweeter after all (22,000 and counting!) and in the main, it was fun, light, frothy stuff.

However, there were a few little niggles I had.  Eg:  EVERYTHING was done by Direct Message…so in theory, not exactly tweeting.  And considering it was all done by DM, there were a fair amount of Retweets (RT) going on, which you can’t do within a DM.  It would just be a standard cut and paste.

Also, there was a lot of stuff about existing tweeting brands, which (as I am not a celeb-follower or a brand guru, I didn’t particularly get).  There was also a lot made of a twitter feud between Peter Mignon (@PM_TV) and @LordTw1tter which I assume is Piers Morgan and Lord Sugar – especially as the authors were introduced to each other by Piers Morgan!  (And yes, if you were wondering from one of the authors’ names, she IS his daughter!)

As I said – light, frothy and very ‘now’…especially as the year it’s set in I believe is 2012, and we’re not even halfway through it yet.

This isn’t a new idea by any means.  I remember the small trilogy Chat, Connect and Crash by Nan Mccarthy that came out in 1998 about two people who had met in a chat room, and then of course there are countless email-based books – probably one of my early favourites was E by Matt Beaumont in 2000.

But this is an enjoyable enough summer read, that you could speed through in hardly any time at all – and then follow the main characters on Twitter!

my day, by twitter

It’s been a funny old day – and I only realised when I popped onto my blog page and noticed my Tweets stripped down excluding any with mentions in them.

This has apparently been my day – there must be something in my water…

My tweets today!

However, i DO still think that I’m funny. Just occasionally!

“save our cinema!” – the walthamstow protest

UCKG crowd already in, Cinema crowd trying to get in...

Last night, I was extremely proud to be part of my community.

For those who don’t know, Waltham Forest is one of only two London Boroughs without a cinema (the other being Lewisham, I believe).  We had a lovely cinema up to 8 years ago.  A beautiful art deco building where the Beatles and the Rolling Stones had played gigs and where Hitchcock had seen films as a boy.  It is a Grade II Listed Building and the last remaining British cinema with its original Christie organ in situ.

However, in 2003, the then EMD owned cinema was in rather a state of disrepair, seemed to have restrictions on films able to be shown, was starting to smell rather heavily of wee and was therefore not as well-frequented (a bit like the Rose & Crown before that got taken over!).  So, it was sold, to the United Church for the Kingdom of God.

Over the years, we have been told various tales of how the building is unsuitable to be re-opened as a cinema, but this has been challenged at every stage of the way.  For the past 8 years, UCKG have petitioned to change the building use to a place of worship.  Plans have even claimed to use the building as ‘a community meeting place’ with an apparent ability to show films.  Are the majority of local people going to go to church to watch The Fast & The Furious 5?

What we're trying to save (box office)

So, 18th May was a huge day for local residents, as it was Decision Day -the planning committee of local councillors was due to hear the arguments from both sides at a public meeting at the Town Hall and reject or accept the planning application from UCKG.

Being a proud member of the E17 ‘Awesomestow’ Twitterati, I had been really happy that so many of us were empassioned by the plight of the cinema, and arranged to meet up to show our support on the night.

When I got there though, there were even more familiar faces than I was expecting – I saw friends I know from the pub, members of my Book Club, neighbours, and even teachers from The Girl’s school.  Being able to mill around, mix in different circles and just recognise familiar faces in a huge crowd made me feel so ‘belonging’.

And there really was a huge crowd.  But from both sides.

With the meeting originally taking place in the Town Hall, the plan was to meet on the Town Hall steps.  However, the veune was changed, and the meeting took place in the nearby Assembly Rooms.  this meant that the ‘Cinema crowd’ were outside the Town Hall, and the UCKG were outside the Assembly Rooms.  And as they had generally had to come from further afield, they had a large crowd very early, which felt quite intimidating.  Our lot WALKED from home generally and arrived in dribs and drabs, slowly forming a HUGE crowd of support, which was incredible.

UCKG crowd assembled when we arrived

But of course, when the doors were opened, all the UCKG were already there, and got in first.  The hall takes over 1,000 people, but we were still left with about 2-300 people (guesstimate) outside, along with a couple of bagpipers, shouting our support through the windows to those within the meeting.  Luckily, the social bar just outside the building opened and helped fuel our morale as we were there for over TWO HOURS chanting, singing, waiting for the decision, and checking our phones and Twitter feeds to find out what was going on inside.

Photo from @essgee91 of inside - all the UCKG stood up and put on hi vis vests 5 mins into proceedings. Cultish?? (That IS an 'L' btw)

And the result was unanimous – 7-0 to reject the planning application.  It was a fantastic result for all involved (from our side of course!) and puts us one step closer to getting our cinema back.

After chanting “Save Our Cinema” for two hours, it was nice to chant “We’ve SAVED our cinema” and then the police moved in to hold us back as the UCKG people came out.Obviously they all had long journeys back home, buses to catch etc and so we were quite happy to shout”We live HERE, where d’YOU live?” for a while – at which point some of them seemed to want to have a dance-off.

Perhaps the greatest moment of the night was about 1,000 people waving “Byeeeeeeeee, cheerio, safe journey…” as they made their way home, and we all went to the pub.

Of course, UCKG still own the building, but there has been a Trust set up to try to raise the money needed to buy it back and refurbish AND the UCKG are extremely guilty of letting a listed building fall into a disgusting state of disrepair.  It has had illegal raves, has been flooded, has been boarded up and covered in scaffolding for years and they have done NOTHING to look after it.

And they must now know how opposed people are locally to yet another church (I believe we have over 230 already!!).

So, the first skirmish has been won – and now the battle proper shall commence.

Other links:

And – last but not least, my favourite response from the UCKG

The Churchy response...

shit my dad says – justin halpern

Shit My Dad Says

“You came out of your mom looking like shit. She thought you were beautiful. Don’t know what scared me most, your looks or her judgment.”

Justin Halpern became a Twitter sensation when he started his account @shitmydadsays after moving back in with his parents after a failed relationship.

His dad is 73 years old (to Justin’s 28), retired and obviously very intelligent (he worked and lectured in nuclear medicine), and his insights into life in general are a joy to behold.  He says what everyone else barely dares to think – and is a total potty-mouth with it (so don’t read it if an avalanche of swearwords offends you!)!

The book is extremely short (less than 200 pages) and s a lot of the pages taken up with random quotes, however, the real joy comes when Justin pads out the story behind where the quote came from and shows that his dad, far from being just a grumpy old man, is insightful, caring and obviously loves his family dearly.

We actually got the unabridged audiobook to listen to in the car on a long journey – and we were literally crying with laughter at some of the stories.

Loved it!

Funnily enough, last night I happened to stumble across an episode of what appears to be the TV show of it, and the dad is played by….wait for it…William Shatner?!?!?!  No swearing appeared to be involved.

“Does anyone your age know how to comb their fucking hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their head and started fucking.”

“The dog is not bored, it’s a fucking dog. It’s not like he’s waiting for me to give him a fucking rubix cube. He’s a god damned dog.”

highlights of 2010

It's 2010 now, 2011 tomorrow 🙂

I realise that my 2010 has been quite stressful – there’s been money problems, problems with the flat that have been unfixable due to the aforementioned money problems, and then child problems when The Man got a job.  I’ve also had quite a few health issues which have been annoying at the very least – and not something that I’ve particularly wanted to go into on here.

However, it’s only when I’ve sat down and THOUGHT about 2010 that I’ve realised just how difficult it’s been, LOL.  I obviously tend to try to exist in a little bubble of contentedness 🙂

Still, I’ve had some lovely moments in 2010 – most of them music-based.  The noteable ones (off the top of my head) have been:

  • Listening to Caribou playing ‘Sun’, wrapped in The Man’s arms at Field Day as the sun went down
  • Waving The Girl off in her new uniform for her first day at ‘Big School’
  • Sitting giggling and drinking too much wine with my parents – the first time my dad’s been able to drink properly since he was ill
  • Joining the London Bloggers meetup and meeting @mr_omneo @pantomimehorse @Get_Lippie @adonisdemon @geekcomputers @jonchoo amongst many many others
  • 6Fest with my mate – especially the choons spun by Craig Charles in his Funk & Soul session and the hilarious Adam Buxton
  • Being part of Superswarm
  • Work – it’s been fab.  especially working with an old colleague again
  • Meeting the lovely @MarcusJDL@Goronwy66@EssGee91 and @SteveBob79
  • My work project launching at a conference – and being well-received by the sector 🙂
  • My uncle being over the moon when I managed to get the refils for his posh pen that he hadn’t been able to get for 3 years!
  • Discovering Beth Jeans Houghton at Field Day, and then seeing her again at 6Fest
  • My mate’s wedding in Salisbury
  • Eating springbok for the first time and discovering it’s gorgeous!
  • Chemical Brothers at Roundhouse – and not being able to hear a thing the next day
  • Seeing two of my mates in theatre productions – and they were both REALLY good!
  • My lovely mate’s 40th birthday party – moscow mules ruled the roost!
  • Being taken to the new Hakkasan in Mayfair
  • Technology – my V+ box, my Kindle, my Xperia X10 and my Roberts Colourstream that I got for Christmas – amazing!!
  • Paloma Faith singing “I need your lovin’…like the sunshine” just as the sun split through the cloud and flooded her in beams at Lovebox (she thanked the sun for that moment!)
  • 6Music being saved
  • The Girl’s birthday – she wanted to spend the day with me at Southend, and we had a fantastic girlie day together
  • Accepting that this is now the longest relationship I have ever had, and that I am dead lucky to be so in love with someone who is so in love with me – and feeling very bloody smug about what we’ve got
  • Chocolate afternoon tea at Claridges for my mate’s 40th – and the pianist playing Happy Birthday for her
  • Having a great evening with three of our mates that we hadn’t seen for ages – fantastic night at the pub two of them used to run, including shots, jaegerbombs and really crap fireworks!
  • Being able to help my mate finally legally adopt her nephew (who she has raised as her son since birth 6 years ago) – although I was dead scared of the process and saying the wrong thing, it all went well and she was so grateful 🙂
  • Blogging – I’ve loved doing my book reviews (especially enjoyed Warm Bodies, World War Z and Omen Ra) and foreign films (especially enjoyed Ridicule, The Wave and Timecrimes)
  • The cat surviving another year!

A lot of those are things that I have blogged about, but can’t be arsed to link.

So, that has in main been my 2010.

I love the New Year.  I still love the fact that it’s new, shiny and unblemished – that at the moment it has the potential to be whatever I want it to be.  So, tomorrow I will be thinking about what I want to do with 2011.  The only thing that appears to be on the horizon is the fact that in my Christmas card, The Man said that I AM going to marry him.  Apparently, it turns out I don’t actually have any say in this.

We shall see…

the importance of being earnest – rose & crown, e17

WHERE is that baby, Prism??

I have to say that this is one of my absolutely favourite plays.  Oscar Wilde at his witty best.

I remember going to see it MANY years ago (at least 15) at The Aldwych Theatre with possibly the best cast you could wish for – Richard E Grant was Algie and the glorious Maggie Smith perfected Lady Bracknell.  There was also Claire Skinner playing Cecily – but I only knew her from Life Is Sweet at that time, so it felt rather an odd choice back then.  I can’t for the life of me remember who was playing Jack, Gwendolyn, Miss Prism or Father Chasuble, but it may come back to me!

So, as it’s one of my favourites, if I get the chance to see it, I’ll jump at it.  So, imagine my glee when I heard that my local pub (which is a theatre pub) had a production of it this week by Immersion Theatre Ltd.

It was billed as a ‘modern day adaptation’, although I think that this was slightly misleading.  It didn’t feel very adapted to me – apart from the clothing, set and a couple of lines (Hello and Marie Clare were mentioned as were LibDems might as well be Tories!).

The girls were all very strong, Lady Bracknell and Cecily especially.  Father Chasuble was an absolute delight.  Miss Prism didn’t feel quite right – I think they were going for a kind of hippy feel about her, but she didn’t come across as dotty enough to have ever left a baby in a handbag at Victoria!  I thought Algie was OK, but jack was a bit of a let down.  However, we got to see wrestling and nekkid torsos (from the men), so it wasn’t all bad! 😀

For a theatre pub production, I was very happy, and would definitely see something else by the company.

Not only that – it literally takes me about 45 seconds to walk home, so that is a huge added bonus AND I got to meet my first two people that I only know from Twitter!  The lovely @MarcusJDL and @goronwy66 who were totally delightful and I hope I will be able to meet up with again soon 🙂

A thoroughly enjoyable evening.  now, where is it on next?  (Blithe Spirit is my other favourite play, btw, and hoping to see that later this year!)

a cluster of bloggers

I certainly was a big brave girl last night!

Last night, I swallowed all my usual ‘stranger danger’ fears and went along to the London Bloggers Meetup.  You may remember that I went along to this in January, but I missed the February one as I couldn’t walk at that time (damned calf muscle!!).  There doesn’t seem to have been one in March.

Anyway, I’d put my name down to go last week, and was having my usual worries about going out and meeting new people, and then yesterday I found out that the only three people I’ve really been in contact with since then weren’t going!  Argh!!

But no, I did not back out!  I was a big brave girl and went along anyway.  And I’m glad that i did, as not only did I get to chat to the lovely Tom again, but I also met some other interesting people, including Asgeir.  this was really good for me, as although a lot of people I know think of me as a total geek, I was well and truly out-geeked by the people there!!  Although I did find myself getting into a dodgy uber-geeky area when I was appalled that not everyone had considered their plan-of-action if they were survivors of the Peak Oil Crisis or a zombie virus.  I had to tell myself to shut up as I’d obviously put FAR too much thought into it!

i also had to find a friend of a friend there, which was really embarrassing – especially as I didn’t know his actual name and couldn’t go up to just anyone and ask if they were his Twitter name (it DOES have ‘Adonis’ in it, so there was good reason!).  I think that situation is just an embarrassment of modern times!

Anyway, we heard a talk about making money from your blog (not something I would ever do) and also about mflow, which is a new product that is kind of like the bastard child of iTunes and Twitter.  It goes live tomorrow, and we had a code last week to download and play with it early, but I must admit, I haven’t had a chance to yet.  It looks like a great idea though.  you can see what your friends are listening to, and share with them what you are listening to, and then if they buy it, you get 20% of the price that they paid!  result!!  I think it will be great to see in action, but hope there’s a decent library.  You will obviously need to have a lot of friends with the same tastes in music to get the most out of it!

So, it was a good night, and I was really glad that I went along 🙂  I’m looking forward to the next one.

vodka – oh how i love thee…

The lovely venue we were at last night - Jewel Bar, Covent Garden

…and I feel pretty warm and fuzzy about Vodafone too!

So, I went to the ‘do’ last night, and I surprised myself by actually speaking to people.  I got there quite early (I’d been hanging around at work and had got bored) and so sat with a drink by myself – but when i got up to get my second drink, I actually spoke to a guy on my way back from the bar.

He’d been to one of the meets before, and recognised a couple of people, and he was really cool, and interesting, and so we had a couple more drinks and decided to attack the floor!  I ended up speaking to quite a few people, and they were all really lovely and friendly, and I felt great.  There was only one bloke I spoke to who was a bit of a nob, but he had just come along as a ‘plus one’ with his mate anyway, so he didn’t really count.

I’m with Vodafone, and there was a speaker from Vodafone, and a prize draw for an iPhone (which Vodafone are releasing on their network as of today) and I was hoping I’d win as my phone has REALLY started playing up – it keeps randomly switching itself off – mid phonecall to my mum on Monday, which she got all paranoid about.  Anyway – the winning ticket was #51 and it was annoying as I had #15.  Grrr!!

BUT – who cares!?  It was a free bar ALL night.  and it was a bit of a snazzy bar, so God knows how much the drinks cost (probably about £3.50 each I would reckon – central London (touristy bit) and snazzy bar combo…a far cry from my £2.55 at my local pub).  So, I did drink rather a lot, which I have a tendency to do and have no problem doing, as I don’t really get hangovers.  By my reckoning, I probably drank the cost of about 1 1/2 months of my mobile contract – so thanks Vodafone!

I still would’ve preferred to win the iPhone though.

The guy from Vodafone was really nice, and chatted to me, and I told him my current issues, and he said he’d get back to me on some of them…and then took out his snazzy new iPhone he’d had for about 2 hours, and followed me on Twitter.  Bloody show-off.  Salt and wounds come to mind.

I will definitely go along to the next event if I get the chance 🙂

a twitter here and a twitter there

Twitter - it's not just for birds

So I have now been using Twitter since April.  I originally signed up for it to get Tweets from the Treasury during the budget for work (yes, I know that is probably just about the geekiest possible reason to join Twitter).

Anyway – I set up an account for myself, and shortly after, I set up an account for work.  I must admit, I use the work one every day and have found an absolute heap of interesting people, and so much useful information for my job that it has proven completely invaluable!

However, I have always found it really hard to get to grips with on a personal basis.  I don’t see it as an easy way of interacting with my friends – Facebook is FAR more user-friendly for that kind of thing, and I’ve never really been much of a ‘celeb-follower’.  BUT, recently I’ve found a great use for it – getting free stuff!!

I have never been the kind of person who seems to win things a lot, but in the last month, through Twitter, I have managed to get a Cooking Mama 3 DS Case (for my daughter who loves CM, and didn’t know she was getting it for Xmas) – made a great Xmas pressie.  I have also got a cookbook, a keyring, a review copy of a book that isn’t in the shops yet and am waiting for another book to come through.  i’m loving it.

So, to conclude:  Twitter – it’s great for work and free stuff!  🙂

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