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How I Use Twitter

Over on a Micro.blog I saw jasraj talk about How I’m planning to use twitter (this time around).

– I’ll be linking my Twitter and micro blog accounts
– Once a week, I’ll login and gently respond / interact
How do you currently use Twitter?

jasraj on his blog

Back in 2014 I wrote about my love for muting on Twitter. Talking about how to use something is interesting because social media encourages you to engage with it in a certain way. But it’s up to you if you choose to play by its rules.

I used Twitter mostly as a fancy RSS reader. I’ve long used Tweetdeck on the computer. Twitter forgot about it for the better part of its life after that bought it. This was perfect for my use since they never brought any of the algorithmic timeline nonsense or test features to it.

Tweetdeck.twitter.com has stayed largely unchanged in the past… decade? And I like it that way. It has remained a reliable place of information gathering and limited sharing that I want it to be.

As of this post, I’ve been on Twitter for 15 years, 3 months, 9 days
(since 15 Nov 2006).

My use pattern has changed a ton since I joined in the dark ages of the platform when you could still text 40404 to tweet. This is how I use the service today.

How I Use Twitter

I use lists. Twitter’s lists are mainly how I use the service and have it suit my needs. This is where Tweetdeck excels. I love it’s multi-column view that I can customize for my needs. Lists are wonderful because you can create public lists that others can follow. Or private lists just for yourself.

When creating public lists, those you add get notified. I’m not sure if that’s the case for private lists. So be mindful if you add your secret crush to a list. It might tip them off.

Tweetdeck, blurred

As it stands today I have columns for:

  • Vital List
  • Home
  • Notifications
  • Destiny List
  • Caps List
  • Notifications – Podcast account

Vital List is my list of people I can’t miss. They have their retweets turned on. They’re people I know in real life and a hand full of people who I really enjoy. There are 17 accounts on this list.

Home is the home timeline. Sorted by time because I use Tweetdeck on computers and Flamingo on Android. Both of which allow for tweets to be shown in the order they were tweeted. I follow 62 people.

There is some overlap between followed and people on the Vital list. Some are on the list but not followed. Some are on both. When I last checked, you can’t turn off retweets for people you put on lists but don’t follow.

Notifications are what they sound like. I like to know about replies or the rare retweet of something I’ve posted. It’s nice to know there’s some people in the void.

Destiny List is people who play the game Destiny 2 which I have a podcast about and is nearly all I play (besides Stardew Valley). This like is primarily Bungies Community Managers, Destiny content creators, other Destiny podcasters I know or other Guardians who play and tweet. This is mainly where I get my Destiny news and consists of 77 accounts.

Caps List is my Washington Capitals news. There are 5 people on this list, including the excellent blog RMNB | Russian Machine Never Breaks. You’d be so lucky to have a fan-run news site about your favorite hockey team.

Notifications for @2titans_hunter are notifications for the podcast account. I share information there about the game and our show and it’s nice to see who follows us or leaves a comment or question to talk about on the show.

I have a few other lists that I refer too more rarely and aren’t immediately visible on the computer or phone app.

I keep a list of official Bungie accounts as I find them. They’re the developers of Destiny 2 (and originally Halo). I keep a DC Metro News list for all of the accounts and people who cover the ongoing mess that DC’s Metro system usually finds itself in.

When I commuted to work in DC, this was a must-have to know if the trains were running and how late I might be to work or getting home. The collection of tweets from other riders was a far more reliable source of information than anything the official system announced, even over their own Twitter account.

I have a list of local accounts for my county. This is my list I use when I’m trying to answer the question “what were all those sirens I just heard go by?” or “why are there suddenly a lot of helicopters in the air?” Being a suburb of Washington DC, you never know what random thing may be occurring.

In writing how I used Twitter, I thought about how I didn’t use Twitter and how I engage with it on my own terms. Tomorrow, I’ll post my rules for engaging with Twitter. How do you use Twitter, or your social medium of choice? What rules do you have in place to keep it enjoyable?

Zoom tips to stay in control

Zoom has become the operating system for life in the last two years. It’s how we worked and visited and saw other humans. It’s how children learned and government worked. It’s where happy hours met and families visited.

I spent a lot of time on Zoom everyday for work. We don’t call, we Zoom. If it needs more than text, we Zoom. If there’s any chance we’ll need to share a screen to troubleshoot or discuss a new feature, we Zoom. Even if we’re just using the audio, we Zoom.

Zoom has become our main channel for communication. It’s computer audio is rock solid, it works on every platform (somewhere Webex stumbles for our Linux users). It’s reliable and it’s ready to roll.

I was thinking about some tips I have for using Zoom. They’re not the typical questions you see everyone online covering. How do I sound better? Get yourself a good headset and use it. How do I look better on camera? Lighting and camera positioning.

I have two tips I’ve not seen mentioned elsewhere that I have used since I became a Zoom native.

First, don’t let Zoom open until you’re ready. I’ve clicked your link. I’m ready to join. I make sure Zoom waits for permission to open.

Zoom asking permission to open

I do this because I want control over when Zoom opens and I am available to others. I also want to have control over Zoom opening in the application or in the browser window. Sometimes I need to have multiple sessions open at once. Most of the time I want to connect to Zoom as an intentional act.

Second, Zoom doesn’t get my audio until I’m absolutely ready.

Zoom asking for audio.

I have never allowed Zoom to automatically connect to audio. Once I open Zoom and it’s connecting me, I take the extra step to join the audio. This allows me to prepare myself and run through my mental checklist.

Headset on. ✓

Am I muted? ✓

Is my video off? ✓

I don’t like surprises and I want to be in control instead of hoping the software does the right thing. These are two things I’ve done to allow me to stay in control of my Zoom life for the past two years.

MoviePass wants you to watch ads for movie credits

“I love product placement in movies,” Spikes said. “I love the cars, I love the watches, I love the clothes. I’m that person that sometimes has a notepad and I’m writing down, is that Hugo Boss?”

Stacy SPikes

From MoviePass is back — and it wants to track your eyeballs

Sir, we have a very different appreciation of movies.

The only time I notice a product in a movie is when it disrupts the film. When computer hardware is obviously Apple but they remove the branding. Or when the UI on what a screen is hilariously unlike any real UI ever shipped with a product.

You can watch ads to earn credits for movies. And they’ll track your eyes to make sure you’re watching.

Using a feature called “pre-show,” MoviePass customers will get credits in exchange for watching ads on their phones. To make sure they’re actually watching, the app will track users’ eyeballs, Spikes said.  

But don’t worry about that data. They wouldn’t possibly ever use it for anything to make money.

“Your phone, your device uses your own facial detection,” Spikes added. “It doesn’t go to the cloud, nobody goes through anything other than you and your information in yours. And you opt in to do it on your own.”

“And you opt in to do it on your own.”

And the moment you do, we’ll sell it to the highest bidder, the lowest bidder and every bidder in between. It’s nice to see MoviePass come back in its final form, as the worst version of itself. I’m shocked the credits you earn aren’t cryptocurrency on a blockchain somewhere.

Moviepass first hinted at its plans for … testing a “new proposed business model with a sample group of 1,000 customers… The filings did not provide details of the new business model…

It’s absolutely going to be a crypto currency plan with NFTs of your favorite movie stars, posters, trinkets from the films. Anything and everything because hyperlinks are free!

Stardew Industrial

I’ve been deeply in love with Stardew Valley for many months now. I had been hearing a song that reminds of Wumpscut. I went looking last night to try and match the songs up. Mostly to make sure I wasn’t completely crazy.

I had my wife listen to both and she confirmed they do sound similar.

What do you think?

Thoughts on bird appreciating brought on by How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

Reading How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell over the past few days took me back to both Oakland, CA and to my own backyard. The author lives in Oakland and talks about her time lingering and noticing in the Morcom Rose Garden and Lake Merritt. It is always fun to read a story where the author spends time if you happen to have spent time in the same place.

I was introduced to Lake Merritt one afternoon. Around after dropping off a bridal party to get their hair done for her friend’s wedding. Only, I had no idea how big the lake was. So when I estimated how long it would take to walk around, I fell short and ended up late to retrieve the ladies.

You see a neat lake in life and have time to kill, you park your car and go for a walk to explore the city on foot and enjoy the water birds and water humans you encounter along the way.

Granted, I’ve not lingered among those particular roses, though I’ve spent many a sun-kissed afternoon strolling through Brookside Gardens. While the author thinks of the birds as friends and greets them by species name, I do the same.

While my come to bird moment didn’t take place in full until the global pandemic, I had started identifying birds by sight and call from my own backyard feeders. I liked to know who I was hearing and who came with their entire family to my yard to pick it clean then move on.

While she greets the pelicans and egrets, I have my Mourning Doves. Birds simply too silly to take seriously with their mournful calls and absolute imposter syndrome whenever they manage to flap up to the bird feeder.

I’m up here. I made it this far. What do I do now?

I notice the American Robins picking through the yard for bugs once I’ve cut the grass in warmer weather. The Cardinals trying to impress the Lady Cardinals by soaring through trees as bright red flashes. The gold finches are my current favorites. They come and go so rarely. We had a neighbor with sunflowers and I would see a small flock of the birds in their yard on my daily walks past it. I made a note to plant yellow flowers this year since that’s what they seem to like.

It makes sense. Small yellow bird. Big yellow flower.

I realize by reading this book and take in her thoughts about the attention economy, my thoughts go to my feathered friends. That’s the part of the book that stuck most with me. She called the birds as who and not what. I do the same thing. I greet the birds as friends and the squirrel as on-again-off-again love affairs.

Watching and listening to the birds is peaceful. It’s calm and focusing. When you’ve absorbed in the birds, the rest of the world washes away and there’s only the many calls and flapping wings when once whooshes by your head at top speed.