Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I will follow you...until you piss me off...

Chris Hayes has a show on MSNBC, 7pm Chicago time. (Full disclosure: I barely, rarely watch his show) He has 1.56 million Twitter followers and, until yesterday, I was one of them. He also follows 1,118 people there. I'm not one of them. I guess the reality of it all is that I could probably never be one, the way Hayes handles his Twitter.

He revealed yesterday that he has his settings adjusted to where he only sees replies from people he follows. I imagine many celebs and journos do the same and I kinda sorta get that. But, I also kinda sorta don't get that. What's the point of being on a very public venue of social media if you don't actually engage with the public? You don't even give them a chance. These people might as well email.

Fuller disclosure: I really only followed Hayes because he's a Cubs fan. On a promo for MSNBC, it showed Michael Moore pointing out that, on the screen on set, Hayes was interviewing Moore AND watching the Cubs playoff game! I decided then, I like this fucking guy! That's a fan! So, I gave him a follow on Twitter. No big effort on my part.

Last Fall, he tweeted a lot about the Cubs. I tweeted back a lot about the Cubs. I noticed I never got a single like from him about those Cubs tweets. I don't expect a lot of feedback from *famous people* but it struck me as odd that several supportive Cubs tweets would not get even one like. Well, now I know why. I wasn't one of the 1,118 people he calls "inners" so, he wasn't even seeing my tweets at all. It was like posting into a void. I wasn't blocked, mind you, as others could see my tweets, just not Chris. He couldn't be bothered because other peoples tweets bothered him. He's not interested in them no matter what they have to say or what team they love. To put it into perspective, if all 1.54 million of his followers tweeted him at once, only 1,118 of those tweets would be viewed by Chris. Quite a disparity.

Quite arrogant too. A few weeks ago I began following Rex Huppke, a clever columnist who writes for the Chicago Tribune. I bounced him when he posted a similar sentiment to the Hayes' one where he pointed out that he constantly blocked people who displeased him. I doubt I was one of those people but, maybe I never even got the chance? I never got a like from him no matter how clever I was and that leads me to believe his settings might have been like Chris Hayes'. I bounced him- even though I still think he's clever and funny- because I also think he's a dick for being so obnoxious about blocking people.

I've gotten at least one like from almost every other famous person I follow and there are a few I follow who do not follow me that are regularly appreciative of my tweets with likes and comments. I respect the hell out of that. They take the time to actually read some of the comments made to them! Imagine that! These people get the real purpose of social media- the social part. Hayes has both beat by more than a million followers each but, in my book (blog) he can't touch them.

So, am I a hypocrite? Eh... I block people who annoy me. The key is, I give them a chance to annoy me in the first fucking place.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Troll Farming

Nice piece in the Washington Post about a Russian, former employee of a *troll factory* in St. Petersburg, Russia. The guy was an unemployed teacher who had taken the gig to make himself enough rubles to tide himself over until he got a teaching job. He speaks English but, not well enough to pass himself off as an American so, he worked the floor that concentrated on trolling local Russian sites. To make more money and work the American sites, one had to be better versed in American life than he was. You had to be able to speak American as an American would and be familiar with all things American to make the big money, influencing American elections.

It seems the Russians work sorta similar to how Topix trolls work. They worked the Russians in threes at least. One person would take a contrary stance and the other two would work to convince him of how wrong he was. After a number of posts, he'd be convinced of how wrong he was. A Moscow Miracle!

Topix trolls, though they do work in teams, were more streamlined and frugal than the Russians. On Topix it's usually one troll playing several roles. Yeah, basically one person talking to his or her selves, hoping someone else bites. They used to have teams- the original Chicago Regulars were an example of that- but, if that wasn't too expensive(?) it was a lot of trouble. I was invited to join the Yahoo group where they gathered to get their marching orders each day about what would be the topic of conversation but, I declined. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on then but, I knew I didn't want to be a part of any organization that would have a very thinly drawn out *therapist* as the head of it. I've got some writing talent and it's nice that folks notice that. I wasn't exactly honored to be nominated but, I definitely wasn't going to serve. Of course, someone wasn't happy about that.

I didn't know what they were trying to accomplish. With the Russians they were at least obviously trying to reinforce political harmony at home and sow discord in the US. Though Topix gets political and nearly every troll there is a misfit republican, there never seemed to be a political goal at all. Nothing clear. Even in it's heyday back up until '09, Topix never had that much of a following as to influence a good number of people. I can still only surmise that, in the case of the Chicago Regulars, the agenda was only to masturbate the *therapist*. Maybe help pad the post count for Topix itself. Not a very ambitious or even nefarious agenda. It's kinda like some of the celebrities who recently were caught buying Twitter followers. If you gotta cheat...

I haven't posted on Topix in like 14 months. I look at it from time to time though. It can move at the glacial pace of a soap opera. The same people are still fighting about the same stupid things they been fighting, some for more than ten years. As I mentioned previously, some are arguing with the voices in their head just as they always did. Mental illness is what keeps the lights on in that troll factory as the bulk of the very few posters there are decidedly mentally ill. I don't actually mean that malevolently like these people are school-shooters or anything like that. I just mean that they are idiots is all.

Topix was just not a good model for the Russians to follow. We can't even TROLL as good as our adversaries! Not even useful idiots...