Tag Archives: twitter

#Open the Twitter elections page to alternative parties!

Before the first debate, Twitter launched a new page on their site dedicated to a constant stream of twitter posts related to the 2008 election.

Honestly, I am kind of excited about it. It’s interesting to watch (even though it goes faster than I can read, usually). I guess I should say, actually, that I am excited about it’s potential.

Twitter is a very big change in the way media is experienced, yet their site only includes tweets about McCain, Palin, Obama or Biden. This seems like a lost opportunity to make a gesture towards making our American democracy a tiny bit closer to the supposed democracy it claims to be.

Twitter should add filters for all candidates for president who have gained ballot access on enough states to theoretically win the election. This means a filter for Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, and Ralph Nader as an independent.

In order to voice this opinion on the election page, I had to make a tweet with the word “palin” in it.

The capitalist press does not give any coverage to these candidates because, well, they’re capitalists. At worst, they are in cahoots with the major parties, and at best, they don’t want to dedicate the time and money to these candidates who can’t win and who don’t poll well (of course, that’s because they don’t get press…chicken and egg). They do not even cover the hardships candidates have to go through to get onto ballots (my candidate is not even on the ballot in my home state of Missouri) or their calls to be included in the debates. Of course they don’t question these things. These news corporations make a freaking killing on the two party system pageant as it is. Why do anything that would make it less of a pageant and grand illusion of choice?

But Twitter can make a small gesture to change this. They can continue to lead a change in media by questioning the idiotic standards set by these old-fashioned conglomerates. Twitter should not simply aim to be a new way to look at the same old political and news landscape set by corporate media. It should be a breath of fresh air for voices who can’t get a word in on those other mediums.

Don’t worry, Obama will still dominate the elections page, even after these other filters are added. Most conversation will still be about the two major parties. But every once in a while, you’ll get news or commentary on Cynthia McKinney riling up a bunch of angry, disillusioned people at a rally with her logic and desire for actual justice. And some people will stop and think, “Why am I not voting for her again?”

A quick note about Cynthia McKinney. I was at the rally above in Denver before the DNC, and it was really great to see a presidential candidate who I really felt compelled by. Also, Rosa Clemente, her VP choice, was even better to listen to. During a quick set by Dead Prez, McKinney was in the crowd dancing with the rest of us. I decided right then that I cannot vote for anyone who does not dance to hip hop. Later, after a long day of protests and a very successful reclaim the streets march, McKinney was hanging out with us at Food Not Bombs in Civic Center Park just talking and chilling. She was just about everything I wish our democracy could be.

So tweet your support of the inclusion of alternative parties on the twitter elections page. Maybe use the hashtag #open in the post. And work in either biden, palin, obama or mccain so that it ends up on the actual elections page feed.

Our democracy should not, after all, look like this:

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Redefining citizen press at the RNC

I wrote previously about The Uptake and their amazing live video Qik coverage of the RNC. But the citizen and independent press at the RNC was even more impressive the more I got into it.

I am a regular user of Twitter (@tfooq), and I’m intrigued by the medium’s potential. But following users like @notq, @theuptake, @coldsnaplegal, @webster and @mnindylive completely opened the RNC to me in a way no live media experience ever has.

Many users around the protests, mostly interested in keeping track of police brutality and helping the protesters keep track of police movements, would send out Twitter posts with bits of information or commentary on experiences. Nathan Oyler (@notq) was one of the best people to follow because, sitting in his Arizona home, kept track of the massive amount of RNC protest-related posts (while also watching the live video from The Uptake) and re-posted each interesting bit. When the action on the group heated up, this was not a small task. Here is an example of just a couple minutes:

The following are posts by Twitter user @notq:

Shot after shot protestors being pounded with gas. Cannot see close enough to give details.

“Firebombs! They grabbed me and said move!”

hitting us over and over. Split us up firing flashbangs into other group.

Chants are back..”who’s streets..our streets!”

people are starting to not be able to see to tweet.

A friend emails: “isn’t using snowplows to block peaceful protesters the mn nice version of tiananmen square?”

tear gas all around the capitol. stay safe.

crowd mostly scattered. They are firing grenades at individuals.

Reporters form the Daily Planet and the Uptake in custody at Ramsey County detention center

cpatton this is fucked no reason for this

Are we no longer Americans? Are we no longer people?

“It’s all happening in the Sears parking lot right now”

i’m just putting in reports, none of this is me, this is all people on the ground.

is natl media covering this?? THIS IS A BIG FUCKING DEAL

police calling for more masks! They are gassing he small peacful crowd. More flashbangs.

Uptakers minus Corrine and friend in car and safe in sears parking lot. Attempting to get to the office.

Ppl are told to go on bridge..everyone is afraid if they do they will be arrested

Several people have been writing about @notq (including this one by Nancy Scola at techpresident.com). What fascinates me is not just the insight it gave me as a follower of the events from my home in the then-recovering Denver, but also the ability of the medium to help those on the ground.

As a protester of the DNC in Denver, I remember turning around to suddenly find a large group of riot cops trapping us into a city block around 15th and Colfax. The first thought I had was, “Man, we should have radios.” After all, they not only have the weapons, but they have the radios. We can have radios and still be peaceful protesters.

But what about iPhones or BlackBerries? I guess it’s kind of unlikely for an anarchist to have a $100/mo data plan and an iPhone, but they proably should. If we had the kind of information delivered at the RNC, maybe we would not have been taken down so quickly.

But who all is following the tweets? Besides medics, protesters and journalists on the ground and people like me following from home, surely the cops, FBI, Secret Service, Halliburton, whoever cares are following also. Like ideal journalism, very good, specific, live citizen journalism like this puts information into the open. It makes the events transparent to all with access to it (so, people with fancy phones or computers). I felt that between The Uptake and the people I followed on Twitter (and my personal experience in Denver) I really had a good grasp on what was happening at the most intense events of the week as they happened.

This brings me to corporate “journalism”. I did like some of the coverage coming out of the Pioneer Press (but the Star Tribune had no concept of what was happening). The PP really seemed to want to get the word out to their readers (which would have included the Republicans at the convention) what was happening in the streets while they were schmoozing at some expensive party or doing whatever it is they did in the Xcel Center. Sure, they trusted the police more than I would have liked them to (they lie constantly, after all), but I guess that’s standard “balanced” journalism or whatever.

But other corporate press had nothing. More coverage inside the staged, phony convention, and no or next-to-no coverage of the real people in streets getting their asses blown up by a $50 million army of violent, heavily armed police. But Cindy McCain’s outfit totalled $313,100! (OK, that is pretty ridiculous. Didn’t they just get ripped on about some houses they lost count of?) Oh, and Sarah Palin. Do you think she has enough experience?

What a joke.

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A long day of social networking

I spent today on the couch where I woke up creating Twitter accounts for The Wiki Fire, The Whateverist and The Knox Student. Then I used Twitterfeed to feed RSS feeds from each web site to automatically tweet.

As of 10:22 p.m., I am still in my pajamas. Yeah, it’s been that kind of day.

Anyway, I would love to introduce to all of you The Whateverist. It is a WordPress blog using the new Prologue theme, which is based on Twitter. Whateverist is the brain child of everyone’s best buddy, Jay over at fysigunk.us. As of this posting, there have been three different contributors. We don’t know what this thing is going to do, or who we want to invite to it or anything. So it’s kind of exciting. I’m sure Jay has a better idea than I do, since it is his thing.

the whateverist screen

Also, I am very excited about the Wiki Fire twitter account. I have it set right now so that any time a new article is created on the site (which is based on MediaWiki), it will tweet with the article title and the beginning of the body text. Pretty neat. This screen is of a Twitter article I wrote in order to test it …
the wiki fire tweet screen cap

In other news, my good friend Kelli Refer has started a cyberfeminist blog called Reviving Emma that should prove rather interesting. Cyberfeminism is an interesting, complicated series of ideas that I don’t think I know enough about. So teach me, hot stuff!

In other news, I installed Adobe CS3 today, and it is extremely fast on my MacBook. Like, it surprised me how fast it was. Photoshop flies around like I always wanted it to. It’s magic. I also figured I would take a look at the new stock photo search in Bridge, and searched for a picture of a gavel (research for a graphic I need to make for the paper). It returned tons and tons of images, so I click one, and here is what I got:

expensive photos

I had to look at this screen several times just to make sure it was, indeed, trying to sell me a boring photo of a gavel for, at the very cheapest, $100. I mean, really? $100? Will anyone ever buy that? Why does this exist in Adobe Bridge? It’s so strange. If these do sell, then I am quitting college right now and taking random photos of shit to sell on Adobe Bridge.

Anyway, in the AFK world, I spent all week working on a strange theater design project involving minimal lights and very loud, strange audio. It was really disorienting. I wish I could describe it better, but I don’t know how. Basically, the audience faces a short wall in a rectangular black box theater. The two walls on either side of the audience and the one in front of them have lights pointed towards them. We led them to their seats in absolute darkness, leading them with a flashlight so they could find their seats. Then we let them adjust to the darkness and the quiet. Then a conversation between my buddy Danny Fisher-Bruns and I started. That goes on for a while and is kind of existential and stuff. Then a smooth kind of feedback noise comes on while the sound of footsteps and shit being dragged around plays. At this point, the lights start, but very subtly. I’m talking 3% intensity, so you are not even sure they are on, but you know you’re getting dizzy. Then as things are dying down, a massive ridiculously loud noise wall comes at you and the two walls on either side of you start flashing back and forth in a very bright red that disorients you more and you can’t hear anything but crazy noise and then it ends. Total time, about 20 min counting silence at the start. I guess some things don’t translate into digital format very well, though. Sorry.

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I’m back … so long it’s been

OK, so I have realized that I have neglected you, Cheeto Fingers. I used you while I was in Spain and thought I had a lot to say, but the second I get back to the states I drop you. That wasn’t fair, I see that now, and I’m sorry.

I mean, I did kind of find someone new …

Don’t freak out, you can both have me, I feel. It’s my Twitter, but you two can work together. I mean, Twitter is good for quick 160-character go, but sometimes a guy is looking for a little more than that, you know? Sometimes guys want to cuddle. Sometimes I want to be cuddled.

Anyway, let’s get caught up as quickly as possible so we can get to the good stuff …

wiki_fire_dec_07

So I started a wiki at Knox College at TheWikiFire.org in April, and it has done pretty well for itself. As you can see, it is getting close to the 1,500 article mark. That’s not too shabby for a school of 1,351. Many of the pages are long and interesting, too.

The site is based on the MediaWiki application that the WikiMedia Foundation maintains (the same base application that Wikipedia uses).

There has not been as much action this year as there was the couple months after it started, which I suppose makes sense. Either way, I am going to have some kind of event next term to get people interested in it again. I may also incorporate it in the state of Missouri (since it’s way cheaper and I have an address there). But we’ll see how practical that becomes.

bella in a dress

OK, so my sister bought a boxer puppy and named her Bella. It was OK at first because the puppy was cute and had energy and all that. And my sister or mother would clean up the puddles in the house.

But then my sister dressed her up in a dress and took pictures of her. Ever since then, I think she just lost the will to live. She craps wherever she wants and … well I guess that’s the worst part. Anyway, she doesn’t have a uterus anymore, so there!

In other news, I am the editor of The Knox Student now, which is pretty neat. We are going to be online by the end of the year, which is a giant step for us. I am really excited about it.

Also, I did the sound design and wrote and played the music (with my band, The Danny Fisher-Bruns Carpentry Guild) for a play this fall called Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchill. It was the best play I have ever worked on, I feel. People really walked out of the building upset and unsure of themselves. It was very powerful.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter.

Peace.

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