Clowning Around?

I’ve hardly blogged at all recently (been on twitter lots) – There’s a debate raging about whether twitter kills blogging. We’ve been having the debate using cloudworks which is our very nice home grown system and I intend to give my opinions of that in another post, but suffice to say I love it.

…anyhow back to my point. By far the most traffic to my blog was generated from my post about Why Clowns are Dangerous. This has in fact also spawned a lot of quite vitriolic and IMHO (!) self opinionated comments, these tend to be light on research and factual evidence but heavily packed with personal insults.

From this I summise:-

1. Michael Wesch is spot on in his analysis about behaviours around anonymity and rage. Particularly people  think they know me from what is a very incomplete set of criteria by which to judge….and for the record my sister runs a circus troupe and regularly dresses in a clown costume. There is a recognised condition around clowns and their fear. Stephen Kings “IT” is directly playing on that association.

2. Clowns are not something to make fun of. Clowns take themselves very seriously.

3. My sister runs a circus troupe (performing arts and trapeze and the works) so there is a clown in my family 🙂

4. The more bizarre the blog post the more traffic it generates. My second most popular post is on silent vacuum cleaners. Therefore ridding the world of scary clowns and noisy vacuum cleaners is likely to make someone very popular.

5. Most people don’t get irony. Or humour. Going back to 1, this is probably to do with the other 55% non verbal communication. Or it could be that people only expect blogs to be ‘either’ comical or serious and not a mixture.

6. People make assumptions. All the time. We forget past things that don’t fit those assumptions and concentrate on the latest things that do. Derren Brown would have a field day. Or am I making assumptions?

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Twitters or Twits?

Martin Weller has been writing a lot about twitter recently, in fact almost to the point of fanaticism! (don’t take this the wrong way Martin). I have been trying to be a good twitterer (?) but I find it difficult to manage to both do stuff and inform others about it. I even find it difficult to twitter at conferences as I get so engrossed in them that I forget to write stuff down! – I think it’s a me thing but I would put some points to Martin in respect of recent Twitter postings

1. The case of those poor students that were involved in the lockdown. I can understand them wanting to keep in touch and it’s great that twitter helped. I obviously haven’t been involved in such things before although I did grow up in Belfast during the “troubles” and we did get regularly awoken on a Saturday night by a bomb blast, sometimes the windows would rattle or the building would shake. Not perhaps as immediately scary as a gunman in the building but still bad at the time. I dealt with it by finding another human and giving them a hug. I think electronic devices only go so far in the comforting area. I also think that before twitter people could still text or indeed phone each other for support (although there may be a point here about alerting a gunman to your presence!) – What happens if the gunman is using twitter to see what they’re up to and where they are?

2. A senior OU colleague (senior in responsibility not years!) yesterday told me how he was at the “Making Connections” conference at the OU. He was at the back taking notes (twittering) and listening to the talks. He went to the talk before Martins and started taking notes, half way through the talk it became so boring that he decided to stop taking notes and ‘twittered’ to say that the speaker was so boring and the talk was so dull that he was giving up (or words to that effect). Low and behold Martin came on as the next speaker and what he did was show a mashup of OU twitter feeds from the conference and to my colleagues embarrassment his twitter post was up in two foot high lettering on the stage for all to see! (be careful what you write)

3. My team are making a site about Bio Diversity (see previous postings) and one thing that’s cropped up as an issue for people involved in similar projects is that when a new plant or animal species is found (particularly rare plants in specific locations) once the details are published people are going to that spot and digging up the plants and taking them back to their gardens. This poses a serious problem as it may be wiping out some rare species and when the plant life goes the animal life sometimes follows too. I’ve heard reports of this type of “theft” happening a lot recently.

So in summary I can see some really good reasons to twitter not least of which is that I know why people haven’t turned up for meetings or what useful tools they’re playing with. The downside is that I’m really quite rubbish at it and I haven’t found the killer reason why I should twitter. I store my tweets up to become blogs. Sometimes I store blogs up to become reports but mostly I store everything up to bore my partner over a drink at the weekend!

Finally Martin I think you need to go to TA (Twitters Anonymous) as I think it’s becoming an addiction!