social media

Attack of the (Twitter) Clones

send in the clones

Twitter is a weird place, sometimes.

A while back an account cropped up with my name on it, my profile picture, following a lot of folks who I follow/follow me, but which definitely wasn’t me. It hung around for a while, until I was deeply weirded out, a number of people had commented upon the oddity, and it had been reported a number of times over. And then it was gone.

Which would have been strange enough, but to make this a little more Twilight Zone, the last week has seen two more of these things appear. The first tweeted a stream of Russian gibberish before going the way of the dinosaurs (Extinction, not evolving into birds… -Ed). The latest is just sitting there, watching me.

I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a weird mix of creepy and intriguing at the moment, and I’m wondering if I’m about to be replaced by social media body snatchers, or if we’re in for a Chronicles of Riddick moment where they all kneel before me and I use them as an army to take over the world.

Hopefully the latter.

More likely the former.

(I, for one, welcome our new spambot overlords -Ed)

But for the moment, accept no imitations. Check the Twitter handle and what language the account is tweeting in. My Russian, I have to say, is incredibly rusty.

A saga of a spambot – a conclusion, but no answers…

user suspended

Last week I blogged about the strange Twitter account that had appeared, with my profile picture, my screen name, and following a good deal of my own followers, to the cause of no small confusion.

Well, sinister as that little development was, it appears to be over. The account is now suspended, following a report to Twitter by myself and some other kind persons. I’m relieved, yes, but also a little disappointed. There is absolutely no closure. I don’t know what it was planning, who was behind it, what in the hell it was.

Somewhere out there, my social media nemesis waits, plotting, scheming, waiting for it’s chance for revenge. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Kipperwatch! Where is the Commissar for West Shoebury?

kipperwatch local

In sixth form, as part of my History course, we studied Tsarist and Soviet Russia. My lecturer, a fantastic teacher by the name of Robin Milne, told a story about a visit he made to Moscow still under communism.

Looking round a museum, he spied a Russian Revolution era photo, with something missing. “Where is the Commissar for war?” he asked one of the tour guides, before watching the poor woman squirm.

The Commissar for War during the revolution was, of course, Leon Trotsky. This is the same Trotsky who was airbrushed out of Soviet history after he fell foul of Josef Stalin.

In other news, Southend & Rochford Branch UKIP have a new website.

Read on…

Southend Politics & Social Media: Part 1 – Meet the Tweeters


tweeting on sea

Like it or not, the internet has changed politics dramatically in the last few years. It has changed the way that people interact with issues — local and national — and it has changed the way that politicians and activists campaign.

This has, of course, been taken up in varying ways and with varying different degrees of success by different parties. Twitter, for me, is an indispensable campaign tool, giving easy reach to hosts of potential voters, many of whom are towards the younger end of the demographics — and therefore statistically less likely to vote.

So I figured why not let my inner stats nerd loose on the Twitter use of Southend’s political actors? That’s sure to draw in the crowds, right?

Read on

Politicians and Social Media; or How Not to Use Twitter

Whatever Dr Phillip Lee MP’s future Twitter-tomfoolery, it will have an audience of at least one fewer after today.

I have today unfollowed Dr Phillip Lee, Conservative member of Parliament for Bracknell, on Twitter.

Some of you may be surprised to find that I follow Dr Lee, but even though I don’t live in his constituency and am an avowed opponent of his Party and his politics, I still like to follow such figures because that way I get the full picture of both the political debate and of what is going on in my local area. I follow a variety of figures from across the political spectrum.

And I didn’t unfollow Dr Lee because I took exception to his political position. Indeed, I can’t actually tell you any of his positions because I don’t know of any time it has substantially deviated from the Conservative Party line. No, the reason I unfollowed him was because this evening he tweeted almost 50 of these:

Almost fifty. I think there are forty nine, but it was quite hard to count them on my laptop screen. It wouldn’t be a problem, but they were tweeted near-simultaneously, and clogged up my Twitter feed, taking attention away from other tweets which might have, I don’t know, actually had merit?

I don’t really know what’s going on here. Maybe he’s been fielding some criticism that he hasn’t been doing enough work. If so, I’m not sure that annoying all 646 of his followers (is it churlish of me to point out that I have more, and I’m just some annoying guy who likes to mouth off?) is the way to go. The videos seem to be all of his speeches in the House of Commons and select committees, and even if people do care, show me the person who sat and watched forty nine of the damn things.

I really don’t understand how MPs can still not be getting Twitter, and social media in general. Dr Lee is far from the only one, either. His constituency neighbour, Wokingham’s John Redwood, uses his own as a glorified alert feed for his blog. On the one hand, he doesn’t use it to actually engage with anyone, but at least he doesn’t generally post fifty blogs at once. Which is nice.

(I should also point out that John’s online engagement is better in other ways. He responds to comments on his blog, and even to comments on the Wokingham Times website. So whilst everyone’s favourite Vulcan’s politics may be both wrong and distasteful, at least he’ll acknowledge my disagreement.)

It’s even more annoying that there are MPs who get it right. There are a growing number who actually communicate with the community and the people following them. On the Labour side of the house, Bristol East’s Kerry McCarthy does a sterling job, and whilst she has questionable ideas how it should be run, at least Louise Mensch talks about issues and responds to her followers.

But my personal favourite tweeting MP has to be Jamie Reed (Copeland), who doesn’t let his shadow minister’s brief get in the way of a) sounding human, b) being interesting and c) being funny:

UPDATE: It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one bemoaning Dr Lee’s terrible use of social media: journalist Ian Dunt has included the good Doctor on his list of the ten worst MPs on Twitter, in at number three.