Robin Brown

Journo. Editor. Tutor. Dour northerner.

Archive for December, 2009

2009: My year in Facebook status updates

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Facebook has pretty limited options for marketing and all of that, but it can provide a fairly interesting insight into the life of a heavy user.

While I don’t spend a lot of time browsing stuff on Facebook, I usually have a window or application open so I can update it as and when.

I usually use it for sharing links but often update my status with something I think is interesting, amusing or bizarre.

Whether other people find this interesting or not is debatable, but as a way of keeping in touch it’s quite novel.

What’s more, it arguably provides an interesting view into how a website curator might interact with readers. Could there be a time, in the future, when individuals are appointed solely as the human social media face of large organisations?

It’s a possibility that interests me, particularly in light of the rise of brandividuals who come to represent a business in an online environment. Could curators be appointed just to sit on Hootsuite all day updating Facebook and Twitter with engaging stuff? Perhaps, perhaps not.

If nothing else it’s a rather more engaging way of explaining how 2009 appeared to me, particularly if you see how many references to popular culture you can spot.

I’ve stripped out all of the links and more prosaic ones, with plenty of music, radio, social media, TV and film references left in. Virtually all are quotes, posed for my friends to decipher.

It may not mean much to you, but in all likelihood it’s a lot more interesting than the media- and journalism-based round-up of 2009 I’d originally planned.

What’s on your mind?

‘s hand is still grill-singed

wonders if anyone has recently swigged a can of coke and burped the word ‘bollocks’

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

is appalled by the duplicity of Little Chef’s senior management.

screams like a panther in the middle of the night

Stephen!

lacks the minerals and vitamins

has been sorely disappointed by Death Proof and Doomsday, two very bad films

is photoshopping pictures of last of the summer wine

just rasterised a JPEG

is very sorry but, he has to tell you that, you’ve got ringworm. Very infectious disease

what if Mike Catt was a cat?

I got through to the darts quarters but was bowled by a small child at nets. Both feel like defeats.

newest spam email: Hurt her with your rod

latest spam email: Your sister is in danger

Maureen’s got five sisters…they’ve all got ass…one of them has eyes as big as Jolly Ranchers

Latest spam: Give her flash some porking

Let’s go to dolphinarium together

what’s happened to all my clothes, what’s happened to all my furniture?

three of my friends became fans of ‘chesty girls’?

Freaky eaters? Lock em in a shed with some lettuces for a weak and see how choosy they are. bloody idiots.

Edward de Bono is one of my tailored ads? What does that say about me?

ALPHABETTI SPAGHETTI!?

2 friends became fans of french knickers?

that hallowe’en goatie has come back to haunt me

is Rock Strongo

‘Sarcasm!3 friends are fans.Become a Fan’ Become a fan? I wrote the fucking book mate.

I just failed the quiz ‘how well do you know Robin Brown?’

I sin every single day

got into a youtube barney cos I said Shearer would knock roy keane out, which he obviously would. In fact, I think Desmond Tutu would knock keane out.

just watched a young lady having her piles burned off on embarrassing bodies. still in middle of hour-long retching session

kevin pietersen woke up this morning with ‘general stiffness’. don’t we all?

always thought byers was a little weasel

has dreamt of rubies

i wonder whatever happened to Tracey Jacks

4 games of cricket in 6 days. can my creaking knees, heels, shins and back handle it?

just wants a bit part in your life

the cruffatin liveth

Duck butter

let me go the the depths of your infinity!

dicks also fuck assholes, chuck!

can’t, won’t and don’t stop

six wickets – i’m back!

i am the fly

random vacuous update concerning food, TV or weather

is nobody’s fool. Plenty of people’s bastard, but nobody’s fool

Angry jealous spies/got telephones for eyes

Face or tits?

warm leatherette

I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass….

looks like i picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue

has gone from being Den Davis to Den Dildo!

long live the new flesh

Ameobi hat-trick. Bet not even Shola saw that coming

won’t you come on down to my rescue?

‘you bastard, you absolute bastard!’ ‘you slut, you absolute slut!’

i’ve decided to take my work back underground, to stop it falling into the wrong hands

There is radar in my heart I should have trusted from the start

i would like it if aung sang suu kyi were freed, but I’m not sure ticking a miniature ‘thumbs up’ sign on Facebook will help much

Dirty goat!

If there’s one thing on my mind, it’s gettin downstate

Fucken Prawn!

would like to protest in the strongest terms about everything

just when i though i could not be stopped, when my chance came to be king…

FACT, The Thing, tonight 11.30pm. Anyone?

beefy beefy mushroom

i love my drug bunny

Kruder & Dorfmeister radio on Spotify…like 2001 all over again

Is re-reading William Shatner’s TekWar

won’t you come to comfort me?

Surprised Eastenders didn’t save the ‘Stacey goes mad and gets carted off to the looney bin’ episode for Xmas Day

buswankers

Attempting Keith Floyd recipe – trout in newspaper. Expect to set fire to oven, poison self with new sort of newsprint or simply fuck the whole thing up completely

i got 96 tears and 96 eyes

is in love with a German film star

Needs a temporary secretary

Dont admire thieves… hey they don’t admire you, their time’s limited, hardrocks too

Stereo MCs DJ Kicks, brill

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea is asleep, and the rivers dream…

Let’s get killed

Roast pork with suet pudding

everybody spread the word, i live in my sister’s basement

‘There is a specter haunting Europe…’

Boing boom tschak peng!

I have never met anyone who thinks the future is Knowsley

Facebook wants me to become a fan of MILFs

Ensanguining the skies, how heavily it dies

Relaxation is death

I wouldn’t let Grace Slick blow me

Pertwee-like hubris

Robin Frown

Death has come to your little town, Sheriff

Pass me the suitcase, baby I know it’s not that easy

kim the cleaning lady’s espousal of equal rights as explained via sexual positions would have enlivened my feminism seminars

Just saw a pigeon eating a fruit pastille

Wish I had an autumn almanac

Mama said knock you out

Jumper was inside out all day yesterday

ow my balls

is clinically a beast

Wish I could stop sticking out my tongue when I concentrate

People will be able to tell when I’ve had my nervous breakdown when I’m found slowly driving around Vice City, observing traffic lights and listening to Emotion 98.3 – tears silently tumbling down my face
some people call it a one-night stand but we can call it paradise

I can see a blue tit

You can do it put your back into it

is going to start calling everyone ‘kid’ from now on

trousers fell down on way to lark lane

Ham-fisted bun vendor

one drop of that could turn you all into hermit crabs

I believe in my own obsessions, in the beauty of the car crash, mystery of multi-storey car parks, in the poetry of abandoned hotels

Ello bruv

Hello Nasty

Living a boy’s adventure tale

Smell the glove

Applying the hot teaspoon to the forehead of life

game over man, game over

“Joanna Lumley? She’s got a plastic arsehole hasn’t she?”

walking a fine line between love and hate

Headbonks

I hate lowering my balls into a hot bath – Become a Fan

Written by Robin Brown

December 30th, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Posted in Media

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Comment is free… but talk is cheap

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Regular readers – there are regular readers, right? – will know that I reserve a special scorn for The Guardian’s Comment Is Free section; a comment and opinion subdirectory that collects viewpoints from across the political spectrum.

In itself, a section like this is laudable. It exposes people to new viewpoints, attitudes and lifestyles that the print version of The Guardian does not. Its strapline is ‘Comment Is Free… but facts are sacred’ – a quote from Grauniad progenitor CP Scott.

It’s a broad church, features some fascinating articles and regularly generates some vigorous debate.

However, I feel that that concept has been somewhat bastardised to create a deliberately provocative and emptily heated section of the website, where drivel like Sarah Palin’s climate change invective is published without comment.

Another recent article on video games relating to rape was similarly witless, and pulled apart by Comment Is Free regulars. And I think that’s the point.

It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that much of Comment Is Free constitutes link- and flamebait, dog whistling, tail pulling – whatever you want to call it.

It’s like the post on a forum that exists simply to irritate, the equivalent of poking a bee’s nest and running away. In web parlance it’s known as trolling.

It exists to provoke, and provoke it does. There are regularly hundreds of well-informed, well-written and well-argued comments on Comment Is Free posts, coming from many points of view.

Thousands of words of user-generated content, lots of outraged inbound links, lots of return traffic from people keeping tabs on the latest debate.

The Guardian’s site has become a slick SEO machine, as evinced by its URL keyword stuffing and habit of publishing several permutations of the same story, and perhaps a bit too good for its own good.

It’s clever, but it’s a step too far for me. I can’t believe that a lot of Comment Is Free isn’t simply designed to rile up The Guardian’s own readership, the very people who buy the newspaper, in order to generate more copy, links and hits from them.

Is this what happens to a newspaper’s content when too much thought is given to chasing traffic and the holy grail of user-generated content? Is it OK to debase and undermine your moral weight and editorial line in search of more web traffic?

Is the trade-off worth it? Crap, often dishonest, generally lazy, frequently hysterical and badly-structured arguments and articles in exchange for a few more hits, and a bit more cash?

There are other symptoms at other papers – the Indie seems to print a diet of increasingly outlandish lists, while the Torygraph recently printed this beauty, a disingenuous piece of phony conspiracy-theory outrage about Google gaming its own algorithm.

The Telegraph article is breathtaking in its dishonesty, but The Guardian is the worst – a serial offender that sticks two fingers up to its own readership every time it wittingly publishes another bad article.

I’m all for a broad church, I’m all for challenging viewpoints, and I’m all for user interaction – but it’s come to something when the newspaper is the troll.

Written by Robin Brown

December 21st, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Facebook privacy settings – what to do

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A few thoughts on Facebook’s new terms of service changes, which have hit the net this week.

What this change boils down to, if you’ve been living on a small island for a while or using BT internet, is that your Facebook stuff potentially defaults to public if you don’t pay attention when going through the pop-ups.

You may have noticed these “Oh hai, we’ve made some changes”-style pop-ups recently. If you weren’t paying attention and simply clicked through you may have opened up your Facebook profiles – Nazi fancy dress party photos, drunken status updates and NSFW links – to Google and co.

This, basically, means it’s all indexable by the search engines. Potentially, anyone can see what previously only your friends could see.

This is a pretty big deal, because potential employers will merrily check whatever public real estate you have on the web even though, for my money, this is highly unethical.

All of your public data can be harvested too: your geographical location, birthday (a particularly bad one to share), relationship status, work and education information…

This is all pretty reductive, and an absolute moral minefield. However, when hard clicks and hard cash come into play – the reason behind the Facebook shift – ethics tend to go out of the window.

So, is there an upside to this? Potentially, because any indexable real estate can be leveraged by the enterprising journo, PR or generic rampant self-publicist.

However, when I joined Facebook I acted in such a way that most people would when alone with their friends. I never thought it would all be publicly available, so I didn’t modify my behaviour. On other public profiles I’m aware of this and filter my public actions accordingly.

I don’t suppose there’s anything on my Facebook profile that would get me binned by an employer or associate, but why would I take the risk? And, frankly, I’m uncomfortable with anyone being able to access data I previously considered private.

Another issue, only just coming to light, is the murky issues regarding who owns all the stuff you’ve put on your Facebook page.

Facebook will say it does, or at least has some claim over it, but there’s not much set in stone to say that anyone can’t nab your Facebook pictures and blogs and use them to their own ends.

How do you fancy finding some of your photos in the Daily Mail aka the world’s worst newspaper?

So, there are two sensible alternatives. Delete your profile and start again, with a profile that is fit for public viewing. Or tell the search engine spiders to sod off.

For the sake of ease I’ve outlined how you go about doing this below.

Update your Facebook privacy settings:

1. Find ‘Settings’ at the top of your Facebook page

2. Find Privacy Settings

3. Untick ‘Allow indexing’

Done. Better safe than sorry.

Written by Robin Brown

December 15th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Posted in Other stuff

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