Roll Up, Roll Up… Join The Circus..#Twitter

Have been thinking a lot about Twitter over the past few days. Since the ridiculous verdict in the #TwitterJokeTrial, it is apparent that the majority of people still don’t “get” Twitter.

I could be talking to the afore-mentioned judge Jacqueline Davies, the Jeremy Vine show (who still don’t let tweeters join in the live debates, despite promising to do so) or to YOU, yes, YOU…  OK, so you have a Twitter account, but do you “get” it? 

A family member came to see me recently and asked “What is Twitter anyway?”… then, when I explained it roughly to her said “Well, *I* won’t be washing *my* dirty linen in public anyway…   She has it SO wrong.  Yes, some people do use Twitter to discuss their day-to-day events with total strangers “I’m having roast chicken sandwiches for lunch”.. “my boyfriend dumped me” , “have to go on the school-run, bye”.. etc but there is SO much more to Twitter : )

Twitter is the world’s biggest Chat Room..  a place to exchange greetings, jokes, advice and news.. Twitter is a veritable circus tent full of interesting people and topics including; Celebrities, Politicians, TV and Radio shows, Newspapers, photos from space, satire accounts and especially US, the general public, who keep it lively and constantly updated : )

What you get out of Twitter really depends on who you follow.. I don’t tend to follow celebrities, politicians etc now as they generally seem to use Twitter for self-promotion, not engagement.  I keep some of them in lists on my Tweetdeck though, I have lists open for all sorts of topics.  Splitting tweeters into lists makes it easier to follow larger groups of people and also helps to keep topics such as “labour tweets” in one, easy to see view.

Breaking news spreads within minutes round Twitter, we knew about the sad passing of Alex Higgins over half an hour before Wikipedia and almost an hour and a half before the news channels reported it.  Sometimes people spread false RIP rumours though, Twitter’s most recent “victim” was Cilla Black, who IS still with us and shall no doubt be appearing in panto very soon lads and lasses..  Speaking of which, still havent ordered my wigs ; )

In short; Twitter is for chat, debate, sharing news, music, sandwich recipes, videos.. jokes, awareness about issues, raising charity funds, friends..

 

P.T. Barnum had the right idea.. fill a massive room with the most weird and wonderful attractions on earth, he called it Humbug , I call it Twitter : )

“I’ve joined the circus like I wanted to, when I was a kid.
Climbed aboard before it moved on and you bet your life im glad I did.
Went to bed in Minneapolis, woke up in PA.
Packed my roll, my brush and my comb again,
Ready to roll again, ready to stray.
Bless my soul; I’ll never go home again,
When the circus comes my way…”

 

#IAmSpartacusIWantATShirtToo

*** UPDATE 24TH NOVEMBER ***

T-SHIRTS NOW ON SALE, ALL PROCEEDS TO TWITTER JOKE TRIAL FUND, ORDER YOURS HERE: http://www.cafepress.co.uk/spartacusfund

I’VE ORDERED THE ONE WITH THE ORIGINAL TWEET ON IT AND HOPE TO ATTEND THE COURT WEARING IT : )  *I* AM SPARTACUS!!

Que?? Yes, you heard it right.. this picture by @Crispian_Jago  :

Lead to this idea.. we print “I Am Spartacus” T-Shirt’s up and sell them to raise money for the #TwitterJokeTrial fighting fund.. While the “powers that be” discuss the legalities and finer details of the finances etc, lets chuck a few ideas around shall we?

Please add your comments and I will update this page with the best suggestions etc as we go…

“Power to the People!”

Twittersphere Fear…

This has been both a fascinating and frightening week in the world of Social Media. For those of you not blessed with the friend that is Twitter, let me fill you in a bit..

In January a tweeter made a joke.. a poor joke some would say but a joke nonetheless.  This led to a criminal conviction, I kid you not.. 140 characters bashed out on a laptop in mere seconds, has cost a man his job, thousands of pounds in legal fees and fines and he now has a criminal record.  What was the joke I hear you cry?  This one..

“Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport skyhigh!!”

See, not really funny is it, taken out of context.. To the regular followers of Paul Chambers’ tweets, it showed his frustration, nerves and excitement about flying to meet a lady the following week that he was very smitten by.  To an outsider, it seems to have been viewed as a serious security threat.   Although, I am pretty sure terrorists do not generally give a week’s notice and their real names when making bomb threats. 

Judge Jacqueline Davies deemed fit to uphold the original conviction when it came to appeal before her this week.  It worries me that Judges such as Ms Davies do not specialise in a chosen field, almost like GPs they rely on advice given to them on the day, rather than having prior experience and knowledge of the topic.  (Here is the full Judgment)

Following the upholding of the original judgement, a Twitterstorm was evoked, with over 20,000 people tweeting Paul Chamber’s words with the hashtag #IAmSpartacus. Paul is, I believe planning to take the case to the High Court and we will back him all the way, not just as Spartacus but financially and if need be, physically at the court-house.

( Picture via @Crispian_Jago  #TwitterJokeTrial #IamSpartacus)

Another Twitter story is the case of the Tory councillor Gareth Compton who, as above, made a joke. This one was, in my opinion far more offensive and crass but again, when isolated, the single tweet is menacing.  The important difference here is that, unlike Paul, this author is an elected representative and should really know better!  If you are in a position of power, demanding respect then you should be above reproach.

Mr Compton was responding to a radio interview he was listening to, as so many of us tweeters do.. we commentate on TV, Radio, something that our parents have said, what our lunch is.. Gareth Compton has been arrested but was released on bail, presumably as the police do not see him as a real, physical threat to the person the tweet made reference to.  He has also been suspended from the Conservative Party.  (I won’t link to nor repeat his tweet as I find it particularly offensive and racist)

Then came this article today by Quentin Letts, published in the Daily Mail which has thrown another angle into the mix..   A tweeter known as @Baskers has been publicly “named and shamed” at the will of a journalist. Although Sarah openly used her photograph and real name on her twitter biography, she also said the following: “I’m a Civil Servant, but this is my personal account & it’s my own personal views, not the Depts.” 

Sarah not only tweets about her day-to-day life but also writes a good blog on topics that affect her, as many of us do.  She recently wrote about the effect of government cuts to her department and her frustration about the Civil Service being attacked in the press.

So why are Sarah’s tweets and blogs so important to a Daily Mail journalist? Is he seriously trying to protect the Civil Service’s reputation by reporting her words to her bosses or is there something deeper going on here?  I thought it was odd that Sally Bercow was brought into the article as being a friend of Sarah’s.. she doesn’t really seem relevant to the piece? However, having looked at negative previous posts by Mr Letts about Mrs Bercow, she is perhaps the key and Twitter can relax and tweet away as usual…

So, what are we to do Twitter?  David Allen Green aka @jackofkent has advised us to “tweet and delete” as we go along.  I can see his point.  Future employers for example are already using Google to check out potential employee’s.  Are we risking our own future’s by tweeting and even chosing to “like” something on Facebook? 

I think of Twitter and this blog as my diary, as do many other users and I don’t want to delete my tweets! However, even anonymity can’t protect you if someone is determined enough to find out who you really are and where you work.  (As I know to my cost, anything written on the internet stays there forever to be interpreted as the reader sees fit, particularly if they have a hidden agenda). 

This wont make me popular but I would advise you all to remove your first or surname’s from your Twitter account, dont tweet from work unless you are on a scheduled break nor use your company name, Big Brother really is watching you..

Or.. you can say “Freedom of expression is my right, guaranteed to me by Article 10. If you want it you can take it from my cold dead hands. But if you try, remember #IAmSpartacus. Because my name is Legion, and I am many.” < Awesome blog post from @gaijinsan21

( Good post by @dnotice about #TweetDelete )

How was it for you… ?

Derby was bloody marvellous…!  Wish you could have all come but space was a little bit limited.. maybe next time, Wembley Stadium?

The trip started off with me collecting @Feisty_Onion from the station, getting rather lost through us talking so much and so arriving a hour late to be embraced by the most welcoming hotel and people ever..

Onion & Humph

 

We had a little rest (my feet were killing me from the drive) and then joined @ADMaclennan, @IainMonty and @lesleyalmost at the bar.    Soon we were joined by Mr & Mrs @Ivan_Jelical, she was so brave to come having never spoken to any of us before!  Finally we spotted @SteDoubleu lurking at the bar.. we were all there : )  Dinner and drinkies followed, the beer of choice ran out  *cough* although the kitty did not. 

Kitty!

Stephen, Lesley, Onion & Iain

We were asked by the very patient staff if we could clear off as it was past their bed-time so reluctantly stomped off to bed, re-grouping for breakfast and lunch where we were joined by the fabulously funny @MartinB1884 😀

Jane, Iain, Lesley and Neill (Ivan)

 

PIE !!!!

 

Martin & Andy

As I suspected, it felt as though we had known each other for years, there was never a dull moment.. we laughed, we drank a “little”, we hugged and had a marvellous time..  Roll on Xmas, we’re headed towards the Big Smoke for that one though : )

I’ve asked all the attendees to sum the event up for me in 140 characters.. you ve heard mine so here are their views of #Derby:

@ADMaclennan  A strange but great occasion, meeting for the first time people who were somehow already good friends. They were equally nice in person.

@lesleyalmost Derby? A surprise and no surprise at all. Seeing faces not avatars. Speaking and not typing, voices, laughter and fun. Warmth and smiles.

@SteDoubleu  Brill night out with some *real* characters. Discovered that “Tayto’s” isn’t slang for boobs but is in fact a brand of potato crisps

@Feisty_Onion  8 Twitter friends but real-life strangers met in Derby. They drank the inn dry, kept the waiters up and laughed like loons.

@Ivan_Jelical  Make the weekend fly by, meet 8 twitter friends for the 1st time in a pub, add booze & let the fun begin. Just so sad to leave though.

@IainMonty  Magic weekend with fantastic people who are proper friends. Laughs, eats and conversations that are just as good in *real* life as in tweets

I LOVE this one from @MartinB1884  Sunday dinner with drinks, laughs, serious discussion and doppelgänger spotting. This wasn’t 140 characters- this was 7 lovely characters.

Onion & Andy

Reunions V Tweet-Ups..

Someone asked me recently, “what the blue-blazes ‘s is a tweet-up”?  That in response to me inviting him along to one that just happens to be today.  I don’t remember where I first heard the word, I’m pretty sure I didn’t make it up…that said, “twandoori” was almost certainly one of mine and Linda’s, “twiends” and “twart” were both born from my lips. 

A “tweet-up” is a meeting in “Real Life” of fellow tweeters. Now, why on earth would you want to meet in “Real Life” people you have met on the internet? Isnt that a bit odd? To socialize with people you have never spoken to?  But you may not even know their real names!  What do they look like in “real life”?  What if they are weirdo’s..? I am hoping they are to be honest, we ll get on like a house on fire!  Like finds like..  There is a saying which I wholeheartedly agree with..”Facebook is for the friends you were at school with, Twitter is for the friends you WISH you had been at school with”.. that is SO true. 

What School Rules?

 

I have twice copped out of going to school re-unions lately, using any excuse not to go, not just to others but to myself as well. I am so fat, I can’t face them seeing me like this, I can’t get a baby-sitter, I have a headache, I have nothing to wear.. mind you, IF I ever do attend one, I ll go in full school uniform, complete with stolen achievement badges  ; )  The truth is, I don’t want to go to school re-unions as the only thing we have in common is that we shared agonising years of tedious lessons, freezing our nuts off in huts and bunking off in the loo’s. I have my old “friends” on Facebook and enjoy looking at their photos and seeing how their lives have panned out. That is it though, my curiosity for anything further is a big, fat Zero %.

Today’s tweet-up has been planned for over a month and I have not  even once considered not going, despite the fact it’s a long journey for me to make and I am sharing a room with an Onion ; )  In truth, not all but most of the people attending are closer to me than members of my own family and “real life” friends. They have been my rock’s over the past month especially and I can’t wait to meet them and give them big “real-life”  ((((hugs)))) !

I am sure there will be photos taken and posted, I will update or follow-up this blog with how it went.  Now, I must shower and get my bag ready, my one and only concern is which costume to pack ; )

Nobody puts Humph in the corner..

Origins of names.. Smith.. Baker.. Butcher.. common names, given to represent the person’s employment.. “John The Smithy” became John Smith.. “Tom the Cooper”, Tommy Cooper… well, not “that” one, but you catch my drift?

Pirates used “handles”.. Long John Silver, Blackbeard and so on which became part of our popular culture in 1881 with the appearance of Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Treasure Island.”

More recently came CB radio.. “How to Chose a CB radio Handle”..  “Part of the fun of selecting a handle is doing some soul-searching. Be guided by a name that is a reflection of your identity. Select a CB handle that is an extension of your inner persona ”

Even pop-stars have been known to partake.. *looks towards Ringo Starr and Alvin Stardust with amusement* This season’s  X-Factor had a contestant “Storm” whose name was objected to by Simon Cowell.. Why? Where is the harm in expressing yourself with an alter-ego or nick-name?

Now of course, we use “special names”  on my beloved Twitter..  I have a “thing” about avatars as you may have noticed but also about Twitter names.  You can be whoever or whatever you want to be on Twitter.. I am very good friends with a gerbil and a bear right now but amongst my friends I can also count fake celebrities and politicians and just ordinary people who prefer to keep their identity private for personal or employment reasons.  We have all heard horror stories about employers and potential employers “stalking” employees via social media sites such as Facebook and Bebo. 

A Twitter name and avatar should show your personality off, or the person you wish to be.. you may like to use your own name, that’s your prerogative but I much prefer the daft ones. We had a little competition one night to name @Feisty_Onion… all night name suggestions were coming in until she settled on that one..  and she really is a feisty wee onion of a girl : )

Chosing a  “nickname”  on Twitter or anywhere else for that matter is and should remain a basic human  right.  When you register for a Twitter account, you chose your Twitter name as well as your own Biography, in there you can say as much or as little as you want about youself, you can even blatantly lie –  it’s Twitter.. there is no legal nor moral obligation to tell anybody more than they need to know.  Recently a very good Twitter friend of mine had to delete his account as people in “real life” were trying to find out his real identity for unpleasant reasons.  He is a real loss to Twitter and I know he misses expressing his thoughts in the arena.

Some people tie their Avatar image up to their Twitter name, I used to have a picture of Humphrey Cushion himself as mine but over time I enjoyed posting real photos of myself (if you can call them real!) .  

My “proper” name was revealed recently, against my express wishes. That has bothered me a lot, I love being “Humph” and “Ms Cushion” the blogger.. I feel that I have not only had to “come out”  about my disabilities in order to defend myself against unsubstantiated allegations but my character has been taken from me as well .

“Humph” has changed of late and I want her back! I want to speak my mind! Well-meaning and not so well-meaning people have tried to silence me, I shall resist speaking about certain subjects but I want to be the spontaneous, gobby, flirty, daft bint of a month ago!  I want to dress up and make new avatars every week without fear that they might end up in the papers!  So I am bloody well going to! *sticks tongue out*

To that end, today I have made a new Vampire avatar for Halloween, as requested by @Gaijinsan21  : )

It’s all David Jason’s fault…

Strange title I admit..  Had a “delightful” conversation on Twitter this morning with @Obotheclown who certainly lives up to his name : )  We were “discussing” tax-evasion and the “undeserving poor”..  That phrase, “the undeserving poor” rang a bell with me but I couldn’t place it at the time, I ll come back to it in a bit.

Wayne & Waynetta Slob

My argument was that tax-evasion costs our country £15 BILLION  per year, whilst “benefit thieves” cost  just over £1 BILLION per year (source) .  George Osborne has announced measures to clamp down on these “thieves” , including a £50 fine if they are found to be claiming illegally.  I very much doubt that will have much impact, although if caught three times they will  cut the “thieves” benefits for 3 years as well.  Fantastic! *applause*, that’ll teach the blighter’s.. erm, to burgle, mug, rob.. ? And what will become of their children?  Send them into foster care as their parents can’t afford to feed and clothe them?  Not especially well thought out Mr Osborne.. no change there then.

In order to wheedle out these “no-good, thieving, low-lives”, they are firstly putting incapacity claimants through new tests in a project being piloted in Burnley and Aberdeen, due to be rolled out to the rest of the UK next April.  The aim is to get people who can work off the benefits and onto another benefit.. Job Seekers Allowance, which pays less.  The Work Capability Test which they will face is costly and has a history of mis-diagnosing the ability to work,  70% of appeals against negative decisions are upheld.

Which brings me to the point of this post (yes, there is one) .. who are worse? The “undeserving poor” or the “tax-evaders”?   According to my chum Obo, the “undeserving poor” are.. but I wonder, how did this myth originate?  I have a theory and I lay the blame squarely at the door of one Mr David Jason.. tax evasion is “cool”, to be admired, clap that man on the back…  “Del Boy” is a national hero!

Whilst Vicky Pollard and Wayne and Waynetta Slob are despised, ridiculed and much maligned on our TV’s, David Jason’s Pop Larkin is a cheeky, charming tax dodger with four TV’s and a Roll’s Royce.  Little Britain even showed their wheelchair user Andy as a benefit thief!   The only “undeserving poor” person portrayed on television that I could think of to refute this myth is the fantastic Stanley Holloway… what do you think?

Nadine Dorries “says Sorry”..

Taken from YouTube, with grateful thanks to “TheAslanOfNarnia”…

No, SHE writes fiction…

Hello Twitter, Humph calling..

I have been quiet on this whilst seeking advice and am now in the position to put a few things straight.  Various unfounded allegations were made against me on Sunday 10/10/2010 by Ms Nadine Dorries MP for Mid Bedfordshire (Source) 

I am not going to go into each allegation line by line at this time, many of them can be answered by using a little common sense, ie Statutory Sick Pay, Protection of Vulnerable Adults Act etc.

However, there are some allegations that I would like to clear up for myself, now. One of these is the implication that I put graphic photographs of myself on Word Ejaculation which is completely untrue, this is the photograph I displayed there:

 

**  And I added this Roaaar photo to my “Milfs” post:

Although there are graphic images and stories on Word Ejaculation, my tales were accompanied by non-graphic images and the content was less descriptive than the writings of  Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a selected candidate or organiser for the Labour party. Nor have I ever been inside the Houses of Commons, although I would love to go!

I DO consider myself disabled under the “Definition of ‘disability’ under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)”  (as do my doctors!) I am not now, nor have I ever been in receipt of any health related nor unemployment benefits.

I am awaiting two operations on my feet for arthritis. I have been waiting since March 2010 for the operation on my right foot and since August for my left foot.  At no time have I ever said nor suggested that these will be at the same time, although I have heard from several people who have had such treatment.

Thanks for your continued support, I lubs you all muchly x

 *        *       *      *       *        *        *       *      *       *         *        *      
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes..  Mark Twain 

Twitter gets the stories first, Twitter gets the stories right…  Ms Cushion

 

  ** Updated 13th October 2020

A Good Coalition…

Humph & Linda

What on earth is a Labour supporter doing socialising with a Liberal Democrat PPC??? What’s more, why do they look like friends?

Because they are. Brought together by a hustings meeting in May, speaking on Twitter, meeting again at tweet-ups and becoming firm friends.  Many nights have been spent bashing out policies, arguing points and laughing our heads off..  why shouldnt people with differing political views be friends?

I make no pretence whatsoever about the  total devestation disappointment I felt when Nick Clegg took his party to join the Conservatives in May 2010.  My blood ran cold, I cried, I shouted my protests at the television as I am sure many thousands of others did. For months I ranted on about it until finally acceptance grudgingly settled in.

Since then I have had many debates on Twitter with Lib Dems about the rights and wrongs (or rights and lefts) of the Coalition. Generally (not always) we seem to come to similar conclusions, the Liberal Democrats seem to have been hoodwinked into propping up some appalling policies in exchange for a handful of their manifesto promises. Frustratingly, many Lib Dem policies have not only gone out of the window but have been literally stamped on by Dave & Co.

So as we sit and chat, laugh and debate during our tweet ups, I often wonder how very different things would have been had it been up to Humph & Linda…

Pssst: Linda writes a great blog.. “Lindylooz Muze”

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