TwitwatchUK – Week Three (24th Jan)

Welcome to this week’s TwitWatch UK..  as usual we have a load of old crap some great stories from the past week to share with you.

Weather-wise, it was reported that 2010 was the coldest UK winter on record,  whilst  being the 2nd warmest year Globally. Do you think someone has it in for us? Maybe it’s a conspiracy along the lines of “why can’t we ever win the Eurovision Song Contest” despite cheating our way into the final’s every year donating towards the contest costs?
 

Yay!  Top Gear came back!  Clarkson heroically had a helicopter land on the roof of a car he was driving.. it was like watching James Bond, only well, you know.. Clarkson is really scruffy, annoying and not in the least bit fanciable. APART from that.. it was awesome : ) Another Yay! Richard Hammond finally cut his hair, I think Mummy must have put her foot down although he is still wearing his 18-30s necklace..  Best of all though, they introduced a new Stig, who says women cant’ drive? ; )

A new comedy show was launched on TV this week with a live format.. The 10 O’Clock Show.. it was good but a bit like watching a Twitter stream that’s already three days old.

The best news of the week for me was that Ed Balls was finally appointed as Shadow Chancellor, sadly at the expense of Alan Johnson’s resignation but hey, the HOC will be a much livelier place from now on! Hopefully he is the man to kick Ed Miliband up the jacksy and we will see some proper opposition at last.

Andy Coulson also resigned this week so Twitter has de-twibboned from  “Sack Coulson”  and re-twibboned “Arrest Coulson” instead.. 

Mama Mia, here she goes again..  Meryl Streep was spotted at PMQs last week, swatting up for her imminent role as Margaret Thatcher in the film “The Iron Lady”. Humphrey just hopes it’s not a singing role, although “Money Money Money” would be rather appropriate.

Lastly and Ghastly.. my favourite tweeter stopped tweeting :*(   This post (sorry it’s crap) is dedicated to the much missed @Gaijinsan21, we hope you come back soon, Humphrey Twitter just isn’t the same without you x

Big following comes with much responsibility.. #ff

Friday is yet again upon us, my how the week has flown!  Yet again Twitter is abuzz with the latest scandal, today it is the resignation of Andy Coulson (hurrah!) and the inevitable #ff ‘s – Follow Friday’s. Today I feel compelled again to write about #ff’s and warn you about the consequences of getting what you wish for..

If you are on Twitter to plug a blog or raise an issue, great..but if you are there to escape from “real life” for a while, have a bit of fun, chat with friends and play hashtag games then why look for more followers?

Follow Friday is lovely, it’s a way of sharing your thoughts about other’s with your own followers, paying tribute if you like.. To be “ff’d” not only sounds really smutty 😉  but also feels really good.  It doesn’t always lead to more followers though, bizarrely many people lose followers on a Friday.  Unfollowing often causes hurt and bewilderment, you think it’s personal, often it isn’t. My advice is DONT check with the likes of “www.whichbastardunfollowedme.paranoid”  Definitely never  EVER tweet the result, “shaming” the unfollowee…!  Remember that following more than 300 people is REALLY hard, sometimes people just fancy a change or struggle to keep up.  That’s why I put people in lists, so I can follow the lists rather than everyone all at once in some kind of Amazonial Twitter stream.

Once upon a time there was a girl called Humphrey who would say good morning to Twitter every day, often scattering toast or fairy dust around.. She would wish everyone a good night and sometimes invite Twitter #inbedwithHumph.. her days were spent laughing and playing with a bit of flirting dropped in..

Nowadays I am too overwhelmed by replies and scared of repercussions to “play Humph” like I used to. I’ve written before about the so-called “Twitterati”, it was back in August, following my birthday.  I had around 1000 followers at the time I think and it was “pre-Dorries-law” days.  Throughout the day I was inundated by birthday greetings, which was both lovely and shocking. It opened my eyes a little to what the “Twitterati” face every time they tweet…

Now at almost 2000 followers, I sometimes find myself hesitating before making a tweet for fear of a big response.. I still want to answer everyone who tweets me, I find it rude not to and I really enjoy having conversations.  However, I haven’t always the time it takes to do so and often get really abusive replies, particularly if I have tweeted on a political issue.  (I am also excruciatingly aware of how many tweets I stack up in a single day, although they are mostly replies)

More than once I have considered deleting my account over the past few months, I have even started a new one in order to rant a little without fear of reprisals.  These days I tend to just tweet about disability issues with the odd moan about the telly or politicians thrown in.  But by deleting my account I would lose the little influence I have built up and I truly believe I use it for good and want to continue to do so.  I love my followers, I am really proud of the “work” I do on Twitter and this blog and would hate for that to go to waste.

Thanks to my lovely noisy neighbours, I now have a borrowed computer so have Tweetdeck back.  Tweeting is SO much easier with it!  What do you mean, you don’t use it?  You MUST! It is FANTASTIC !  It has come just at the right time for me, with my first foot operation being next Tuesday..*gulp* There is a long recovery and I expect to spend most of my waking hours stuck in a chair in front of the computer with my foot elevated. I can blog, read, watch TV and listen to the radio but hope I get my Twitter “mojo” back and spend time laughing and playing on Tweetdeck again.  I don’t know if “Humphrey” will properly return though, she seems to have lost her flirting ability lately 😦 #whatswrongwithHumph #thinkshesinlove

“Entonces” as they say in Spain.. like the Mugwai..with big following comes much responsibility, or in other words.. be careful what you wish for!

Twit-Watch UK – 9/01/2011

Inspired by @Chislehurst, this is the first TwitWatch UK post.. if all goes to plan and you like them, I will make them weekly all year 🙂

Coalition raise VAT to 20% – Twitter plot’s to scupper the extra tax on biscuits by pledging to buy Jaffa Cakes instead of HobNobs..  mwa ha ha..  (I had trouble finding Jaffa Cakes today, they were sold out in a lot of stores #TwitterWin )

1st Anniversary of the day a man made a stupid joke  – A year ago this week, Paul Chambers sent the #TwitterJokeTrial tweet, which led to a conviction and him losing his job.  Paul (with the help of fantastico lawyer @JackOfKent aka David Allen Green) is taking the case to the High Court in a bid to clear his name.  To help Paul, please donate what you can to the Trial Fund or buy a fab T-Shirt or Mug 🙂

I Am Spartacus!

Kenneth Tong, You’re SO Wrong..  This week also brought us the joy that is Kenneth Tong, a man with the plan to make all women a size Zero. I have NEVER been a size Zero in my life, certainly not going to try it now.. pass the Jaffa cakes..

RIPs – Twitter mourned the loss of Gerry Rafferty and Pete Posselthwaite this week and for an hour or so, that of Gabrielle Giffords, the US Senator who was critically injured (first thought of as dead) in a horrific shooting for which the Tea Party are seemingly responsible.. if only indirectly, which left 6 people including a nine-year old girl, dead.

Expenses Scandal MP Jailed –  On Friday, Labour MP  David Chaytor was rightfully imprisoned for 18 months over his £20,000 expenses fraud. This news was somewhat overshadowed by sordid revelations by my MP!

Hashtaggery – A silly hashtag #LameToFame gave us all a laugh this week, my contribution was the fact I have a pair of Johnny Vaughn’s discarded long-john’s.. long  john’s/long story.. !

Jaffa Cakes – In support of the splendid Jaffa Cake and inspired by last week’s TV special #StarGazing presented by Professor Brian Cox, Humph revives the wonderful “Eclipse” advert…

Full Moon...

 

Half Moon....

 

Total Eclipse !!

2010 in a coconut-shell…

2010 was weird and wonderful in equal measure.  As I lost my mobility and personal freedom, I gained Twitter and blogging.  Twitter gave me company and self-esteem through a horrible year, I have even made real-life friends through it, “tweeting up” locally and in Derby. Blogging kept me sane and allowed me to explore writing styles and share my sense of humour in bigger doses than I could do on Twitter (sorry about that 🙂 ).

The Eurovision and World Cup gave me the best laughs of the year as I was inspired to make avatar pictures to represent each country. Eurovison night itself was a massive challenge as I had to change profile picture 25 times! 

Eurovision Avatars!

 

World Cup Avatars

 

Throughout the year I raised awareness for many different causes.  I got myself into a LOT of trouble with my local MP who “outed” my real name, much to my dismay. I really like being Humphrey!  Then, in November I won two Twitter awards, which I am incredibly proud of.

I also cried a lot, more than I have done since I lost my father to cancer.  I cried through sheer self-pity, pain, frustration, anger and loss. Coming to terms with a disability is one of the hardest battles I have ever had to face. I am still dealing with it, every time I look at my feet in the bath I imagine how they will look with their scars and shorter big toes ( first operation is 25th January *shudder*) .  I love my feet!  Always so proud of them, with their elegantly sloping toes and dainty nails.  I think I will have them tattooed with flowers when the surgeon has worked his magic, to cover the scars and make them pretty again : )

Not much else happened through the year, I had a couple of dates, annoyed some people, lost two cats, gained another who is my darling : ) 

Jasmine & Pickles

So, yup!  That’s just about it..

Here’s to 2011, may it be filled with knowledge, wonder, laughter, moustaches, love, excitement and joy!

Merry Christmas Twitter : )

Sorry I can’t say Merry Christmas to you all individually, you know I would if I could!  Here’s the Christmas cards I made for you, hope you like them : ) Have a great day, love Humph xx

Serious one first..

And a bit of silliness… well, what else did you expect from me? ; )

All that Twitters is Gold….

Someone take the hanger out of my mouth, I haven’t stopped grinning since last night’s Golden Twits awards show.  I am SO proud of my two awards, Pictures and Private Individual, which were both voted for by YOU LOT, which means far more to me than if I had won a “voted for by Judges” one. 

I’d thought on Monday that I may have won something as the hosts emailed me to confirm they would “really, really like it” if I could go along. So then I had a real dilemma as to whether to attend or not.  The journey to London alone was daunting, without the thought of sitting through the show itself.  So, after badgering the lovely hosts into promising to look after me properly, I bought my ticket : )  

What to wear?? Do I go as “Humphrey”, “Ms Cushion” or plain old me?  I picked a bit of everything in the end!

Although I had dreaded the journey, I thoroughly enjoyed driving through the London streets, passing all my old haunts of yesteryear.  I used to work in the “Old Smoke” and had forgotten my absolute love for the place.  I also got to see my first “Barclay’s bike” !

Met by the lovely @Feisty_Onion and @Jaloopa23, we went in and down the stairs to the basement of Bar 1920, Great Sutton St.  The bar is long and narrow,with seating mostly around the walls.  There isn’t a stage as such so the organisers had set up a screen with a microphone in front, at the far end of the room.  I read some of your tweets but pity the poor, poor comedian a little.. not only did he have an audience made up of US.. Tweeters who are lucky enough to read the most up-to-date, side-splitting and tea-spitting-out jokes on Twitter every day but he was also battling with no stage and the audience spread over a long, noisy space. (I do think he was a little mis-cast though as his material depended heavily on finding drug abuse and Canadians funny.. )

Some men were evicted from their seats next to the “stage” so that I didn’t have to move far to make a pratt of myself accept the awards – I know I said recently “nobody puts Humph in the corner” but I was really grateful to be put, although it stopped me socializing 😦   I was hoping to have a chat with fellow “public” winner @Konnolsky’s erm, “representative”, who was suspiciously Konnolsky-like but his secret is safe with me..  best offer for his pic? ; )

A live stream was set up, if  it was recorded and be available for me to link to I ‘ll do so but it hasn’t appeared anywhere yet.  Probably just as well as I think my first “140 character acceptance speech” went down fairly well (although only a handful of people in the bar “got it”, I read out the #TwitterJokeTrial tweet – what a rebel!) but my second was disastrous.. I hadn’t banked on winning twice!  I waffled on about thanking my manager, hairdresser, costume designer, photographer etc.. but as nobody really had a clue who I am or what I “do”, it went down even worse than the first one! 

Until the footage is available, this is a pretty good version of how I looked whilst accepting my award ; )   (ht @dickmandrake )

Part of my “award” is that I am now a BRAT (British Academy of Twits)…  which means that I get to vote as a Judge next year : ) Maybe I can add B.R.A.T after my name as Doctor’s do?  Its funny, my dear old Dad often called me a brat and a twit, I expect he is looking down laughing now in the knowledge that his prophecy was fulfilled  ; )

I hope that I can also have some input into the event itself next year as I think it would have been much improved by a larger audience and more information about each nominee or winner.  Most of the awards were to business people, not “ordinary” tweeters like me and @Konnolsky and I suspect that the £23 ticket price put a lot of tweeters off of attending.  I’m not complaining though, we were well looked after and given free drinks tokens (even though I was on the coke!)

My Drinkies..

 

Not my drinkies..

 ( Spot the Knob)

Although I crawled along for an extra hour on the M1 on the way home that should have been spent in bed and I’m in pain today, all things considered I’m glad I went –  I’ve never won anything before in my life and didn’t have @DianaInHeaven’s excuse not to attend.. .  I got to laugh a few lovely hours away with my favourite root vegetable (@Feisty_Onion) and I have my awards and a big goofy smile. Thank you SO much Twitter, you made an old bag very happy 😀

For full details of the awards and winners, visit the Golden Twits website : )

#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

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  : )

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