Tag Archives: twitter

A Waiting Story: Twitter, the gift that keeps giving

I was waiting by the pool last week for someone to show – or at least, I think it was last week, my memory’s so shot these days – when a notification popped up on my phone.  “Your tweet has been retweeted!” it exclaimed in that usual shrill Twitter voice. Funny, I thought, I haven’t used Twitter for well over a year so wondered what the algorhythm had done on my behalf.

True enough, a silly little tweet about the state of the launderette I had made eighteen months ago had been reposted by someone in Alaska.  Have they nothing better to do than to respond to eighteen month old tweets I wondered.  And ignored it, trying to concentrate on the poolside activity that was misbehaving that early morning.

But not for long.  A few minutes later another notification popped its head over the parapet. Someone had commented about the launderette, this time from Russia. The story’s nearly two years old I muttered.  How come it’s still running?

That’s the problem with Twitter it occurred to me.  The damn stories don’t stop coming, they just go around and around cyberspace, like a spiral within a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel I mused (rather poetically I thought at the time until I realised I had just remembered some lines from a corny Noel Harrison song.) In the meantime, we have to deal with retweets of retweets, old themes which refuse to die and even older story lines which will never go away.

Luckily, some time later that morning I was able to prise myself away from responding to the tweets, the quotes and the trivia which had preoccupied me and get down to work for a change. Not that that lasted long.  The five year old launderette saga had reminded me that I’d left a pair of socks there last time I visited and never got them back.  It was about time I tweeted them to see if they had found them recently and to hang on to them until I got back from the Algarve.

Tips for Business Start Ups: Exciting New Website is a contradiction in terms.

Ok Harry, I know your business idea is going to occupy a special niche in your specialised niche market, and I get it that your finances stack up and that your social networking strategy has set fire to Twitter, but I’m disappointed when when you use the words ‘Exciting’ ‘New’ and ‘Website’ in the same sentence and in that order.

Websites are unfortunately not new any longer and to describe anything at all these days as ‘exciting’ demonstrates a real paucity of your stock of business adjectives. Nothing is exciting any longer Harry because its one of those adjectives that has been pummelled to death in trying to stimulate interest in products or services as diverse as coconut oil, flange sprockets and funeral services. None of these things are exciting and neither should they be.

‘Exciting’ is a word that should be reserved for events like falling off a cliff, demolishing a bank vault or being chased by a bull in a field – they’re all exciting as you’re putting your body and mind on the line, risking either impairment, arrest or death. That’s what an exciting life is all about – not getting an adrenaline rush by opening up a web page on google.

‘May you live in interesting times‘ might sound like a compliment when it fact it’s a stealth like curse: ‘may you develop an exciting new website’ has the same kind of promise – the promise of more tedious clicking, blinking and typing in registration details until you lose the will to live and phone for the exciting funeral director to relieve you of your pent up excitement.

How do social networks deal with the death of their users?

It’s weird when you hear out of the blue about friends who have recently died but whose profiles are still on Facebook. Not quite believing your ears, you check out their latest postings and on their timeline they look as lively and as connected and engaged as the last time you saw them. But now their profile looks like a tombstone, albeit surrounded by adverts exhorting our deceased friend to buy a hair transplant.

For all their vitality and here-and-now-ness, Facebook and Twitter and their online cousins don’t deal with the reality of existence fully at all. You exist in the sense that you have a presence but once you exist, there is no undo button which allows you not to exist.

Of course, expecting any social network to step up to the existential plate of what it’s all about Alfie is unfair on the Zuckerberg enthusiasts who have transformed how we interact with friends, enemies and colleagues on line and in real time. The Big Z would be the first to throw his hands up to protest that the purpose of Facebook is nothing to do with questions of what it is to be alive and everything to do with answers of how we fill our time whilst waiting for the delete button to be pressed on our real time profile.

But one of the internal contradictions in Facebook is that the Big Z and his enthusiasts cannot delete you as the only person who can delete you is you – and if you’re not there, then clearly you can’t delete yourself. of course, if you indulge in some real time trolling they can cut you out of their biosphere at the flick of a wrist, but if you continue to live your life in an innocuous and uncontroversial manner, and then are unlucky enough to keel over in the middle of your Chinese takeaway, you end up, as far as Facebook is concerned, in a permanent state of living and not living: also known as purgatory.

Twitter offers even more extreme existential opportunities. You don’t even have to exist at all to have an account on Twitter: you can generate an identity just by following a few commonly available algorithms on applications such as Weavrs.com. And you can end that identity, just as easily, or let it survive ad nauseum, independent of any human agency. Twitter, in that sense, allows for immortality of things independent of you. A bit like God, I guess.

There should probably be a Facebook graveyard where profiles are ceremoniously laid to rest although how they were deal with different faith’s approaches to the funeral arrangements beggars the imagination. One thing we can be certain of is that even in life or death, Facebook will continue to ply us with adverts which try to sell us hair transplants, life insurance or holidays in the Cotswolds. The optimism of the sales force at Facebook never ceases to amaze.

He’s Behind You! The guide to writing the AspireTwitterPanto – 51 days to go!

Now with 11 characters, 5 named contributors and some intriguing character dynamics shaping up, HE’S BEHIND YOU! Is now up and running.

You can contribute here:

https://drnicko.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/hes-behind-you-the-aspire-christmas-panto/

The first week of the project involves the creation of characters, the Panto world and some initial thoughts on potential songs.

The second week will start generating monologues, dialogues and other Panto-type communications. So if you fancy contributing to what characters say and do, now’s the time to start contributing.

We look forward to hearing from you!

He’s Behind You! – the script scrapbook of the AspireTwitterPanto

Here’s the place to add monologue, dialogue, songs and other utterances between the characters of the He’s Behind You Aspire Twitter Panto!

Please note you can only add script belonging to characters who have been identitified in the project ‘bible’ found here:

https://drnicko.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/hes-behind-you-the-aspire-christmas-panto/

Once upon a time there was a very kind, considerate and generous Banker called Heinous. This may come as a surprise dear viewer, but there was a time when bankers were the pillars of society, when to be a banker was to be a sign of civility and nobility, when everyone loved a local banker and when the most honourable thing one could aspire to was a career in banking. Yes, strange, but true, and our heroine, Heinous, was a banker set in that tradition. She was brave, she was fearless, she was beautiful. Quite simply, she was a banker.

Opening Number: PIGGIES MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND
(thanks to Cabaret)

Piggies make the world go around
…the world go around
…the world go around.
Piggies makes the world go around
They make the world go ’round.

A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound
…a buck or a pound
…a buck or a pound.
Is all that makes the world go around
That clinking, clanking sound…
Can make the world go ’round

Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy

If you happen to rich
And you feel like a night’s entertainment
You can pay for a gay escapade.
If you happen to be rich and alone
And you need a companion
You can ring (ting-a-ling) for the maid.
If you happen to be rich
And you find you are left by your lover,
And you moan and you groan quite a lot
You can take it on the chin,
Call a cab and begin to recover
On your 14-karat yacht! WHAT!?

Piggies make the world go around
…the world go around
…the world go around.
Piggies make the world go aroung
Of that we both are sure…
*rasberry sound* on being poor!

Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy

When you haven’t any coal in the stove
And you freeze in the winter
And you curse to the wind at your fate.
When you haven’t any shoes on your feet,
Your coat’s thin as paper,
And you look 30 pounds underweight
When you go to get a word of advice
From the fat little pastor,
He will tell you to love evermore.
But when hunger comes to rap,
rat-a-tat rat-a-tat at the window
*knock knock* (at the window)
Who’s there? (hunger) oh, hunger!!
See how love flies out the door…

For, piggies make the world go around
…the world go around
…the world go around.
Piggies make the world go ’round
The clinking, clanking sound of…
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Get a little, get a little
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Mark, a yen, a buck or a pound,
That clinking, clanking, clunking sound,
Is all that makes the world go ’round,
It makes the world go ’round!

NOTHING BUT A FAILURE!
Enter Flash Buttons, at the depths of despair, no money, cut off from his inheritance but still harbouring dreams of his career as a racing driver. Emerging from the shadows are Failure and Greed, surrounded by a group of slinky slimy people dancing, known as the ‘Cronies’
Failure and Greed sing to Flash Buttons with the Cronies dancing all around Flash Buttons

Who are you? (REPEAT UNDERNEATH)

Failure, failure, nothing but a failure
Failure, failure, nothing but a failure

Those nagging doubts that you have in your mind
All of those people who haven’t got time
All of your problems you long to beat
All those emotions belong to me

You know that I know that you know I’m right
You know that I know that you know I’m right
Here in front of you
Blocking your way
Here in front of you
Everyday
Here in front of you
Here to stay
In front of you

Who are you? (REPEAT UNDERNEATH)

Failure, failure, nothing but a failure
Failure , failure, nothing but a failure

People pick fault in your every word
Moves that you make, all your fears, you’re scared
You can’t succeed, it’s so plain to see
All of your doubts – belong to me

You know that I know that you know I’m right
You know that I know that you know I’m right
Here in front of you
Blocking your way
Here in front of you
Everyday
Here in front of you
Here to stay
In front of you

Who are you? (X 6)

Failure, failure, nothing but a failure
Failure, failure, nothing but a failure

(for the tune visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BKg0z2zmUs )

A (FAMOUS) SONG ABOUT BANKERS AND CARS

On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
The little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain…
Very strange
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes . .

WHAT ALL GOOD PANTOS HAVE
‘what did you see?
‘a ghost’
‘a ghost?’
‘you didn’t’
‘i did’ ‘well we better sing it again then’

He’s Behind You! The AspireTwitterPanto – join in here!

The Aspire Christmas Panto this year will be a new form of Christmas entertainment as it will be composed entirely through contributions from Twitter.

It’s devastatingly simple: send your thoughts and contributions for title, plot, characters and audience to us at Aspire via Nowen.aspire@btconnect.com – and we will edit, shape and collaborate with all and every one of you.

It’s working title is ‘He’s Behind You’. Further directions on how to generate your contributions will be forthcoming in the weeks up until Christmas.

We aim to produce the final piece through a twitter feed on Friday 23 December at 12.00hrs GMT. We hope all our collaborators will be able to participate in that event either through tweeting in character, providing images for the production or perhaps even audio tweets through Audioboo or other appropriate channels.

All you have to do is tweet in!

Poetry on the Hoof: That’s enough about me, lets talk about me.

– Galled with the social net not working?
– Aghast at the babbling of the twitter stream, the facebook fountain?
– Paralysed by the anxiety, the bravado, the inconsequentiality of
– Every last tweet, poke, nudge and gasp?

– If there is nothing else to say,
– No more to be written,
– And you feel that you’ve sung every last note of every last cliche,
– Then this song’s for you.

– Enjoy the miracle of an on-line silence.
– Revel in the absence of opined opinions.
– Bask in the trivia gap
– Where every lapse
– Of taste, decorum and civility
– Is forgiven, forgotten and from now, forbidden.

-See, read and listen:






































That’s enough about me, lets talk about me

Disneyworld as the aspirational role model for schools: just what’s so wrong with that?

Read on Twitter yesterday: Overheard a primary school learner describe a visit to a nearby high school as “this is like Disneyland”. It really was that good…

How tremendous would that be. School as an outpost of Disneyland and all its aspirational urgings: Let the memories begin…Explore the happiest place on earth…Welcome to the magic… all powerful metaphors which are hugely seductive for children, teachers and families.

And what’s so wrong with these metaphors? Why shouldn’t schools be the happiest places on earth? Perhaps there’s far too little magic in schools and a dose of Disneyfi-ed magic would do everyone a power of good? As a place to ‘let the memories begin’, its difficult to contradict the proposition that schools should be just that – places which shape memorable memories, shape our lives and futures and all that is good in the world.

And this is of course exactly the problem with the Disney model of school development and community building. There is no argument against it. It is impossible to critique the desire to be at the happiest place earth, the welcoming force of magic and a place for memory making. The Disneyfication of the school is the full stop at the end of the question which asks what schools are for.

Where is the place for resistance? For criticality? For unreconcilable difference? In short, no-where. There is no room for resistance in Disney. It is, as the Borg constantly remind us, futile. Any and all conflict in Disney is moderated, sanitised and overcome. The hero and heroine will always overcome the forces of the awkward buggers who get in their way. The awkward squad might be entertaining, or seductive in their repulsiveness: but one thing they never become are winners.

The individual- the Disney Hero – will always triumph in the Disney School: this is sometimes presented as being for the benefit of the individual themselves, at other times for the benefit of a wider, grateful community. Whatever else, the individual is central to all of Disney’s concerns. Nothing else matters as much as ensuring the desires of the individual are fulfilled. In that sense, the Disney school is the natural endpoint of the personalised learning agenda.

Which is where the combination of Disney and School in the same sentence becomes a potential nightmare because it generates the demand above all else that the child’s view is paramount. That their desires, interests, fashions and choices are all that matter; that the only function for teachers or other adults is to ensure their voices are heard and their demands met. In the Disneyfi-ed, personalised school, the child is in a 24/7 sweet shop, entranced by the baubles, hypnotised by the bangles, flattered by the flickering lights and fed, up to their back teeth, with the educational equivalents of coca cola, candy floss and Peter Pan.

But school is not a sweetshop. It should of course be magical and memorable and a place for happiness: but we should also welcome the reality that school is – and needs to be – tough, that learning is difficult, challenging and sometimes – dread word – boring. School – education – life – is a struggle, not a sherbet dip.