Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hoax Week On Twitter!

One thing I like about Twitter is that it allows me to get the news in real time. Well, the other day, the news was of a balloon that escaped apparently with a child on board. The boy, who became known as "Balloon Boy", turned out to be hiding in a box in the attic. Then it all turned out to be a hoax. The hoaxer was the father, a narcissistic attention whore obsessed with reality television, a misogynist who became a star of the reality TV series Wife Swap, who wanted to become famous before the world ends in 2012. Now "RIP Kanye West" is trending, and it turns out to be another fake celebrity death prank courtesy those pranksters at 4chan.

This is starting to get annoying.

Face it. Twitter's trends can be gamed. 4chan proved it when they put the hashtag #gorillapenis among the top trending topics. The Kanye West death hoax is far from the first to deceive people this year; this last summer, Rick Astley and Jeff Goldblum were allegedly dead. This time, 4chan merely pranked the Internet, specifically Twitter and Google. But Richard Heene pulled his hoax on the cops, the National Guard, the news media (especially the cable news networks), the Internet — indeed, the whole world — just because he wanted to fulfill his mad desire to become famous before the world ends.

Those 4chan guys pull their pranks for the "lulz". But the "Balloon Boy Incident" is what happens when the desire for fame becomes all-consuming and destroys one's sanity. Richard Heene is so obsessed with becoming a celebrity that he's willing to risk his family's lives, and in fact he even has a history of violence. In fact, I nominate him as worst celebrity parent in the world.

As for the 4chan guys: Some guy obsessed with becoming a reality TV celebrity outpranked them. And he didn't do it for mere "lulz"; he did it because he was driven by a monster ego. How can they possibly outdo him? Of course, they couldn't resist inserting themselves into the Balloon Boy hoax and pranking Heene himself; they even delivered pizza! Already I can see a bunch of pranksters, their own egos offended by being outdone by some celebrity wannabe, plotting their biggest prank ever in the chatrooms of /b/...

Heene won't be the last celebrity-mad egomaniac who will pull a fast one on the authorities and the media for the sake of fame. In fact, this might only be the beginning of a trend. Celebrity death hoaxes are starting to look mundane in comparison, though you and I know people will do them as long as there's celebrities.

Of course I'm waiting for the next hoax to trend #1 on Twitter. Stay tuned...

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Don't Tweet My Rants, I Blog Them: A Blogger Rants About Ranting

In the past few days I've seen some people on Twitter tweet some long rants. Now, I write long rants too. (This is probably one of my shorter ones, just so you know.) But I don't tweet them. Taking up several tweets just for one rant is simply not my way. But then, I'm a blogger, and they're probably not. Since I'm a blogger, I blog my rants. I want my readers to read each rant in one gulp. Then, about 12 hours apart, I have FriendFeed and TwitterFeed tweet the title and the link. I'd rather do this than risk "Twitter jail".

Consider this something of a "meta-rant".

I like to rant. I try to keep it under control, and I don't think I've truly overstepped any boundaries yet, though I suspect my current obscurity may be the only reason I haven't stepped on anybody's brittle egos yet. I love controversies, and sometimes I throw myself into some.

Twitter is great for getting oneself into the middle of a controversial issue in real time. Take the case of a certain now-infamous British Enron clone called Trafigura, already in trouble for dumping toxic waste in poor African countries, which got into some extra deep doo-doo the other day thanks to its law firm, Carter-Ruck, which managed to slap a total ban, or super injunction, on covering Parliament against the media. Sure enough, it backfired: Twitter went berserk; thanks to something called the Streisand Effect, Trafigura is now as infamous as Enron itself, and the already notorious Carter-Ruck have earned themselves a new level of well-deserved infamy. When I found the terms "Trafigura" and "Carter-Ruck" appearing in my Twitter stream attached to tweets denouncing censorship, and then trending among Twitter's top search terms, I knew at once that I had to get involved. Here's my blog post on the scandal (in my project blog, interestingly), and my 140-character summary.

But for long rants, Twitter just won't cut it. Being the blogger type I am, I prefer you down my whole rant in one gulp. So that's why I don't tweet my rants like the non-blogger tweeps do. I blog them.

End of meta-rant. ;)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

50 Songs In 90 Days is over, and my muse got out of her coma just in time...

#5090
October 1 was the last day of 50 Songs in 90 Days. The previous day, I discovered that I'd forgotten most of the songs I'd started writing for 50/90. Some of them were in the directory I'd set up just for this year's 50/90; others were on sheets of paper hidden somewhere. All of them, of course, were unfinished: either tunes without lyrics or lyrics without tunes. I found them and posted them just in time. I'm finishing them now. Once I get all the lyrics composed, I'll start recording the demos so there will be actual songs to hear.

My 50/90 profile is here. If you're registered at 50/90 or FAWM, you can even leave comments. And I still have a lot of "zongs" (songs without comments) left to "bust"...