My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

4 Articles Tagged with “Twitter”

  1. Teaching and Twitter

    So, my students finally found me online.

    Seriously, what took you so long?

    Not to boast, but I’m easy to find online. There are few enough Ben Babcocks that my various accounts, not to mention my website, eventually show up sometime on a Google search. So I knew it was just a matter of time.

    Knowledge of my online presence has spread quite quickly. I’m not that bothered. Long ago I made a decision to discard anonymity. While it’s a valid option, I found that in my case I wanted to be able to keep my online and offline lives as closely linked as possible. I knew that, with my chosen profession, this might pose some difficulties. However, it also provides a few opportunities as well.

    After all, we are still figuring out privacy in the digital age. Having hit its 20th anniversary this year, the Web remains relatively new. My generation is among the first to grow up with it as a professional platform for self-promotion, self-aggrandizement, and self-expression. We have to suss out what is private versus what is personal. The bottom line, though, is that we are unquestionably making more information available in public (or to…

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  2. What We Learned from #amazonfail

    I quite enjoyed on Easter weekend watching the instantaneous outrage across the Internet, particularly #amazonfail on Twitter, as it became apparent that Amazon had removed sales rankings from books with "adult" content. The outrage stems more from the fact that the application of the "adult" label seems skewed toward books with homosexual content; the heterosexual books are safe. In the ensuing light-speed confusion: Mark R. Probst shared his limited interaction with an Amazon rep, in which the rep revealed the "adult content" policy; the LA Times book blog covers it, then covers it again when sources claim that Amazon has blamed a "glitch"; and some posited it was the result of gaming the system.

    Take the time to read the above articles before reading on.

    What Definitely Happened

    In lieu of any definitive statement from Amazon regarding this debacle, it would be irresponsible to say, "This is what happened." At best, we have theories. But all theories start with facts. Here are the facts, what we know did happen, even if we don't know why it happened.

    Amazon Has a Safe-Search Policy

    As evidenced by Mark Probst's post, a representative for Amazon has confirmed that…

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  3. It's all so Zen

    I'm not the first person to say this, certainly, but I'm far too lazy to Google for corroborating posts--strangely enough, if my ethical code ever collapses inward on itself,((Would this result in the formation of an ethical black hole?)) my laziness will always prevent me from plagiarizing. Writing my own stuff always seems easier than trying to find it, even with the miracle of the Internet.

    But I digress.

    Today's Internet phenomenon on the chopping block is Zen. The overuse of "zen" in product and website names throughout the Internet irks me--and I don't even practise Zen, so I can only imagine how those people who do feel about this.

    Firstly, don't blame Zen. That's tantamount to blaming Santa Claus for Coca-Cola. Much like Santa, Zen can't fight back.((Although in Santa's case, it's contractual, whereas Zen is an abstract, intangible concept and not a real person--which Santa IS.)) Secondly, yes, it is our fault. And by "we", I mean, us, those darn "Westerners" who have once again decided to co-opt an "Eastern" idea and market it as our own.((Like spaghetti. And communism.)) For shame.

    We stole Zen because we thought it was cool (and we are not). I…

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  4. How I got Twitter to work with TBayTel

    Last night I signed up for Twitter, an increasingly popular online service that allows users to send status messages from a variety of platforms--mobile, web, IM, etc. Big deal, you say. So what--who cares? The neat thing isn't so much what Twitter does as how you can use Twitter elsewhere on the Internet.

    For example, thanks to a Facebook application, I can update my Twitter status and have it show up on my Facebook profile page. Once I redesign my website (coming soon, I promise!) I'm going to add a status box to the front page, and it will draw the status from Twitter. So instead of updating Facebook and my site, all I have to do is update my Twitter status, and anything that draws my status from Twitter will change.

    But wait, there's more. Twitter is following the trend of moving the Web off the Web and onto phones. You can text Twitter from your phone. I'm online a lot, so of course it's quite convenient to use the web interface. However, the real power from Twitter, in my opinion, is the fact that I can update it without access to a computer. This way if I…

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