Twitter is forcing me to unfollow people

August 25, 2009 at 9:03 PM (Uncategorized)

I want to start this with a disclaimer. I am not writing this to scold anyone that I follow or to ask them to change how they use Twitter. This rant is aimed squarely and solely at the people at Twitter Inc.

I have reached a roadblock in my use of Twitter. I cannot follow any more people who interest me. In fact, the more interesting a person is, the less useful Twitter becomes if I follow that person. This strange and seemingly contradictory situation is entirely Twitter’s fault.

Twitter treats messages that begin with @username as being addressed to that user and so most other followers won’t see them. Up until May, you had three options in how to deal with those messages from the people you follow. You could choose to see all of them, only the ones addressed to other people you follow or only the ones addressed directly to you.

If you were using Twitter in May of this year, you probably remember the controversial @reply change. Twitter Inc. found it necessary to change so as to remove the ability of people to see @replies from people they followed that were addressed to people they did not follow. It was causing a large strain on their network and the option simply had to go. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

Unfortunately, Twitter also removed the option to not see the @replies addressed to other people you do follow. When one person I follow says something to another person I follow, I see that conversation in my own stream, even though the message wasn’t addressed to me.
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Should internet anonymity go away?

August 20, 2009 at 1:52 PM (Uncategorized)

The answer is no.

Since he asked for it right at the bottom of this article (read it because I’m not summarizing it here), this is an email I just sent to Robert Cringely.

What’s more important: privacy & anonymity or identity & responsibility?

Why don’t we compare the pros and cons?
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You have nothing to hide? Prove it.

August 16, 2009 at 7:31 PM (Uncategorized)

I hate it when someone uses the phrase “I have nothing to hide.”

That is a fantastically stupid thing to say. It is one of those seemingly clever, snarky little quips that almost sounds like it means something. It is what someone says when they have lost the argument but are not honest enough to admit it.

The statement is a strawman. It is only vaguely related to the debate at hand and is used in order to change the subject. Rather than an honest debate over privacy, now there is a veiled accusation that perhaps you have done something embarrassing and don’t want anyone to know about it.

It is similar to a violation of Godwin’s law – it derails the debate and everyone involved forgets the fact that no real argument has been made against privacy.
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