Twitter’s AWOL

February 29, 2008

It started last night.

I hit “reload” to find out what everyone was doing just before I quit for the night.


Blank white page, little spinny Firefox icon. No updates. No avatars. Okay, I thought. I can cope with this. It’s late, and I can just check in the morning. No problem.

Except I can’t. It’s STILL DOWN. I can’t say good morning to the Twitter world. I can’t find out how the class went for @BryanAlexander in San Francisco last night. I don’t know whether @blamb and @cogdog got their morning coffee. How was @mburtis‘s birthday? Is @mapetite still sick? I DON’T KNOW.

Which raises a question for me: why does it matter so much? Obviously Twitter gives me something that, when it’s not there, I miss. I feel unconnected, uninformed, unaware, and, yes, lonely, out here in the California satellite office of the NMC. I know you are all still out there, doing things. Maybe some of you can actually get to Twitter; I got a direct message from @mapetite this morning (it went to my phone), and gives me a resounding NO (linktribution to CogDog, thank goodness for IM). Great, so now I fear that everyone is happily twittering along without me. This is worse than being the last kid picked for the basketball team.

Twitter, where are you? Come back!


Five Things, or Late to the Party But Hey There’s Still Beer

February 27, 2008

Like Howard Rheingold, I am hooked on Twitter. I don’t update a lot, but I like to see what folks are doing (I think of it as my virtual hallway of colleagues) and I like to be helpful and answer people’s questions. The links that come across there are also usually worth following, which is how I discovered that over a year ago, Alan Levine (the inimitable CogDog) tapped me for Five Things.

[Dear Reader: If you don’t care how it happened but just want to know my five things, please skip down to the numbered list below. Otherwise, read on.] It happened thus: Brian Lamb twittered a Churchill quote and a link to his Five Things (written almost as long ago as Alan’s tap; as you will see, this is sort of a theme here), so I went to check it out. I’m glad I did, too, as now I know to bring my bulletproof vest to places where Brian is likely to be. In the post, Brian lamented that most folks had already been tapped ages ago (true, and a problem I shall face shortly). He also thoughtfully provided the link to Alan’s Five Things, in which Gardner C. and Bryan A. were already snagged, in a comment. Of course I followed the link, because CogDog’s Five Things were bound to be interesting (and again I was not disappointed). Imagine my surprise to find that down at the bottom of that post, I too had been tapped. Thing #0, therefore, is that I can be a little slow on the uptake. There, threw that one in for free. Five Things:

  1. I can draw a mean Bill the Cat.
  2. One of my early jobs was as a secretary. I sucked. Oh, I was so unbelievably bad at it that I can’t even tell you how awful I was. I hung on for six months through sheer bloody-mindedness and then I quit.
  3. While it’s commonly known that I have a background in art, not many people know that one of the media I like to work with is metal. I prefer oxy-acet to arc welding… there is something alive about the flame that I don’t get from the sparks. Unfortunately I don’t have the equipment at the moment so it’s been way too long since I’ve had the opportunity to wield a flaming 6000-degree F (3000 C) torch.
  4. In the spring of 1992 I spent a semester as a Peace Corps Intern in Libreville, Gabon. The internship program doesn’t exist any more, or didn’t last time I checked (mine was the second-to-last group. I don’t think this was my fault, but you never know). Twice a year, six interns were selected to go to various Peace Corps countries to do things like organize the central office library or, in my case, to set up and maintain their computer network. Yes, I hooked up an AppleTalk network, in Africa, and taught people how to use FoxBase, in French. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I loved every minute (except for the 48 hours when I had malaria; that I could do without). I learned to drink beer there, so I am naturally suspicious of any beer that you can see through.
  5. I performed double trapeeze, Spanish web and shoot-thru (balancing ladder) in the circus when I was in college (sorry, no pix, don’t ask). My undergraduate alma mater, Florida State University, has a collegiate circus, and I performed in the homeshows. They take the circus on the road in the summer, but summer is such a lovely, pleasant season in Tallahassee that I always remained at home. Oh wait, no it’s not. I stayed home because I was broke and taking summer classes.

My turn to tap: as has been noted elsewhere, many have already been tapped. I couldn’t find a Five Things post from Gardner C., so I hereby tap him again. I further tap Vidya A., Martha B., Nancy W., and Fleep T. Go get ’em, girls (and Gardner)!

I gather, from reading the Five Things posts of people I respect, that there’s sort of a feeling that this kind of thing is done in spite of our better judgement, and preserving the meme is frowned upon a little bit. I’m delighted that I could bring it back over a year after decent people thought it was over.