Tag Archives: twitter

Soapbox Saturday: The most annoying thing about the British Newspaper Archive

5 May

 I haven’t really spent much time on the British Newspaper Archive website since it launched last year, but I decided today that I would fork out some money for a few credits to spend over the couple of days. I had bookmarked a few pages over the last few months, waiting until the time was right to actually view the images.

So today for the first time I have started to discover some of the website’s annoyances. The poor quality of the OCR in places was a little annoying, most of the images I was looking at were of a reasonable quality, especially for someone used to searching newspapers on old and worn microfilms.

Some of the PDF downloads were not such good quality, in fact some were unreadable, and it is quite fortunate that the images of the Sussex Advertiser appear to be quite good quality. All in all the website is useable, not outstanding, but acceptable.

There is however one thing on the site which was soon getting on my nerves, that damn Twitter feed below the main header.

I am not a fan of Twitter, quite frankly I find it annoying to keep being encouraged to follow people and organisations on Twitter, almost as annoying as being told to “Like us on Facebook”.

There I would be reading a newspaper extract when another message would appear in the banner above, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it I couldn’t help but be distracted. The movement of the scrolling text was impossible to ignore.

But what’s that, there is a pause button at the right-hand end of the banner, that would do it. Sure enough it did, the annoying scrolling text stopped. I could focus again on the image I was interested in without fear of distraction.

However my relief was short-lived, the minute I moved to another screen, the scrolling text was back again. Please brightsolid if you must inflict highlights of your Twitter feed on me then please give me an option to turn it off and keep it off.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Is Twitter just the modern version of the picture postcard?

12 Oct

The latest edition (October 2009) of Picture Postcard Monthly includes a reference to a piece in the Daily Telegraph about a study which suggests that Tweeting is just the modern equivalent of sending a picture postcard.

The study by Julia Gillen of Lancaster University and Nigel Hall of Manchester Metropolitan University highlighted some of the similarities between the postcard and tweets, such as the limited amount of space, the use of abbreviations and text speak, the speed at which the messages are delivered and the sheer volume of messages sent (calculated at around 6 billion postcards sent between 1901 and 1910).

More details can be found on the Manchester Metropolitan University website, including details of how to read some of the postcard messages that are being sent again, but this time on Twitter.

Interestingly as I was checking out the story on the Telegraph.co.uk website I noticed another story, which shows that postcards aren’t always the quickest way of sending messages. This particular postcard took forty years to reach its destination, unfortunately the intended recipients had since moved on (if not passed on).

I seldom send postcards these days (but I do collect modern ones as well as old ones) but then I have never tweeted yet either. I wonder if Twitter will still be around 100 years on, if not what will have taken its place as an instant messaging system?

Too anti-social for social networking?

9 Jul

I am finding it very hard to get excited about the latest social networking website Genealogy Wise. I nearly signed up yesterday morning, but thought I would have to take some time to read their privacy policy first so didn’t bother. However I think it is apathy that is stopping me signing up now.

I couldn’t be bothered with Myspace, far too messy and noisy for my liking. I do have a Facebook account, but I only go on there to play Scrabble these days, and that application nearly cripples my PC now, so that probably won’t last much longer. If my friends wanted to be reunited with me then they could probably find me without the need for a website, and if they couldn’t, well that probably wasn’t a bad thing.

I have no need for a Second Life (there is not enough time in the day for the first one) and no PC that would cope with it anyway. I have never felt the urge to Tweet or follow anyone else, so I don’t see why I should start now. I don’t even have my family tree online, although I know I probably should.

Come to think of it I am not even sure why I am blogging either? But please don’t let me spoil the party. I have nothing against Genealogy Wise or any of the other social networking sites (or their users), but I do find it increasingly harder to find much (if any) enthusiasm for any of them.

Perhaps it is being a restrained Englishman that does it, or perhaps it is being a simple country boy that makes me want to run in the opposite direction from a frenzied crowd of social networkers.

So if you don’t mind I will leave you all to your groups and discussions, you all carry on poking each other (or whatever it is you youngsters do these days) and I’ll go and have a quiet sit down in the corner and read a book or perhaps do some research, and if you could keep the noise down a bit that would be marvellous. Thank you.

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