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2011-03-14 - 18:04:00 - by AlisonW - Topic: Tech: Social | Twitter |

Specifically, mine. It is now over 21 24 hours since I was suddenly and unexpectedly disconnected from Twitter without notice and despite submitting a support ticket shortly thereafter I am still none the wiser about what is happening. For someone who might regularly tweet 50+ times in a day this feels akin to going 'cold turkey', indeed it makes me wonder about the whole social media universe and whether it should be considered an addiction!

It has brought into sharp focus the way that one's on-line presence is generally considered by others. The fact that I haven't tweeted since yesterday evening might be forgiven by my 677 or so followers, but when they try to find out why they haven't heard from me and go to see? A banner reading "This account is currently suspended. If we have suspended your account by mistake, please let us know by visiting Suspended Accounts. will appear to them in solus position.

No matter that this blockage is clearly in error: I've re-checked all the Twitter terms of use, etc. to be certain that I've not even accidentally stepped over any acceptable line (I haven't) and though Twitter professes to send an email at the same time as suspending an account I've received none. Indeed, as I run my own mail servers I can fully verify this. But that doesn't protect me in the reputation stakes.

Being blocked like this will definitely cause some followers to disappear (at the moment my follower and followed counts are both zero, and where there had been some 60 lists I was on that too now reads zero. At least my 10,177 tweets are still counted, if not accessible. Taken together this state of affairs will be doing substantial – and probably irreparable – damage to my online reputation. I am 'AlisonW' not just on Twitter, but also most everywhere else. From my domains at through to Advogato, AudioBoo, backtype, BrightKite, diigo, DOPPLR, flickr, geekspeakr,, Less Wrong, LibraryThing, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Plaxo, plurk, posterous, Slashdot, social|median, Technorati, Tumblr, Upcoming, Wikipedia and others, I am 'AlisonW'. So for my twitter feed to disappear is pretty much a disaster situation.

I mostly tweet around UK politics (especially during the weekly BBC1 programme ' Question Time' – #bbcqt), the Boston Red Sox baseball team (#RedSox #BoSox) and current events – at the moment this includes the upcoming referendum on #Yes2AV in May and the #census at the end of this month. One thing I have found is that the more often I tweet the more often I get spam messages. Where it is clear-cut I report the account, otherwise I block them.

Because I have worked on some Twitter API-based interfaces in the past I have a database of my past tweets, though as it isn't automatically updated the store list isn't fully up to date, expiring on the afternoon of last Friday, the 11th. That day there had been much correspondance about the sudden change of ownership of the twitter handle '@girlgeeks' which for the last few years had been with Morna Simpson, founder of Girl Geeks Scotland, but which had suddenly been handed over to a newcomer. I was happy to help by tracing – through public online records – the person she needed to contact about the problem and I'm pleased to say that Morna has since tweeted that the situation has all been resolved amicably and she is getting her handle returned.

So that you can see something about the tweets I make – and see that there is nothing contentious – I've copied the last two days I have archived. There is only one change (a partial blanking) which is of an address. From some analysis I did earlier this year, the content of a tweet is generally 'active' for ten to twenty minutes and maybe a long tail stretching to at most an hour. That particular tweet of mine (which was retweeted by someone else) does not need the extra publicity from being repeated here. You can blame the export function of OpenOffice for the old-style table markup!

created_at text
13-03-2011 18:42 Day starts really well for BecKKKKKet but falls apart in fifth. He leaves game with 2R against and bases loaded. #RedSox
18:19 BecKKKKKet! This is the season we want to see. #RedSox
18:13 Anderson (78) doing very nicely today. Homer in his second AB and nice stealing in his first. #RedSox
18:11 I <3 Kalish but he really needs more practice in learning what pitches to leave alone and which to go for. Start at #PawSox? #RedSox
17:46 That's what happens when you leave chairs and stuff on the foul outfield. #RedSox bring home two when ball hits bottles!
17:42 #Pirates trying to practice infield pick-off plays - and failing. Anderson to third. #RedSox
archived tweets are below; those above are non-reply tweets from local cache.
RT @thekulway: First waves from tsunami hit Northern California
17:00:24 I wasn't making a judgement on the legal niceties of the situation. Though I do think removing userid without compensation or query stinks.
16:58:43 For the avoidance of doubt, I earlier used "stolen" in the sense that the username was taken from the original owner without her permission.
16:55:56 RT @daveewing: The headline you won't be reading: "Millions saved in Japan by good engineering and government building codes". Buts it's …
16:52:40 As scary as today's #japan #quake and #tsunami are, more worrying is statements that Tokyo and San Andreas are "overdue" for "big ones".
15:28:31 So Government "cuts" are actually "savings", but voting system "reform" gets called "change". #yousaytomato time I think!
15:26:06 “This answer has been deliberately left blank.” #census
14:24:20 IAEA alert at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant in #japan. Cooling has failed on reactor.
14:19:21 Make sure ppl on your list aren't forced to change their names. @jackschofield @jasonhiner @scobleizer @girlgeeks_
13:59:54 Twitter #fail by removing the true owner of girlgeeks. See for basis. @girlgeeks_
13:57:02 @girlgeeks was stolen by [redacted - See above] Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1. Do right thing & return to @girlgeeks_
13:22:36 @rachelclarke At least you hadn't already taken off. I was on a plane once which went back to gate … 40 mins after taking off.
12:31:17 .@rachelclarke justifiable homicide, if there ever was.
12:30:55 @girlgeeks_ indeed (am a member of GGD though don't make enough events!) Whole thing - and twitter response - stinks
12:29:53 @girlgeeks_ Where have they allegedly registered the trademark? Plenty of evidence of prior art / use by you should make overturning it poss
12:29:00 @girlgeeks_ oh indeed, but on your own website (where ppl might well go given original no longer you) seems sensible to do faster.
12:25:03 @girlgeeks_ Sorry to point this out but link on is to 'old' version twitter name.
11:57:14 The @girlgeeks_ debacle by twitter is especially worrying as it isn't taking notice of 'prior use' rules. Later registration can't overrule
@syn not really ;-)
23:14:35 RT @elmyra: Dead Douglas: The last guy went to jail and you still won. That's a safe seat if I've ever seen one. #bbcqt
23:05:24 Re release of Al-Megrahi maybe he is still alive as the climate in Libya is so much warmer than Scotland! #bbcqt
23:02:57 @Quinonostante Sturgeon *always* talks rubbish though.
23:01:48 Next week's #bbcqt will be coming from Bengazi in Libya. The panel will include Gaddafi and Blair. Call now for tickets.
22:59:51 but, @jonathanfryer I blame it on being one of those more-scots-than-thou editions of #bbcqt but I like your idea ;-)
22:57:54 @elmyra lol
22:57:36 RT @elmyra: I invoke Godwin's Law. #bbcqt
22:57:21 #bbcqt audience member completely loses the plot and why the programme exists.
22:53:54 So @DAlexanderMP refuses to stick knife into Hague but invites everyone else to do so. Oh dear. #bbcqt
22:52:48 Why do the foreheads of bald men crease but the rest of their head doesn't? Shouldn't it even out? #bbcqt
22:48:03 Prince Andrew goes where he is told (and accompanied by Government bods). #bbcqt
22:44:02 Remind me why there is an audience on #bbcqt if panel can completely ignore them (and dimbebot)? ps. What a tie!
22:38:30 and this week's rabid dog is …. Nick Ferrari. #bbcqt
22:38:00 #bbcqt from Edinburgh starting in 5-4-3-2-1-now.
22:37:32 Doctor Who as Christopher Isherwood? That'll be the BBC playing with our minds.
22:34:07 Warning! Warning! Almost time to switch over from #10oclocklive to #bbcqt You know it makes (more) sense.
22:31:31 RT @ZachKleinWSB: After fracturing his cheek, orbital & nose bones, #Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar will most likely lose tota …
22:30:38 When you have to resort to F***ing S**t swearing so much to hide that it isn't good comedy, you've clearly lost. #10oclocklive #10live
19:48:38 Nate Spears drives a triple with two coming in. #RedSox getting back into the game.
19:29:44 The trouble with wanting to trade Dice-K away is would anyone else actually want him? #RedSox
19:24:55 Is there a #RedSoxNation petition somewhere to say that we don't want Dice-K to remain in the #RedSox rotation? He's killing us! #MLB
19:10:24 Can anyone actually give a *good* reason why Dice-K is still on the #RedSox roster? He throws away too many innings.
18:36:00 oh yes, I forgot Dice-K was on the mound. :-( #redsox
18:31:57 wha? I'm late turning the game on and #rays are already up by two? C'mon #redsox!
16:49:05 @Jerry_Remy Shake your booty! :: ahem ::
16:48:08 RT @tabqwerty: "git gets easier once you get the basic idea that branches are homeomorphic endofunctors mapping submanifolds of a Hilber …
15:59:13 RT @tommorris: I wish all of my life were a Git repository. I could revert the mistakes, and cherry-pick the good stuff from other peopl …
15:58:47 "Sir Fred Goodwin is a BANKER!" - (Telegraph)
13:49:01 Blast from the past: 2-4-6-8-Motorway from Tom R playing out loud.
13:22:42 @CrazyKinux now if I could just boost the long-range targeting a bit and throw a bubble around them so they can't escape ;-P
13:21:49 and another damn spammer! 400 tweets, no follows or following and nearly every tweet a shortlink. Can't this be automated? #twitterspam
13:19:22 @Soxfan311 These all have hundreds of tweets all the same, plus no followers. I don't want an iPad or whatever crap they are promoting!
13:16:36 er … make that three within one minute. They don't learn, do they.
13:15:40 wow. TWO accounts blocked and reported for spam by me within 30 seconds. Don't mess with me spammers ;-P
13:13:11 Finding lots of new nice things I can tweak and do with HP (Palm) WebOS 2.1.0 yippee! #tech #webos #palm #homebrew
13:11:10 So with all this fuss, can we expect MS ie9 to be available on a sensible OS such as linux? Somehow I think not.
11:13:35 I no longer like EDF Energy. They've retrospectively brought in standing charges again. Penalises low users. #fail
10:10:21 Earned a Silver badge by donating 45 days of cpu time to Human Proteome Folding - Phase 2 #wcgrid
02:38:21 @lisabird Should do, after all he would be awarded first and the run did come in. #RedSox #MLBrules
02:36:33 2:35am here so thanks #RedSox for the win and hope Yamaico Navarro not too badly hurt but now time for some sleep and bed! Thanks @NESN too!
02:33:58 I've heard of suffering for one's art, but suffering a fastball on the hand to win a game? #RedSox #nomoreinjuriesplease
02:32:46 Ooh that looked HARD. Brings in a winning run, yes, but not the way to do it. #RedSox
02:26:47 Getting myself ready to sing Dirty Water, Tessie, and Joy to the World following a walk-off homer. But who will hit it? #RedSox
02:15:18 @TimTalksNow Not a waste! #RedSox
02:02:01 #RedSox #Orioles in bottom of 7th at 2am my time. I'm tired but as #BoSox winning will stay with the game. #MLB
01:58:04 @DonOrsillo @Jerry_Remy @HeidiWatney @NESN Green! #RedSox
01:53:44 love watching Don and Jerry on @NESN way more than I ever liked watching Tom & Jerry cartoons as a kid. Spring Training wins! #RedSox
01:48:08 There should be a law against it! rofl #NESN #RedSox
01:45:03 OK @DonOrsillo - you were really getting into that, weren't you. Chippendales? @NESN #RedSox
01:37:55 Dustin does it again ;-) SO glad he is back for this year. #RedSox #Pedroia
01:36:00 I've noticed that the Twitter website client doesn't keep pace with the emails twitter sends (re new followers). Local cache? Server issue?
01:34:17 OK … Booty call time! #RedSox
01:31:25 RT @redsox1234: Listen'll soon learn that you shake The Captain's pitches off at your own peril. Ask around. Tek knows what …
01:28:46 I guess we should blame it on the boogie then? #RedSox @NESN
01:25:07 Fun when the tv microphone picks up a brief snatch of fan conversation. Wonder what reply was. #RedSox #Orioles #MLB
01:23:37 @Cursed_to_First something of the ZZTop about him
01:16:26 Lowrie gives away his second strikeout of the night chasing an away ball. But spring is about training so he should get better. #RedSox
01:09:09 damn . caught up with their leaving field cameras on or playing out the adverts. Oh well, time for a drink then. #RedSox @NESN
01:06:53 Nearly finished setting up my new #RedSox blog - hopefully up before opening day.
01:03:02 It's 1am and I'm sitting here watching @NESN (via where my boys are making me eager for the season to get under way. Go #RedSox!
00:59:48 @HeidiWatney "You are" sure about that? #RedSox
00:39:15 Lin on the way … #RedSox
00:30:45 and Drew homers! #RedSox
00:27:03 @SarahBlakeInc I'm certain your backend doesn't taste bitter. … maybe I'd better rephrase that ;-P
00:25:57 I just love seeing plays at home plate. #Scutaro #Tek #RedSox
00:19:25 Oh dear, @MLB - those diamonds on the sides of MLB.TV are terribly distracting. Way TOO BRIGHT! #RedSox #Orioles
00:15:00 The real problem with playing the #Orioles is their CF makes me want to go eat something! mmmn … PIE! #RedSox
00:11:27 Dear Dice-K. *That* was how you are supposed to pitch a first innings. Please try to do the same next time out. OK? #RedSox
00:10:33 BuchKKholz! #RedSox
00:10:07 Small 4x3 picture from Florida tonight looking small on my tv screen. Which I could work out how to make it bigger. #RedSox
09-03-2011 20:03:10 Yay! #'RedSox game tonight on @NESN (via just after midnight. Guess I'll be up late again ;-)

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