Melancholygeek

nothing but the rain

Archive for June, 2009

A Word To My Tweeps

Posted by melancholygeek on June 7, 2009

As you probably know already, I do love Twitter.  And I do love it for a variety of reasons, most of which stem from the original idea behind the service, micro-blogging. I can get stuff off my chest that don’t really fit in a regular blog post and I can do so quick and easy, from basically everywhere. I can get easily digestible pieces of information about topics I care about. I get updates about what people I’m interested in or care about are up to. I get as-it-happens notifications when some page updates or some more or less groundbreaking things happen. And I like that.

Of course I’m aware of the fact that Twitter has grown to be much more than a micro-blogging platform. It’s a social network, in many ways probably not unlike Facebook or MySpace (I can only assume since I’m not active on either of them). People stay in contact, get to know new people, joke around, send links, start memes. And while this of course is a vital part of what makes Twitter so appealing to many as well as something I did profit from in some ways, it also poses a problem for me occasionally.

I’ve seen people using Twitter in a lot of ways. Some walk down the same path I do, some are just plain silly (which can be fun!), some are shameless show-offs and others are basically information-leeches who don’t tweet themselves. All these are people I can perfectly deal with by thinking before following or occasionally even unfollowing, if things get unbearable. The problems arise when the social-network-part of Twitter kicks in.

Since Twitter is so easy and quick to use, some people I follow, and who follow each other, use it more along the lines of an instant messenger, using @repiles. And I can see the appeal. You don’t have to be on the same network and you can use it basically everywhere, on any computer,on your phone or wherever. There has been quite some fuss in the twitterverse lately when Twitter decided that you as a user can only see @replies from people you follow when they are directed to someone you follow as well (there is also the possibility of using direct messages that only the two conversing parties can see). People strongly opposed that change, seeing that being able to see all those replies might spark your interest in the other party and thus introduce you to another person to follow.

You probably already see where this is headed: While I see the point of the people opposing the @replies change, they probably don’t follow many IM-over-Twitter users.

I’m not following that many people. Some celebrities to satisfy my stalker needs, some news services (and I apply this tag generously) and some people whose opinions on certain topics I cherish a lot. And of course, due to my focus on specific interests, quite some of those people follow each other as well. And some of those, you guessed it, do ‘chat’ a lot among each other. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a reason why I followed these people in the first place and that reason didn’t disappear all of a sudden. They are people I hold dear, people I have never met, yes, but like very much. I love my tweeps. But what I also love is all I stated in the first paragraph of this post. And the sound you’re hearing right now is two worlds colliding.

You see, Twitter isn’t like an e-mail inbox where I can decide which mails to read directly and which to save for later or even discard. Tweets are there, unfiltered, unmarked. and waiting to be read one after the other (Yes, I know there are many applications that deal with this issue, but I can’t use them every place I use Twitter, so that doesn’t really solve my problem). And while I occasionally like to witness conversations about whatever topic between my tweeps, most of the time I really just want to get my quick fix on news, updates and sillies, without having to actually search for them among dozens of tweets that don’t really concern me.

So, to bring this rant to an end, some of my tweeps will notice a -1 on the number of their followers in the near future and that will be me unfollowing you. It’s not personal, and I already prepared a different means to stay in touch for those that care to do so. But I just like my Twitter like my women, easily manageable and not too chatty.

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The Eternal Man Goes To Rest: R.I.P. David Eddings

Posted by melancholygeek on June 6, 2009

belgariadAlthough it doesn’t really come up often in this blog, I am an avid reader not only of Science Fiction but also of Fantasy books, especially multi-tome epics. My all-time favorites in this line of literature have to be Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy and The Belgariad / The Malloreon created by David and Leigh Eddings.

Incidentally, I just recently, after reading nothing but classic SciFi for months, picked up Pawn of Prophecy again, for I really wanted to get back in the Fantasy mood and knew The Belgariad would do that for me. It is in many ways easy-reading, without ever to drift off into boring. It combines all the elements you love, the farmboy with a destiny, the immortal wizard, evil sorcerers, a pantheon of Gods and a band of companions so classic it defies description. But unlike other epics of the genre, you won’t get your ten storylines that perhaps will converge in the last 100 pages, 20-page setting-the-mood descriptions of a meadow, or any detailed depiction of a long journey during which basically nothing happens (not that such things are neccessarily a bad thing). Here you follow the protagonist on every step of his way, learn about his destiny as he does, and on every page something happens that brings you, and him, closer to this understanding. You learn about the beautifully drawn characters by watching them through his eyes, and for me that is a wonderful way to get sucked in a new world.

Many people told me how Eddings’ work, especially The Belgariad introduced them to Fantasy in the first place when they were kids, but as for most of really great genre literature, this isn’t just a kids-story. Yes it’s really accessible and probably not ‘high literature’, but even after 20 years it got me hooked all over again, right from the first chapter on.  And while I might not be prototype of a grown-up, should you be into Fantasy at all or just curious what the fuss is all about nut too scared to pick up The Lord Of The Rings, give the works of David and Leigh Eddings a try.

And if you like what you read, make sure you also check out David and Leigh Eddings’ (she hasn’t been credited on most of the works but contributed a lot as David stated) other work, not only the follow-up saga The Malloreon, but also the next, somewhat darker epics The Elenium and The Tamuli.

David Eddings passed away on June 2nd, preceded in death by his wife Leigh in February 2007.

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