Tell me about some of the online spaces you’re in where you interact with other people.
I guess primarily it’d be Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – in terms of things I use often, and that aren’t just say, messaging apps.
Do you use each differently?
Facebook is for family and friends, and old school friends you have to soft block after it turns out they’re racist. Twitter is a kind of real time chat room, if I have something to share I’ll throw it out there, and I go there if I want to read something funny for a second. It’s like if you saw something you might text to a friend but you don’t know who to text it to. LinkedIn is for getting jobs.
I mean as far as the types of things I might say – Facebook I generally keep to stuff that I would be OK saying in front of someone’s grandma – but it’s still more or less me.
On Twitter I’m talking about whether I have diarrhoea today and how bad my diarrhoea is today. And I don’t want that to be the first Google hit when somebody wants to hire me for a tech job.
Is your Twitter public?
Yeah it’s public. I don’t use my real name on it, but I don’t try that hard to hide it either. Like, on Twitter I’m talking about whether I have diarrhoea today and how bad my diarrhoea is today. And I don’t want that to be the first Google hit when somebody wants to hire me for a tech job. But I drop my name on there, photos of myself, like, if I was going to hatch a plot to assassinate the queen or something, I’m not gonna tweet about it.
And people want to hear about your diarrhoea?
Thousands of them, it turns out. I don’t know if they want to hear about my diarrhoea specifically, but they signed up for it. So they’ll get what I tweet or they’ll unfollow I guess.
It’s kind of like having a rotating cast of people you can share stuff with. Imagine you are on a road trip, but it’s really long, and different people fall asleep at different times. But generally someone’s awake, and if you see a sign with a swear word written on it, you can just point at it and someone will appreciate it with you.
Are you pretty prolific on Twitter?
Yeah, pretty prolific, though prolific as a word probably gives too much credence to what I put on there. It’s extremely low key and boring, it’s almost a bodily function now. If somebody pissed a lot in a day you probably wouldn’t call them prolific.
I mean I like it. It’s kind of like having a rotating cast of people you can share stuff with. Imagine you are on a road trip, but it’s really long, and different people fall asleep at different times. But generally someone’s awake, and if you see a sign with a swear word written on it, you can just point at it and someone will appreciate it with you.
You have Twitter people in different time zones then.
Yeah, for sure. A few years ago I did a trip around the states and I hardly payed for accommodation cos people I knew from Twitter put me up. I had a blast and I didn’t even get murdered a little bit.
Have you ever been trolled?
I guess it depends on your definition of trolling. I mean, at one end you’ve got people making pretty harmless fun of public figures who lack the sense of irony to understand the joke, and at the other end, you’ve got genuine harassment.
I wouldn’t say I can think of a situation where I’ve been trolled. It’s possible I’ve been made fun of on the Internet by many people and I’m just not aware of it, though. Right now a bunch of young girls and fellas could be sitting around their laptops giggling about what a knob I am, and to those people I say this: you do you. But, y’know, being mean is probably a sign that you’re insecure, so really, I win. Booyah.
One time ages ago, I wrote a tweet. It was vaguely pro-gay marriage, but it was really using an image I thought was funny. Some guy asked me if he could make a comic of it and he did, and the comic hit the front page of Reddit, and I checked it out and people were having arguments over it that were BRUTAL. People were threatening to kill each other and arguing the existence of God. So I guess people on the Internet are going to argue. None of them picked a fight with me directly though, that I recall.
The guy actually did it for a bunch of tweets and turned it in to a book that got published a while ago called Twitter: The Comic. He’s a talented guy, called Mike Rosenthal.
If someone from your “real” life saw you on Twitter, would they recognize you based on the things you say, or how you behave?
I think Twitter is kind of my ID, in a lot of ways. It makes me seem a lot more hyperactive than I am. A friend who I know from Twitter said I’m more composed than you would expect from reading my Twitter output.
When you’re talking to other people, are you happy to just be chatting to an avatar with a nickname, or do you want to know more details about them?
It depends, I guess. The people I speak to most are people I know in real life, mostly Australians involved in comedy or journalism. Some people I’ve known vaguely for years and they’re just like, a picture of a cat in funny glasses or whatever. I’m happy for that to be the level of interaction.
You mentioned earlier that LinkedIn is for jobs. So I guess you must present yourself very differently there. Are you active at all on LinkedIn or do just keep your profile up to date?
Yeah – I keep it updated as far as my profile, I get a lot of messages and calls for jobs that way. The inspirational meme shite that people put on LinkedIn though is without peer. If you love vacuous crap, LinkedIn is the social network for you.
What’s your favourite inspirational meme?
They all kind of blur together, it’s like a word salad. If it helps people get through their day, then all power to them, but at the same time, you’re like, really? This is all you need to get through your day?
Why did you decide to make that your Twitter profile pic?
The dog makes me laugh.
That’s it, Really. The dog looks very stupid and I think it has a funny face.
It does look stupid. Perhaps a little on edge.
Yeah, it’s one of those little dogs that is full of rage and dumb as shit and scared of everything at the same time. Just like, aggressively small. You know those dogs, and it just seems like every stimulus is way too much for them.
I joined Twitter to see what it was about, and it turned out be a source of validation and people to talk to at a time when I was feeling very lonely. Now it’s just something to alleviate boredom really. Helps me put work off.
Does your Twitter have a purpose? Do you have a reason for being? Why did you start tweeting to begin with?
Initially, I joined Twitter to see what it was about, and it turned out be a source of validation and people to talk to at a time when I was feeling very lonely. Now it’s just something to alleviate boredom really. Helps me put work off.
Some people might say that about social media in general…
I think it’s what you make of it. Twitter is a sort of curated feed, so if you want it to be a news outlet, it can be, or if you want it to be a stream of jokes, or somewhere to talk to your friends, it can be. Facebook is generally where people seem to have their friends and family, so it’s less malleable like that, but I’ve seen people use it as a collaboration tool and other things. LinkedIn is LinkedIn. And LinkedIn is terrible. The actual app I mean. If it wasn’t the only viable option for that kind of business social network, I don’t think anyone would use it.
That’s a great summary actually.
I do my best.
I mean, Instagram, Snapchat, I think I missed the boat on those. I don’t think I’m the target market. Pinterest as well. Have tried to use them, but they don’t hold my interest. I’m not particularly visual I guess, or a good photographer, so it seems like work.
I guess it also worries me what their business models might be. Targeted advertising to your user base is one thing, but using their pictures and their intellectual property is another. And that looks to be where things like Instagram and Snapchat are going.
I mean, I think mostly people know this and just accept it. But it’s surprising to me when somebody is shocked, when Snapchat has terms of service that are like a corporate employee contract, anything you do is ours, etc. Like, what did you think this was about?
Do you ever think about how much information/data/stuff you’re giving these companies?
At the end of the day, it’s generally information I’m not that bothered about. If Google wants to track which restaurants I like, I don’t care.
Which is not to say that I don’t think that the data collection is a problem – I just don’t think it’s that much of a problem for me specifically.
I could get my credit card exposed through a data breach, but like. I could also get my wallet stolen.
What does piss me off is the idea that if it’s on the Internet, you can just re-appropriate it, it’s public domain.
Are you more concerned about IP theft by these companies, rather than identity theft?
Again, not really for myself. But it seems to be something that not everyone who uses the services is aware of what they’ve signed up for.
What does piss me off is the idea that if it’s on the Internet, you can just re-appropriate it, it’s public domain. I’ve never done anything good on the Internet, and I don’t pay the bills with art or jokes, so I personally don’t care, but my heart goes out to people who have their creative output nicked by people who then profit from it.