A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Social Media

Grim JoyI used to be heavily involved in social media; some might think I still am when I’ve simply become more efficient and have sculpted my networks. In all, though, I rate myself a curmudgeon – a ‘a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.’

This is not to say that I am a curmudgeon, but I imagine that there are some people who send me things who now believe I am a curmudgeon. Wishing people happy birthday on social media with a click is silly. A deluge of images of politicians leaves me feeling dirty in ways a shower cannot cure, a stream of people who believe Putin masterminded everything from the Presidential Election in the U.S. to their lost sock makes me roll my eyes, watching building blocks of uninformed opinion become representative of otherwise intelligent people is the intellectual equivalent of being assaulted with gift wrapped feces.

David over at Raptitude figured out that he could have more time to do things with his experiment. Yet even as a curmudgeon, I have to point out that social media, social networks and the humans that use them are a part of our lives – we just don’t need to exist on their plane; they need to exist on ours.

What that means is we should understand that it’s typically not very important, and we should be OK with telling people not to send us crap on WhatsApp, Facebook messenging, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever crackpost (that was a typo but I like it) network that people use as echo chambers to feel good about themselves.

We shouldn’t have to think of ourselves as curmudgeons to do this.  We can control what we take in simply by telling people what we don’t want to spend our time on –  be it the stale joke networks on whatsapp to the in depth discussion on doomed men’s fashion, from the cute puppy videos to the insane amount of posts about adopting animals, etc. In my spare time, I don’t want that to be what defines me.

No, I’d rather define myself than be molded into an acceptable image of what society likes. We are society.

Language And Tech (2014)


It’s official, for better or worse: ‘Tweet’ is now recognized in the Oxford dictionary despite breaking at least one OED rule: It’s not 10 years old yet.

Big Data‘ also made it in, as did ‘crowdsourcing‘, ‘e-reader‘, ‘mouseover‘ and ‘redirect‘ (new context). There’s a better writeup in the June 2013 update of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) that also dates the use of the phrase, “don’t have a cow, man” back to 1959 – to the chagrin of Bart‘s fans everywhere, I’m sure.

As a sidenote, those that use twitter are discouraged from being twits and ‘sega’ is actually a dance from the Mascarene Islands.

It’s always interesting to watch how language evolves and sometimes it’s a little disturbing. I honestly don’t know how I should feel about ‘tweet’ making it in as the brand ‘twitter’ is based on the word ‘twit’… see above link… but hey. Oxford says it’s ok and twits and tweeters everywhere can now rejoice.

Image courtesy Nancy L. Stockdale and made available through this Creative Commons License.

HowTo: Twitter Header Size 2016


In the past, for Twitter, I just tossed one of my many beach sunrise photos at it and let it do it’s thing. This time, I didn’t.

Yesterday I made the image on the right. There was a meme going around, and I had this picture of a North American Osprey in the forefront of a storm, and I thought – why not.

Then I was looking at my Twitter page and thought, “That might be a good header”. So I tried changing it and, lo, it was too big and didn’t resize right. So – I had the wrong dimensions, and through a search I found out that the Twitter header size is supposed to be 1500 x 500 pixels. I resized the image accordingly.

Same problem.

I tried Chrome and Firefox (I typically use Seamonkey). Same problem.

I did some more digging, tried a few different sizes. Still, no. Same problem. I tried for searching for things like, “Twitter header too big” and came up with the same awful pages that hadn’t helped me in the first place. Some offered to resize it for me, but tada – same problem.

I went from searching for the right answer to hacking my own.

It took me about 15 minutes (as long as it took to write this) to come up with the solution.

If you’re having a similar problem, try changing the canvas size such that you have 100 pixels above and below (add 200 pixels or so to the canvas size, centered, and there you go). Fill it with a similar color just in case.

Try it out. Tweak it if necessary. You’re done.

And a sidenote to Twitter – did you actually think about how screwy this is?