I've noticed a new trend on Twitter lately, one which bothers me a great deal. I'd like to share my thoughts about it now so that you all can help nip it in the bud.
People have been 'retweet'ing pretty much since Twitter's inception; that is, they post something on their stream that they saw someone else post. The defacto standard format for doing this is to say 'rewteet' (or, more commonly, 'RT') followed by the username of the person who originated the message, then followed by the message. Like this:
RT @TeddTheodorLogan Remember the time I asked Missy to the prom?
Lately, however, people have been trying to popularize a new format for retweeting -- one which has been largely employed in the blogging world. This new method is to just post the message, followed by (via username). Like this:
The only thing I know for sure is that Joan of Arc is NOT Noah's wife...(via BillSPrestonEsq)
The problem with this is two-fold: firstly, it takes up more characters. More importantly, it's misusing the word 'via.'
See, what "(via so-and-so)" actually means, is "I heard about this content by way of so-and-so," and has been used for years to denote that the link I'm blogging about came to my attention because someone else blogged about it, and is designed to sort of give the person who found the content the credit. This is only used when you're linking to a story that's written by someone other than the person you heard about it from -- to give sort of 'scoop' credit to someone who found it before you did.
When you retweet, in almost every case, you are simply quoting the person who said something. You didn't hear it 'via' them. Your readers are hearing it 'via' YOU. (Granted, if you are retweeting a retweet, then 'via' could be properly used -- but you'd have to say it's 'via' the person who originally REtweeted it, rather than the person who tweeted it -- which is of no information to the reader.)
If you really don't like the 'RT username: message' format -- and for this I don't blame you; it's clumsy and non-intuitive -- I suggest you do it the same way people have been attributing quotes since the dawn of written language. Like this:
"Four score and seven BEERS ago..." -abrahamlincoln
With your help, perhaps this gross misunderstanding of the Latin language can be wiped from the face of twitter.
The internet is a truly strange beast, causing all manner of surreal happenings. Lately many these happenings have been made aware to me via Twitter.
One such example:
The other day I myself was wondering aloud at what strange times these are in which we are living; that I can now see real-time thoughts from cool people that I dig pouring through my computer (and/or hand-held port-o-phone device) mere milliseconds after said cool person typed them. I mean, I'm sitting here at the computer bored... and so, apparently, is Henry Rollins. And Stephen Colbert. Crazy. At the time that I was musing about the surreality of it all, Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith were sending humorous in-jokes back and forth betwixt themselves, when lo and behold, from out of the blue, I see Wil Wheaton proclaiming the wonder of these times that allow for him to be in line at a comic shop purchasing Fell #9 and seeing real-time quips between the afore-mentioned creators of said comic book. His mind being blown added extra force to my own mind's blowal.
Then the other day Ben Templesmith boggled my mind by announcing that he'd finished the trade paperback of a book that hasn't even finished its run in floppies yet. I mean, I KNOW that that's how the publishing world works, but to hear Ben himself commenting upon it between the caffeine pills and and the jar of faux-urine is mind-bending.
Know what else is mind-bending? Having Warren Ellis respond personally to something you asked. -- Oh! just now Wil Wheaton declared that everyone needs to stop, for it is Hammer Time, but was shut down when Warren Ellis declared that it is NEVER Hammer Time. Ouch.
And thus ends this installment of "what are the nerds that I love up to on Twitter today?" I still don't understand Twitter, but I'm apparently addicted to it.