The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

Hacking Your Own Comfort Level into the System

Oh man, I am super-proud of myself. Yesterday I hacked up a Ruby script that loads my Twitter feed and deletes any tweets more than a week old that I haven’t marked as favorites. It’s set to run every few hours.

For me, this is perfect: Twitter is now totally ephemeral, a stream of real-time notes that disappear after their utility is spent, instead of piling up like so many 140-character skeletons in the cyber-closet.

It’s more like a live conversation than an email exchange, actually! Just words floating up into the night air…

Am I the only one who feels this way? Every time I looked at my tweet tally — 300, 400, 500 — I’d think: “Ugh. What is all that stuff back there?”

March 9, 2009 / Uncategorized


I just use Twitteriffic. When a new tweet shows up, I get a little Growl-like window that shows the tweet for ten seconds, then goes away.

But, I also follow only like sixteen people. Eightteen, tops.

You misunderstand. I want *my* tweets deleted. I want there not to exist a long, rambling record at (or via Google).

A-Ha. Nice.

So… how does it work again?

There’s a script running on one of my servers that, every couple of hours, authenticates itself w/ the Twitter API, looks for any tweets of mine more than a week old, and, if I haven’t marked them as favorites (i.e. granted clemency), deletes them.

So all that exists on the internet is seven days’ worth of tweets — plus a few old favorites.

I feel the exact opposite way about my old tweets. I used to think I should keep a diary. Not aiming at anything profound; nothing that’s going to make up my memoirs or anything. Just something that would capture the texture of my days so I could look back and remember. The other day, I realized that Twitter is so much better than a diary. Those trivial, months-old tweets can jog me back to spent moments sometimes as well as a photograph or a familiar smell. I want something that saves my tweets forever. Just for me.

I’m confused. Why do you want yourself erased, Robin? And if you could, what other media would you apply this to beyond Twitter?

Ooh — maybe we’re all revealing too much about ourselves this week.

Matt: Sometimes profundity is too hard — I just want to be at a party.

Robin: I want to be erased, to be words that disappear.

Tim: People are just random scraps of bones and meat.

I need a drink.

Ha ha. This is the week Snarkmarket goes CRAZY.

I would also apply this to Facebook if I could. The issue is that these “statuses” are so banal, trivial, & ill-thought-out. Even short blog posts get about 100X more thought than Twitter messages. I’m totally fine w/ having my links from 2005 on the record; but this?

And, imagining some future Gordon Bell-ish “life streaming” technology that recorded my every utterance for me — I would not want that publicly available, either 🙂

The compromise position would seem to be: create a script that deletes your old tweets, but first dumps them into a well-structured private archive on your server. That way, the Sloanographers have something to go on when you’re gone.

I still think you’re crazy!

But more to the point, this suggests that the status stream could be resistant to the long tail…. (omg, faux pas! i just compared this year’s tech buzzword to 2006’s!)

Saheli says…

I find it amusing that Robin linked to a twitter post that he a) clearly despised and was not going to grant clemency too and b) had just carefully set up a hit contract to eliminate from the world. So much for sealing the Snarkmatrix against linkrot!

Matt, I’m with you when it comes to Twitter .. .though I haven’t yet read the May 6th post that sent me back here.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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