Monday, July 16, 2018

Okay, that explains it

One day last week I noticed that within five minutes I had lost 2,000 followers on Twitter. Wow. What did I do? I hadn’t even tweeted. Did 2,000 people suddenly hate me because of the tie I wore on CNN? My blog post that day was something really controversial – how I mixed the sound for opening title sequences.

I never know how these statistics are compiled. Or how accurate they are. I get a notification that ten new people are following and my total goes down by three.

I’ve tried live tweeting as an experiment, like during the Super Bowl and I got thousands of retweets and twenty new followers. I’m beginning to feel I’m at a distinct disadvantage because I’m not one of the lady wrestlers on GLOW.

But getting back to the mystery of the mass exodus it seems that Twitter recently purged millions of accounts belonging to Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks, all implicated in the Russian tampering of our election (which by the way, is NOT a witch hunt). And when you see how many accounts were purged you start to get some idea of just how insidious and pervasive the Russian interference was (except for the cretins who still believe it’s a witch hunt). I imagine there are people in the Red States who lost all their followers as a result of this purge.

I hope the purge continues and more Russian meddlers are weeded out. None of them were going to submit Friday Questions or go to my play readings anyway.   So screw 'em! 


Wendy M. Grossman said...

I lost only two (2) followers, but from a much smaller base.

You might be interested to try this site:
It estimates how many of your followers are bots (automated software as opposed to humans). Bot doesn't necessarily mean fake in the sense of the accounts Twitter is now deleting (approximately 1m/day); there are useful bots as well as useless and harmful ones. But it will give you a sense of the percentage of your followers that are real humans who might read blog postings, listen to your podcasts, attend your play readings, and buy your books.


Howard Hoffman said...

Just before the elections in 2016, I looked through my 2000+ followers. I found (and deleted) nearly 1200 of them, all clustered together with either Russian surnames or badly misspelled profiles. I must have done a good job. My followers didn’t change after the purge.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

I know we are mad at Russia. That's why we didn't send our USA Male Soccer team. Right?

You can never tell how many TRUE followers someone has on Twitter.
I assume the same goes for Facebook or Instagram, though I'm not on those.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

I don't even follow myself...

Roger Owen Green said...

7 of 1263 of my Twitter followers are fake.
BTW, I was half watching 2000s Sunday and I heard YOUR voice. There you were being erudite again.

Andrew said...

Two separate things: 1) Russia meddling in our election; 2) Trump "collusion" with Russia. It is the latter that Trump and his supporters refer to as a "witch hunt."

Tom said...

The funniest story I read was about one of those witch-hunt-proclaiming cretins who had been purged as a false positive; unwittingly she had elected to follow only Russian bots and done nothing more than retweet them and/or repeat their talking points.

I've never been on Twitter, but my reasoning has mutated from lack of interest to mild repulsion. Between the bots, the bullies and the echo chambers, not having anywhere to upload a picture of my lunch or to tell people at what time I got to the gym doesn't feel like a huge loss.

Shane said...

Bumble Bee Pendant,

Your team didn't qualify for the World Cup.
Qualifying for the Football World Cup is quite easy for USA (CONCACAF member) as compared to other continent teams who have a lot more countries to compete with for the few spots. But still USA didn't make it 😛

World's Superpower unable to qualify for the World's biggest sporting event 😳

On the other hand, Russia though it got in on virtue of being hosts; played superbly and reached QF before bowing out on penalties. They even beat the formidable Spain in the Round of 16.

Peter said...

And today, Trump said the US intelligence agencies are wrong and that Putin is telling the truth.

Isn't that called treason? And yet it's Republicans who wrap themselves in the flag and call themselves patriots.

darms said...

I don't understand the 'attraction' of twitter - you will never find me there

Diane D. said...

Isn’t Trump “collusion” also about the election, even if a different avenue?

According to former CIA Director, John Brennan, Trump committed treason today.

MikeN said...

Tell me Ken, when you first heard about the special counsel investigation, did you think it was about Russian meddling in the election, or Trump colluding with Russia?

Anonymous said...

Nobody really get it. Trump is a narcasistic, compulsive, pathological lying con man. He's now Putin's pussy, bit I'm sure Putting doesn't believe a word Trump says either.

Janet Ybarra said...

If it wasn't so deadly serious, it be funny: Republicans used to think that Russians were the bad guys and the FBI were the good guys. What happened? In addition to everything Ken said being true, Putin clearly has something on that guy in the White House.

Janet Ybarra said...

More people--including decent Republicans out there--should be saying the same thing.

Too often, when social media allows anyone to say anything, too many people have given up checking the sources of news and where the real "fake news" is. Hint: not CNN, the NY Times, or WaPo.

Peter said...

What Ken said!

MikeN said...

Well it is pretty clear that Mueller doesn't think Trump colluded with Russia. Rosenstein told Trump a week in advance about the latest indictment. Not how you deal with co-conspirators, at least from what I see on those TV crime procedurals like NCIS.

Also, Mueller told Trump he is not a target(Washington Post in April), which has a specific meaning- he does not have substantial evidence that Trump has committed a crime(within the scope of the grand jury's investigation). This can change of course, but for now you are thinking differently from the investigators.

Tammy said...

Shane: The Bumble Bee Pendant clearly knows the U.S. didn't qualify. That's the joke. As for Russia, they didn't exactly "beat the formidable Spain", they won a penalty shoot-out (also, turns out they were sniffing ammonia). They hosted a great world cup, though, I'll give them that. Maybe they let everyone sniff ammonia.

E. Yarber said...

I come to this site to talk Too Much about writing (which is the only reason I go anywhere, actually), not to get into fistfights, but I guess politics aren't optional these days. The problem is that you can't even argue when you're dealing with people who don't have a baseline level of understanding the subject. This isn't about declaring "I'm smarter than you" but expecting someone to at least grasp the essential reality of what they want to address.

In my job, I've dealt with a lot of hopefuls who can't see that they have no chance. Honestly, you CAN'T be a professional writer if you don't have a feeling for story structure (or even worse, deny that story structure is necessary). You CAN'T say you're "writing a novel" if you carry the same twelve pages around for years on end as proof that you're on the case. (Those pages aren't a draft, they're a prop). Your job is to develop the internal skills to compose material, not wear me down until I agree you're a "writer" after all.

Likewise, how can you talk about Trade Deals with someone who refuses to understand that you have to offer something in exchange for what a partner has to give, not resent that they might profit along with you. (The word "trade" is something of a giveaway there, I think). Diplomacy is about securing agreements with others, not shrieking at those "weak" enough to seek mutual accommodation while giving the farm away to dictators because you pathetically want the tough guys to like you.

If you're dealing with someone who cannot grasp the reason to enter a contract and abide by its conditions, you can't even argue about a given situation because you're not in the same book, let alone the same page. When I walk away, they may feel they've won the argument, but they're employing the same standards in their "victory" they apply toward the issues being addressed. I can only disagree with someone who has a different view of the matter, not a complete blank where the rules should be and contempt for those who can perceive them.

Back in 1951, Eric Hoffer looked back at the development of the Nazi and Soviet regiemes and wrote a book called THE TRUE BELIEVER, which has been getting some renewed sales these days. Concerning the followers of authoritarian movements, he wrote, "They must be wholly ignorant of the difficulties involved in their vast undertaking. Experience is a handicap." If someone is wowed by a photo op meeting that proves over time to be a practical disaster, they're easily satisfied. I know novelists who would love to show them the twelve pages they have in play.

Mike Doran said...

Since the Subject has been raised, may I go (sort of) off-topic?

Is anyone here familiar with a British comedy series called Whoops Apocalypse, from London Weekend Television in 1982?

This was a six-episode series, written by David Renwick and Andrew Marshall.
It was an all-stops-out farce/satire, with an all-star cast (for Britain, anyway):
Barry Morse
Richard Griffiths
Alexei Sayle
Geoffrey Palmer
Peter Jones
John Cleese (kind of a cameo, but he's there)
… and a bunch of others I can't call to mind just now.

Whoops Apocalypse, to the best of my knowledge, never was shown in the US (even on PBS), and never received a video release (even on VHS). (Corrections welcomed; what I've got is a "collector's DVD"(bootleg, right).)

Those who have seen Whoops may recall that one aspect of the story is that the British Prime Minister (Peter Jones) believes himself to be Superman.
The Soviet Premier (Richard Griffiths) finds this out, and blackmails the British Foreign Minister (Geoffrey Palmer) into signing the Warsaw Pact, thus joining the Soviet Bloc.
Total farce, of course - absolutely implausible, not in this world …

Should any of you have access to Whoops Apocalypse, you might want to take it out and look at it again - couldn't hurt …

I am not now, nor have I ever been, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any of the other Social Media (the oxymoron of the Millenium).
Borrowing a line from Monty Python, "I'm not only proud of that - I'm smug about it."

Janet Ybarra said...

MikeN: Could you please post links to stories you cite? I read the Washington Post everyday and that's not my reading of the situation.

If anything, I've read high degrees of concern Cohen the "attorney" or former national security adviser Mike Flynn could flip on the guy in the White House.

Janet Ybarra said...

Just to get us started, I'm posting this link:

And, yes, I do believe Putin has something on the guy and it's likely something just humiliating like the pee tape.

E. Yarber said...

And speaking of talking Too Much, I might as well add that Nixon wasn't personally present at the burglary at the Watergate complex, but had no trouble with it and was happy to throw associates on the fire as the investigation grew, beginning with Hunt and Liddy all the way up to members of his inner circle.

If any of you remember that 18 1/2-minute gap in the White House tapes of June 20, 1972, the essence of it was summarized by H.R. Haldeman in his diary that day. "The conclusion was that we've got to hope the FBI doesn't go beyond what's necessary in developing evidence and that we can keep a lid on that... The P was concerned what our counterattack is, our PR offensive to top this. He felt we have to hit the opposition with their activities... we should be on the attack for diversion, and not just take it lying down."

Peter said...

Just watched Who is America, the new Sacha Baron Cohen show. The two genius moments are the title sequence that shows clips of historic speeches by Kennedy, Reagan etc and then concludes with Trump mocking a disabled reporter, and an astonishing ten minute segment in which Cohen plays the character of a former Israeli commando who convinces Republicans to support an initiative to arm 4 year olds with guns called Kinderguardians. It's both hilarious and depressing. At one point, Cohen asks gun nut Larry Pratt if liberals are using school shootings to "push their anti tragedy agenda" and he agrees.

I can't wait for the episode in which Sarah Palin throws away her mic and storms out.

Dr Loser said...

Have you considered not actually bothering to Tweet?
I understand that it is a very liberating Life Decision.

Andrew said...

I'm genuinely surprised that liberals and Democrats are so trusting of the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence services. Hasn't it been established by now that government officials sometimes lie?

Tell me, how long ago was the Iraq war? If George W. Bush had been skeptical of intelligence estimates concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, would that not have been a good thing? But we know for a fact that American and British intelligence services were fixing the evidence. They were acting deceptively and manipulatively, to arrive at a foregone conclusion.

You don't have to be a fan of Trump to be skeptical of all the innuendos. Where is the actual, substantive evidence of collusion with Russia? I haven't seen it.

Janet Ybarra said...

As it relates to social media overall, I believe it does perhaps have usefulness but I think we as a society are too often caught in its negative grasp:

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Mike Doran: I have a copy of WHOOPS APOCALYPSE that I haven't watched yet - it's out in Britain on commercial DVD. Reminds me to watch it! I bought it because I really loved a series the same writers created: HOT METAL. It's an absolutely brilliant press satire.


By Ken Levine said...

Just because the evidence hasn't been revealed yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Let's just see what happens.

Pam said...

I'm not a big social media user but anyone on Twitter needs to follow one of the heroes of the resistance...the Merriam-Webster Dictionary twitter feed. They regularly throw shade at the moron-in-chief by correcting his spelling and grammar or coming up with synonyms for treason, autocrat, etc.... Sometimes I don't even know what he said until I see their response. After he said the EU is America's foe, MW posted something like : "For those of you looking it up, yes, foe still means enemy!"

Mike Doran said...

Since posting this morning, I've found Whoops Apocalypse in its entirety on YouTube.

I urge all of you to check this out ASAP.
Your sanity depends on it. (Sort of …)

Be sure to report on your findings here.
Thank you.

Barry Traylor said...

There is a moron in Washington D.C. that comes to mind whose Twitter account needs to purged.

Coram_Loci said...

@E. Yarber:
"The problem is that you can't even argue when you're dealing with people who don't have a baseline level of understanding the subject"

You know the other problem: you can't argue when the blogger exercises his right of prior restraint and thereby censors opposing viewpoints. The "baseline level of understanding" is then shifted because when people don’t hear opposing arguments and when their premises go unquestioned they assume they are correct and that others are either uninformed or are poor reasoners.

It’s rather rich that lamentations of authoritarianism are to be found on a blog whose author (a professional author, no less) frequently invokes his right to censor and whose readers seem so eager to cheer him for doing so.

By Ken Levine said...


Yep. That's me. You're welcome to seek other blogs.

MikeN said...

Janet, read this:

Then look up definition under DOJ rules for subject vs target of grand jury.

Ken it's not a matter of what's been revealed. With this determination of 'not a target' that would mean there was no substantial unrevealed hidden evidence.

New evidence could have appeared, or they could have been lying to Trump, but I think SNL has read things right with their Bachelor skit. Mueller is wrapping up and delivering lots of indictments to soften the blow.

MikeN said...

Andrew, you ask for evidence of Russia collusion. How about evidence of hacking first?
Mueller and the FBI never had the server that was hacked. They don't lay out how they got all this evidence, but it appears they went to social media sites and the NSA to get details of web searches. Even Putin's denial doesn't sound as strong as Trump makes it out to be, only that they hacked real material, didn't fake anything.
However, there is strong evidence that Russian fingerprints were artificially added to files. Not just evidence, but someone has recreated the entire process.

Anonymous said...

You had two of the world's greatest liars standing there showing their best form. Two distinct styles. Trump, the compulsive, pathological liar, all over the place. He thinks every one believes him (unfortunately a few dum ones do). Putin the concise, defiant one - I know you know I'm lying , but what are you going to do about it?

Midnite said...

Dear Ken,

I have have followed your blog for about the last 5 years, but have never commented before. I usually binge read each week on Sunday mornings. I have also been known to take lazy days and scroll through the archives...And yeap, some of us do, so it's a treat to see you repost from them!!!


This is my first time responding, so I want to make it count: You invited any Trump supporters to feel free to find other blogs. Well done, sir! When you blog, it is as if you are inviting us into your home. If anyone doesn't understand that, then it's on them!

Thank you, for your hospitality over the years. I wouldn't invite anyone who still supports Trump into my home either! That doesn't mean I'm not in favor of free speech in a public setting, but I have every right to not invite any dimpweeds to sit on my couch and spew hate, bigotry, etc....Blessings, Ken, to you and yours!

McAlvie said...

I don't tweet, but I'd heard about the purging. I'm bothered by the fact that they didn't have any mechanism for weeding out the fakes in the first place. It was irresponsible on their part, and its a crying shame that it took, well, being shamed before they decided to act.

I'd love to believe that the only followers some of the wing nuts had were fake accounts. I'll settle for believing that the majority of any real followers were only there because they'd followed the herd of fake accounts.

McAlvie said...

Two things: first, as opposing voices are clearly visible, Ken is obviously not censoring anyone who disagrees. Although, this being his blog, he would certainly have the right to do so. Free speech only means you get to say what you want; it doesn't obligate the rest of the world to listen.

Two: The list of indictments just keeps growing. That's not innuendo, that's fact.

I was heartened to hear about all the republican lawmakers who voiced outrage over Trump's behavior in denouncing the results of our own government's investigation. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that there is a line in the sand for them, even if I think its rather late coming. Let's see how many of them stand behind their own words.

More curious, though, are the number of people who expressed shock that Trump would betray our own intelligence community in order to curry favor with Putin. He's been really, really clear that he idolizes dictators and authoritarians - he hasn't even attempted to pretend otherwise. It may be the one and only thing Trump has ever been honest about.