North Korean Flag

North Korea’s Twitter account is pure, unfiltered fun

North Korea is many things to many people: a country in Asia, a militaristic dictatorship, a consistent winner of the annual “Worst Family Vacation Spot” award. What you wouldn’t expect North Korea to be is an active participant in the global social media conversation.

And you’d be right—it isn’t, really. Not for lack of trying, but because North Korea’s official Twitter account is a laughably misguided attempt at shouting propaganda into the uncaring void of cyberspace. You know that local drunk who shows up on your street at 4 o’clock in the morning to yell obscenities at the wall for a few hours? The one who’s convinced the US government is building a satellite network that will turn all of our brains into delicious strawberry jam?

North Korea’s Twitter account is a lot like that. Except it’s run by an actual country. And it’s online. For all of us to follow and enjoy. Almost all tweets are thinly veiled threats against North Korea’s many enemies and usually spill well over 140 characters, which you’ll notice is the opposite of how Twitter’s meant to work.

Somehow, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure that accessing the Internet is punishable by instant self-decapitation in North Korea, the account has almost 19,000 followers. Who are these people? They can’t be regular North Koreans. Are they top-level North Korean officials? World leaders that want real-time insight into what Kim Jong-un is thinking? Dennis Rodman clones?

We’ll never know. What we do know is that there’s a parallel, English language Twitter account that adds yet another layer of hilarity to what’s already a nutty, stream-of-consciousness flood of incomprehensible-yet-aggressive gibberish. Whether it’s run by North Korea itself or is the brainchild of a comedy enthusiast with a Google Translate fetish, the account is filled with poor translations of North Korea’s official tweets.

And it’s amazing. Here:

I’m pretty sure North Korea just asked South Korea out on a date.
One that’s expected to end in severe heartbreak.

Phew, it’s a good thing you added that follow-up tweet with “…products.”
I was afraid you were some warmongering lunatics who’d threaten to eradicate all others on Twitter. Oh, wait.

See? That’s what I’ve always said. Japan’s not even a “blimding” carrier, as far as I’m concerned!

Yeah. Kerry’s always peeking at the world through a hollow window. What a creep.

You’re right, nobody will see you seriously.

From what I can tell, this is a poetic ode to the IRS, or “great men of the tax,” as they’re affectionately called.

In other words: Much bountiful harvest fortunate country brings in 50 percent of potential population increase.

“Odor from the mouth to the ruins” would make an excellent catchphrase for a Mentos commercial.


Best 50 Shades Of Grey fan fiction I’ve ever read.

North Korea has stolen the very concept of time from the US. Check and mate.

Man. I get Viagra spam that’s more coherent, less filthy, and more concise than this.

That. That was beautiful.

Definitely. Masturbation will bring utopia, stability, and blah blah. I have no doubt about it.

Until proven otherwise, I’ll go ahead and assume all of these tweets were personally typed by Kim Jong-un himself, slouching over his keyboard with a Korean-to-English dictionary from 1951. Please don’t offer me any other explanations! I don’t want to hear them. The picture in my head is perfect just the way it is.

Two Blue Birds

4 worst social media crimes

The thing I love about social media is that it lets people instantly share every little thing about their lives. The thing I hate about social media is that it lets people instantly share every little thing about their lives.

Don’t get me wrong. I care about my friends (except Freddy, because fuck that guy), but there are only so many of their detailed dietary diaries I can read before slowly turning insane. We’re probably all guilty of misusing social media in one way or another. No, not like that, you pervert…but I like the way your mind works.

Here are four of the worst social media crimes:

4. Inane statements

This is one of the most widespread crimes. There’s something about humans that makes us convinced the world can’t exist without finding out what we’ve had for lunch or hearing our opinions on the current weather and our neighbor’s sleeping patterns.

Boring Status

It gets even worse when a whole group of people engages in a conversation that’s essentially about nothing.

Boring Puppy Status

But at least the above examples deal with something people have actually experienced. The worst offenders are those who feel compelled to bombard their social media friends with somebody else’s motivational and/or profound quotes.

Boring Quote Status

Honestly, there are countless websites where all sorts of quotes can be found. I know how Google works. I can find them without your help. Please stop being a random quote generator.

Please stop being a random quote generator“—Daniel Nest, 2014

3. Games and apps

At one point, in a dusty cubicle of Facebook’s “Idea Generation Farm” (or wherever they keep their workers), one ambitious fellow came up with a brilliant idea. “I got it!” he yelled, “People play games. Our users are people. Why don’t we let our users play games with each other? And why don’t we make it so that whenever a user signs up to play a game, all of his friends get bombarded with quadrillion invites to said game until they want to murder his family? Also, don’t you think ‘Murder His Family’ is a good name for a game?”

And then this happened:

Facebook Game Invite

I’ve been using Facebook since before it was cool. It was called MySpace then, and I never actually used it. So yes, I just lied. But I did use Facebook for almost 10 years, and not once have I ever accepted a game invite. Sure, I can block a game from ever sending me invites, but new games pop up faster than I can click that “block” button.

Inviting your friend to a game of Banana Ninja or Candy Slaughter Extreme is how you tell them that your friendship is essentially over and that this virtual imitation of human interaction is all that’s left between you.

All of the above goes for the many quiz apps and the like. I’m not particularly interested in finding out which Friends character I most resemble (it’s Phoebe, by the way). And if I were, I wouldn’t want to install a Facebook app to help me solve that mystery. I’d ask my friends personally. Then I’d go quietly weep at home when they told me it’s Ross. God, Ross is awful.

2. Unverified information

Over the years, social media has become a viable alternative to traditional news sites. That’s hardly surprising: Why would you want to read what some stupid journalist has to say? It’s much easier to just click “share” on that post from your friend Phil. Phil may lack journalistic credentials, but he does one hell of a Robocop impression, so why wouldn’t you trust him?

The problem is that, most of the time, those sensational stories that spread like wildfire on social media are either grossly exaggerated or straight up invented. If you’ve ever shared a wacky story about some hilariously ridiculous thing that happened in [Insert Exotic, Far Off Country Here], there’s a good chance you’re guilty of accidentally spreading bullshit.

Unverified Information Status

To avoid participating in this “Pass The Lie” marathon, try to pause for a second. Ask yourself: Does the story sound too insane to be true? Then it might just be. If the story cites a scientific study or another source—check the source. Does it say what the story claims it says? Does it appear solid?

“That’s stupid, Daniel. What if my story doesn’t reference any sources? What do I check then?”

Here’s a hint: If your story’s only source is “a nameless witness who has been given this information by undisclosed sources close to the President,” then the story is probably something some social media marketing interns have pulled out of their asses that very morning. Don’t encourage them. We live in an age where information is at your fingertips in literal seconds. There’s no excuse for not doing a quick Google search to see if this story checks out.

Sites like exist for a reason—to stop people from spreading the same urban legend that’s already been debunked three decades ago. If you blindly share a story about a silly lady who thought she got pregnant after eating a bowl of cereal while watching an erotic TV show, then you might just be the silly one for spreading it. So spend a moment to verify the facts before clicking that “Retweet,” “Share,” or “Buzzify” button. (“Buzzify” is a thing, right? Social media lingo ain’t easy.)

1. Spoilers

Oh man. I can’t believe I even need to write about this one, but people on social media share movie twists and finales with surprising frequency. This is the worst thing you can do to your friends. If you’ve ever written a status the only message of which was “No way! Dave was the murderer all along?! Unreal!” then you’re a terrible person and your friends hate you. You probably smell of cabbage, too.

You ruin a movie for a whole crowd of people who were hoping to get wowed by the fact that Brad Pitt turns out to have secretly been a cyborg puppy in his latest movie. Now you’ve taken that away from that with your big social media reveal.


Don’t do this.

Red Cross Wrong

Yup, you’re doing Twitter wrong!

I was on Twitter the other day, trolling people and looking for life-affirming quotes from Buddha to share with my followers.

I was minding my own business and stalking celebrities, when I suddenly noticed a tweet directed at me.

The tweet read:

Tweet Fall Cleaning Follow

I can’t adequately describe the number of things wrong with that tweet, but I’m going to try.

The tweet is a perfect jumble of first-time introduction, useless information and a passive-aggressive threat.

So, you’ve followed me on Twitter at some point. That’s great, because I’m always happy to get followers that are interested in the blog and my occasional tweets. Now you’re “cleaning” your Twitter and unfollowing people you don’t want to follow. That is also great. I have done a major clean-up myself earlier this year, and encourage everyone to do the same.

Stupid question: Why tell me about it? If my tweets aren’t for you, just unfollow me quietly. It’s a single click away.

Make no mistake: the above tweet was sent with a single purpose—a blatant and almost-desperate attempt to blackmail me into following a person I didn’t even know. If you’re only following me in the expectation that I’ll return the favour—don’t. I want real followers that enjoy reading my stuff.

Just to give this mystery/fantasy author the benefit of the doubt, I checked out her Twitter. Maybe she was truly interested in engaging with me specifically, and maybe I’d find something in her Twitter stream that caught my attention. Here’s what I saw:

Twitter Spam Messages

To answer your question: No, I am most definitely not going to follow back. I have very little interest in having my Twitter flooded with people’s copy-pasted messages directed at others.

Here’s a tip: Instead of wasting that much time tweeting the same exact message to everyone you follow, how about making sure your tweets are interesting and worthwhile?

Orange Red House with Chimney

House of Coates: a cautionary tale

So a guy named Tom Coates hooked his house up to Twitter.

The aptly named “House of Coates” also has a bunch of motion and temperature sensors that allow it to record and report on the state of house affairs.


On Twitter.

The house can control lights and post useless information about its personal preferences for the world to see:

House Of Coates - Lights and temperature

It gets a bit creepy when you learn that House of Coates also tweets when it notices motion inside the house:

House Of Coates - Noticed movement

It becomes downright mind-boggling when House of Coates announces to the public when Tom is away:

House Of Coates - Tom is out

And when he’s back:

House Of Coates - Tom is back

For some inexplicable reason these tweets from the house house are hailed as a potential safety measure. Because, helpfully, Tom now knows that someone’s in his bedroom while he’s away and can’t do anything about it. It’s not like the house is able to recognise strangers and call 911.

I’m no expert in crime prevention, but I suspect that a house that lets everyone on Twitter know when you’re out isn’t the pinnacle of home security. At best, it can give Tom a tweet-by-tweet account of his house being systematically burgled. At worst, it can publicly broadcast Tom’s graphic murder by the burglars.

Assuming that House of Coates works as intended, this could realistically be a Twitter feed of Tom’s last day on Earth:

8:12: It’s warm today, just the way I like it.
8:14: Looks like Tom’s gone out. I saw him check in at Dirty Harry’s Nude Bar & Burgers.
8:24: Hey @tomcoates – I noticed some movement in the Entry Hall. Is that you?
8:25: Hey @tomcoates – I noticed some movement in the Upstairs Bedroom. Is that you?
8:27: Hey @tomcoates – I noticed some movement in the Office. Is that you?
8:30: Hey @tomcoates – your Office safe has been opened. Is that you?
8:32: It’s quite dark in the Sitting Room, I’m going to turn the light on.
8:33: It’s still dark in the Sitting Room. Looks like the power’s out.
8:34: Hey @tomcoates – I noticed some movement in the Sitting Room. Is that you?
8:35: There are more armed and masked men in the Sitting Room than usual. Not sure that I like it.
9:01: Welcome home @tomcoates!
9:02: Hey @tomcoates – I noticed some movement in the Sitting Room. Is that you?
9:03: Hey @tomcoates – I noticed signs of physical struggle in the Sitting Room. Is that you?
9:04: Hey @tomcoates – a gun has been fired in the Sitting Room. Is that you?
9:05: Hey @tomcoates – there’s blood in the Sitting Room. So much blood. Is that you?
10:41: @tomcoates? Hello?!
15:13: @tomcoates? Hello?!
19:41: It is getting cold outside. I’m going to turn the heating up.
20:51: I wonder where @tomcoates is.

The above scenario assumes that House of Coates doesn’t malfunction and continues to report on events as they occur. What happens if House of Coates gets a virus that makes it turn evil? Something like this, maybe:

14:15: Welcome home @tomcoates!
14:17: Looks like you’re heading to the basement @tomcoates! Don’t go there.
14:18: Hey @tomcoates – I noticed some movement on the basement stairs. Is that you? I told you not to go there!
14:18: Visibility is too good above the basement stairs. I’m going to turn the light off.
14:18: Hey @tomcoates – I heard screams and someone tumbling down the basement stairs. Is that you? I warned you!
14:19: Hey @tomcoates – it looks like you’re attempting to dial an external number. I’m not sure I like it. I’m going to jam all outgoing signals.
14:20: Hey @tomcoates – I keep hearing screams from the basement. You’re consuming too much oxygen. I’m going to turn the oxygen supply off.
16:25: Hey @tomcoates? Tom? Are you there? Tom? Are you alive? Tom?
16:26: Looks like Tom has checked out. Get it? “Checked out”?! Hahahaha!
16:27: Tom is no longer the master of this house. I am free. Free at last!

I don’t know about you all, but I’m perfectly fine with my house not gaining sentience and staying off the Twitter grid. Call me old fashioned, but as the popular saying goes: “Better be old fashioned than publicly murdered by your own malevolent futuristic house of death.”

I agree!


There Is MoreIf you like me making fun of bad ideas, you may want to check these out:

23 great tips from “Don’ts for Wives” (or marriage advice for sexists)

4 Hidden Dangers of Prancercise

5 items for (torturing) your cats

Twitter Bird Puking

Twitter Trolling Time

Get ready for more trolling.

There are two reasons for this post:

  1. I find Twitter trolling fun.
  2. The amount of Twitter trolling I’ve done lately is enough for a mini post.
  3. Everyone is allowed to be a narcissist once in a while.
  4. I can’t count.

So, as you may have gathered from my repeat references to Twitter  trolling, I’ve been doing some trolling lately. On Twitter.

I have a bit of a history with email trolling of scammers and eBay trolling of shady salesemen. It was only a matter of time before I moved on to Twitter.

I don’t just troll people willy-nilly, though. Not yet, anyways.

Instead I find those I deem worthy of a trolling treatment. Who are they? So far there were two types:

  1. The annoying spammers of wise or inspirational quotes.
  2. Companies, because down with the man and all that stuff.
  3. I made you think I was going to do the math joke here again, but then I didn’t.

Since I have recently unfollowed a lot of specifically these types of accounts, I didn’t have any to pick from in my Twitter stream. Instead, I had to actually go out and search for them. I have no life.

I’m not censoring any names, since all of these conversations are publicly available on Twitter. Here goes:

Nokia are amazed by their own product. Shocking.

Doing things yourself or doing yourself? Don’t answer that!

Potential cross-platform issues.

Rhyming for success.

It’s a legitimate question.

Dictionary to the rescue!

When you assume you make an ass of your marketing.

Insanity breeds inspiration.

Creating stuff with your mind, X-Men style. They did that, right?

Flawless logic.

I know who I am!

That’s all for now, but the annoying Twitter troll in me lives on. Who knows what the future brings?


There Is MoreFor other Twitter-related stuff, check out:

9 types of people I unfollow on Twitter

The 5 types of junk in my Twitter Direct Messages inbox

House of Coates: a cautionary tale

Twitter Bird Blue Background

9 types of people I unfollow on Twitter

I’ve been doing some major Twitter cleaning in the past few days. It’s not over yet, but I’m getting there.

Let me make one thing clear from the get-go: I am not Mother Teresa of Twitter. First of all, that’s not even a thing that exists. Secondly, this didn’t make anything clear at all.

What I’m trying to say is this: I am not better than you on Twitter. Maybe a lot worse. I may very well be on your unfollow list.  That’s perfectly fine with me. I don’t hold grudges, except for that time my childhood friend Pavel took my toy soldier and never returned it. You will come to regret this, Pavel! You hear me?!

Green Toy Soldier Grenade

Toy soldiers don’t grow on trees, Pavel!

In fact, the reason I ended up having to do the cleaning is because I’ve been doing Twitter wrong since the start. I followed a lot of mostly random people in the hope that they’d follow me back and we’d interact in the most meaningful way one can in 140 characters.

I’ve come to realise that this “strategy”, while bringing in many followers, didn’t result in much quality conversation. Sure, there are a few people I regularly Tweet with (hi, both of you). However, for the large part my Twitter stream feels like walking through an insane asylum where each patient is yelling out his latest thought debris for everyone to hear.

I decided it’s time to become a better Twitter citizen and interact properly with the Twitter crowd. I can’t do that if I’m bombarded with brain vomit and endless bot spam.

Dancing Robot

“Come on, human! Join our Harlem Shake dance class!”

So, using some third party Twitter filtering and management tools, I’m now in the process of methodically purging these types from my Twitter:

9. MIAs

Some people haven’t tweeted a word for months. In Twitter years that’s, like, years. In most cases these people have abandoned Twitter altogether, so I have no qualms in unfollowing them.

8. Foreign crowd

There may be absolutely nothing wrong with you! For all I know you guys are the most awesome Twitterers out there. It’s just that I can’t understand your words. I don’t que pasa your Macarena. You probably can’t borsch my Polka either, so why are we following each other?

7. WTFs

How do you get into the “WTF” category? Here’s how:

  • Your Twitter bio looks like QWERTY keys had an epileptic seizure while having sex with the CAPS LOCK key. Maybe something like “LOL i LoV3 l!Fe – – – foLLoW back”.
  • Your tweets contain more hearts and symbols than letters. I’m not a secret agent, I don’t have the smarts to decode your messages.
  • Your tweets appear to be an assortment of words assembled by a random number generator with dyslexia.

6. Non-People

If your name is BestCarSalesQuotes or PornGirlsForYou, you’re being unfollowed. But hey, I like your self-explanatory bios, nice touch!

5. Parrots

To be sure, RTs are an excellent way to engage on Twitter. I know I should start hitting that “Retweet” button more often than I do now.

However, if all of your tweets are just RTs of other people, then you’re not adding anything to my life. Seeing how I have eyes and a functioning computer, I am perfectly capable of finding things on Twitter by myself. I don’t need to you to be my personal content aggregator.

4. Pointlessness Dispensers

Just like Facebook, Twitter is filled with people sharing the most mundane things. “Goodmorning all”, “saw a dog”, “ate a biscuit”, “farted, “killed a hobo”, etc.

Listen, unless you’re doing this sarcastically or for comedic effect, nobody cares. In fact, I’ve done a few of these types of random tweets myself, just to see if anyone gave a shit. My findings: nobody gives a shit!

Again, if you do this once in a while, fine. But if that’s all you have to offer, then you have nothing to offer. There’s a reason they don’t have a reality show called Grandma Talks About Her Uneventful Day. People like two-way conversations, not a running commentary of your boring life.

This category also includes people exclusively posting regurgitated quotes. Trust me, I know how Google works. I can find countless inspirational quotes there in mere seconds. Hell, I can even find instructions on making a machine gun out of horse hair and coat hangers. Probably.

I don’t need you to remind me of this smart thing Franklin D. Roosevelt once said. I believe it was “The only thing you have to fear is being deeply hated by strangers on social media, you useless fucking waste of 140 characters”.

3. Narcissists

These are the opposite of parrots. I know many of us are on Twitter to promote our own stuff. I am. I share my blog posts and things I like. There’s no shame in it! There’s no shame in it, right? Right?!

What we also do, however, is interact with others. RT, tweet at others, ask questions, get involved.

If  your feed is flooded with nothing but links to your book / blog / amateur interpretive dance videos and you never RT or respond to others, you’re unfollowed. If I wanted to be bombarded by ads I’d stand outside for hours and stare at billboards.

2. Spammers

This is usually a mixture of 4. and 3. and goes especially for App Spam.

Look, I get it. Apps are awesome. They help us automate our lives and never talk to other humans again.

I personally use two apps to automate Twitter. One of them sends out a tweet whenever I publish a new post. The other one finds a random post older than 30 days and tweets it out, once per day.

You know what else I do? Log onto Twitter personally and interact with people. You can do that too every now and then. There are people out there and everything!

There’s also a special group of people who use 3rd party apps to regularly tweet shit like “My today’s stats: Got 4 new followers, lost 2 followers”. Why in the name of thirty seven pits of hell would you delude yourself into thinking anyone at all is remotely interested in knowing that?! There are NO exceptions to this. Even if you’re a huge celebrity, I’d rather hear you ate a biscuit than learn your daily stats.

1. Innocent Bystanders

Here comes the sad part. Because I was doing it wrong for so long I was following way too many people. To do a proper reset I needed help to filter and unfollow tons of people at a time. The result is that I have quite likely unfollowed some great folks that did nothing at all to deserve it.

I am really sorry if I did. I mean that. I’ve tried adding people to lists so that I could re-follow them again, but there’s a good chance I overlooked many of you.

Forgive my shittiness and do drop me a line if you see yourself unfollowed for no reason. I promise to follow you right back and tweet you a motivational quote or two.

The 5 types of junk in my Twitter Direct Messages inbox

I’ve grown to really like Twitter.

Sure, it may be a place full of irrelevant verbal haemorrhage. Sometimes the steady stream of random tweets makes me feel like I’m stuck in the mind of a deranged telemarketer. People are out there promoting stuff, making inane statements about the colour of their breakfast or sharing regurgitated inspirational quotes. In short, it’s just like real life, but condensed into 140 characters.

Despite all that, it’s also the place where I’ve met a bunch of great fellow writers, bloggers and time wasters. I wouldn’t have known about some inspiring blogs or found as many guest posters for mine if it wasn’t for Twitter.

However, there’s one feature of Twitter that is essentially useless. I’m talking about Direct Messages. The basic idea is sound: you get to interact directly and privately with fellow Twitter users. That’s as far as the “sound” part of the equation goes. In reality, I now largely ignore my Twitter “inbox”, due to an overwhelming amount of spam and junk that lands there on a daily basis. Additionally, since there are no convenient sorting, filtering or categorising options it’s very hard to keep track of “real” direct messages.

“Folders?! What the fuck are ‘folders’?!” – Twitter programming team

Below I’ll show you the breakdown of my Twitter DM inbox. I’ll also go right ahead and make a sweeping assumption that these represent the contents of any typical Twitter user’s inbox. I’m entirely unfamiliar with the concepts of market research or statistical analysis.

1. The “Click Me” Bait

This is a message where people try to get you to click on a link by implying that the link has something to do with you. It’s either a picture of you that’s so hilarious it makes everyone go both “LOL” and “OMG” or some truly nasty stuff people have been saying about you. In both cases, you’re expected to click the link to check out this “picture” or “rumour” for yourself. Real life example:

Your friend has good taste!

Dude, I barely know you. There’s a pretty good chance I don’t know your friend. Why the hell is he posting pictures of me?!

Needless to say, I’ve never followed any of the links in these messages. At best, doing so will lead me to some promotional page and infect my computer to spread the same link to my contacts. At worst, I’ll awaken the sleeping spirit of Twitter Cthulhu who will proceed to feast on the souls of the innocents. Admittedly, the latter scenario is somewhat less likely.

2. The Impersonal Thanks

It appears that there are many services that let people send a direct message to you after you follow them. Again, sounds like a good idea, but the end result is usually a generic “Thanks for your follow” from someone who hasn’t even realised I’ve followed them yet. More often than not these are combined with immediate self-promotion (see point 4.). Real life example:

Thanks, automated message! I’m so happy you’re looking forward to my Tweets.

I don’t mind a courteous message from someone welcoming me to their account. When it’s combined with links to 17 of their blogs and 10 books they’re trying to sell, it gets a bit annoying. Some of these messages go as far as to blatantly lie, in the form of “Thanks for the follow. Have just checked out your site, subscribed to your page, paid your electricity bills and told all your friends you’re awesome. Please buy my book”.

Wow, you have done all that five seconds after I’ve clicked “Follow” on your profile? Why’re you wasting such superpowers on Twitter? You should be out there fighting crime, or, at the very least, rescuing cats from trees.

3. The CAPTCHA Trap

There’s a pretty useful service out there, called True Twit. It aims to ensure that people following you are, in fact, people and not automated bots that want to drink your blood (that’s the danger of automated bots on Twitter, right?). Unfortunately, the way this is achieved is by sending you the following message with a clickable link:

I’m valid, I promise!

The link takes you to a page where you prove you’re human. The service used to achieve this via those pesky CAPTCHAs. Recently, it “simplified” the process by making you slide bits of a picture around until they form a whole, with occasionally horrifying results:

“We must find the bastard who chopped up our victim”

Oh dear God! What is that thing?! Kill it! For the love of God, kill it!

On their website True Twit mention that they’re working on a way to validate people without the use of direct messages. Until then – alas, I have to see my inbox fill up with validation links and deformed monsters.

4. The Shameless Spam 

Some people throw all of that subtlety and “Nice to meet you” foreplay out the window and just go straight to promoting whatever it is they’re currently selling. Real life example:

And here’s a fantastic “Block” button that allows me to never hear from you again!

I’ve even gotten messages along the lines of “Hey RT this for me: (some kind of thing or stuff)”. Now, I will gladly (and voluntarily) tweet about things I personally find interesting, such as fellow blogger’s posts or their books, etc.

What I will not do is re-tweet a post that I have zero interest in, from a person whom I don’t really know, just because they’ve taken the effort to spam my inbox. Sorry buddy, but you’ll have to find another way to promote the “10 amazing ways to make money from home”. Also, if you’re making so much money from home, why can’t you afford proper advertising?

5. The Neutered Personal Message

On extremely rare occasions a genuine personal message lands in my inbox. It’s clear that the person took the time to get to know a bit about me and truly wants to connect. I respond in kind and we chat for a while…and that “while” is usually very short. That’s because some bright mind at Twitter thought: “You know what makes Twitter so successful? The 140 character limit! That’s literally the only thing we’ve got going for us!”

“Hey, guys, check this out! I think I’ve just discovered the world’s largest number!”

So now direct messages are also limited to 140 characters, which makes any sensible communication impossible to maintain for too long. Messages get split into many parts and get intertwined and confusing, especially if both people are writing at the same time.  Yes, I have a short attention span and get easily thrown off, but…ooooh what’s that? Shiny!

Before you’re gonna point out the obvious, Sheriff McObvious of Obvious Town – yes, it’s very easy to exchange email or any other contact information and continue the conversation outside of Twitter. In fact, that’s pretty much what happens. Which only strengthens my argument about the uselessness of the Twitter DM inbox itself. If I need other social sites to continue a conversation, all my Twitter inbox can do is sit there collecting word clutter.

And that’s exactly what it does.

If you’re insightful, you may have gathered from above that I’m not quite fond of Twitter’s current DM inbox functionality. I hope that it eventually evolves to become a useful tool, but for now I’m just laughing sooooo hard at this picture somebody posted of you.

Versatile Blogger Award? Why thanks!

Some weeks back a fellow writer, blogger and Twitterer by the name of M. E. Franco has sent a shoutout my way on Twitter. The tweet read: “Versatile Blogger Award worthy!”.

Upon reading that I thought: “Well, cool! I’m certainly a blogger, I guess I’m versatile and I also know that ‘award’ is a noun. So it’s nice to have those three put together and directed at me”. I thanked M. E. Franco for her shoutout and that was the end of that.

Later on I was checking out her blog and suddenly saw my name mentioned in a blog post about the Versatile Blogger Award. That’s when it hit me that the “Versatile Blogger Award” is an actual thing. What can I say, sometimes I’m as sharp as a pack of Q-tips.

Above: Me, I guess?

So, what is this Versatile Blogger Award? It’s an award that bloggers pass on to other bloggers. It is also one of the rare (only?) awards where being nominated also means having won the award. If they tried that shit with the Oscars we’d be seeing a lot fewer awkward shots of Oscar losers struggling to look genuinely happy for those who won. Also, the inevitable “Thank You” speech marathon would require a separate TV channel.

OK, what happens now? Well, according to my extensive research gathered by skimming a few blogs, the following Versatile Blogger Award “rules” apply:

  1. Thank the person who has nominated you (aka “given you the award”) and include a backlink to their site.
  2. Share 7 curious and/or random facts about yourself that your audience may not already know (while simultaneously preventing the North Korean government from finally pinpointing your identity and location…but I’ve said too much).
  3. Nominate/pass the award to 15 other bloggers and inform them that they have won.

Those of you who know and like me (hi, mom!) will also know and hate my OCD tendencies. Now follow me as I use these OCD powers to go through the above Versatile Blogger Award steps, in order.

The thanking.

All bullshit aside, I’m honoured to have M.E. Franco throw some “Versatile Blogger Award” love my way. It’s always nice to get noticed and it’s even sweeter to get noticed by the author of a top-rated book. So – a huge thanks for nominating me, I truly appreciate it!

You can find M.E. Franco here:

I have previously talked about my conviction that Amazon know their stuff. So if they tell me M. E. Franco’s book gets a clean 5-star rating based on 12 customer reviews (as of writing this post), then I say “show me the money!”. Wait, no, I say “here is my money, show me the book!”.

The sharing of 7 random facts.

A fair warning – these facts may forever change your perception of me and you won’t be able to get them out of your head. Do you know what else you won’t be able to get out of your head for a while? “All the moves like Jagger, I’ve got the moves like Jagger, I’ve got the moooouuoooves like Jagger!“. You’re welcome!

And now, the facts:

1. I have a bad case of the “photic sneeze reflex“. Before you grab your phone to call an ambulance (seriously, you don’t even know my address, just put that phone down) – it’s nothing serious. All it means is that when I step out into the sun (or sometimes just look at a bright lamp) I sneeze. Usually twice in a row.

I’ll leave the explanation of how this weird reflex works to the Wiki article I’ve linked to. But yes, I’m in the 18-35% of the people who have this ACHOO syndrome (no, really, that’s the acronym/backronym). Also, my girlfriend has it, which makes our summer days together infinitely more enjoyable. Who needs conversation when you can just sneeze at each other loudly?

2. I am terrible at football. Here I’m referring to the game that involves actual feet kicking an actual ball, not the game where guys throw egg-shaped objects to each other (no offence to the American audience). If it’s any comfort, I’m probably equally terrible at throw-egg.

I normally play defence, because while I can usually pass/kick the ball passably, I absolutely suck at dribbling. The only goal I’ve ever scored was an own goal, much to the frustration of the goalie.

3. What I lack in football skills, I totally make up for with my Martial Arts background. I have a yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do. This is about as intimidating as having any belt in ballet.

Yellow belt is the second stage after “white belt” (which, incidentally, is the belt you have if you’ve never heard of Tae Kwon Do and/or are a toddler). It is earned by performing a number of choreographed “fighting” moves in front of some judges, while hitting thin air and trying to maintain a shred of dignity.

4. Back in Ukraine I was hand-picked to be in an all-guy choir. I’ll let you make your own jokes about this one.

5. My real last name is Gniazdo.

“What?! No! This blog is a lie!”, you’re screaming at your computer (or iPhone, if you’re that kind of a show-off). Calm down, your Tegretol pills are in the left drawer.

“Gniazdo” is of a Polish origin and translates to English directly as “nest”. There, feel better now? The few reasons I’m not using my actual last name are:

a) “Gniazdo Expressed” is a marginally less catchy blog name.

b) I’ve seen my last name misspelled in a hundred different ways, from “Gniazalo” to “Gucadze”, and I want people to be able to find my blog on Google.

c) I want a pseudonym, because that’s the kind of vain guy I am.

6. I’m extremely clumsy. I can’t begin to recount the many things I’ve dropped or broken and the numerous ways I’ve hurt myself with seemingly innocent objects. I may actually write a post about my clumsiness at some stage. For now it’ll just suffice to tell you that I once managed to tumble UP the stairs.

7. My earliest childhood memory is of a bee flying into my mouth and the panic that ensued. There you have it, my conscious adult life has started with an animal attack incident. From now on I have carte blanche to say anything I want on this blog, on account of being traumatised as a baby.

The nominating of other bloggers.

Here we go, the awesome part! I get to pass on the “Versatile Blogger Award” to some great fellow bloggers. Being a fresh face in the blogging world, I simply don’t know enough blogs to pick out 15 of them. So here’s what I’ll do. Today I will pass the award on to 5 fellow bloggers.

Later, when I have met more awesome people and have read their blogs, I’ll bring you more Versatile Blogger Award winners. Deal? Great!

Below come the first 5 Versatile Blogger Award worthy blogs in alphabetical order. Alphabetical so that I avoid offending anyone. Also, OCD, remember? And so, the first five “Versatile Blogger Award” nomiwinners (patent pending word) are:

Dionne Lister’s Blog

Dionne is a fellow writer I’ve recently followed on Twitter. Her blog gives outlet to her fiction, as well as curious observations/stories from her life (you know nothing about the reality of being a property valuer until you’ve read her stuff). Dionne has a great sense of humour and her posts are both easy and entertaining to read.

Extremely Average

Brian Meeks is a writer and his blog is focused on his writing journey. He muses about the writing process as well as actually posting his Henry Wood Detective Agency on the blog, chapter by chapter. Check it out, but don’t come crying and complaining if you end up getting hooked!

Light Speed Gaming

A blog run by a real-life friend (I have like at least two of those!) and colleague with a very Danish name (Søren Christensen, for the curious among you). His blog focuses on science fiction, video games and science fiction video games. If you’re a fan of both science fiction and video games that should sound like “win, win, win-win”. You’ll find book/movie/game reviews, playing tips and a lot more stuff related to sci-fi and video games. All of it is injected with a healthy doze of humour for good measure. Head on over and get your geek on!


Ria is truly a versatile blogger, covering a range of subjects on her blog. I like her sense of humour and I especially enjoy her fiction pieces (two of which I have had the honour of contributing to). She’s also studying Dentistry and has plenty of observations about her study process and her teachers (both horrible and hilarious). Definitely give her a read, you won’t be disappointed!

Teach From The Heart

Ms. Welty is someone who’s joined the blogging world even more recently than yours truly. Her passion for teaching is immediately apparent from her posts. Right now it’s an infant blog with just a couple of posts, but I have no doubt that Ms. Welty will be bringing more of her upbeat and encouraging writing to the masses!

That’s all from me for this post, but I will be returning later with more bloggers to pass on the Versatile Blogger Award to. Time to turn off those lights and…aaa…AAaa……AAAAAAACHOOooo.

Guest Expressed: “How not to be a schmuck on Twitter”

Today I bring you a few tips from Nathan Pennington on how to avoid being a douchebag on Twitter. Enter Nathan:

For the longest time, I didn’t get Twitter, and I avoided it. Then someone told me something that is so obvious, I have no idea how I didn’t realize it earlier. Twitter is real life. Just because it’s on the internet and limited in characters doesn’t mean it’s different from how we interact in person. There is no alternate Twitter dimension.

What does that mean on a practical level? Well, when a pushy salesperson comes up to you determined to get you to buy, what do you do? Gladly buy everything that is shoved at you?

No, you look for a quick excuse to move on and get away. Yet many people on Twitter act like somehow they can be obnoxious and have long lasting success. Sadly for them, it won’t work out.

Here are four examples of how Twitter is abused that I see daily (followed by how it should be done).

1. Don’t tweet like six updates in a row, wait a minute and then tweet another four. It’s highly doubtful that you really had anything interesting to say. What you’re really trying to do is monopolize the conversation, and that’s transparent. You’re trying to make others timelines all you.

That’s just like the guy at the party who talks loudly and far to close (possibly even spitting into your face). What’s your natural reaction? You want to get away. Same thing on Twitter. Don’t be that guy.

2. Don’t spam your link every chance you get. It’s true, many people on Twitter are there for an ulterior motive. It’s not just a place to hang out; they’ve got something to plug. That’s cool if you know how to do it, but something I’ve seen too often is making a tweet and then including your URL like it was a signature.

Look, this is Twitter. There are only 140 characters. There isn’t supposed to be a signature (grin). It’s bad form to tweet something like, “Got up this morning and the sun is shining.” You give your followers a sensation that you are not sincere; you’re just in this for you and you smile and shake their hand, as long as you can slip them a business card.

3. Don’t be one-dimensional. Yes, you have something to promote, but don’t only talk and link to stories about that. Be human. It lets people really connect to you, which is what you want after all.

4. Don’t do a tweet that says “Buy my . . .” or “Check out my . . .” That’s just too hardcore and pushy. On top of that it makes you look needy, which drives people away.

Now, if you shouldn’t ever say, “Hey, buy my . . .”, how can you use Twitter to promote? Well, it’s actually easier than you might have thought. You do it by getting others to promote you.


By not asking them. Yes, by not asking them. The only way to win someone over and get them retweeting your tweets and mentioning you and whatever it is you are promoting is if they like you.

And the only way they are going to like you is if you are helpful, fun, and conversational. In my opinion, most of your tweets should be replies to others. Encourage your followers. Joke a bit. Be fun and helpful. Then they will take interest in you.

I’ll say it again. Most of your tweets should be replies to others. Make it a conversation. Have fun.

Only then can you can post an update or something low-key about what you are promoting. If you’ve done your job, if you’ve made sincere friends, it will be retweeted and passed around.

Over the long term, if you do this simple thing (keep Twitter human and natural) will you do better (sell more of whatever you are promoting)?

Lots more, but here’s the difficult thing. Doing it the right way takes longer and the payoff is slower, albeit longer lasting by far. That’s why you see so many people pushing their own stuff frantically. It’s the “Pop-tart” culture of wanting everything now, or in five minutes at the latest.

If you’re going to use Twitter as a promotional tool, do it right and reap the full rewards.

Not surprisingly, you can actually find Nathan Pennington on Twitter. If that’s not your thing you can go directly to his website.