Archive for October, 2009

O is for Ogden

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 31, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Ogden Nash

O is for Ogden Nash

O is for Ogden Nash
a poet who was by no means crass

His wordmanglings came from one ornery critter
And I wish he’d been around to star in Twitter

Twitter Thieves

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 27, 2009 by Tudor Rickards


According to a research report, staff who use Twitter are costing UK businesses over a billion pounds (Sterling).

Over half of those surveyed admitted using social networking sites during the working day for personal use. On average those people spent 40 minutes per week on these sites. IT services group Morse, who commissioned the research, said that such online behaviour clearly had a “productivity strain” on firms.

TudorTweet followed up on the BBC news item [but was he at work: RT?]

Shock horror. Workers are using Intranets to get to Twitter. @MBSAlumni

Employees twitter 40 minutes a week. That’s five minutes a day. @BBCHaveYourSay

Twitter costs UK £4 billion p.a. Lib Dems preparing for power? @libdems

Worker tweeting? My kibbutzing suggests Facebook to be a bigger hitter @ Linz425


Workers use intranets to twitter
But Facebook is a bigger hitter
Tweeters weekly thieve an hour
For fun? Or plotting people power

An Ode Too Far? Book Review of Stephen Fry’s “The Ode Less Travelled”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 24, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

The Ode Less Travelled

What better book for The Reluctant Twitterer to review than one about poetry, and written by twitter icon and celebrity supertweeter Stephen Fry?

The Ode Less Travelled sets out to unlock the hidden poet in the reader. It worked for one reader at least. The book started out with one big advantage, and several handicaps. In the folklore of publishing, there are checklists of factors which reduce the chances of a book’s success. A technical diagram, an equation, a mathematical formula would all be mostly on the debit side. The Ode Less Travelled has all three potential barriers to commercial success. On the other hand, these may be out-trumped by a celebrity author.

‘OK, Steven’ I can hear the cornered publisher concede ‘you want us to do your poetry book, we’ll do it. But next time how about an epic journey? How about you follow the American election campaign like Simon Sharma?’ So Stephen gets to do his book on poetry, before the multi-media package of book add TV series for the BBC.

Anyway, The Ode Less Travelled gets published. As I indicated, its declared aspiration is to encourage would-be poets to have a go, and it worked for one reader at least. It got me out of the closet. No, not what you might think. For many years I have been a closet poetry writer. A reluctant poet if you like. Fry addresses just such closet poets as myself with the beguiling argument that it’s OK to be known as a practicing poet. It’s OK particularly because you can write poetry for your own gratification.

Like singing in the bath, you don’t have to be good at writing poetry to feel good about doing it. Indeed, if you are writing for yourself you are also the first and last important critic of your work.

I was given the book as a Christmas present. I dipped into it, not quite in the spirit of self-study advocated by its author. But then, a year later, I became interested in, and began writing about social media.

For whatever reason, my reluctant twittering came out partly in verse. I have Stephen Fry to thank for that.

I don’t know why
But Stephen Fry
was sitting on my shoulder.
Although perverse
I wrote in verse
His book had made me bolder

So there you have it. A satisfied customer. I now go back to the book from time to time for its additional merits as a guide to poetic form. Call me ungrateful, but I also find the book a rather frustrating travel companion. As another poet almost wrote

Ingratitude, more strong than traitor’s arms, then vanquished him

Fry is far too bright to be unaware of the technical difficulties he faced in getting to his alleged goals. He actually refers to the dangers of embarrassing over-chumminess. Well there is a bit of that. More embarrassing for me was the tone of the old school teacher (or quiz-master) jokingly urging his students (panellists) to study (behave) in the correct way. Read Out Loud. Don’t go any further until you’ve Done Your Exercises. [RT @ Stephen Fry on Twitter: #LOL, now its #ROL].

A more disturbing and ungracious thought persists. The book is far too comprehensive. Too much effort has been expended in an effort to cover all the multitude of poetic forms that might be found in a good anthology of poetry. This aspiring poet would have settled for the unravelling of the secrets of the most familiar forms of poetry encountered from childhood. But the book continues remorselessly as Mr Fry introduces us to more and more obscure poetic forms which are close to extinction.

More seriously, he draws on two main sources of illustration. His own efforts, and those of other poets. As he graciously admits, his own verses are there to illustrate basic poetic forms, and make no claims of creative merit.

I took it into my head that SF had hit on a wheeze. Suppose you are indeed a closet poet. You have a notebook full of your efforts, five finger exercises, as well as four finger and three finger ones. And in addition you have the influence to place them with a publisher. Well, I know what I’d do. I’d write the book and include in it all those otherwise unpublishable efforts.

As I said, that’s utterly ungrateful. Perish the thought. Heaven forbid. Just put it down to sheer poet envy.

Albert reports in

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 16, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Picture 020

Did I dream it? A recorded message from a snail? When I tried to play it again it had gone. Had I deleted it? Was it ever there in the first place? I can only write down here what I thought I heard

This is a message from Albert the Snail Detective.

You may think it has been a long time since you last caught sight of me

Perhaps you think I have been wasting time

Oh no.

Snails don’t waste time.

It just seems that way.

On no. We use time. We relish it. Our slow progress means we take full advantage of time.

Now, where was I? No humanrushing about from us. That’s what makes us good detectives. We digest the facts. We detect causes and culprits.

That’s how I work. Quietly. Carefully. The foot of snail is a fearsome weapon against bad people. Oh yes. And a snail trail often beats a beeline.

Now, where was I?

Oh yes.

Pertaining to the case of The Reluctant Twitterer.

This is a very tricky case indeed. There are dark forces at play. You are right about that. You are worried that if you speak up and warn people you will be in danger from your enemies. But you also fear what will happen if you do nothing. If you say nothing.

I am following several promising lines on enquiry.

Oh yes.

But following and not being followed if you take my meaning.

I will not be leaving any more messages like this.

But I know how to contact you


It’s an old Snailcraft trick

You won’t find me

But I know how to find you

The message ended. I replayed it. Nothing. Another bit of snailtrickery?

And as I looked out of the window
I saw the faintest of silvery snail trails there.

Following and not being followed

Wasn’t that what Albert had said?

I looked again.
And as I looked
the rain came down
And washed the trail away.

Tweeters Victorious

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 14, 2009 by Tudor Rickards


A Remarkable Story. The Battle of Trafigura’s Gag

The story is about an oil company, and its lawyers, and an MP and the Guardian Newspaper, and an injunction, and a burned banana cake

On Monday evening, blogs and the social networking site Twitter buzzed as users rushed to solve the mystery of who was behind the gagging attempt that had prevented the newspaper reporting details of a question tabled by an MP to be answered by a minister later this week. One of the quickest to reveal the full story was a 34-year old human rights activist, Richard Wilson. He was baking a banana cake in his kitchen in London when he first found out about the gag on the Guardian from a message posted on Twitter.
A few minutes of frantic internet searching later he published the fact that the gag related to Farrelly’s questions about Trafigura. He also published the text of the questions itself and became so absorbed in cracking the puzzle, his cake burned to a crisp. He said it was a small price to pay.

“I knew Trafigura were incredibly litigious and I knew Carter Ruck were defending them,” he explained. “I had a hunch, so I went to the website of the parliamentary order papers where they publish all the questions, searched for Trafigura and a question from Farrelly popped up and I tweeted it straight away. It took several tweets and then I pasted in the link”

Oh Lord won’t you send me
The villains’ defeat
Don’t need no injunctions
Just send me a tweet

There’s oil in the desert
There’s oil in the sea
Just tweet to the people
Them slicks not for me

There’s nothing so wicked
So cool and so sweet
So Lord if it pleases
Just send me a tweet

Ballad of Miley Cyrus

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Miley Cyrus

The World as manifest in Twitter was rocked at the news. Miley Cyrus has stopped tweeting, saying it was becoming a drug, affecting her personal life

“I need to be able to live and learn in private. I never want to quit entertaining it is my life, my love, and my passion but I can’t have my personal life be other people’s entertainment. If we spent more time enjoying what we are doing besides tweeting about it, we would enjoy our lives a whole lot more.”

One tweeter does not make a summer, nor one less the start of winter. Already the movement to get Miley back tweeting has taken off through #mileycomeback.

Miley Cyrus
Caught the virus
Caught it real bad

Must admit her
Love of twitter
Made her real sad

Miley Cyrus
Beat the virus
Put it in a sack

Will Country’s fears
And Western tears
Bring our Miley back?

The Mysterious Case of The Reluctant Twitterer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 12, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Picture 001

It has been several months since the first messages began to appear. It now seems time for an update on the mysterious case of the reluctant twitterer

I am that Reluctant Twitterer, although I have no way of convincing anyone of the truth of that statement. Let’s just say that you can assume that this post has been written by the person responsible for the other contributions to this blog.

There are several recurring themes to be found in earlier posts. Many verses refer to current news stories about Twitter. I have said that I do not have a Twitter name, and I do not tweet directly through Twitter the social media site.

Why should someone so interested in Twitter avoid tweeting directly? Wouldn’t that be the best way to tell other people whatever it is you want to say? Maybe. Maybe I will be persuaded to sign-up on Twitter as a result of what happens in the future.

I have chosen what is obviously a less direct approach. Why? Why should someone be so reluctant? I have decided to leave that question for others to work out. In which case, there are deeper meanings to be discovered, and which are concealed in the posts because of my deeper concerns. The verses, the tags, the images, the themes all may have to be studied to arrive at the deeper message. This would explain the strange and apparently unconnected aspects to be found in the posts.

In one, an appeal was made for a detective to help solve an unspcified problem. Following the appeal, posts appeared about detectives, often connected for some reason to children’s nursery rhymes. Indeed, some of the detectives take on the forms of intelligent creatures such as Albert the Snail, and The Little Pink Ant.

Maybe I have no such deep secret which needs to be told. Maybe this is all a game. Or maybe this is a tale told by a twitterer, full of sound and fury but signifying not a lot. You have to decide for yourself if you want to get involved in the mysterious case of the Reluctant Twitterer.

Chicken Licken Flip Flop All Fall Down

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Children playing

I was reading that excellent poetry book by Stephen Fry. In it he said anyone can write verse, just for pleasure and fun.

Then I thought about those old nursery rhymes and wondered what a new one would sound like in my head. And this is what came out:

Chicken Licken Flip Flop All Fall Down

Whose lights are out there growing?
Chip chop, chip chop

Chip Chop Chip Chop
Chicken licken flip flop
Chicken licken flip flop
All fall down

What fires are out there glowing?
Chip Chop, Chip Chop

What cries are out there going?
Chip Chop, Chip Chop

Chip Chop Chip Chop
Chicken licken flip flop
Chicken licken flip flop
All fall down

What scythes are out there mowing?
Chip Chop Chip Chop

Chip Chop Chip Chop
Chicken licken flip flop
Chicken licken flip flop


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 3, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Blarney Stone

History was made in the UK this week when a writ was served via Twitter. Solicitors sought an injunction against the Blaneysblarney Twitter account on the grounds that it was impersonating a celebrity blogger.


Stop the blarney, Barney
There’s a lawyer at the door
He’s got a judge to sign a writ
That says you’ve got to go

Just quit the country, Barney
And settle in another
The lawyer’s got you bang to rights
And blown your Twitter cover

So goodbye Blaneyblarney
No wonder he feels bitter
His Blarney’s bust, his Craic is cracked
Run out of town by Twitter

And now the real Barney
Can sleep secure at night
Contented that Due Process
Has put a wrong to right

Conservatives plan Care Centres for Social Media Addicts: Is this a Joke?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2009 by Tudor Rickards

Brain scan [wikipedia ]

The Reluctant Twitterer has learned that the Conservatives will announce plans at their annual conference in Manchester for treatment centres for people addicted to social media websites

The plans are likely to be seen as a reaction to views expressed recently of the damaging impact of excessive time spent on computers.

Our special correspondent Albert Snell reports that the move is consistent with David Cameron’s efforts to advance the caring conservative agenda. It also counters the Government’s idea of care-centres for young unmarried mothers.

Albert will be providing further exclusives for The Reluctant Twitterer from Manchester throughout the Conference.