Friday, December 4, 2009

Retweet Offenders

For 10 years I would talk to my BFF every day on the phone. We both had our own design practices, both of us are Japanese American sanseis, and we have known one another since before puberty. In 2006 she took a very high-level job as creative director for a hugely popular digital entertainment company, and because her time was now owned by the company, she felt uncomfortable talking to me from work.

I felt bereft and mourned about it for a year or longer. Eventually I became used to not having her presence in my day-to-day life. Other friends began to fill the gap, but I often thought about those great years when we spent so much time talking, sharing and bonding.

Fast forward to the end of 2008; enter Twitter.

I don't mean to turn my blog into another outlet for commentary about social networking, but Twitter actually changed my life. It took hundreds, now thousands of people to replace my friend!

During the course of finding my way around Twitter I've seen trends and topics emerge. One recent annoying practice I've observed is the "Self-Retweeter."

As many people are aware, Twitter analytic applications assess various metrics to determine one's standing. Among them:
• The number of followers you have
• How often you engage in conversations with your followers
• How often you are mentioned
• How often your tweets are retweeted (RT)

Now that Twitter has added the list function, I think lists should factor into the evaluation. Some people with 20, 40 or 60,000 followers are sometimes only listed 2 or 3 times. What that tells you is, that person has a lot of followers, but no one is listening. But it also presents another opportunity for exploitation: People who are inclined to "cook the stats" by retweeting themselves certainly wouldn't be beyond "listing" themselves, and I've seen at least one example where that has occurred.

An example of "cooking the stats" occurred when I was recently approached by someone who had formed a consortium of people who were committed to retweeting and mentioning each other, I supposed to help boost their standings. That sounded ludicrous to me and I elected to not participate. The concept shouted, "hey, my postings aren't good enough to be noticed or retweeted by the general public, so I'm resorting to artificially making myself seem more interesting and influential!"

From my understanding of RTs, they should be reserved for re-sharing information that is found to be interesting, amusing or important enough to re-post.

The newest and most obnoxious trend is the "self-retweeter." These are people who, if mentioned in a tweet, will retweet their own mention. On rare occasions there is a need to leave one's mention in a retweet, such as when the post won't make any sense without it, but I think most of the pros will agree, it's not good Twitter etiquette to mention yourself.

The practice I'm referring to is the equivalent of Twitter diarrhea, or "Twitterrhea" — effluence flooding the Twitterverse and polluting the stream.

Let me cite an example with (I hope) fictitious names, typical of a thank you I might tweet to people who have RTed or mentioned me:

@johndoe @maryjohnson @bobjackson @nonameperson @whoever Thanks 4 RTs & mentions, COOL PEEPS!

Then, johndoe RTs me like this:

RT@terrinakamura @johndoe @maryjohnson @bobjackson @nonameperson @whoever Thanks 4 RTs & mentions, COOL PEEPS!

Then maryjohnson RTs:

RT@terrinakamura @johndoe @maryjohnson @bobjackson @nonameperson @whoever Thanks 4 RTs & mentions, COOL PEEPS!

Then bobjackson RTs:

RT@terrinakamura @johndoe @maryjohnson @bobjackson @nonameperson @whoever Thanks 4 RTs & mentions, COOL PEEPS!

Then nonameperson RTs:

RT@terrinakamura @johndoe @maryjohnson @bobjackson @nonameperson @whoever Thanks 4 RTs & mentions, COOL PEEPS!

Then whoever retweets:

RT@terrinakamura @johndoe @maryjohnson @bobjackson @nonameperson @whoever Thanks 4 RTs & mentions, COOL PEEPS!

So each person to whom the RT is already attributed, mentions HIM/HERSELF again, plus they mention ME again, creating an endless loop of RTs. And to top it off, some of these people actually RT the same mention over and over! It's not uncommon for me to find 5 or 6 of the same RT!

In other words, they've managed to insert themselves into the data manipulating the analytics that determine their values. Don't get me wrong—I completely recognize these people are also boosting MY "tweet-worth," but it's one of the things I'd be happy to sacrifice if only to restore space and value to the Twitter stream.


The self-retweeter is the first cousin of the person who begs for RTs (PLZ RT). There is no solution I can see.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Dark Side of Twitter

I'd always assumed when I'd met people on Twitter that they were "WYSIWYG" or "what you see is what you get." People who are friendly, intelligent, funny or engaging I would imagine would be very similar in real life. On Twitter, people will either like you or not, so my feeling has always been to be yourself and let the "Tweeps*" fall where they may.

Throughout the past year I've developed actual friendships with fewer than a dozen people. These are people I consider in my inner circle, and we communicate outside of Twitter through email, phone conversations, and in some cases have even met in person. Those friendships, as those in real life, are rare, and I treasure each and every one of them.

Recently, out of the blue, I received a DM (direct message) from a follower I don't know well, warning me about one of our mutual followers. The information was disturbing. Allegedly, our mutual follower was dangerous and violent, and was wanted by the police.

Because of the friendly nature of my conversations with the allegedly dangerous person, I was a bit incredulous accepting the information at face value. I judge people through my direct interactions with them, and I'd had nothing but positive exchanges regarding work and common interests throughout our communications with one another.

The ensuing conversation with my family about this episode led to the conclusion that although the accuser's situation appeared to be dire, I couldn't become involved and should disengage. If the allegations were true and I betrayed confidences to enable someone's incarceration, who is to say I or my family wouldn't become the object of revenge?

Until now, I'd only experienced the best Twitter has to offer. I think this shows the worst.

*Tweeps: one of the many words representing people on Twitter

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In Memory of My Best Friend

We had the most wonderful dog in the world. It's been 2 years since he died, but I still think of him almost every day. I wrote about it at the time of his death, but shared with only a few people. I'm reposting it now.

Rusty was lethargic today and had been increasingly off his food. We were unable to coax him to get up and go outside. He had an accident while lying on his bed. His expression seemed to say it was humiliating to soil himself and couldn’t we see that it was time? When Charley got home from school today, the three of us talked and agreed it was. He no longer had the strength or will to enjoy life.

It was around 7 PM when he died.

Emergencies delayed Dr. Kelly and his assistant Gail. When they arrived, we talked about what had been happening with Rusty — his decline, increasing seizures (2 last week), almost daily incontinence, loss of appetite, inability to stand or walk, and the faraway look in his eyes. They were kind and compassionate and let us spend as much time as we needed to say goodbye. It was very sad for all of us. When the time came, Dr. Kelly injected Rusty's hind right leg with a sedative that put him to sleep, then eased him into death. David stayed nearby, comforting him while he received the injection, and Charley and I stroked him until he stopped breathing. After a few minutes, Dr. Kelly listened to Rusty's heart and confirmed that he was gone.

Afterward, Dr. Kelly went out to prepare their car which was parked in the driveway, and I walked outside with Gail for a moment. When I went back into the kitchen, Charley was kneeling beside Rusty and wiping tears from his eyes. I don't think he wanted us to see him cry. We tried to close Rusty's eyes, but they stayed partly open. Dr. Kelly and Gail wrapped Rusty in a blanket, then David and Dr. Kelly carried him to their car. While Rusty laid on the blanket, we each gave him one last goodbye.

We asked them to let us know when Rusty's cremated remains would be available for us. We want to keep them until Andrew comes home -- or possibly forever. We thanked them for their willingness to come to our home, sparing Rusty the feeling of fear he would have experienced in his last moments had we taken him to Elliott Bay Animal Hospital to be euthanized. We shook hands with Gail and hugged Dr. Kelly, then said goodbye. I watched them back down the driveway knowing the body of our beloved friend was leaving forever.

And what an unforgettable, loving, wonderful, smart and noble friend he was. I want to remember his soft ears and his fur that never seemed to shed, his random white toes, the white blaze on his chest and the black-tipped tail. I want to remember what it felt like to wrap my arms around his neck and deep chest -- the smell of his head, his beautiful, expressive brown eyes. I want to remember how smart he was, figuring out things in a most human-like manner. And I want to remember how funny he was and how he could make everyone laugh. There will never be another like him.

It felt sad during dinner. David, Charley and I toasted him. We told Rusty stories that both warmed the heart and brought tears to my eyes. After dinner it felt strange to not feed him or walk him. After 14 years, there is a huge emptiness.

Rusty, aka Rusty the wonderdog, Googie, Roosty, Big Dog, Great Big, Great Big Dog (said with a Scottish accent) Dog that I love, Rusticulosis, Rustica, Silly old dog who looks like a log, Sill pill, and many other names of affection that somehow never confused him, who entered our lives for Andrew's 10th birthday (September 1993), gently departed from our lives October 1, 2007. We miss him terribly.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting the Boot

I thought I'd been fired, but it turned out to be an escape

Late on a recent Friday afternoon I was left a VOICE MESSAGE telling me I was being replaced. Nice. The new editor of a publication I designed freelance for 10 years couldn't extend the courtesy to tell me directly, and instead had her boss leave the news on my voice mail.

The event spurred discussions with people & colleagues in my inner circle, and I learned it's not unusual nowadays to dismiss people via voice mail or e-mail. I'm not sure if it's due to cowardice, lack of respect, laziness or indifference. But whatever it is, it's symptomatic of cultural malaise.

A week and a half went by when I received a call from one of my printers, telling me the former client had called and asked for downloads of my files. When the printer informed the client that it was illegal to accommodate them, the client emailed me, instructing me to give my permission to the printer to release the files!

As most people in the creative industry are aware, when a freelance designer, photographer, illustrator or other creator of original content, is hired, unless it is specifically stated that the arrangement is for a buyout, copyright ownership is retained by the respective creators. The client is buying the "deliverable"—be it a finished brochure, annual report or other collateral—not the objects themselves.

So, I was let go, and they hired a replacement who was unable to move forward without my files.

A volley of emails ensued. The client insinuated I was trying to strong-arm them for more money because at one point I tried to explain the value of the files and left the door open for her to call me (which she elected not to do). She failed to recognize: If they had been respectful; if they had asked me instead of told me; and if they had not gone behind my back, I would have given them the files to them as a gesture of goodwill.

But lack of professional consideration left me no choice. I let them know their designer needed to proceed on her own. The client then had a "virtual" tantrum, but as far as I was concerned, it was a dead issue.

The next day, out of the blue, I received an email from another person from that office who acted as though everything was rosy, and asked in a friendly way if I was willing to give them the files, or possibly discuss a buyout? She was seemingly unaware of what had transpired between her boss and me, but the ironic thing was, she was the person who originally approached the printer! It was the theatre of the absurd. I explained to her the plan to have their new designer move forward on her own. End of story.

But not quite.

A few days later I received the following handwritten note in the mail:

"Dear Terri,

Thank you for your extraordinary contributions to XXXX with your work on XXXX over the years. You've always impressed us with your creativity and dedication. We are certain it won't be long before another [client] snaps you up! We hope our paths cross again in the future.

Please stay in touch. Thanks again.

[signed] XXXX and the communications team"

The reason for the note is a mystery. After the unethical actions and insulting missives, to suddenly receive such a complimentary note made no sense at all. It was a disingenuous attempt at...what?

When I first learned I'd no longer be working on this project, I felt sad about the loss. Now, realising what a goofed up group of new people are in place, I can only be thankful I'm not sucked into their quagmire.

Since that fateful Friday I've picked up several new clients—all wonderful people who are professional and know what they're doing. So the stars are shining upon me, it seems!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dinner Party From Hell

Okay, so I'm being melodramatic when I say it was the dinner party from hell, because it wasn't really hell. The people were nice. It was a beautiful day. We were able to enjoy an incredible view of Puget Sound outside on a deck.

The hell part was the dinner. But I'm jumping ahead...

Several weeks ago I received a dinner invitation from a long-time acquaintance. Because my husband and I like this person, we said we'd love to attend. In these parts, whenever someone invites you to their home for dinner, you will inevitably inquire, "what can we bring?" Nine times out of ten, the answer will be, "No need to bring anything, but if you'd like, bring a bottle of wine."

This time it went differently, though. A few days before the dinner, I received a phone call asking me to bring an "entree salad." As I was unfamiliar with the term, I asked for more clarification. Did it mean a salad that has meat in it? Or a chunky salad? Or something hefty? I was told any of those things would be fine, and to come at 5 PM, so I was left to my own devices to think of what to make.

Though my husband and I are on the dark side of 50, neither one of us are at the point where we want to be anywhere near dinner at 5 o'clock. Coincidentally, we had another stop to make in that part of Seattle that would delay our arrival until 5:30 or 6:00, which is still early but definitely more in the realm of normal for us.

We weren't told how many people would be there, so I planned to double whatever recipe I was going to make. A double volume of salad should be plenty to qualify it as an "entree," or so I thought.

My husband suggested I make a Chinese chicken salad recipe given to me by a former boyfriend's mother, an exceptionally talented cook of Japanese and Asian food. The recipe is labor intense, so usually the only time I make it is for Japanese New Year. It requires the individual preparation of many components, including deep-fried maifun noodles. When made correctly, the maifun blooms into an airy cloud once it hits the hot oil, yielding a light, crispy texture. The deep-fried maifun noodles really make the salad.

The day arrived and I began work. It was unseasonably hot, so my exasperation threshold was three notches lower than usual. The prep work is killer and takes hours. Trying to cut corners, I'd decided to use an electric fry pan instead of deep frying on the gas stove because it's less of a mess to clean up. Bad idea.

The electric fry pan didn't get hot enough. When I dropped in the maifun noodles, they looked right, but weren't light or crispy. In fact, they were mostly rock hard. If you can imagine chewing on threadlike bunches of greasy plastic, that would come close to the texture. My husband, who always finds the positive in every situation, acknowledged they were inedible. Without the maifun it would be an ordinary salad. I was beyond frustrated, so called our friend explaining I was having a meltdown. I was told not to worry if the salad didn't work out - that there would be plenty of food.

Having a safety net thrown, I started what I should have done in the first place - deep frying on the gas stove. When everything was finally complete, I packed it all up and we were ready to go.

We departed, making our other stop along the way, and arrived to find 10 people at the dinner party. We set down the chilled bottle of Prosecco and the salad ingredients we brought, and mingled for 10 minutes before asking for a beverage. Apparently because we didn't get there at 5, the hors d'oeuvres were not to be found. My husband was able to scrape some molecules of salmon off a remaining piece of skin, but that was it.

We chatted for another 15 minutes, then I was tapped on the shoulder and told it was time to serve my salad. So I went into the kitchen and asked if I should plate the salad or leave it in the bowl for people to serve themselves? I was told it would be fine to leave it in the bowl, so I proceeded to assemble all of the ingredients, toss it and set it on the sideboard. Meanwhile, another guest was slicing bread and setting it out. All the while I was wondering why someone wasn't firing up the barbecue? Certainly we were going to have some nice grilled salmon?

It was announced dinner was served. That's when I realised my salad was the dinner and THERE WOULD BE NO SALMON.

The salad was well received, but the other guests were equally puzzled. Should they leave room on their plates for more courses? My husband and I quickly discerned this would not be the case.

Ten minutes later when everyone was finished, the plates were cleared away. Meanwhile, another guest went to prepare their part of the meal, which turned out to be dessert. That was dinner: My salad, bread and dessert. I puzzled over being told there would be "plenty of food," and thought, "yeah, in a third-world country!"

At that point I excused myself and stealthily called our son, asking him to call me back in 15 minutes. When my phone rang, I answered and announced we needed to leave. My husband and I got into the car and asked each other what in the heck was that!? When we got home, we rummaged around for something to eat. We were hungry.

The next day I called a friend who was also a guest and asked what she thought. Yes, it was weird. After all accounting, we deduced everything served at the dinner was provided by a guest and that the hosts did nothing except provide a venue, glasses, dishes and utensils. One of the hosts was Jewish. I asked my friend (also Jewish) if it was a Jewish thing? Her response was, "NO, Terri! Jews feed people!"

So the next time we're presented with an invitation from this person, we're going to suggest dining out.

Separate checks.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How I Became a Twitter Junkie

In October of 2008, Aaron, a client, told me I NEEDED to get with it and get on Twitter. Aaron (@SeattleBlank) is, like, 30 years old, and is a VP for a public relations firm, and someone I respect.

As a graphic designer, it's important for me to keep up with what's current. It's tantamount to social currency. So sheepishly, I opened an account.

It felt weird, though, all alone in what I'd describe as my "Twitter Room," and since I didn't really know what I was doing, I proceeded to post rather banal tweets about who I was meeting for dinner and where, or the projects I was working on, etc., as if anyone could care. There was no interaction or response by anyone. Was it any wonder that I was unimpressed with the whole thing? It seemed pointless and stupid. I did very little with Twitter for the first 4 months.

Whenever someone started following me, I couldn't understand why. They didn't know me. I thought, "why in the world would this perfect stranger want to follow me? Is he/she a stalker?"

I was paranoid and protected my tweets - and had only a couple dozen followers for several months. But it was intriguing to have people request to follow me and I began obsessing over how many followers I gained or lost. When I'd lose someone I sort of took it personally. It was like, why did they leave me?! Eventually I removed "protect my updates." What, exactly, was I protecting?

For many months I didn't realise it is almost a courtesy to follow back people who follow you (unless they are spammers or clearly have nothing that interests you). I wasn't doing that. Also, I didn't realise a person couldn't send me a direct message (DM) unless I followed them back. In fact, I was doing so many things the wrong way, but I didn't know it!

In January, 2009, I had 42 followers. I decided to reexamine Twitter to determine whether there was any real value, and to give it a serious try. This meant reading everything I could and learning about what people were interested in, and discovering the tools to manage it all. My tweets, until this point, had been boring and offered no value to my followers. How could I make myself more interesting? And what kinds of things did I want to share? After all, everything I tweeted would be a reflection of some facet of myself.

Taking cues from people like Peter Cashmore (@mashable), Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki), Seth Simonds (@sethsimonds), and others, I tweaked my tweets, learned about retweeting (RT) and (@) replies. I learned an embarrassing lesson about DMs from Seth Simonds. I'd sent him a direct message and he couldn't reply because I hadn't followed him back. So he posted an @ reply that explained why he couldn't respond to me, and added something like, "I am an aardvark," to point out how silly it was to send a DM without following back. Seeing that on the Twitter feed, I felt like an idiot! (Note: I later sent him a DM, telling him I hadn't understood the mechanics, and he couldn't have been nicer.)

Eventually I figured out my own game plan: be myself but don't focus on myself; post tidbits of information that I find interesting; tweet YouTube videos that make me laugh; share silly things or stuff about the iPhone (something I LOVE), or tweet breaking technology news and other items of interest.

I started paying attention to what was going on around me, being more thoughtful about the news I'd read, and when reviewing email links people would send, I'd wonder if they were "tweetworthy?" I started really working hard at finding things that delivered value, entertainment or information to my followers. Also, I learned it is considered an act of generosity to retweet (RT) - or re-post an item you've read elsewhere, making sure the original person is credited with an @ attribution. And one more important thing: thanking people with an @ reply when they RT something I've posted, or sending them a DM, is just plain good manners.

You can tell you're doing something right when your tweets are RTed. It's a great feeling and addictive because RTs are like little affirmations that say "you did well!" The next great feeling is to have someone #ff or #FollowFriday you. (BTW, the # is called a hashtag, and is a shortcut marker for people to search for a topic or trend.) On Fridays, Twitterers (AKA Tweeps, Tweeple, Twits, etc.) recommend people worth following. When you see your name with a #ff or #FollowFriday, it's quite a compliment because it means your tweets are interesting enough for your followers to recommend you to others.

When I changed my game plan, the number of my followers increased. Each day I would gain a follower or two, then 5 or 6, then 10 or 11, etc. So my measly count that hovered around 40 or 50, gradually grew to more than 700 over the course of several months. I know, that is a tiny volume when Barack Obama, Oprah and others have millions, but considering I'm just a graphic designer in Seattle, Washington, I'm honored to think people find me worth following. And because I thrive on positive feedback, I'll continue to work hard to make it worth their while.

Since this blog post was originally written, I've discovered it pays to do due diligence and vet followers before following back. A good friend, @Tech_Blend (Ahad Bokhari) wrote a blog post about follower/following ratios, which also influenced my actions.
His blog post:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Be Happy Pls

Hey don ever be sad ...
Even if u r sad, don cry.. think wat to do next...
Motivate yourself.. Share ur problems to ur parents... IF NOT..
IF NOT.. Share it ur dear friends.. Then ur friend will take care of U :)
Then be happy and keep smiling...
Kepps miling alwasys... :) :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Ha ha wow wat a look !!!
Its always good to take care of others :) even this kid do it.. Y cant you?
We have do our works by ourself !! See how this kid do shopping...
Its time to enjoy but with care...
ha ha kids likes toys and take care of them ...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Naughty Babies

Even I like to be funny.. Have u ever tried to act funny?? If not try it soon..
Funny Babies Ha ha..
Funny Babies Hello hows it possible??
Funny Babies Only babies can do like these things.... I love it
Funny Babies Ho me too getting sleep...
Funny Babies cuteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Funny Babies wow wat a snap!!!
Funny Babies Be funny a bit.. Ur life will be good...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

But cute

wow Cute na..
Cute Babies Fully covered even the fore head :)
Cute Babies Wow wat a look :)
Cute Babies She may become a model he he he
Cute Babies Wat r u coming to say through ur eyes !!
Cute BabiesI too like hearing song..
Cute Babies
Comments pls..

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shivratri Special

May Lord Shiva shower his benign blessings on you and your family. May happiness and peace surround you with his eternal love and strength.
This s one of the place in Karnataka.. (Southern part of India)..

Dhiyanalingam temple in Tamil Nadu..

Here comes my home town (Tiruvannamalai).. A place were Karthigai Deepam s celebrated..

The ariel view of Tiruvannamalai..

Lord Shiva in form of Deepam.. Deepam has been lighted on top of the hill..

Om Namah Shivaya..

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cute photos

have U ever been like these in ur early days??

Recall ur school days..

Its always good to recall sweet memories with friends..

Have u ever had fun like this?

I hope u recalled ur early days!!
Comments pls....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fog Wallpapers

Do U like Fogs?? I used to go to hill stations and one of the reason to go is FOG :)
WOW fog remains even after the sun conquires the world :)
Have u ever gone to this kind of place?? I had gone recently.. superb...
Ho this may be animated one !!!
This is the real beauty of nature...
Good snap!!! Yet to visit a place like this... Eager to..
Hope u like this post :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

Its the special collection for Lovers :)
True love is not something that comes everyday, follow your heart, it knows the right answer.
Valentines Day
I can express no kinder sign of love,than this kind kiss.
(Hi all read the wordings in below wallpaper)
Valentines Day Special
Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren't even there before.
Valentines Day
Love is the magician that pulls man out of his own hat.
Lovers Day
Love fails, only when we fail to love.,
Valentines Day
It is never too late to fall in love.
Valentines Day
Don't fall in love with somebody who dosn't love you back (it's not cool).