Thank goodness for Grammar Girl’s parody of those awful Head On ads to help explain run-on sentences. Some of my students have had trouble understanding what’s wrong with their run-on sentences. Comma splices and sentence fragments are in there, too. Perhaps this will help.
Texters getting on your last nerve? You’re in good company. The talented Janae at Claire & Me Designs created these elegant little cards for just such an occasion. Save yourself the trouble of shouting, throwing things, or punching the offending party square in the nose.
In countries where mobile phones have long been part of everyday life, there are certain unspoken social rules for using one’s phone in public. For instance, in Japan, people who talk on their phones while using public transportation (subway, bus, commuter train) get intense stares until they end the conversation. No one wants to overhear a stranger’s one-sided phone conversation.
But here in the States, we’re relatively new to cell phones. American society has yet to formulate basic cell phone etiquette. I think we’ll have plenty of social rules for cell phones in another five or ten years, though. Until then, we’ll have to work it out as best as we can with our fellow travelers, customers, friends, family, and students.
Most people—including my students—have a good sense of when to leave their phones on silent and in their pockets. Most realize on some level that texting during someone’s presentation (class, church service, concert, play, etc.) is downright rude. They know that it tells everyone else that the texter just doesn’t care. Thank goodness for these people.
The rest? They’ll learn—eventually.
In mid-April, I purchased my very first iPhone. The weather app that came with it was barely functional and looked like a mid-’90s NetScape refugee. I needed something that worked well and matched the sleek, efficient design of my iPhone. Why not the Weather Channel’s new (and free) iPhone app?
While I’d read some high praise for TWC’s new and improved iPhone app, I was still suspicious. Their far-too-busy local forecast page, another recent redesign, had me thinking the app would be a disaster. Thank goodness I was wrong!
Well, mostly wrong. Continue reading
The Thunder blew a 17 point lead. If I had OKC on my scrabble board I’d have enough letters to spell CHOKE.
— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) June 20, 2012
The other day, I stumbled across this Who Knew? article from Yahoo! News [sic] on long-lasting celebrity marriages. Nothing in there surprised me—I already knew about Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber, et cetera.
No, what really gave me a laugh was the comments section.
Okay, so I’ve got this Tagxedo problem, and it occurred to me the other day to see what the word mapping site would do with the Weather Channel’s Twitter feed. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I’m a longtime Weather Fan who can’t stand TWC’s pointless weather tweets. Think about it: If your company’s name is The Weather Channel, wouldn’t you think that your tweets would talk mainly about weather?
Anyway, just for grins, I thought I’d turn TWC’s Twitter feed into a couple Tagxedo word clouds. The results would look better than my own pitiful blog word clouds. Right?
It’s an amoeba! Just what I always wanted!
Okay, so that one didn’t look so hot (no weather pun intended). Why not try out a weather-related shape for another Tagxedo attempt? I chose a cloud-with-lightning-bolt silhouette. Couldn’t get much worse than the biology lab specimen above.
This is slightly better, even though I didn’t adjust the word count or any other threshholds. From a distance, it’s obviously a cloud with lightning jumping down below it. Up close, it looks kind of silly.
Tagxedo creates word clouds (word maps) according to the number and frequency of words in a text. Twitter, of course, limits messages to 140 characters or fewer, and since it’s used mainly for self-promotion, hashtags and Twitter “handles” will appear most frequently.
Keeping this in mind, I’m glad that some of the largest words in here are weather, hurricane, and tornado. Isn’t it weird that so few other weather-related words appear in large type, though? You know—words like rain, thunderstorm, front, clouds, and so on? Sure, we’re having a drought here in the Deep South, but other parts of the country are seeing rain. Twitter is all about self-promotion, though, so it makes sense that the non-weather words are larger than weather words. (Ugh! I hated typing that.)
Next, I chose a U.S. map silhouette.
Yep, about the same, except in a larger shape. The run-on nature of hashtags and Twitter usernames turns phrases into one word. Thus, Weather Channel becomes #weatherchannel.
Twitter can be helpful. I’ve found dozens of great articles through others’ Tweets. I’ve discovered worthy causes and made new professional connections through Twitter. My 140-or-less attempts have even brought new readers to my blog. However, like any social media platform, Twitter can also be completely useless. Remember the most important guideline about living in Social Mediaville: Whatever you’re doing had better help everybody in this town. When I look at these word clouds from the Weather Channel’s Twitter feed, I’m not sure it’s helping TWC or its viewers.