I’ve started a new Twitter account for data privacy and related topics.
Twitter gave me the handle @data_tip even though that’s not what I typed in, and what I typed in is not being used. Apparently they don’t let you pick your handle any more.
I ran into The Google Cemetery the other day, a site that lists Google products that have come and gone. Google receives a lot of criticism when they discontinue a product, which is odd for a couple reasons. First, the products are free, so no one is entitled to them. Second, it’s great for a company to try things that might not succeed; the alternative is to ossify and die.
In that spirit, I thought I’d celebrate some of my Twitter accounts that have come and gone.
My first daily tip Twitter account was SansMouse, an account that posted one keyboard shortcut per day. I later renamed the account ShortcutKeyTip. I also had an account PerlRegex for Perl regular expressions, DailySymbol for symbols, and BasicStatistics for gardening. Just kidding about that last one; it was for basic statistics.
The account GrokEM was for electricity and magnetism. I renamed it ScienceTip and broadened the content to be science more generally. I also had an account SedAwkTip for, you guessed it, sed and awk. It also broadened its content and became UnixToolTip.
I renamed StatFact to DataSciFact and got an immediate surge in followers. Statistics sells better when you change the label to data science, machine learning, or artificial intelligence.
I stopped posting to my signal processing account DSP_fact for a while and then started it up again. I also let my FormalFact account lie fallow for a while, then renamed it LogicPractice and restarted it. It’s the only one of my accounts I don’t post to regularly.
I had several other ideas for accounts that I never started. They will probably never see the light of day. I have no intention of starting any new accounts at this time, but I might someday. I also might retire some of my existing accounts.
Here’s a collage of the icons for my accounts as eight years ago:
The icons became more consistent over time, and now all my Twitter accounts have similar icons: blue dots with a symbol inside. I’m happy with the current design for now.
How do you keep things you don’t want out of your Twitter stream? You might say just don’t follow people who post things you don’t want to read, but it’s not that simple.
Some people post worthwhile original material, but they retweet things that are offensive or just not interesting. You can fix that by turning off retweets from that person. Then you’ll just see tweets they compose.
Except until yesterday, there was no way to turn off “likes.” You’d randomly see things someone “liked” even if you turned off their retweets. Now there’s a way to simply see the content you’ve subscribed to. Not only that, you’ll see it in order! Numerous times I’ve tried to go back and find something but couldn’t because Twitter saw fit to edit and rearrange my stream since the last time I looked at it.
The way to simply see your Twitter stream in order isn’t obvious. You have to go to
Settings and privacy -> Account
and uncheck the box that says “Show the best Tweets first.”
Who wouldn’t want to see the best tweets first? Sounds good to me. But by unchecking the box you’re effectively saying “Let me decide what’s best by who I choose to follow.”
I’m pleased by this new feature (actually, new ability to turn off a feature). I’ve tried to maintain a decent signal to noise ratio in my Twitter stream and Twitter has continually tried to erode it, until now.
I’ve updated the icons for my Twitter accounts.
I’m starting a new Twitter account for logic and formal methods: @FormalFact.
Expect to see tweets about constructive logic, type theory, formal proofs, proof assistants, etc.
The image for the account is a bowtie, a pun on formality. It’s also the symbol for natural join in relational algebra.
Update: This account was discontinued in July, 2017.
I had a couple tweets this week that were fairly popular. The first was a pun on the musical Hamilton and the Hamiltonian from physics. The former is about Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) and the latter is named after William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865).
Hamiltonian: The new Broadway hit about the sum of potential and kinetic energy. pic.twitter.com/PCJk3imDsq
— Differential Eqns (@diff_eq) May 11, 2016
The second was a sort of snowclone, a variation on the line from the Bhagavad Gita that J. Robert Oppenheimer famously quoted in reference to the atomic bomb:
“Now I am become Data, the destroyer of theories.”
— John D. Cook (@JohnDCook) May 12, 2016
I’ve updated the icons of all my daily tip Twitter accounts. My goal was to simplify some the icons and make them all more consistent.
Here’s a page giving links and short descriptions for each account.
I’m making a couple changes to my Twitter accounts.
First, I’m winding down @PerlRegex. I’ll stop tweeting there when my scheduled tweets run out. I suggest that everyone who has been following @PerlRegex start following @RegexTip instead. The latter is more general, but is mostly compatible with Perl.
Second, I’m reviving my @DSP_Fact. I stopped tweeting there a couple years ago, but I’d like to start posting there again. This time it’s going to be a little broader. I intend to include some material on acoustics, Fourier analysis (continuous and discrete), and maybe some other related material.
My most popular account is CompSciFact, tweets about computer science and related topics.
ProbFact is for probability.
DataSciFact is for data science: statistics, machine learning, visualization, etc.
You can find a full list of my various Twitter accounts here.
Periodically someone on Twitter will suggest that one of my Twitter accounts is a bot. Others will reply in the second person plural, suggesting that there’s a group of people behind one of the accounts. These accounts aren’t run by a bot or a committee, just me.
I do use software to schedule my tweets in advance. Most of the tweets from my personal account are live. Most of the tweets from my topic accounts are scheduled, though some are live. All replies are manual, not automated, and I don’t scrape content from anywhere.
Occasionally I read the responses to these accounts and sometimes I reply. But with over half a million followers (total, not unique) I don’t try to keep up with all the responses. If you’d like to contact me, you can do so here. That I do keep up with.