The Follow Friday Rule

On Twitter, on Friday, it's a wee tradition to recommend your favourite people out to those who follow you. A nice way to help funny/interesting/entertaining folk gain a larger audience. These tweets usually comprise of a little #ff hashtag and a list of names. Simple and effective.

Well, kinda. I've noticed a little problem that can sometimes occur because of the way Twitter handles @ mentions. It is not a fault with Twitter at all, just something that can catch people out when they're trying to be nice. Here we go:

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When composing a Follow-Friday tweet, do not start it with an @ symbol. Doing so will restrict who can see the post to those mentioned in the tweet and to people already following those mentioned, defeating the purpose of the tweet.



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Now, I'm not the most eloquent of writers so that might not be the clearest thing to follow (ho ho). The formatting of this blog probably doesn't help either. I'll give some examples that might help explain a little better, starting with the wrong way. Imaginary tweets in bold with imaginary usernames:

@personA, @personB, @personC - check these guys out #ff

Bad! Twitter presumes this tweet is for @personA and hides it from the timeline of anyone who isn't either mentioned in the tweet or already follows at least one of those mentioned. This means that your recommendation is mostly being seen by people who already know about the people you're trying to promote. Silly Billy. A much better way to go about it would be either:

#ff @personA, @personB, @personC - check these guys out


check these guys out #ff - @personA, @personB, @personC

Good! Make sense? Oh, probably not. Anyway, the idea is that if you start with anything but an @ symbol, Twitter rightly presumes the tweet is public and it goes out to every single person who follows you. People find out about new people and everyone wins.

Jeez, if someone wants to write that out more clearly, go for it. If you found this useful in any way, please point people here (use the tweet this button below). If you don't use Twitter and this was just an impenetrable wall of rubbish, I'm sorry. Also, follow me.

Winter Tips

It's damn cold in Glasgow. Damn cold. So cold I've had to improvise a Magic Mouse compatible glove. The whole city is covered in a frozen layer of ice and snow and people are terrified.

Some winter top tips:

1. Woolly Hats

Marks & Spencer are selling pretty decent turn-up beanies for a fiver. They are a good size and comfortable. I only mention this because I'm quite particular about my woolly hats - these are nice and plain with no adornments. Available in black and navy.

2. Transport
Both Scotrail and First Buses in Glasgow have a pretty good Twitter service. Transport is messed up right now and if you're in doubt about what's going where, send them a question and they'll get back to you surprisingly quickly. While they often get bad press, particularly in times of bad weather, I think they're both doing a good job with this (even if your train is cancelled).

Check them out here: @ScotRail / @FirstinGlasgow

3. Not Falling On Your Arse
When walking on slippery ground, LEAN FORWARD! Forward for Christ's sake. If you're gonna fall, it's better to take a little tumble that-a-way rather than cracking your bum/back/neck/head/wrists by near backflipping straight onto the ground.

4. Computer Games
You can connect an iPod to an Xbox! I know this isn't exactly a winter tip but I guess you might be cooped inside for a while playing games. Plug it in the USB at the front and you can either play music through the dashboard or via the Xbox button ingame pop-up menu thing. The Xbox totally recognises your iPod with all your playlists, genres and everything. Good eh? Turn off game music (sfx still work) and you're all set. Particularly nice if you've got decent speakers - slap on the visualiser and you've got a wee remote controlled mp3 soundsystem on the go.

For more exciting tips like these, follow me on Twitter: @davidgalletly. Stay warm friends!

A bike from memory

My art teacher at high school, the amazing Mr Carberry, used to assign his first year pupils the task of drawing a bike from memory. He'd give everyone a piece of paper and a pen and tell them they had 15 minutes to draw a bike. Go!

When the time was up, Mr Carberry would gather the class around his desk and flick through all the work. The drawings were, as you'd expect from a class of uninterested 13 year olds, all over the shop. Everyone would laugh as he pointed at the twisted frames, the mismatched wheels and the precarious saddles.

He'd then give us a brilliant wee demonstration on how, with a little thought, a bike will almost draw itself. "Well, you need two wheels, don't you?" he'd say, "and you'll need to be able to steer, so that must mean the handlebars are attached to the front wheel." With a quick few strokes, he'd explain that the pedals must be where your feet go, the seat must be where your bum goes, join them up and, bang, there's your bike.

It was a great little lesson that has stuck with me for well over 10 years now. It was interesting, funny and inspiring. It helped that Mr Carberry was a proper beret wearing, baldy headed, moustachioed, mad-as-hell art teacher too. There are a thousand more of his lessons that are worth mentioning, but this one just came to mind. Today I drew a bike that came out wonky and it took me right back to high school.