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#uksnow yet another demonstration of time wasting rubbish

Yesterday whilst I was sat at the top of some monument in Rome, having taken a break from filming the MIR Show with Dan and Ben, we all sat back and checked-in.

For me this meant having a look at the mail, scanning the Twitterific traffic and so on.

I didn’t get far until I started noticing #uksnow Tweet messages.

Here’s what one looks like:

#uksnow Not much happening yet.


A light smattering. PA1. #uksnow

Some bright spark — Ben Marsh — had nothing else to do last night and knocked up a Google Map hash from the uksnow tweets. And here it is:

I remarked negatively on this subject to Ben and Dan. They were, it seems, hugely in favour of this total waste of sodding time.

There is, I remarked, a weather service out there. The Met Office does a pretty good job. Enough to have been warning us about impending snow for the last three days.

Most of yesterday, a heck of a lot of people started sending frequent bollocks into my Twitter stream about their current #uksnow experiences.

This would be highly, highly relevant if I was 6 years old. I’d love to share your joy about the snow if I was 6. I used to regularly pop to the window throughout the night to see if the snow was still falling.

Now it seems, having got through another 25 years worth of living, I’m now being subjected to dozens and dozens of sodding #uksnow updates.

Almost every person I’ve subscribed to has given over to the #uksnow bollocks. I am even being sent INSTRUCTIONS on how to properly format my #uksnow Tweets in case I should want to also participate.

The instructions, in case you are wondering, are thus:

– Put the first half of your postcode
– Then put your ‘snow score’ (I KID YOU NOT… a SNOW SCORE) out of 10
– And don’t forget to include the hashtag #uksnow at the end

So an example Tweet would look like this:

CM12 5/10 #uksnow


Technically great. It is super to see the possibilities.

And that’s relevant to whom?

I suppose if any of my followers ALSO live in the CM12, CM11, CM10 or similar postcode areas, that Tweet might prevent them from having to look out the window. Although they’ll have to have more or less the same value structure for the ‘snow rating’ in order for it to be of much use.

But for everyone else — especially the people following from abroad — any #uksnow messages are a total 100% waste of time.

Stick up a Twitpic of the snow by all means. Like James Whatley did. Or Gerry Moth. Or Jonathan Mulholland.

That’s semi useful to me. It’s not polluting my mind. I’ve subscribed to your updates and I choose whether or not to click on the picture. Nine times out of ten, I probably will. I’ll have a look. And move on.

But sending me a #uksnow update every 8 minutes is ridiculous.

These hashtags are in danger of becoming wholly, wholly irrelevant — like the “@somebody yeah” Twitter messages that I’ve already managed to filter.

Last night I was getting so annoyed, I thought I’d join in with my own hashtag rubbish to see it would garner any response.

Here’s my first:

Absolutely stunned by the amount of banality on hash uksnow. 100s of pages of bollocks about whether it’s snowing. Is there a #UKrain?

Then I thought I’d try temperature:

#ukTemp quite cold at the moment

And then a Sunshine update:

#ukSunshine No sunshine here right now. It’s dark.

And then I got carried away:

#ukWatchingPaintDry I’m just waiting for the paint to dry now
#ukSunshine Still dark outside

I then Retweeted Dominic’s Tweet:

Thanks for the update Dominic! RT @DominicTravers: #ukmeterologicaltedium not much happening, a touch chilly

And Kip Hakes one:

RT @kiphakes: #ukwashingup – There were 6 cups, 2 plates and one of G’s bowls – more news as it happens

Ben Smith jumped in with his #ukwashingup update:

@Ew4n @kiphakes: #ukwashingup – Dishwasher loaded here. Not sure if it’s too full to run an economy wash. Twitterpoll?

And I asked Ben Smith to keep me updated:

@bensmithuk Agreed. Is it snowing where you are? Could you give me #uksnow updates in 30 second increments?



And thrice tedium.

Please THINK before you TWEET.

If you’re in the mood for some banality, get stuck in. Here’s the real time Twitter uksnow update page:

Knock yourself out!

Thanks to Jonathan for this bit of rather accurate humour…

Jonathan Mulholland:

Very funny! RT @shinykatie: “If the Germans had dropped snow instead of bombs, they’d have won the war” #uksnow


  1. One of my kids is 6. I can tell you this is pretty exciting. The most snow he has ever seen in his whole life.

  2. Just to add, the normally excellent TFL wap site was overloaded this morning when i checked for train/bus info.

    But Twitter was useful (searched local stations, rather than #snow) and people had posted (from their mobiles by the look of it) that transport was closed. Handy.

  3. Like most social media you have to accept that you're swimming in a stream – sometimes you'll find useful objects, sometimes you'll find…. other stuff, or even drown if you take it too seriously.

    When it comes to #hashtags I find the most useful approach is to use to combine the event #hashtag with keyword(s) relevant to you. Searching for #uksnow + winnersh / + waterloo / + south west trains helped me to decide not to go into London today.

  4. Your problem Ewan appears to be an inability to filter. Twitter just doesn't allow posters or watchers to filter, apart from on/off. So if Stephen Fry starts twittering about snow, you have no way to not see these.

    Give it time…it can't be hard, surely?

  5. Why the hell have I got to filter?

    Why is the onus on me?

    Whatever Stephen Fry says is perfectly fine. He's got an open-pass into my mind. And almost every single one of his Tweets is formatted as a single consumable package — as well as being part of an on-going commentary. Likewise with most of the people I follow.

    Except when I keep getting snow updates fired into my head.

  6. Do you think?

    I don't think it's obsessive/compulsive to point out that I'm following people and sometimes, those people are sending tripe directly into my head. It's hugely, hugely annoying and I'd like a fix. Any ideas? 😉

  7. Your solution is a very simple one: for each person you follow, there needs to be a wee option button: Earthshattering / Important / ho-hum. And for every tweet you tweet, the same 3 options.

    Then when you Follow someone, you can decide at what level you want to follow them. Or when you tweet, you decide the level of relevance.

    You may not be interested about the snowboarding commute antics of TechnoKitten's friend, but you do want to hear about MoMo cancellations. You set TechnoKitten to 'Earthshattering' or 'Important' , she tweets her friend's antics as 'ho-hum' because they are not Earthshattering or Important. thus you never see the tweet about her slippery pals.

    Until Twitter put something like this in place, you are stuffed. Maybe kick off an MIR online petition?

  8. You do have a point, I'm just pulling your leg. There is a fair amount of noise on Twitter, and I think the rules you've set yourself re. who you will follow are a pretty sound approach for keeping it a relevant service for you.

    Interestingly I have pretty much the same view as you when it comes to FriendFeed – I simply can't filter the noise from the relevance.

  9. I like the idea but it won't work. Example: When I went skiing in the States, everyone going to a ski training class was told to put themselves in the group according to their abilities.

    All the Brits who were shit hot at skiing put themselves in the 'Medium' group while all the rubbish Americans who only skied once put themselves in the 'Medium' group.

    Total mismatch.

    I'm not sure anyone would use Twitter as you suggest Mike. Like the concept though.

  10. But look at those you follow. I'm betting mostly like-minded folks. Not banal dribblers of dross or 16-year-old popstar fans. Or the mobile industry equivalent of 'Rubbish Americans'. I'm betting there's not a single RAZR-holster wearer in your Followed list. Your tribe will self-select what is and is not relevant for the majority, as they themselves would like to be able to self-select what they receive. They *already do this*, via email – using the recipients and priority features inherent in email systems.

    For people with Discretionary Attention Deficit (DAD) like Ew4n, Twitter is an attention Tragedy Of The Commons in progress. There is no tool except the blunt on-off.

  11. Probably twitter really wants to focus on the volume of posts at this point, so new users don't turn up think, “huh, nothing's happening.”

    As it goes mainstream something along the lines of what Mike42 suggests is surely/hopefully inevitable.

  12. If that's their plan it's well time to kick off phase II. The man-in-the-street zeitgeist is rapidly shifting toward Twitter being only for attention whores and those who need to follow them for their jobs/fetish.

    If Twitter gets a rap for being a vanity tool that is very hard to manage / a waste of time they will do themselves irreparable damage. And that would be a real shame.

  13. Oh diddums! Suck it up, big boy. When you tweet about football, or your golf score or your daughter's first steps *or whatever* do I moan and whine? I either enjoy it or move on. It's not complicated. If you can't work out how to filter or scan or skim or ignore or unfollow, don't blame everyone else.

  14. Steve, you just don't get the point.

    How can we expect Twitter / mobile SN in general to take off (and no, it hasn't taken off – it's still utterly irrelevant to 99.99% of the popluation) unless there are ways to control the flow, to filter, to focus on relevant and timely info?

    Ewan's frustration is a wakeup call that the half-arsed attempts to date – while popular with geeks with too much time on their hands – just won't wash with the great unwashed. Normal people don't get the same endless thrill from having their phone beep at them. If it's largely irrelevant, it will get switched off.

    We as an industry need to fix this before we change the mobile SN gear.



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