Monday, 21 May 2012


I have noticed for some time, as I have reported here before, my name appearing on Twitter as being a 'contributor' to on-line pseudo newspapers produced by the site. I am then credited within the linked on-line publication. It seems that all one has to do is sign up for this and it then automatically produces something that resembles a newspaper on a daily basis, and many of my followers have done so.

I see these 'dailies' mentioned every day when they are produced by for someone I follow on Twitter, and occasionally from others when I am listed as one of those (indirectly) responsible for one or more "top stories" in their edition-of-the-day. In practice, it is rare indeed that it is something I have written myself that is featured in the 'newspaper', but something I have re-tweeted and even then it's invariably from a link, as that's how the stories are garnered.

The problem is that this is in effect a lie: I did not write the material seemingly being attributed to me by association, nor does it necessarily mean I hold any views that are expressed in the linked material – I might have been pointing to it as a model example that makes a point.

For example, there are some pieces written by Lefties that are so obviously crass and ill-informed, not to mention often from a different planet, that they are amusing for the rest of us to read and a useful reminder of the warped way Lefties think. I don't tweet with the intention of having it picked up and re-used in this somewhat different way.

This example has two 'from' me of which one such extracted link I have not even visited: it merely copies to my followers a point that another was making and whose Tweet I re-tweeted – nothing more. The result at is at best misleading by having my Twitter ID (with its link) attached to it, and I can foresee similar scenarios arising that would be a lot worse than that. That just happens to be the most recent instance: there have been plenty of others.

The whole idea of these fake newspapers is no doubt flattering to the ego of someone who subscribes to them, and probably makes one feel important and significant by having these things in one's name – indeed, their site's 'sales pitch' is very much along those lines. However for those of us having our own efforts in effect misrepresented it is no fun at all. I wonder how many examples of my own have occurred but I haven't been aware of them...

The whole project is severely flawed and often misleading, also of doubtful worth as some of the ones I have seen have been nothing more than dead ends. One of 'my' own, over the weekend, led to a paywall barrier so that was all that appeared in the 'newspaper'.

If the subscriber were to have the ability to check the draft and delete or add to it before it is published, and did so every time, then perhaps there'd be very little potentially contentious and obvious dud material and attributions included. Whatever the get-out clause might be, and the excuses that can be made, in reality it is a poor facility and no-one who wishes to retain their integrity in the public perception should touch this facility with the proverbial barge-pole.

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