back to article Finding the Twitter psychopath ratio

The accidental psychological foibles of celebrities and colleagues are entertaining by-products of social media. Now a new study aims to nail a link between various psychopathic behaviours and tweeting. A "small group of expert volunteers, called The Online Privacy Foundation, has used Kaggle, an Australian crowdsourcing and …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    I'm a sample of one ...

    ... but I can't tell you how many times people have become offended because I don't use modern[1] so-called "social" media ... and when I point out that "We are talking face to face already, or over the 'phone already, why do I need to twit you, too?", some folks get really bent out of shape.

    It's a mass psychosis, and really, really funny. In a sad kind of way. To me, anyway.

    [1] I was an early user of the UNIX[tm] "talk", I've been using email since it was available in the Bay Area, I was a user of IRC and Usenet from the time of their availability. Back then, it was computer nerds talking to computer nerds ... and I'm here to tell you, as a survivor of the C/C++ and vi/EMACS (Mac/PC, etc.) wars on Usenet, us college educated nerds can generate a boat-load of complete nonsense. Why on EARTH would anyone with half a brain want TheGreatUnwashed's personal minutia to disturb them on a regular basis? My mind absolutely boggles at the very idea ... More to the point, how many hours of the World's Corporate billable time are frittered away on this crap? Gut feeling is hundreds of billions dollars. THERE is your recession, people. You're wasting time at work, playing with your toys.

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: I'm a sample of one ...

      This subject ranks in the top 0.05% on the curmudgeony old twat index. Truly extraordinary.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I don't use modern[1] so-called "social" media"

      Your stance is not an unusual, or modern one. Go back a bit, and you'll find plenty of people disapproving of telephones, or before that, telegrams. You're happy with (un)social electronic media, because you grew up with it. The next generation will be quite happy with social media, because they'll grow up with that.

      The fact that you're conservative doesn't imply that everyone who isn't is psychotic. Unless you're a republican?

      That said, I agree with you in general; social networking sites are worse for human interaction than email, which is worse than a phone call, and so on.

    3. Mike Flex

      Re: I'm a sample of one ...

      > Why on EARTH would anyone with half a brain want TheGreatUnwashed's personal minutia to disturb them on a regular basis?

      If you don't want to read their updates you don't subscribe to their feeds. Why do people find this so hard?

    4. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm a sample of one ...

      For me the problem isn't the "social" aspect. Like you, I have no problem with phones and email and other forms of communication, and I'm willing to embrace change and innovative new methods of communication as long as said methods don't require me to give up valuable information to those who have no business having access to it.

      And that's the problem with social networking. With sites like Facebook and Twitter you're giving all that information to a third party - the company running the SN site. With emails and phone calls, it's just between you and the other party (unless you're being wiretapped or intercepted, but that's another story), and you have an expectation of privacy.

      I don't want Facebook or Twitter or Google or any other SN to know who my customers are, because they'll advertise my competitors to them. I don't want them to know how much money my company is making, or what our business dealings are. It's none of their goddamn business.

      With email and phone, it's just between you and the customer / supplier / contractor / whatever. Yet I just can't believe the sheer number of people who just don't give a shit about this anymore, and want to, and for me to, pour out everything about me, my company and my life to good old Uncle Zuck. Fuck that.

      Call me a Luddite if you will, but I was raised with the idea that business transactions are private matters that other companies beside the one you're dealing with have no business getting involved in.

  2. Neoc

    let me get this straight...

    ...if the entire idea of this competition is to develop an algorithm to do all of this, what the *hell* are they comparing it to in order to announce the winner as the "closest solution"?

  3. tkioz

    I already assumed anyone with a twitter account already had at very least a mild form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder...

    1. ItsNotMe

      " ...a mild form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder..."

      "Mild"? How about severe. And the same goes for Farcebook users as well.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      "Narcissistic Personality Disorder..."

      <Yank drawl>

      Now why would you go a-wastin' a load of hi-falutin' $20 words like that, when "asshole" would do the job just fine?

      </Yank drawl>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "<Yank drawl>"

        Yank's don't drawl. Southerners and Texans drawl.

        1. asdf

          Yanks paaaark the caaaaaaars.

          1. Euripides Pants

            Pedantic pronunciation warning

            Thats "paaaak the caaaaaaas"

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Ivan Milat doesn't use Twitter.....

    Nor does Charles Manson...

    George Bush does tho'.

  5. Code Monkey

    The Online Privacy Foundation go datamining. Satire is dead.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't ever use Twitter

    Only one letter away from Twat, which sums it up really.

    1. The Baron

      Re: Won't ever use Twitter

      Technically you would need to change one letter and remove three other letters, so even if we use a wider-than-usual definition of "n-letters-away-from" which allows for letter removal as well as substitution, "Twitter" is still four letters away from "Twat".

      This is the same number of letters away from "Twat" as, for example, "Bell", or "Feet" - i.e. quite a long way away when you consider that your comparison word only has four letters.

      1. The Baron

        Re: Won't ever use Twitter

        Failing myself for not noticing that "Feet" is, in fact, only three letters away from "Twat". Ah well.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Rise of the Neo-Luddites

    Its amazing how much interest people with "no interest" in a technology can show when presented with an article about that technology.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twitter is the most excellent baiting tool ever. I find it especially useful for bating right ring thugs, racists and the like.

    1. Oninoshiko
      Paris Hilton

      Please forgive my ignorance

      what is a "right ring thug?"

      1. Francis Boyle

        The really kinky ones

        with only one nipple piercing.

  9. AdamWill

    Holy syntax, Batman

    "The accidental psychological foibles of celebrity and colleague is an entertaining by-product of social media."

    This seems to have been the victim of some sloppy copyediting. As it stands it is effectively nonsensical. Took me three tries to (possibly) figure out what it's actually intended to say.

    At first I had to guess that it's the 'foibles' that are intended to be the subject of the sentence, but this is hardly clear when two other _singular_ nouns ('celebrity' and 'colleague') come between it and the verb - which you have in the singular form, not the plural form. So it might be that you want 'are an entertaining by-product', not 'is an entertaining by-product'.

    There still seems to be a rather big problem, though, unless you're _really_ suggesting that people only starting having psychological foibles after we invented Twitter (and they're all 'accidental' ones, whatever that might possibly mean in the context). I'm assuming instead it's actually meant to read something like 'The accidental discovery of the psychological foibles of celebrity and colleague is an entertaining by-product of social media." But really I'm just guessing. Someone in the editing department owes everyone a round, Reg...

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