Freitag, 10. Mai 2013
Things have actually been developing pretty quickly around here lately. So much so, that I may not have been as keen on observing developments around me. But that's besides the point.
The winery is finally opening up shop this weekend. No more waiting to taste the wine we've been sitting on for over two months for the rest of you.
Starting up (yet another) company has been very educational, once again. For one: The most valuable lesson to learn is that about people. And friends. That experience has been great (thanks for all your help).
So with sales of last year's vintage starting up it's off to a new segment of a life that hopefully still has many wonderful challenges and experiences in store for me.
Freitag, 26. April 2013
Mittwoch, 30. Januar 2013
It's January. Almost February. The hotel is closed (too cold, too little going on). But work continues behind the scenes. Especially in our small but growing winery (I blogged about what we're doing in the vineyards here: http://bavariancastle.biz/blog/2013/1/30/grape-vine-pruning-for-vintage-2013
What else is going on? Bavarians seem to have toppled university tuition fees for students (EUR 500 per semester) by a referendum of 10%+ today.
More pruning of vines tomorrow.
Samstag, 29. Dezember 2012
We went to see a children's ballet performance of Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" with the kids yesterday in Schweinfurt. The performing ensemble came from Munich's "Theater am Gärtnerplatz", the music had been recorded by that theatre's orchestra.
It is one of those pieces of music and storytelling that just about every child in a classically-minded family is subjected to at one point or another, especially because it introduces particular musical instruments and themes to characterize the figures in the story. I certainly remember listening to it as a child in Glasgow played from a 78 rpm record.
For those with hardened stomachs and/or a good sense of humor, there is also a version by "Weird Al" Yankovic (YouTube).
Sergei Prokofiev (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Prokofiev
Peter and the Wolf (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_and_the_Wolf
Sonntag, 23. Dezember 2012
tl;dr Protecting your tweets is bad. Long lives protecting your tweets!
I was, in the big scheme of things, a relatively late adopter of Twitter. I watched the goings-on there via a Twitter visualization map (that doesn't seem to be around anymore) mainly because I was interested in mashups of data and visual elements. On April 30th, 2008 I finally registered my own Twitter account @barockschloss (almost exclusively in German but more reliably filled than my English language Twitter account).
So I've been pretty active on Twitter for close to five years, having fired off almost 22.000 tweets from that account. I have always espoused the virtues of openness and publicness which has opened many doors for me but has also brought on some ridicule, which doesn't bother me. It therefore came as a surprise to those who know me quite well when I changed my account type from open to protected on December 8th, 2012. "Protected" means that prospective followers have to ask for permission (approval) to follow me on Twitter and therefore be allowed to read what I write.
Why on earth would I do a thing like that? Well, why the hell not? It's not like it can't be reversed. Let's just call it an experiment in communication. What I was mostly interested in was whether changing my status would change my own use of Twitter and how it could possibly affect interaction with my existing and potential followers.
I have to admit that in the past I have rarely followed someone with a protected account (or asked to be allowed to follow them, I should say). I always thought that if someone had a protected account, they only want to be followed (and read) by "real-life" friends and/or have good reason for doing so, so why even ask to be allowed to? While that might be true for a lot of people, there is another element at work here: People with protected accounts (like me) simply want to know, who is actually potentially reading what we write. It's not about not writing publicly (after all: what do I know about user @anonymousxyz whom I have allowed to read my stuff, just because he/she/it seems to be okay in Twitter terms?). It's about more clearly defining who gets to read and shutting out lurkers who stalk and secretly read without ever contributing back or even being on Twitter themselves.
While I can understand the backlash of those whose opinion I shared (closed is evil, open is good!), I do have to point out one thing: What is the difference between using a protected Twitter account and a Facebook account with which one does not only post publicly? Exactly.
In that regard I would like the option to share tweets publicly on a case-by-case basis, just as I can decide when posting on Facebook whether to post publicly, just to my friends, to a particular subset of friends/contacts or to a subset minus a particular other subset. I really like the granularity of Facebook's posting mechanism. Twitter doesn't give me that choice. It's all or nothing.
A downside of having a protected Twitter account is that my tweets are no longer searchable on Twitter. But is that really a downside? Not if my aim is to use Twitter as a community, a means of communicating meaningfully with people who have interesting things to say rather than as a broadcast medium or - what a horrible thought - a means of advertising.
Upping the ante on the means to entry also fends off exactly such people who simply look for people to market to. I have not received any requests to be followed by bots or spammers since protecting my account. It has, on the other hand, also kept the number of my followers from growing disproportionately (i.e. being followed by people who are not really interested). Interestingly, it hasn't kept that number from growing, however.
Another benefit of having a protected account: Blocking a Twitter user (something I have fortunately only had to do once or twice) does not stop that person from stalking you from another Twitter account. Protecting tweets stops that (unless that other account already follows you as well).
So what has protecting my account done to my own behavior on Twitter? Nothing much, really. It does give me more peace of mind to know who might be reading what I write. As for my followers: They aren't all of a sudden unfollowing me in disgust. Perhaps they will now, after reading this post. Or they won't, precisely because they are afraid they might not get "back in".
What have I broken by protecting my tweets? For one, selective tweets (posting tweets to Facebook by means of installing the respective Facebook app and consequently placing the #fb hashtag in selected tweets) stopped working, obviously. That's not so bad, though, because cross-spamming accounts with the same content is at the least annoying for people who follow both channels. Content that is so important you have to share it on every channel can still be manually posted there.
I'm not sure I'll keep my account protected forever or even if I will continue using Twitter to the extent I have been in the last five years. I do know that I will always try something new and try to gain an understanding of what impact actions (my own or others') have on communication and, ultimately, making a difference.
Links you might be interested in:
In Praise of Publicness (blog article with Jeff Jarvis' talk at re:publica 2010): http://vonhalem.blogspot.de/2010/04/in-praise-of-publicness.html
Stuff tagged with "Twitter" on this blog: http://vonhalem.blogspot.de/search?q=twitter