Check out my Shorty interview

The Shorty Interview with Stuart G. Hall

What’s your best tweet?

My Jim Carrey reply after the film ‘No’ maybe, but I’ll let you know:-)

What are six things you could never do without?

My sixth sense, and the other 5.

How do you use Twitter in your professional life?

To connect with likeminded professionals and to discover new information that can benefit me.

What’s your favorite Twitter app?


Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter, it’s simpler!

What was the funniest trend you’ve seen?

King Richard III discovered in my home town of Leicester.

What feature should Twitter add?

A 140-character busting feature for use once in a while!

Who do you wish had a Twitter feed but doesn’t?

The head of MI6?

What are some words or phrases you refuse to shorten for brevity?

Sensitive dependence on initial conditions:-)

Is there someone you want to follow you who doesn’t already? If so, who?

Richard Branson, so I can tweet the inside stories of the VIPs with Galactic tickets:-)

Have you ever unfollowed someone? Who and why?

No one specific, just to free up follower space!

Why should we vote for you?

Because it’s time..

Terms you wish would start trending on Twitter right now?


What’s the most interesting connection you’ve made through Twitter?


Hashtag you created that you wish everyone used?

#thinslicing (I even added it to my blog title)

How do you make your tweets unique?

Base them on connections in my past, present and future.

What inspires you to tweet?

The right time, place and inspiration all rolled up together.

Ever get called out for tweeting too much?

Not really, I am quite a conservative Tweeter.

140 characters of advice for a new user?

Start off slowly, read other tweets, re-tweet, and join in when you feel you have something to share.

How long can you go without a tweet?

A day or so, but no more!

What question are we not asking here that we should?

Good question!

How do you imagine Twitter changing?

More fun features;-)

Who do you admire most for his or her use of Twitter?

@John_Rice for the eccentric marketing style;-)

Who is the funniest person on Twitter that you follow?

Jim Carrey!

What is one of the biggest misconceptions of Twitter?

It’s a complete waste of time, when it’s really not that bad:-)

Why should people follow you?

To get unusual inspiration.

Can you name some one-of-a-kind Twitter accounts that you follow?

@sunnysingh_nw3 for an insider’s perspective of Indian culture, from the safety of west London:-)

How do you decide what to tweet?

I wait for inspiration, and a live issue, to come together.

How do you use social media to motivate yourself or others to live a healthier life?

I’ve worked in public health so I guess I’d have to have a serious answer for that but I don’t!

How has social media helped bring your family closer together and #keepgoodgoing?


Why’d you start tweeting?

I was setting up communities for accountants and it seemed like a cool way to relax at the time.

Has Twitter changed your life? If yes, how?

Still waiting for Twitter to do it’s magic. Though I really liked my answer to a Jim Carrey joke after watching the film ‘No’.

What do you wish people would do more of on Twitter?

Make me smile:-)

How will the world change in the next year?

That’s a secret:-)

What are some big Twitter faux pas?

er, tweeting like no one is watching.

What will the world be like 10 years from now?

The same, but smaller.

Take the Shorty Interview at Shorty Awards, the awards honoring the best of social media.

New research challenges assumptions about Twitter news sharing communities

A new study of tweets spreading news from The New York Times finds that the Internet, while creating an open line of communication across continents, may at the same time be strengthening walls that separate users into ideological camps, and more.

Researchers for the study, “An Exploration of Social Identity: The Geography and Politics of News-Sharing Communities in Twitter,” collected 521,733 tweets posted by 223,950 unique users — all of them posting or retweeting at least three links referring to NYT articles over a fifteen day period, September 14 – 29, 2011. The tweeters were clustered by who communicates with whom, and groups were characterized by the topics they posted most, tweeters’ location, and their biography key words.

What the research team found were obvious and not so obvious connection points along with revelations that challenge easy assumptions about Twitter communities.

While liberal and conservative national political subgroups were identified, other dynamics were teased out in the mathematical modeling performed by the research team.

“A person who is cosmopolitan associates with others who are cosmopolitan, and a US liberal or conservative associates with others who are US liberal or conservative, creating separated social groups with those identities,” said Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), where the research was done.

The clusters revealed not only local and national but also global (cosmopolitan) associations. The national group has subgroups specifically political (liberal and conservative) and one that is broadly interested in business, arts and sports. Contrary to frequent media portrayals, said Bar-Yam, the findings in turn suggest that online readers of The New York Times can have competing priorities and are not uniformly liberal.

“A significant fraction of the population has become so strongly identified with ideological camps that those identities drive their social associations,” said Bar-Yam. “For those who are concerned about the polarization of society into liberal and conservative camps, the results have both positive and negative connotations. There are specific subgroups that are polarized into opposing camps, but often associations are local, national and cosmopolitan.”

The study found these dominant clusters in this sample:

  • The cosmopolitan Global Political Group – those interested in international topics, who live in various cities around the world, including New York and Washington DC, are focused on human rights and politics, and may themselves be journalists.
  • The New York Scene – A New York City-oriented group interested in a diverse set of topics including world news, US news, business, arts, fashion and sports.
  • National Business – a group with the strongest focus on business, but also interest in world news, sports, fashion and the arts. It is geographically spread across the US.
  • Two clusters that are also US-based but are specifically liberal and conservative in their political orientation.

The study is available free at

The authors note that more than 100 million tweets are posted each day, and that a significant portion includes links to online information.

Bar-Yam, in assessing the study, noted that “Twitter cannot be ignored in how peer-to-peer and mass media are connecting people separated in space and time—and what that means in the behavior of social systems.”

In a scientific context, each user, he said, “can be thought of as a node in a network, and the relationships as links between them.”

The study authors are Amaç Herdağdelen, Wenyun Zuo, Alexander Gard-Murray and Yaneer Bar-Yam. The work was supported in part by the Office of Naval Research.

Disclaimer: This is post is a press release from NECSI, with which I have no paid connection. While I have used tools borrowed from complexity science in the health sector, my primary interest lies in adapting such insights for everyday use.