Saturday, 29 January 2011


Gossip, Rumour, Innuendo and Nonsense...

...was flying around Artwiculate recently, aimed at me. I have apparently been accused of "betrayal", of "deception", of "manipulation". No-one has come and spoken openly to me about it. I am ashamed of the behaviour of some of the Artwiculate players, especially those who I thought were my friends. If it affected only me, then I would say "So be it", but you (you know who you are) have dragged two of my friends into this, and whispered that these are really me. So I cannot just let it pass. But on the other hand, I am not completely blameless, as you will see if you read on.

Time for a history lesson.

Sikkim Shino

In 2007 I joined Second Life, the virtual online world, and quickly became hooked. This was a place where you could not only design your own avatar's look, it was a place you could meet any number of interesting people, where you could travel around and see interesting places, do interesting things, where you could walk, run, even fly. To me, as a disabled person, this was a liberating revelation and i wallowed in it addictively.

Not long after joining I (or my avatar, rather) was dancing to disco music in my favourite club. Suddenly I was astonished to see an avatar in a wheelchair enter the club and start to spin around to the music. This was the first wheelchair avatar I ever saw in SL and I had to go up to her and speak. We adjourned to her SL home, and spoke for a long time. This was Sikkim. I learned something of her Real Life (RL) : she is a paraplegic, following an accident in her late teens. We spoke of disability, of philosophy, of SL, of cabbages and kings, and discovered we had a lot in common.

Sikkim is a very strong woman. She has had to learn to be. She is also very intelligent, very well-educated, and very well-read. She is fiercely independent, confrontational even, especially in the matter of her disability. She chose to represent herself in SL as what she is, while I hid my own disability behind a young, fit and healthy avatar who could run and who could fly. We had, we still have, different philosophies on this, and I never have used a wheelchair in SL although Sikkim would dearly love me to.

Sikkim is not British, though I have promised not to reveal any location or family details. Yet her grasp of the English language - not her first language - is astonishing, and would shame many an English speaker. She and I became firm friends (virtual friends) and often met up in SL.

My time in SL began to fade when Linden Lab (who created the world) ended the volunteer 'mentoring program' which I'd been involved in for most of my time there. Gradually I lost touch with Sikkim. When I joined Twitter to play Artwiculate I had almost stopped going to SL completely, and Twitter came to supplant SL, or rather, Artwiculate did.

So how did Sikkim arrive in Twitter & Artwiculate? It's not entirely coincidence. After I stopped playing, I did regain some energy, enough to begin to do some basic Twitter maintenance, for example to catch up on who was following me, which I had not looked at for quite some time. I was surprised and happy to see a familiar name in the list, and I contacted her to resume our friendship. At the same time I told her about Artwiculate, and Sikkim proved enthusiastic, as I well thought she might. She has got quite hooked. She has her own style, she has developed her own theme, and her tweets contain subtle nuances I can only envy. I do not resonate to her religious / liturgical theme, but clearly that is something she knows quite a lot about.

Do not support her as my friend, but please nurture her as you would (should) any talented new player, who deserves your respect.


I met Eleanor in real life some years ago when we both worked on the same contract, professionally. I retired from that profession some years ago, forced to by my illness, but we kept in touch. We are not quite so 'simpatico' as Sikkim and I are, but we share a similar sense of humour, which is how we became friends.

This is where I have to confess some duplicity, though there was no malicious intent. In my early Artwiculate days I got frustrated at certain times of day (late afternoon, early evening) when I saw what seemed like hundreds of Artwiculate retweets go by, but none of mine. If I'd created what I thought was a particularly good tweet that day, it pissed me off no end, and I wondered what I could do about it.

With Eleanor's consent - she had no interest whatever in Twitter - I borrowed her email and details to create another Twitter account (@eleanor1gby). With this, nearly a year ago, I retweeted my 'best tweet' on a few occasions (perhaps 4 or 5 times?). At the same time I also used it to RT some other tweets I liked - so I was not the sole beneficiary. The idea was not to cheat one extra point, but to put the tweet 'out there' so it wasn't missed. I even - long long ago - played a couple of times with that account, though now I'm glad to see that her best tweet is one of her own.

However, the '@eleanor RTs' didn't seem to help my 'visibility mission', from what I could see. In any case, soon afterwards Navin's RTwiculate app was up and running and I used that to RT with instead, using an RT account in the way some of you have (@TSupercargo, @pn9r, etc). I abandoned the @eleanor1gby account altogether, and Eleanor and I had a joke or two about it. I did used to tell her about Artwiculate once or twice, but although she liked the idea, she still had no interest in Twitter.

Did I ever use @eleanor1gby to vote for TiddK? No, never. Did I use @eleanor1gby to RT TiddK (and others) on more than a handful of occasions? No. Are there any other @eleanor1gby-type accounts? No, only my RTwiculate RT account, and that's no secret. Was it deceitful that I occasionally used @eleanor1gby for Tidd's "visibility"? Yes, I guess it was. I'm not proud of it now.

When I made my big exit from Artwiculate at Get Satisfaction (why did a 'big exit' piss some people off? it's just who I am, passionate and emotional - please, deal with it), I pointed Eleanor in its direction. She was impressed enough by my obvious passion - and by the valediction of my friends - to finally decide to 'have a go' herself, though apparently she STILL does not like Twitter. So I remembered her old account and handed it over to her. She has obviously changed the password and avatar and stuff, I've just let her get on with it. I did give her "Wordless Of The Day" to use with Tacit - it was my best ever tweet and I thought it might give her a helping hand.

Alas, not only did it fail, all her tweets have failed, I now discover because of the gossip rumour innuendo and nonsense. That's not fair on her, as a new player. (**I see that she has started to do better. I'm happy for her. 31st January.) Though I also have to point out, she doesn't seem to mind. She knows the art - as I never did - of playing 'just for fun'. So perhaps there is no real damage done, except maybe to a few of you in the role of perpetrators of this malfeasance.

Sikkim I know too well - she will not give up on account of all this "G.R.I.N", and she will stay loyal to me as her friend. Eleanor? She really doesn't care that much. If I told her that certain Artwiculate players resent her presence, she would simply stop playing, I'm sure of it. Do you resent her being in Artwiculate? Do you want her to stop playing? Shall I tell her that? Or will you? (I'd prefer if it came from you. She's my friend after all).

I was sincere when I made my "big exit". That's how I wanted - still want - to be remembered. I was - I am - very tired, and my condition is slowly getting worse. I can't stop it. I never expected that introducing two friends would cause all the endless angst that it has, nor the grubby suspicions. It has however shown me who my true friends are, so one good thing came out of it all. The others of you who expressed your sympathies and your good wishes at GS, then turned on me in the next day or two... you know who you are. All you (you know who you are) have succeeded in doing is pass judgement on @TiddK without a trial and sentence her; she will not now return to Twitter (though the account has to live on - it is needed outside Twitter) harm the prospects of two new players put more weaponry into the hands of Artwiculate's detractor(s).

The power of words.

Well, I have that power too. I wonder whose shines the brighter?

Once I ran to you

now I'll run from you

This tainted love you've given

I gave you all a girl could give you

Take my tears and that's not living

Oh. Tainted love. Tainted love.

Now I know I've got to run away

I've got to get away.

You don't really want it any more from me -

To make things right you need someone to hold you tight

And you'll think love is to prey but I'm sorry I don't pray that way

Once I ran to you

now I'll run from you

I didn't want a tainted Goodbye, and I'm sorry that it came to this. I will end it here.



  1. Tidd,

    You made a mistake. Let a person without fault throw the first stone.


  2. He he he

    He he he

    I love you Tidd!

    He he he

    "...(why did a 'big exit' piss some people off? it's just who I am, passionate and emotional - please, deal with it),..."

  3. I'm with David. Let's look inside and see how perfect we all are.
    Your friend, I remain!


  4. Phew! Confession time?

    When I was first on Artwiculate I got points fever and crown cravings, and I got 'em bad!

    I experimented to try to work out how points were awarded (which was how the @TSupercargo acc originally came into being). At one point I tried to vote for myself multiple times using different web browsers. (It didn't help. I guess Artwic keeps track of the IP numbers we tweet from as well as using cookies.)

    Another time I badgered friends into voting for me from their computers. THAT was time consuming and lasted for - oh, a couple of days! I got 5 extra votes. Maybe I just don't have many friends.

    Judging by the voting campaigns that over the months have promoted one or other of the Artwiculati to victory I guess some people have more disciplined cadres of friends/workmates/students/compatriots/followers, but I don't see anyone being able to make such a chain work for them in the long run.

    I think I was among the first to twig to the benefit (in terms of good-will = potential sympathy votes) that RTs can give. In so far as I'm responsible, I apologise for that!

    I'd say my fever lasted for about 5 weeks - 7 at the outside. I won one crown (for a forgotten effort) and scrambled up to fifth place in the Hall of Fwame at the end of October 2009.

    After that, I started to ask myself Why? and What's the point? After all, it's just a game, it's terribly time consuming, and there are clearly some fellow players who are not always all that well-balanced.

    Back in the day - I mean in October/November 2009 after I'd been playing regularly since the end of September - some people seemed to think I was in the pay of Artwiculate. Bizarre. I never had to put up with the sort of thing Jon Powles has, or the personal attacks Silia's had to cope with, or what you've faced Tidd, but there was enough of it to give me some appreciation for what you're going through.

    All that was in 2009. I think (I hope) I have a better sense of proportion now.

    I continue to play in part because:

    1) I really enjoy having a completely arbitrary word served up daily, which I can try to conjure with. And sometimes I compose something I can look at months later and still think: That wasn't half bad! (Yes, Marsye, Loqwacious gives me that too, and I thank you for it, but Artwiculate is still my addiction.)

    2) Through Artwiculate I have "met" some brilliant, funny, imaginative and friendly people who I would never have come across otherwise, but who I now feel warmly attached to. Tidd, you are one of these! (Also Maryse, Osmar and David.)

    I have to say, though, I also feel warmly attached to several of the people involved in spreading the G.R.I.N. I'm not going to defend them, but I can understand how the whole sorry business got started. On the Internet it's _horribly_ easy for idle speculation to spiral out of all proportion. I've been rather taken up with Real Life these last couple of weeks. Had I been on Twitter more, I hope I would have seen what was happening and tried to stamp it out.

    Reflecting on long-past experiences from my early days on the net (when I once caused a mass of people to flame a poor guy who was running a multiplayer Quake game) I also find myself thinking: There but for the grace of God - and/or a healthy dose of good luck - go I (maybe).

    I'm really sorry that your final bow-out of Artwiculate should have been soured by this, Tidd.

  5. Thank you all my dear friends who posted replies here (and those who didn't). I'm back in Twitter, though not as TiddK, but as my RTwiculate self! You know who I am...

    I'm not playing Artwiculate. There's other things to tweet about, though I do still keep half an eye on the word and on the results. And I do love to meet my friends, in DM and Loqwacious. I shall move into the timeline more often perhaps. I'll see how it goes.

    I was fascinated to read about your "shady past" in Artwiculate, John! I guess we've all "experimented" at the start, one time or another. Funny, I always had you down as the most upright of players (which I'm sure you are, really :-)

    Well, TiddK is dead, but I'm not (yet!). And if you have interest in certain things such as disability issues you will still see her/my name blogging around. In fact I've started another Tiddbits on WordPress purely for the disability stuff.

    Hugs to you all. xxxx

  6. I'm saddened by it all to be truthful. I play sporadically, get nominal retweets as compared to those on my poetry. You enthused me though and although I'm nit a huge retreater myself I just feel it's such a shame that we can't play without intent or just have fun with it. I'm saying this as a dabbler who's only made the top 20 a handful of times but also as a tweeter. Who's known you over a year. Tidd hun it's such a shame :(

  7. i am not commenting on the finer details of your post & other reactions. But, my point is broad.
    Why there is a need to resort to all this?
    Why people get hurt here?
    Why people have to give clarifications?

    It is all because of artwiculate, its sham rules, and more important than that its stubborness to listen & act.

    And there are some people who thrive in such conditions of ambiguity.

    One or two extra accounts seems to be a thing of past. There are so many multi-accounts going on, and all appearing on board of artwiculate, making a mockery of it.

    @sALLY677 was killed, and some more duplicate accounts are on board now .... @longschlongslvr , @Lala_Famiglia
    And there are many more such duplicate accounts of @jonpowles.

    So what artwiculate are we talking about --- and see the brazenness of the family.
    It is a BIG MOCKERY of the emotions of so many, who are sincere & geniuine.

  8. Hi, David! Don't know how else to get hold of you. I see you do some book reviews, such as The Little Guide To Unhip. I know Kate, her book is brilliant. Would you like to review my book, Belfast Girls? I'll happily send you the pdf file if you'll let me have your email address. You can see mine where I've signed up to follow this blog, but I'll give it to you here anyway at the risk of spam
    Great blog!

  9. Um, sorry for the delay replying Gerry, I've abandoned this thread a few weeks back after I stopped playing Artwiculate. Yes, I've reviewed Kate Rigby's "Little Guide to Unhip" - brilliant little compilation.

    I'm happy to email you and review your book, though it might take a wee while to read it, I've a massive backlog!

    But, you may have confused me with someone else, I'm not "David" LOL

  10. @repressedsoul

    I'm sorry too. But since I stopped, I realise that creating tweets took only 1/4 - 1/3 my playing time & energy. All the rest was spent being "social" - RT'ing & voting. I could not have simply stopped all that just "playing for fun". So I had to retire.


    I'm not sorry you stopped with all those crazy theories Akh, but I am sorry you felt you had to leave Twitter altogether. You were a kind and respectful supporter of those you considered friends - me included - and even now I'd like to think there is a place for you there.