Twitter and Proofreading

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This Is Probably The Only Story You Didn’t Hear About First From Bradd Jaffy And Kyle Griffin

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For those who follow his account, the tweet is vintage Griffin: a nugget of breaking news, packaged tightly with a line of inoffensive but somewhat incredulous analysis — as if to say, ‘omg, I know.’

He’s not alone. Bradd Jaffy — an editor and writer for the NBC Nightly News broadcast — has become a Twitter celebrity with a similar string of obsessive viral news posts. Jaffy boasts a larger following than Griffin, with about 245,000 followers. The two men, who at MSNBC and NBC Nightly News work in different parts of the company, are said to share something of a rivalry, according to sources. (NBCUniversal is an investor in BuzzFeed.)

Be it a press conference on Capitol Hill, cabinet meeting pool spray from the White House, Trump golf outing, or fiery segment on Morning Joe — you’ll see it first from Jaffy or Griffin. When a reporter in the NBC News operation has an exclusive, Jaffy or Griffin are often first to post the relevant details. Between the two, they somehow manage to tweet virtually every piece of news and opinion of the day — from a fact-check of that morning’s controversial Trump tweet, to a late-night Washington Post or New York Times bombshell report — and always with plenty of screenshots.

As news cycles grow faster and more overwhelming, Jaffy and Griffin have become feeds of record for obsessive political journalists and casual Twitter users alike. Their relentless output, which, in a different environment, might have felt exhausting, is now a mooring force for a growing number who feel bombarded by breaking news and fear they might miss the next bombshell.

How Twitter Fuels Anxiety

The Twitter logo is reflected in the pupil of a brown eye.

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Twitter users have to contend with competing voices that yell at you as soon as you log on. You haven’t written a best-selling novel yet? Here’s a “30 Under 30” list of best-selling novelists! You’re over 30? Here’s an article about how you’re a bad parent! You haven’t had children yet? This bestselling author has three, and she’s under 30! Twitter is a megaphone for achievements and a magnifying glass for insecurities, and when you start comparing your insecurities with another person’s achievements, it’s a recipe for anxiety.

“Generally speaking, the comparisons that we make on social media are more likely to be ‘upward’ comparisons,” says Azadeh Aalai, a professor of psychology at Montgomery College in Maryland. “We’re comparing ourselves to the individuals who appear to be higher status and are achieving more” than we are, which can lead to feelings of envy, discontent, and anxiety. It’s also not the whole story. When I was young, my mom used to warn me against “comparing my insides to other people’s outsides.” Using Twitter, I am constantly comparing my insides—my anxieties, fears, and insecurities—with other people’s outward selves: their accomplishments, polished selfies, and edited articles. There will always be someone who’s doing better than I am in any aspect of my life. And because I, like many people, tend to follow people I admire or who are already famous, I am constantly aware of just how much better other people are. Twitter also gives me a quick and handy way to quantify my worth: this many likes, this many retweets. I’d like to think I’m more than the sum of my followers, but there are plenty of days when I don’t feel that way.

Your Tweets Know You’re Sick Before You Do

Your Tweets Know You’re Sick Before You Do

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New research demonstrates that it’s possible. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has shown that, simply by analyzing the emotions behind tweets, they can predict outbreaks of flu about 14% to 35% of the time. Add in the actual content of those tweets (like “I just can’t get out of bed today!”), and researchers say that figure skyrockets to 95%.

This phenomenon has been described as a “digital heartbeat” by many researchers

Prozac Nation Is Now the United States of Xanax

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This past winter, Sarah Fader, a 37-year-old social media consultant in Brooklyn who has generalized anxiety disorder, texted a friend in Oregon about an impending visit, and when a quick response failed to materialize, she posted on Twitter to her 16,000-plus followers. “I don’t hear from my friend for a day — my thought, they don’t want to be my friend anymore,” she wrote, appending the hashtag #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike.

Thousands of people were soon offering up their own examples under the hashtag; some were retweeted more than 1,000 times. You might say Ms. Fader struck a nerve. “If you’re a human being living in 2017 and you’re not anxious,” she said on the telephone, “there’s something wrong with you.”

…Anxiety has become our everyday argot, our thrumming lifeblood: not just on Twitter (the ur-anxious medium, with its constant updates), but also in blogger diaries, celebrity confessionals…

HAPPY ED BALLS DAY

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In the annals of pseudo-holidays… there is none, to my mind, more pleasing than April 28th, on which Britons the Internet wide observe the anniversary of the time a distracted politician accidentally tweeted his own name… The politician in question is the Labour M.P. and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Edward Michael (Ed) Balls. At 4:20 p.m. on April 28, 2011, Balls was in a grocery store in Yorkshire, picking up the ingredients for his signature fourteen-hour pulled pork. Somewhere between the white buns and the watermelon, he got a call from an aide. The aide urged him to search Twitter for an article that mentioned him. Balls hit the wrong key on his Blackberry and tweeted the now immortal phrase: “Ed Balls.”

How to Know If You’ve Sent a Horrible Tweet

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Twitter is a much-maligned, ever-burning furnace of existential dread. At its best, it’s an efficient tool for communication, even if that only means telling people to go fuck themselves. But unlike on other forms of social media, where the success of a post might be measured in terms of the discussion it generates—a busy comment section under a blog post, or thousands of comments on a Facebook page—on Twitter, provoking a significant response is actually evidence of the opposite. The lengthier the conversation, the surer it is that someone royally messed up. It’s a phenomenon known as The Ratio. While opinions on the exact numerical specifications of The Ratio vary, in short, it goes something like this: If the number of replies to a tweet vastly outpaces its engagement in terms of likes and retweets, then something has gone horribly wrong.