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TwitterQuest Concludes

So long and thanks for all the phish

It had been going quite well recently. I’d incorporated TwitterQuest into the stand-up show I’ve been previewing for the Edinburgh Festival, which had generated quite a few new followers. After just seven months (not eight, as I mistakenly told the world just now… read on; I’ll explain), I had peaked at 2,287 Silent Witnesses. I was looking forward to seeing how many more I might accrue during the festival next month.

After a happy spot at a gig last night, compere Lewis Bryan (@lewisbryan) had kindly, and unasked, told the audience they really ought to find me on Twitter and follow me. They’d see why when they found my profile, he said. When I turned on my computer an hour or so ago, I was thrilled to see a couple of them actually had.

I went to the site and… HORROR!!! I saw this:

David_JosephDavid

@@richardrycroft WHAAAAAAAAATTT??? You only tweeted! The world will surely end today!!!!!!!

I looked at the top of the page and saw the words:

YOUR TWEETS: 1

What?! How could this be? Could I have sent a tweet without realising? Was this the onset of dementia? Perhaps I sleep-tweeted?

No, the answer is simpler and more 21st Century than that. My account has been hacked. Someone today has sent this, in my name, to over 2,000 people:

richardrycroftRichard Rycroft

A Real Diet, that Really Works! http://

Yes, I’ve deleted the address. I’m not giving them another chance to profit from me.

My apologies, of course, to everyone who received it. I suppose there’s an irony that the spam should have been advertising a diet. One person, a couple of months ago, did try to get me to tweet by sending a series of incredibly rude messages about what a “fat, ugly c***” I am, so maybe he’ll see this as a victory.

But I’m rather sad that it should have ended this way. I’ve been publicly quiet, but privately, I’ve enjoyed exchanging messages with a few of the people who signed up to this nonsense and seemed to enjoy the ridiculousness of it as much as I have. One person has regularly checked in to ask how it’s going, and to encourage me to continue doing nothing! Others, such as the brilliant comedian, James Acaster (@JamesAcaster) would occasionally taunt me with:

JamesAcasterJames Acaster

@richardrycroft tweet me back

and

JamesAcasterJames Acaster

@richardrycroft RYCROFT!!! COME ON!!!!

Ah… happy days…

Well, the silence has been broken, so TwitterQuest must end. It took me a few minutes to even work out how to do this, but about 20 minutes after the “spam diet” tweet, I finally sent my first actual one:

richardrycroftRichard Rycroft

Dammit. Not only have I been hacked, I’ve had to find out how to send a tweet. Game’s over. Thanks to everyone for joining in. It was fun x

Even by then, my followers had dropped by about 30, and I absolutely agree with their actions. More have left since then, and I suspect I may now be watching the numbers fall with the same fascination which grabbed me while watching them rise.

I’ve received a wonderful series of messages from other people today, which prompted my next tweet, a two-parter because I haven’t mastered this 40 character thing yet; I’m very new to all this:

richardrycroftRichard Rycroft

Thanks for the suggestions of deleting it – didn’t know you could do that – but it wouldn’t be honest. I peaked at 2,287 after 8 months…

richardrycroftRichard Rycroft

… Many have left since the tweet. I’ll decide this week whether to delete the account
or actually use it for tweeting.

So, thank you for all the support; followers, RT-ers, ff-ers (see how I’ve picked up the lingo!) and others. Particularly those who took the trouble to sign up to Twitter just to follow me! It really was ridiculously enjoyable while it lasted. I can’t explain why, and that was part of its joy. If you want to stop following me now, I’ll completely understand. If you’d like to stay, you’d be more than welcome to do so. I can’t imagine I’ll be using Twitter very much anyway, so it’ll still be a semi-silence.

In the next few days, I’ll either set up a new account and tell everyone what that’s called, or I may just stick with this one and see what happens, so long as I don’t get hacked again, of course.

Just for fun, here’s my “Mentions” page from the time of the spam tweet until just before I posted this up:

Tweets mentioning @richardrycroft

»
Lex Peters
thejoyoflexLex Peters
@
@richardrycroft Damn those less obvious loop holes!
»
Sean Whiteley-Ross
Seans_GestaltSean Whiteley-Ross
Does this mean the diet doesn’t work?? RT @richardrycroft as it was a hacker, technically I still hadn’t tweeted. If only I hadn’t respnded!
»
caspar firth
casparfirthcaspar firth
@
@richardrycroft i was with you… Bad luck
»
James Acaster
JamesAcasterJames Acaster
@
@stuchopslaws @richardrycroft taunt him Laws! Taunt him!
»
Alastair Block
BisleyTAlastair Block
@
@richardrycroft i say keep the account. If you delete, some moron will reopen it and others will follow moron never knowing the difference.
»
Stuart Laws
stuchopslawsStuart Laws
@
@JamesAcaster Today is a great day in the battle with @richardrycroft
»
James Acaster
JamesAcasterJames Acaster
@
@richardrycroft @stuchopslaws you look defeated on your picture Rycroft, hahahaha, we won Laws! We won!
»
James Acaster
JamesAcasterJames Acaster
@
@richardrycroft @stuchopslaws YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
»
James Acaster
JamesAcasterJames Acaster
@
@stuchopslaws @richardrycroft OH YEAH! I FORGOT ABOUT THAT! ANSWER ME RYCROFT!
»
Nick Rowan
nickrowan27Nick Rowan
Hard not to point finger at Stephen Fry. RT @richardrycroft “Dammit. Not only have I been hacked, had to find out how to tweet. Game’s over”
»
Karen Bryan
tensqueegalKaren Bryan
@
@richardrycroft That’s not too shabby 🙂 A fun experiment :b
»
David Turners
davidturnersDavid Turners
@
@richardrycroft no bother. Tweet like the wind TWEET!
»
Mat Murray
matmurrayMat Murray
@
@richardrycroft What a calamity. Still, it’s happened now, so it’s now time to use what your momma gave you, and tweet, tweet, tweet!
»
Alex
wrd83Alex
@
@richardrycroft it still seems you have more fun while tweeting than during your vow of silence and you have quite an audience.
»
Stuart Laws
stuchopslawsStuart Laws
»
Dr. Boffo
@
@richardrycroft Why don’t you set up a new account, and Tweet from this one what you new account name is?
»
Andrew Denny
albiondumsdayAndrew Denny
@
@richardrycroft Too late, now we are hooked on your pronouncements!
»
James Scholey
JamesLUFCJames Scholey
@
@richardrycroft blame the news of the world.
»
Jeff Hudson
HefSanJeff Hudson
@
@richardrycroft Who’s to say it’s not the hacker still tweeting now #worthatry
»
joanna
@
@richardrycroft what if the spam diet really works could be stellar
»
Finch E Poos
finchypoosFinch E Poos
@
@richardrycroft  Dont leave Rich!  Tweet from this account & make another to set a record from (again) X
»
James Hunt
jameshunt182James Hunt
Can’t believe @richardrycroft has tweeted. Damn whoever did this.
»
Mark Alman
Kilkenny203Mark Alman
@
@richardrycroft thanks for the wry amusement of your attempt anyway
»
Jim
Big_BaffyJim

@
@richardrycroft The Dark Side awaits you sir. You know you want to.
»
debbie wood
thatdamndeborahdebbie wood

@
@richardrycroft Oh don’t delete it. Tweet and be damned! (Along with the rest of us) 😉
»
Jim
Big_BaffyJim

@
@richardrycroft I shall frame this solitary tweet as I reminder of the special times we had.
»
Tom Spilsbury
TomSpilsburyTom Spilsbury

@
@richardrycroft Congratulations anyway Richard. Definitely fun. 🙂
»
Sean Brightman
comedyrogueshowSean Brightman

@
@richardrycroft noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! You tweeted! Shock. Complete shock. World. Upside. Down.
»
Lex Peters
thejoyoflexLex Peters

@
@richardrycroft How frustrating! How about starting again with a purpose driven account and use this one to tweet and promote it?
»
David Turners
davidturnersDavid Turners

@
@richardrycroft Use it to tweet Richard!
»
Jane D
Auntie_Jane1Jane D

@
@richardrycroft I can’t believe you’ve had to tweet after all this time. 😦 I’ve loved following you, you’ve never clogged up my timeline.
»
Kell Mercer
KCorriganMKell Mercer

@
@richardrycroft delete them and start the game again!
»
Alex
wrd83Alex

@
@richardrycroft you could still delete that tweet and pretend it never happend? 🙂
»
debbie wood
thatdamndeborahdebbie wood

@
@richardrycroft NO! Surely you don’t have to end it after all this time because of one idiot?
»
David
David_JosephDavid

@
@richardrycroft Or maybe it’s just time to call it a day?  Shame it never went into the millions, though!
»
David
David_JosephDavid

@
@richardrycroft You can delete tweets, do it quickly!!!
»
karl wood
karljustkarlkarl wood

@
@richardrycroft Does this mean you will now be tweeting?
»
chris moltisanti
rastakolnikovchris moltisanti

@
@richardrycroft I’ll pretend it never happened if you do
»
DougRouxel
DougRouxelDougRouxel
@richardrycroft Who was try to amass followers without tweeting has been hacked and sent a tweet by spammers.
»
Bobby Carroll
bobby_carrollBobby Carroll
@richardrycroft has been hacked! I know this as he has tweeted! A scandal!
»
Harpindon Groomsmill
And_TheRestHarpindon Groomsmill
RT @David_Joseph @richardrycroft WHAAAAAAAAATTT???  You only tweeted! The world will surely end today!!!!!!!: @rhttp://bit.ly/qgs9jP
»
Aaron McCarthy
AaronnoraAAaron McCarthy
FAIL!! RT @richardrycroft A Real Diet, that Really Works! http://news3channels.com
»
Sudl
@richardrycroft uh-oh, silence broken by spammer 😦
»
Isla Kennedy
IzzyKennedyIsla Kennedy
Sorry, I RTed that because the guy wasn’t supposed to tweet ever and suddenly there’s one from @richardrycroft
»
David
David_JosephDavid

@
@richardrycroft Or have you been hacked?  I bet you’ve been only hacked mate…
»
stonedrepro
stonedreprostonedrepro
he’d better have had his account hacked  >>  RT @richardrycroft: A Real Diet, that Really Works! http://news3channels.com
»
baltipieofdoom
baltipieofdoombaltipieofdoom

@
@richardrycroft You tweeted. Its spam but you tweeted. Bastards.
»
Terry Lander
LyvitTerry Lander
Looks like @richardrycroft‘s account has been hacked, considering he has tweeted. Follow him anyway.
»
veronica craft
v_craftveronica craft

@
@richardrycroft what about the entire silence thingy?
»
David
David_JosephDavid

@
@richardrycroft WHAAAAAAAAATTT???  You only tweeted! The world will surely end today!!!!!!!

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TwitterQuest 2,000

(New readers should start here: https://richardrycroft.net/2010/12/28/twitterquest/)

 

 One of these people is Katie Porter (@EternalKatie). She lives in Beavercreek. I think that’s somewhere in America.

 

I think that because, when I sent her a message today to thank her for becoming my 2,000th follower (yay!!), she replied, “Awesome!”, which suggests she’s American, doesn’t it. Also because she heard about me from a retweet by a Hollywood actor / producer / director.

 

Not him. That’s Stuart Laws, who I’m always going on about on here. I just thought it was time you had a look at him, in case you haven’t seen him in a comedy club yet, or visited his blog (http://stuchopslaws.wordpress.com – he’s put up a new post today with a couple of videos which I think are very funny. Especially the break-in one). No, Stuart did a tweet about me to Judd Apatow, who you’ve seen in loads of American films and TV shows.

  This is Judd Apatow. He holds an entirely different camera to Stuart, and in an entirely different way. Which is possibly how he came to produce the movies Anchorman, Fun With Dick & Jane and The 40 Year Old Virgin, among many others. Actually, he directed the last one too. He also directed Knocked Up and Funny People, and… Well look, there’s all sorts of information about him on the internet if you want to know more. Suffice to say, I was thrilled that he chose to let the world know about TwitterQuest.

 

Not all of his followers were.

 

“Man, Judd-you give away your retweeets so casually they will soon lose all meaning.”

Eden_Brower

 

 

“I don’t get the goal here. Richard wants recognition for not contributing anything? Very 2011.”

daveschwartz25

 

But others loved the idea, and Stuart’s original message has been retweeted all over America this evening. And Scandinavia, Ireland, Germany and goodness knows where else too. The new followers are still coming in. So, thank you Stu, thank you Katie, and thank you Judd. The latest heroes of TwitterQuest.

 

Oh, and thank you @bagtheneematoad who, as this goes to press, is the latest of 2,078 followers.

 

 

 

YOU SHOULD FOLLOW ME AT TWITTER HERE:

 https://twitter.com/#!/richardrycroft

 

 

By the way, Mr Laws is no shrinking violet in the film production stakes. Check out his hugely popular ‘Becoming Batman’ series on Youtube. It’ll open up a whole new world to you. Episode one (of many) is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZYc1G09c7E 
Don’t be fooled by the lo-tech beginnings. It gets massive!

 

 

 

 

 

TwitterQuest Begins!

 

Well! What a day I’ve been having!

 

After Launching TwitterQuest (see the post before last, or click on https://richardrycroft.net/2010/12/28/twitterquest/),  I managed, during those quiet days leading up to and just after the New Year, to attract a few extra followers  (or, as I prefer to think of them, Silent Witnesses),  thanks to friends doing a tweet or two on my behalf.  Notably @DavidTurners (one of the guys behind the JoyPod podcast for gamers – more info at http://spong.com/joypod) and @davebromage (funny comedian and journalist, who has a blog here on WordPress, at https://davebromage.wordpress.com/). Many others tweeted too, including the comedians @joselby (http://www.joselby.com/), @ashleyfrieze (http://www.incredible.org.uk/), @stuchopslaws (http://stuchopslaws.wordpress.com/ as you probably know by now) and @philiphiggins (who doesn’t seem to have a website. Good Heavens. Odd chap). I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who’s joined in so far. Sorry if I haven’t mentioned you this time.

 

It was Dave Bromage whose tweet reached the attention of @VirginRacing, the official F1 Virgin Racing team (http://www.virginracing.com/).    I switched off the machine last night, pretty pleased with my total of 136 followers. When I returned to it this morning, there were over 100 notifications in my email inbox, of new followers as a direct result of Virgin Racing tweeting about the cause to its almost 29,000 followers. But it didn’t end there. Followers retweeted and more came. And then the folks from Viz got involved.

 

With almost 67,000 followers, @VizTopTips (http://www.viz.co.uk/) must be one of the most retweeted Twitter users in the UK (and abroad, as it now appears), so I thought I’d let them know what I was up to. I thought the pointlessness of the challenge might appeal to them. I was right. Within half an hour of my email, they had very kindly told the world about me, and the new follower notifications flooded in! At the time of writing, I now have 547 followers.

By the way, there’s absolutely no commercial side to my TwitterQuest. I’m just acknowledging people who have joined in the fun, that’s all.

 

 Here are some of my favourite comments which have been generated on Twitter today:

 

  • If you’d like an extra follower, follow @richardrycroft, who is aiming to be the most followed person never to have tweeted. Thank you 🙂 (@VirginRacing)
  • 

 

 

  • @VirginRacing @richardrycroft Err, no thanks. Following someone who doesn’t tweet doesn’t do my tweetcred much good. (@EmpireSteve)
  • 

 

  • Now following @richardrycroft as amused by his anti-celeb anti-Klout approach to Twitter. (@TMT_Lawyer)
  • 

 

  • FOLLOW @richardrycroft who provides a restful silence in the often noisy Twittersphere. (@VizTopTips)
  • 

 

  • @richardrycroft Nice one Richard, hope it catches on! No need to reply to this message or re-tweet. (@David_Joseph)
  • 

 

  • @richardrycroft But I bet every morning you wake up in a sweat and check Twitter to see who’s following/unfollowing 🙂 (@OnewordTF)
  • 

 

  • Postmodern tweeters: @richardrycroft and @big_ben_clock (@CarkeysCoUK – and you might be interested to learn that @Big_ben_clock tweets the appropriate number of “BONG”s on the hour, every hour, to more than 78,000 followers. He / she / it doesn’t appear to follow anyone at all, but that didn’t stop me from signing up, and I would urge you to do the same!)

 

 

 

  • I refuse to follow @richardrycroft unless he gets ‘verified’. Otherwise, how do I know it’s him & not a scam to steal my personal identity? (@sexteta, who later followed me anyway. Maybe he looked at this blog thing and was reassured? Or perhaps it was a computer-savvy person’s joke that I didn’t understand?)

 

 

  • Now that @richardrycroft is following me,i have a mission. To get a tweet out of him ! #nohope (@gdbradley)
  • 

 

  • YES! @richardrycroft is trying to become the most-followed person never to have tweeted. Brilliant! Follow him – he’ll even follow you back. (@scottywotsits)
  • 

 

 

 

I love the idea that some people have started challenging one another to get a tweet out of me! In fact, I urge any tweeters reading this to consider adding something like “what would @richardrycroft say about this?” if you have characters to spare at the end of a tweet.

 

As promised, everyone who follows me is being followed back, or sent a ‘follow request’, depending on their security settings. On a day like today, that takes quite a while (and some days I don’t see my email at all – I don’t carry the internet on a phone in case it gets scratched, remember), so if I haven’t followed you within a few hours, please be assured that I shall. Curiously, while I get email notification about the vast majority of new followers, some slip through the net, so I do check the whole list from time to time as well. If you think I might have overlooked you, please leave a comment here, or contact me through Twitter. If you don’t want me to follow you, just ignore or delete me from that list, but PLEASE keep following me.

 And if you don’t already,

 

YOU SHOULD FOLLOW ME AT TWITTER HERE: https://twitter.com/#!/richardrycroft

 

 

ps        Just as I was about to publish this, both @VirginRacing and @DavidTurners tweeted about me again (thank you!) and brought another flurry of activity into the Rycroft home. As this goes to press, I can claim a TwitterQuest total of 642 and rising. One of the latest additions to the Silent Witnesses even tweeted this:

http://twitter.com/#!/richardrycroft флеш-моб. Чувак совсем не пишет в твиттер. похоже какой-то английский актер (@h3m0ptys1s)  

No, I have no idea either, but I’m so grateful for the mention!

 

 

 

 

 

TwitterQuest

Did you have a happy Christmas?

Lovely. Let’s never speak of it again.

Now, back to normality.

 

As earlier posts on this blog thing will have told you, I’m useless around technology. I have a FaceBook page and a MySpace page. And this blog thing. If pushed, I can even download music now, which in my world is like putting a man on the moon – I’ve done it three times so far and, while I could do it much more, there’s a fiscal deficit to be dealt with first.

I even signed up to Twitter a few months ago.

 Why? 

That’s been my biggest question about Twitter ever since I first heard of it. I’m happy for the people who love it, but I just couldn’t see how it could possibly benefit the life I live.

Now cut to circa 1981 when a friend was telling me about this “computer” thing he’d bought. It took ages to fire it up, with a high pitched signal that he had to play in from a cassette machine, and when it did come to life, its black and white (or was it green on a black screen? I think it may have been) flashing courier writing had, for me at least, all the sex appeal of a heart monitor and none of the usefulness. Yet he insisted this was the future and I ought to be part of it. “We do everything on it now”, he told me. “Well, what?”, I asked. “Everything! Christmas card lists… everything.”

He kept his Christmas card list on it. That’s what computers were for in 1981. They’d never catch on. How could a computer “do everything”? Ridiculous.

I lost contact with that guy. I heard from his ex wife a couple of years ago, but he’s not on FaceBook, so we’ll probably never see one another again.

Well, obviously, computers slowly crept up on me. Then came something called email which was exciting initially but became just another thing to fall behind with (current backlog is 142- not a personal record), then the internet… you get the picture.

 And one day, a comedy promoter who’s quite hard to get seen by announced that any future opportunities to perform at his club would be advertised exclusively on Twitter. I had no option. If that was the only way to find out about spots at a club I want to perform at, obviously, I had to sign up.

But I didn’t have anything to say. So I thought I’d wait a while before doing my first tweet to the world. A few months passed. Friends heard I’d joined, so ‘followed’ me. I ‘followed’ them. After quite a short time, I stopped visiting the site, but would still occasionally receive an email telling me of a new ‘follower’. Mostly people I had never heard of. A couple of them supposedly gorgeous young women looking to er, “hook up”. They must have seen my photo and thought “phwoarrr. He’s someone I ought to be following”.

Just before Christmas, I started being followed by someone who works in PR. Probably befriending several comedians that day as that’s the area in which he specialises.  Which is a perfectly sensible thing to do and I’ll think of him next time I want and can afford a PR.

Then I read this: http://stuchopslaws.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/twitterphiliaphobia  on Stuart Laws’ blogsite thing – yep, didn’t take long to reference Laws again, did it? Other inspirational comedians are available – and I realised my mission in life is to be part of the Twitteratti.

 A part that is never seen or heard, but a part for all that.

 

I’ve never tweeted. I never expect to tweet. Yet strangers follow me. They follow someone who doesn’t say anything. Ever. They clearly enjoy the calming silence I offer, the oasis of serenity in a noisy twittodesert.  More people should have the opportunity to benefit in this way. It’s my gift to the world.

So I mentioned it on my FaceBook page and few new people started following me. My friend Jane Hill of the Milky Drink Kids (@janehill64) mentioned me on Twitter itself today and I gained another 20 or so. Then my friend Tony Cowards (@TonyCowards) mentioned it and more came flooding in. At the time of writing, I now have 50 followers. 50 people who don’t want to miss a word I won’t say. This is becoming a popular movement. Like Live Aid. Or something. But quieter. And of less use.

 

Won’t you join me in this TwitterQuest? All you have to do is let everyone know that @richardrycroft is hoping to become the most followed non-tweeter on Twitter and the rest will follow. Stephen Fry currently has 2,065,574 followers (which is 376 more than when I checked about three hours ago). That’s just 2,065, 524 more than me. This is eminently do-able, people!

 

If you’re not already signed up to Twitter, join today and follow me. You don’t have to do anything else. In fact, the less you do, the more palpable your commitment to the cause. I already have one follower who has never tweeted. Join the chorus of silence!

Additional information

  1. Stephen Fry has added another 11 followers since I wrote the above
  2. I have added 30
  3. Every time I’m notified of a new follower, I follow or send a request to follow them, depending on their security settings. It’s my way of letting them know I’m a real person, and of saying thanks for playing along. If you follow me and don’t want me to follow you, just delete me from your followers; I shan’t be offended. But please keep following me. Your followship feeds my silence.
  4. Some people have been a little confused about this project. “Why follow someone when you learn nothing at all about them?” asked @kyleorchid. @ Peapod1974 said, “I would follow @richardrycroft but he seems to want to beat @stephenfry for some reason? What’s the competition?” Happily, Jane was able to reassure them that my intentions are pure, and they’ve joined the gang. It’s just a bit of fun, you know.
  5. My favourite tweets today have been: “That’s the equivalent of saying “Listen to me, I’m not going to say anything” and then trying to get a crowd together” (@Huggibear) and “Will be interesting to see how high he can get. Fascinating idea. A million followers  following nothing :)”(@bosunrsa).

 

Thanks to everyone who’s joined in so far. Any comments?

ps I’ve just found an interesting blog by an American guy called Dustin Curtis at

 http://dustincurtis.com/you_should_follow_me_on_twitter.html

He says I should sign off by saying:

YOU SHOULD FOLLOW ME AT TWITTER HERE: https://twitter.com/#!/richardrycroft

(I don’t know how to attach a link to a word)

Thanks, Dustin.

TwitterQuest updates elsewhere on this blog:

1. 4th January 2011 https://richardrycroft.net/2011/01/04/twitterquest-begins/2. 6th January 2011 https://richardrycroft.net/2011/01/06/twitterquest-1000/

3. 22nd January 2011 https://richardrycroft.net/2011/01/22/heroes-of-twitterquest/

4. 23rd January 2011 https://richardrycroft.net/2011/01/23/twitterquest-2000/

5. 5th February 2011 https://richardrycroft.net/2011/02/05/twitterquest-affiliates/

6. 24th July 2011 https://richardrycroft.net/2011/07/24/twitterquest-concludes/#comments

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