Pretty Hate Machine

Mike Monteiro’s history of Twitter, from beginning to end (via kottke):

Twitter would have you believe that it’s a beacon of free speech. Biz Stone would have you believe that inaction is principle. I would ask you to consider the voices that have been silenced. The voices that have disappeared from Twitter because of the hatred and the abuse. Those voices aren’t free. Those voices have been caged. Twitter has become an engine for further marginalizing the marginalized. A pretty hate machine.

Biz Stone would also believe that Twitter is being objective in its principled stance. To which I’d ask how objective it is that it constantly moves the goal posts of permissibility for its cash cow of hate. Trump’s tweets are the methane that powers the pretty hate machine. But they’re also the fuel for the bomb Twitter doesn’t yet, even now, realize it is sitting on. There’s a hell of a difference between giving Robert Pattinson dating advice and threatening a nuclear power with war.

Monteiro is right. Twitter has become “a cesspool of hate”. People I follow who historically only tweeted about art, culture, or design now react to Trump on a daily basis. Multiply that by the 240 accounts I follow and that becomes a shitload of negativity. Not a great way to start your day.

Suspending Trump’s Twitter account is not a First Amendment violation. Twitter is a company with clearly stated policies you must abide to use their service. If you do not abide by those policies then you don’t get to use the service.

Boycott Bullshit

Twitter Users Split on Boycott Over Platform’s Move Against Rose McGowan:

Activists, celebrities and journalists joined a boycott of Twitter on Friday to protest the social media platform’s locking of the account of the actress Rose McGowan, a fierce critic of the film producer Harvey Weinstein over his alleged sexual harassment and assaults of women.

The boycott began at midnight Thursday in New York and was to last all day. Many of those taking part signified their participation with the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter.

The idea for the protest came from Kelly Ellis, a software engineer, who wrote: “#WomenBoycottTwitter Friday, October 13th. In solidarity w @rosemcgowan and all the victims of hate and harassment Twitter fails to support.”

This is such bullshit.

The idea isn’t bullshit. The idea is great — boycott Twitter for locking Rose McGowan’s account for saying she was the victim of sexual harassment while at the same time allowing Jerkoff Trump to continue to spew hate and hostility on his account. Many have argued Trump has violated Twitter’s terms of service.

I digress.

What’s bullshit about this boycott is how half-assed it is. Boycott Twitter for a day? Really? One whole day? There’s way too many things happening second by second, all over the world, to get a meaningful amount of people to focus on one thing for more than a few hours.

An effective boycott should last longer than 24 measly hours. You also need to offer people an alternative platform of communication if you’re asking them to give up what they currently use. When you do that and Twitter notices their daily active user count plummeting, there’s a good chance they’ll start enforcing their terms of service.

That’s how you effect change.

If you’re saying to yourself that what I’m suggesting is extremely hard, you’re right. Effecting change is very hard. It’s not something you can do by typing a hashtag before a word on your fucking pocket computer.

Microblogging AKA Tumblr AKA Twitter

In 2007, CNet reviewed the then new “microblogging” service, Tumblr:

Tumblr blogging service, which launched last month, gives people the chance to publish brief or full-length, media-rich posts using their browser or mobile phone. It’s a happy medium between a tidbit posting service, such as Twitter, and a full-fledged blogging tool, such as WordPress or Blogger. Tumblr is aimed at folks who feel they may not have enough content or time to write a full blog, yet still want to write and share links and media.

After today’s announcement, Twitter is sounding a lot more like Tumblr.

Twitter Becomes Less Twittery

Twitter is increasing their character limit from 140 to 280:

We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).

Huh? The 140-character limit is what makes Twitter unique. What’s next, increasing the limit to 560 characters? Then 1120? Pretty soon Twitter will be able to pivot into a blogging platform like it was 2003 again. Yeah!

Forcing constraints on a situation can lead to more creative solutions.

I’ve heard many comedians say they love using Twitter as a “testing ground” for new material because a) they can get reactions from people immediately and b) it forces them to be economical with their choice of words.

I think this move will water down the Twitter experience.

President Manbaby

Less Tweeting, Lawyers Beg. ‘Covfefe,’ the President Says:

Mr. Trump’s aides, especially his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, have long implored the president to cut down on his tweeting, especially about the Russia investigations. But Mr. McGahn is not perceived as a peer by Mr. Trump, unlike Mr. Kasowitz, whom the president respects for building a successful business. White House aides hope that Mr. Kasowitz, who has advised Mr. Trump for years, can get through to the president — and that if Mr. Kasowitz leads a vigorous public defense, the president may not feel the need to do it himself.

Mr. Trump has demonstrated that he can tame his Twitter impulses, at least temporarily. As he traveled through the Middle East and Europe last month, he went nine days without attacking, scorning, complaining or contradicting his own staff.

He demonstrated he could “temporarily” tame his Twitter impulses.

What the fuck does that mean? He went nine days without throwing a temper tantrum so he gets a cookie after dinner?

This man is president of the United States, not a 13-year-old on Snapchat.

He is not fit to be president.

Figure Out the Money, Twitter

Twitter Struggles to Capitalize on Influence and Posts Lackluster Earnings:

Sports fans were glued to it during the Super Bowl. Millions used it to track American election night results. In the morning, the president of the United States sends a daily missive in the form of a tweetstorm.

“You don’t go a day without hearing about Twitter,” Jack Dorsey, the company’s chief executive, said on a conference call with investors Thursday morning.

There is just one problem: For all of its influence, Twitter cannot seem to capitalize on its wide reach.

The company reported disappointing earnings on Thursday, with sales totaling $717 million in the fourth quarter, up only about 1 percent compared with a year ago. That fell far short of analysts’ expectations of $740 million. Twitter lost roughly $167 million over that period, or 23 cents per share, from a loss of about $90 million in the quarter last year.

I don’t understand this.

I value Twitter as communications tool. Twitter has been my go-to app to check on breaking news for years now. In the rare times I turn on network news, I’m guaranteed to see them quoting something someone said on Twitter (these days it’s usually something our Shithead in Chief is whining about).

Jimmy Fallon uses it all time in bits on his show and I think he’s the only person still using hashtags. Jimmy Kimmel has also been using it for years in his hilarious Mean Tweets segment.

Twitter is firmly planted in popular culture.

Figure it out, Twitter. Businesses in much worse positions than you have.

The High Maintenance Man-Baby with Tiny Hands

Inside Donald Trump’s Last Stand: An Anxious Nominee Seeks Assurance:

Mr. Trump’s campaign is no longer making headlines with embarrassing staff shake-ups. But that has left him with a band of squabbling and unfireable advisers, with confusing roles and an inability to sign off on basic tasks. A plan to encourage early voting in Florida went unapproved for weeks.

The result is chaotic. Advisers cut loose from the campaign months ago, like Corey Lewandowski, still talk to the candidate frequently, offering advice that sometimes clashes with that of the current leadership team. Mr. Trump, who does not use a computer, rails against the campaign’s expenditure of tens of millions on digital ads, skeptical that spots he never sees could have any effect.

Trump doesn’t use a computer and his campaign staff took control of his Twitter account. It seems like he spends half his time on Twitter. Where is he channeling all his angst?

His head might explode in the next 48 hours.

Twitter Moments

Last week Twitter debuted a new feature called “Moments”. It shows up as a new tab at the bottom of the Twitter app and features a curated list of breaking events by category.

At Statechery, Ben Thomspon is excited and sees it as (potentially) nothing less than the reinvention of the newspaper:

Well, the product launched…and it’s fantastic. Moreover, it’s not only that it’s fantastic from a product perspective — actually, there is a lot to nitpick — but that it is fantastic from a strategic perspective.

And:

That’s right, Twitter just reinvented the newspaper. It’s not just any newspaper though — it has the potential to be the best newspaper in the world.

Startup L. Jackson is a sees a need for a strategy adjustment:

Moments should be a standalone app. Period. It can still use the Twitter namespace and shared login. Be made by Twitter, etc. But Twitter needs something it can market to users that is not Twitter.

By making it a standalone, Twitter can avoid all of the problems that exist with implementing it as a tab. There is no dual onboarding experience, no @mentions, no main feed to educate the user on, no DMs, etc. Just great content and an occasional invitation to “join the conversation” or “follow all of Bieber’s posts” at just the right time. See graphic representation below.

“Have you tried Moments? It’s like Snapchat stories meets Buzzfeed. It’s my new go to on the train.”

The important part is ‘Moments’ has launched.

Now Twitter just needs to keep refining and iterating.

Those 140 Characters Are Mine

Tweets are copyrightable:

Let’s face it: coming up with a grade-A tweet isn’t easy. That’s why some people just copy good tweets from other people and act like they came up with the 140-character witticism on their own. This has been going on since the beginning of Twitter.

It now appears Twitter is using its legal authority to crack down on these tweet-stealers. A number of tweets have been deleted on copyright grounds for apparently stealing a bad joke.

Don’t steal. Remix.

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