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Posts Tagged ‘@biz’

Biz Stone On Press Cycles, *That* Fortune Article And Why Twitter Is Like Rocky Balboa

Yesterday we documented an article in the latest edition of Fortune magazine (“Trouble @Twitter”) which suggested that Twitter’s once shining star has begun to dim, and that disgruntled co-founders, boardroom politics and development misfires could be sucking the company into a black hole.

We also wrote about Business Insider’s interview with forgotten Twitter founder Noah Glass, who spoke about how he felt ‘betrayed’ by Twitter.

So: a pretty big negative PR day for the social platform. How did Twitter respond?

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Now Verified On Twitter – @Ev And @Biz (@Jack Shunned Once Again)

The verification system on Twitter is a nice idea but it still hasn’t been implemented correctly. There are good reasons why celebrities, public figures and brands should be first in the queue to get verified accounts, but there are also very good reasons why everybody should be offered the seal of approval from Twitter for their account, too, famous or otherwise.

We’re all real people. Well, aside from the millions of bots, copycats and imposters. And that‘s exactly why we all need to be verified. It would be easy enough to do – just let us verify our accounts with a bank card. If you don’t want to share this information, or don’t care about being verified, then you’d just opt out. Everybody who did care would opt in. Simples.

Still, to their credit, the Twitter three (Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and Evan William) have taken their sweet time about getting their own accounts verified, waiting patiently whilst everybody else – even people nobody has ever heard of – got the badge ahead of them.

And while I like the idea that they kept on applying but the tech team at Twitter were routinely marking their applications as spam, Williams (@ev) and Stone (@biz) finally got themselves verified.

Which just leaves Jack Dorsey (@jack), who still hasn’t been deemed worthy of the badge.

And don’t forget – this comes just a few days after he was left out of the Twitter team’s #9 placing in Vanity Fair’s most influential people list.

He’s got to be a little pissed – he’s a Twitter co-founder, after all. Time to get even, Jack – go ahead and loosen the height control on Biz’s chair.

PS. @rickastley is now official, too. You know what to do.

A Look Back At 12 Months Of Twitter (Part One)

Twittercism celebrates its first birthday today. It’s been a fun time, and if you’ll excuse the self-indulgence, I thought it might be interesting to look back at some of the key posts and themes – as well as the goofs and misfires – of the past 12 months.

It also functions nicely as a timeline of the change and development within Twitter over this period.

This is part one of two posts.

(Note: this is a very long post. If you want the tldr version, it’s ‘stuff happened’).

February 2009

The very first post on Twittercism asked whether Stephen Fry, who at the time was the third most popular user on the network behind Barack Obama and the then unofficial CNN Breaking News account, would ever be caught by any other bonafide celebrities.

The incident that would come to be know as, "Do you remember that time when Stephen Fry got trapped in a lift?"The incident that would come to be known as, “Do you
remember that time when Stephen Fry got trapped in a lift?”

Well, yes. A year later, and despite adding over a million followers, Fry has dropped to a relatively lowly 151 on the network. He’s still enormously popular, but as Twitter itself gained significance and started to attract more A-list celebrities it was always going to be difficult for Stephen to compete with the bigger American names.

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With The World Watching, Twitter Gets Caught With Its Pants Down

Out of nowhere, and at the peak of its powers, Twitter suddenly seems really, really amateur.

You’ve probably heard that TechCrunch is privy to hundreds of confidential Twitter documents. No doubt you’ve seen the reaction to that news. And maybe reading the first leak, a proposal for a Twitter TV show called Final Tweet (which may well be the dumbest idea for a name since Shafted), made you want to curl up and die. You’re not alone.

With The World Watching, Twitter Gets Caught With Its Pants Down

But this is all just hype. The real problems are on Twitter itself. The network seems to be developing another major issue pretty much every week. We still haven’t had a resolution to the replies fiasco. An enormous number of users are still not showing up on Twitter search. For the past week, many innocent people have been randomly suspended. We’re all following people we didn’t want to.

And Twitter isn’t doing anything about it – at least, nothing that’s working. Of course, a big part of this issue is their lousy PR – instead of focusing on being timely and prompt in letting users know that they’re aware of all of these issues, especially when they’re ongoing, they’d rather talk about tractors.

Create a successful business, and and growing pains are inevitable. But Twitter is now three years old. Calling it a ‘start-up’ is beginning to sound daft. The service has a level of coverage in the mainstream media that rivals anything else on the internet.

You don’t see this stuff happening on Facebook. And here’s the rub – even if you did, we wouldn’t be as aware of it because Facebook as a mass-communication medium sucks in comparison to Twitter. It’s difficult on Facebook to reach beyond your immediate network of friends; the ripple effect on Twitter makes this really easy. Theoretically, and thanks to the re-tweet mechanism, one update can reach every single person. Or about 23 million people, if you want to get picky.

Which of course for those of us who use the service is one of the best things about it. For Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, and their team, it’s also one of the worst.

Twitter Says It's Okay To 'Tweet', Not So Cool To 'Twitter'

Responding to an article written over at TechCrunch, Twitter has addressed concerns about the use of the words ‘tweet’ and ‘Twitter’ in external applications, both of which are contextual trademarks owned by the San Francisco start-up.

Biz Stone says on the Twitter blog:

The ecosystem growing around Twitter is something we very much believe in nourishing and supporting. There are lots of really awesome services and applications out there like TweetDeck, TweetMeme, Tweetie, BackTweets, Tweetboard, and others that we absolutely love as do many users. However, as the ecosystem grows there is also the possibility that confusing and potentially damaging projects could emerge.

We have applied to trademark Tweet because it is clearly attached to Twitter from a brand perspective but we have no intention of “going after” the wonderful applications and services that use the word in their name when associated with Twitter. In fact, we encourage the use of the word Tweet. However, if we come across a confusing or damaging project, the recourse to act responsibly to protect both users and our brand is important.

Regarding the use of the word Twitter in projects, we are a bit more wary although there are some exceptions here as well. After all, Twitter is the name of our service and our company so the potential for confusion is much higher. When folks ask us about naming their application with “Twitter” we generally respond by suggesting more original branding for their project. This avoids potential confusion down the line.

Note that even though Biz says there are “some exceptions” regarding the use of Twitter, he doesn’t actually go as far as stating what these might be. There are several established applications that use the Twitter name – Twitterberry, Twitterrific and TinyTwitter, to name just a few. Stone states that Twitter has no intention of “going after” applications that use the word tweet, but again isn’t exactly crystal clear about their plans regarding Twitter.

And it’s not just applications, either – what about blogs and websites? In case you hadn’t noticed, this blog uses Twitter in its name. As do EverythingTwitter, Business on Twitter, Twittermaven, Twitterface, Twitterstop and Twitterfall. Is there a chance that some or all of these might fall into Biz’s sights? And if they start shoving the lawyers in our face, what’s that going to do to their image? And userbase?

It would seem likely that unless an existing website or application seriously infringed upon Twitter’s trademarks and design or interface then it’s probably going to be left alone. Even the mostly critical and sarcastic ones (like, uh, that other guy).

Going forward, however, one should perhaps assume that a lot of projects – certainly those that are ‘Twitter’-related in both concept and name – are inevitably going to face resistance, particularly if they want to get their hands on a bigger slice of Twitter’s precious API.

Is Twitter Like 'Lost', And They're Just Making It Up As They Go Along?

Yesterday I had a blast at the Media140 conference, London’s first micro-blogging event. The crowd was enthusiastic and intelligent, and there was some excellent discourse amongst the panellists and speakers, and some great queries were raised (and in some cases, answered, at least in part).

I suspected that for some of the journalists present there was as much fear as there was excitement about the micro-blogging platform and its potential and ramifications for the newspaper industry (as well as the individuals therein, hence the concern), and this is certainly understandable. Principally because Twitter, the entity and the network, and their own plans and ambitions, are unknown quantities.

I’m a huge fan of the television series Lost. As of this moment it’s my favourite show on TV, and quite possibly all-time, too. The show sizzles with exceptionally groundbreaking, innovative content, and has and will continue to have a huge influence on the industry.

The thing is, like many fans (and, indeed, critics), it’s hard to shake the feeling that they might be pulling a bit of a fast one on us – that they’re just making it all up as they go along. The sixth and final season begins later this year – unless the last few episodes are absolute world-beaters, even if they’re not ‘winging it’ week-to-week and had an A-to-Z plan from day one, a lot of people are going to feel really cheated. It will still feel like they didn’t have a clue; that they just got lucky.

The cast of Lost, with the Twitter co-founders, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey

This, too, is my worry for Twitter – that the founders, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey, completely fluked into something that became popular and influential, but now don’t really have any idea what to do with it. I was chatting to some folks at the Media140 after-party yesterday and the majority are apprehensive about Twitter’s plans. We’re concerned that the time and effort we’ve invested into the service is exponentially increasing the risk of it not paying off, both in a monetary and philosophical sense. Reward, after all, comes in many forms, and we’re all making deposits into the network.

The key questions for both Twitter and Lost remain: where is this all going? And will we like it when we get there?

“The Ultimate Goal Is To Become A Very Broad-Reaching Utility.” ~ Biz Stone

Biz Stone interviews well. He seems a likeable guy and generally says the right things. In this video he talks about the value of Twitter, and makes good points about how even the most vapid tweets have the potential to become hugely significant; from lead to gold, if you will, borrowing his comparison to alchemy.

Which is all well and good. But the quality and impact of tweets on the network doesn’t actually have anything to do with Twitter themselves. They just provided the platform – all of the content is generated by us (and their 47 employees, few of which, somewhat disturbingly, seem to have much idea how to use the service). We could all be tweeting about cures for cancer, or we could all be tweeting about what we had for lunch. While the intellectual capacity of the former has a far greater value for Twitter (and the world) than the latter, the end result – the data – is not something Twitter can actually control. It’s either going to be of great value, or it’s not.

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