Good news and bad news; but mostly bad. It’s a playground for abusers and management’s pointing the wrong way.
Good news · Kathy Sierra, one of the good smart people who make Life Online interesting, was chased off the Net by shitheads in 2007, then came back strong via Twitter, offering a refined mix of words and pictures. But then, earlier this year, it happened again.
Because she’s a woman with opinions. Which draws abuse. In her case, including from Weev (now there’s an asswipe’s asswipe). To make it worse, the Twitter account she folded was insta-grabbed by an abuser and used as a club to beat her.
Did I say there was good news? Yeah, the abuser’s account is gone; word is, that name will never be recycled.
Did I say there was bad news? Yeah, I poked around and got a narrative of what happened; along the lines of “Someone powerful pressured CEO Dick Costolo and poof!” For a variety of reasons, I suspect that narrative is accurate.
So, it’s OK to slime and abuse someone for being a woman with opinions, unless they have a powerful defender who knows Dick Costolo. Let me see, this has problems with (a) humanity, (b) ethics, and (c) scalability. I’m only an expert on (c) but it feels like a (a) (b)ig problem to me.
Disclosures · It’s not like I’m not invested in this one. Literally; Twitter helped me make a nice little chunk of money by acqui-hiring an angel investment, plus I was an early adopter, plus I have followers, plus I’ve had face time, in a variety of contexts, with senior people there. Look, Twitter is one of my favorite things on the Internet, and that’s saying a lot; I value the personal enrichment it’s offered me more than the money it made me.
More bad news · I can’t say it any better than John Gruber did: Twitter seems run by people who just don’t get Twitter. Maybe it would help if I explained it. What makes Twitter so great is:
You get to read short, pithy, carefully-composed messages about the world (getting down to 140 characters requires careful composition),
from people you choose to read,
which hang together to tell a larger story,
and others can chime in, forming a delicate chain of conversation,
and if you’re in the conversation you can influence what parts of it other people see,
and you find out about the interesting things that are going on in the world really damn fast.
That’s what I think, anyhow. Here’s what their leadership seems to think.
To implement that strategic vision, they’ve fought with client builders, screwed with the timeline, emphasized pictures then emphasized them some more, made it hard to follow conversations (unless you’re using one of those clients they’re trying to stamp out), promoted vapid celebrities, and vied with 4chan as a breeding ground for pustulent bully culture.
I can’t not like Twitter. I wonder what it could accomplish if its leadership just got out of the damn way.