News, Rants, Social

Twitter muzzled?

UPDATE: Chris Anderson (@TEDchris) was right when he told me that this change would be for the better back in 2009. I accept now in hindsight that my initial reaction was perhaps mostly nostalgic about a future that couldn’t technically and socially exist. As the amount of my followers keept rising, it was becoming self-evident that the changes were needed. Nevertheless, I still feel some of the initial feeling of exciting serendipitous chaos that made Twitter very special back then is gone. I guess I’m still a bit nostalgic. What do you think?

Original post below:

This morning I read a blog post over at Read Write Web (RWW) that caught me by surprise. I recommend you read it too. It seems that twitter has removed what I consider an essential feature in their latest update.

I was so surprised that I wrote a comment in the emotional heat of the moment over at RWW and I decided to republish it here later on. My initial thoughts were as follows:

I’m quite appalled that twitter seems to me to be self confident – if not almost smirk – with removing a setting that potentially alters the mechanics of conversing and discovering on twitter on a fundamental level; In other words making twitter less like, well, twitter.

I find the idea of not listening to 2% of their user base quite grand. Did they do the maths? That’s not a tiny amount of people, is it? My guess is, that there are a lot of the early twitter adopters and evangelists in those 2% too.

Another bet of mine is that most of those 2% are most certainly not confused by the @ reply ‘system’. It’s inaccurate, not threaded and tracked – but who cares? It’s ‘the twitter way’ and some learned to live comfortably with it.

I’m also willing to bet that a much higher percentage was living under the illusion that they were getting every single public tweet from the people they were following and didn’t know that twitter was censoring and deciding what they could and could not see.

As to the topic of context, I personally find parts of the 2008 twitter blog post referred to in the comments over at RWW completely out of touch.

From the post:
“1) You should feel free to @reply people and not worry about it being out of context to some of your followers. In general, they won’t see it.”

To me, twitter is not instant messaging or email. To me, one of the most important aspects about twitter is enabling discovery, stumbling upon new interesting people, sparking curiosity, reading different perspectives. Why take all that away? I’m flabbergasted. Speechless.

Would it hurt too much to just leave the [promiscuous] setting as default OFF, but there to turn ON for the users who are comfortable with it?

Are there economical incentives involving either business plans or prohibitive cost-benefit ratios precluding it? If so, twitter should be up front and transparent about it.

Please bring ‘promiscuous’ back. I don’t want to have to subscribe to the RSS feed of every single user that I’m following in my reader of choice to get the complete unadulterated twitter stream (even from users that may have blocked me).


Lessons Learned

5 Lessons Learned

In my previous post I tried to provided an explanation for my involuntary online hiatus. But what did I learn from entering and escaping a black hole?

A. I made mistakes
B. See A


1. You can never prepare early enough for changes in personnel and/or workload.

If you are responsible for recruiting your own staff, get involved with appropriate universities and other places of education to keep ahead of the curve. Get good recruiters working for you – for free (that’s another post, though).

Engage and be present in the relevant professional communities. For instance, you are a graphic novel writer and are looking for the best comic book artist for hire, then you may want to reach out to professionals in that particular community and consider recommendations from them. Using the right assistance, you could then be able to outshine in that field.

You can never start too soon to look for your next rock star employee(s). Think of it as a mandatory continuous process. Commit to the appropriate time for getting involved and engaging.

2. Let your surroundings know you are experiencing an exceptional situation and how and when they can expect a response. It’s OK. It happens.

Post a disclaimer on your blog as soon as possible.

Add an auto responder on your mail, private and/or professional.

Call people personally to let them know in advance.

3. Do not let your personal life suffer unreasonably and over time.

This is hard. You’ve probably been there too. Be very conscientious of your personal life in times of professional duress. You are going to need that personal time with yourself and your loved ones more than ever. You will be stronger from it. Take two or three steps back and plan accordingly. Share with your close ones; chances are they can help you.

4. Don’t even try to catch up on every single piled up correspondence.

Write an honest apology response explaining the situation, making sure that the senders know that they will have to get back to you yet again if they still have open issues in need of your attention.

5. Fess up when you fuck up.

Admit to your mistakes personally, identify possible improvements and move on. This is not the time to be pointing fingers at others or to be playing the blame game. This is the time to be on the offense, taking responsibility.

Just one more thing.


If you are like me, you might find this very hard too, but hey! It’s real life – not Hollywood fiction. Shit happens. You make mistakes too. It’s just business. Cheer up – you’re going to die anyway! :D

I probably failed on several accounts the last three months. Hindsight has 20/20 LOLCAT vision, but I hope I’m now stronger and more prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow by the experience.

Lessons Learned, Little Known Fact, News

The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Repentance and Apologies

It’s no secret that I’ve been out of the online and offline loop for over three months.

I’ll eventually tell you why, but the theories and rumors surrounding the absence are probably more interesting and entertaining than the actual truth.

No, I was not hired for the Obama Campaign. I did not help establish the future political platform 2.0 to turn America around. Barack should still feel free to call, though.

No, I did not lose it all in the great Crunch. Credit Crunch or Tech Crunch 50, I never get invited. I don’t discriminate.

No, Pownce did not hire me. That fail train already left for euthanasia station without me.

The actual factual truth is that I was busy keeping a company afloat, thinking forward and expanding at a time where time and resources were getting record scarce, saving and securing workplaces and business for the future.

It paid off, though. We’re solid. Golden. Sorted. Awsun, akshully.

However, I’ll drink that glass of champagne with you later.

It’s hard to be enthusiastic left with a head stuck through several brick walls, wondering what the hell life is all about, desperately in need of a timeout.

I do honestly and sincerely apologize to anyone who tried to mail or call me in the last months. I feel like human manure. I’m finally getting around to you. I am so sorry that I did not tend to you earlier.

I am getting back to you. You mean a lot to me. No, seriously. You do. Hold on to that little speck of trust that you may still have in me.

If anything, I’m proof positive that information do indeed flow back out of black holes.

Update: I’ve posted some of the lessons I learned from the experience.