Thursday, April 23, 2009

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Always love Maureen Dowd of the New York Times.. her interview with the creators of Twitter. Yes, i broke down and got a Twitter account...even though I'm not a "high school girl." But for what reason did I join? I'm still not sure.

SAN FRANCISCO — Alfred Hitchcock would have loved the Twitter headquarters here. Birds gathering everywhere, painted on the wall in flocks, perched on the coffee table, stitched on pillows and framed on the wall with a thought bubble asking employees to please tidy up after themselves.

In a droll nod to shifting technology, there’s a British red telephone booth in the loftlike office that you are welcome to use but you’ll have to bring in your cellphone.
I was here on a simple quest: curious to know if the inventors of Twitter were as annoying as their invention. (They’re not. They’re charming.)

I sat down with Biz Stone, 35, and Evan Williams, 37, and asked them to justify themselves.

ME: You say the brevity of Twitter enhances creativity. So I wonder if you can keep your answers to 140 characters, like Twitter users must. Twitter seems like telegrams without the news. We now know that on the president’s trip to Trinidad, ABC News’s Jake Tapper’s shower was spewing brown water. Is there any thought that doesn’t need to be published?

BIZ: The one I’m thinking right now.
ME: Did you know you were designing a toy for bored celebrities and high-school girls?

BIZ: We definitely didn’t design it for that. If they want to use it for that, it’s great.

ME: I heard about a woman who tweeted her father’s funeral. Whatever happened to private pain?

EVAN: I have private pain every day.

ME: If you were out with a girl and she started twittering about it in the middle, would that be a deal-breaker or a turn-on?

BIZ (dryly): In the middle of what?

ME: Do you ever think “I don’t care that my friend is having a hamburger?”
BIZ: If I said I was eating a hamburger, Evan would be surprised because I’m a vegan.

ME: What do you think about the backlash to Twitter on the blogs? Isn’t that a bit like the pot calling the kettle black?

BIZ: If people are passionate about your product, whether it’s because they’re hating or loving it, those are both good scenarios. People can use it to help each other during fuel shortages or revolts or earthquakes or wildfires. That’s the exciting part of it.

Read the rest of the editorial here at the New York Times...