Twitter, I love you man, but …

Posted on Feb 18, 2011 | 120 comments


I’m not an investor, I have no right to tell you what to do.

I’m not an advisor & I’m not privy to any internal information at your company. You have to make the tough judgment calls.

I’m not omnipotent so I can’t use market power to influence your behavior. Even writing this could hurt me. I don’t want that.

Twitter, I’m a friend. I love you, man. Please try to play nicer. I come in peace.

I use you every day. I use you more passionately than email now. I hate email, by the way. I wish everyone used Three.Sentenc.es

Facebook? That’s where my family shares photos. I have no problem with it. But I network, conduct business & interact with the global community openly (and privately) on Twitter. I want to keep it that way.

I love that you create social uprisings in countries with bad leaders. I love that you are social & democratic.

I don’t love when you behave like those that you help depose. Nobody likes bullies. Egypt, China & Iran block Twitter users. Americans expect civil discourse and fair fights.

You claim that you shut down UberMedia for a variety of corporate reasons. I’m not an investor in UberMedia either. I like Bill Gross. But I don’t have a dog in your fight.

Here’s the thing. I’m a user of UberTwitter. I use it because it was the best mobile client in the market for Blackberry devices. And you shut them down today. You’ll be fine. People will stick around. You’re the king. But nobody really likes monarchies, except in a British sort of ceremonial way.

I don’t advise you. But if I did here’s what I would have said.

Issue them a public warning. Put it in the press. Tell the users that there’s a chance the service might get cut off. Hell, even cable operators do that when they have disputes with networks. Let the public see you as the good guy. If you shut off the network you screw your users, like me.

And if you want to win the client war, do it by creating a better mobile client. It’s hard to see how you don’t win if you do that.

Oh, and I probably would have added

If you want to cut off a potential competitor at the knees and say it was over policy & security violations, try not to launch a promoted Tweet saying #TwitterMobile trying to convert users to your client that exact same day. The coincidence will be lost on people.

And please don’t shoot the messager. I’m pretty sure I’m just publicly saying what your entire fiefdom is thinking. Others will be more cautious in speaking publicly. I understand that. My private email is ringing off the hook right now. It’s just that people get a bit twitchy that their heads may be next.

I love you, man. I just want to see you succeed. This isn’t the way …

Yours since April 2007,
@msuster

  • hegranes

    And so begins the end of Twitter as a “platform”… Excellent post, and especially noting the hubris of having #TwitterMobile be a promoted trend during the storm.

    I'm holding firm and waiting for Twidroyd to be turned back on.

  • Nickmilon

    As I understand Twt (!) rules state you can use “Tweet” as part of your application/domain name/title but “Twitter” is a NO NO. This makes sense for me. So according to the rules “TweetGenius” is OK while Snap2Twitter is in trouble. This also explains why they are not after “tweetdeck”

  • http://www.gollyjer.com Jeremy

    Has anyone ever shot the messager? I pay good money for one. :-)

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I hear ya, Bijan. Thank you.

    It's true that I don't know the facts. As I promised Dick publicly if I got something wrong here I'm happy to admit it when the facts become more clear.

    I think I mostly reacted as a passionate Twitter user who one day tried to use it on my Blackberry & couldn't then found out my service had been cancelled. It was jarring.

    The good news is – I'm a passionate Twitter user!

  • http://twitter.com/convctn23 My hubby ;-p

    Honesty takes courage; and sometimes it needs a little sarcasm to help others do the right thing, a little push; thanks for taking the high road, agreeing to disagree, and showing character; Friends are made better friends in their respect of differences. Conflict does not have to be bad. This article is amusing, true, and open. Thumbs up msuster!

  • http://twitter.com/convctn23 My hubby ;-p

    Somewhat harsh on the front end. Yes, some judgment on “bothsidesofthetable”, and some misconception. But, some humility too. All’s well. Different styles is what it comes down to.

  • SeancoJr

    Nicely said. I don't have any shares on the table that are being threatened…and I don't have any developed or used applications at risk of being shut down (that I know of). Still, as a user this rather disappoints me.

    Twitter, we love you man…but please listen to your users – a fair warning of such an event to come would have sufficed.

  • http://twitter.com/TTunco TBD

    What Twitter do is full of sarcasm. Give me a better mobile client or I won't use it, and you can't force people to use it.

  • http://markgslater.wordpress.com/ markslater

    this is the most short sighted post.

    do you know the history or hypotheses behind twitters growth?

  • http://twitter.com/LeighFazzina Leigh Fazzina

    Great post! Thx for explaining what happened. I had no idea.

  • http://markgslater.wordpress.com/ markslater

    this speaks to the core of the API/ecosystem strategy that others preach as a solid investable business model.

    Untaxable co-habitants in your city become a problem as the very reason they entered your city is for this reason. tax them and watch them leave for other pastures.

    The single source of twitter's growth is now the 800 lb gorilla in the room. The apps in this ecosystem present compelling revenue models. But for who?

    Twitter becomes 140 characters of plumbing. Or they go ahead and eat their young.

  • http://www.wac6.typepad.com William Carleton

    What about a small group running the platform as a global, public utility? Twitter is so important intellectually and geo-politically, maybe the Gates Foundation or another philanthropy could try to buy Twitter's shareholders out and open the platform back up again, to commercial uses and also to uncensored uses as an authentic social network.

  • http://www.kidmercuryblog.com kidmercury

    you mean like a government? that is exactly what i think will

    happen……but just as today's governments are primarily privately

    owned with certain portions of constitutional principles (i.e. checks

    and balances, voting), i believe tomorrow's governments (internet

    platforms) will be primarily privately owned with some elements of

    constitutional principles as well. but first, IMHO, people need to

    wake up, see the need for this, and demand it accordingly. suster

    putting the smackdown on twitter and embarrassing their executives in

    public on his widely read blog, on twitter, and on quora is a nice

    step in this direction.

  • http://ucentric.org ϋCentric

    “I network, conduct business & interact with the global community openly (and privately) on Twitter”

    Read their T&C lately? Private? In your dreams…

  • http://www.staffingtalk.com greggdourgarian

    oh i like that revolutionary-steals-kids-lunch-money quip…mind if i borrow it?

  • http://www.wac6.typepad.com William Carleton

    Fascinating; I hadn't thought of conceding that point about gov't. I'll have to dwell on that. Completely agree with you about msuster; way cool of him to open a big public space where this can be talked about.

  • http://naamanetworks.com/ David Bloom

    consider it open source! enjoy.

  • Dave W Baldwin

    On the money regarding ecosystem… ball is in their court.

  • http://twitter.com/idancohen Idan Cohen

    You are so right. This makes me feel a bit nauseous.

    But why do you need to be so apologetic about it? So this is Twitter, so what?!

    This is a company who raised hundreds of millions of dollars and is playing unfair in an industry that just doesn't accept that.

    For me, the beauty of our industry is that we are nice to each other. We win because we work hard, we have skill and we innovate.

    We don't win because we fear someone is better than us, we win in spite.

    Smells like DOJ to me.

  • http://twitter.com/Pantherofkmt Lone Panther

    Meanwhile people are dying thruout N. Africa for freedom and this douche is whining his hipster guts out…