Friday, June 7, 2013

Loving Twitter & Busting Bullies

Dick Costolo is a good guy and the perfect CEO for Twitter. He's witty, smart, and uses humor he honed in his improve days to disarm and charm folks. And so it comes as no surprise that when I sent him my last post about Tom Peters' troll issue he quickly responded. But it did make me feel kind of bad that in only 140characters I didn't have room to address issue, make a suggestion, and tell him how great Twitter is... so let me remedy that:

I dare say Twitter it is one of the most important tools created in the last decade. Yes, some people use it for mere amusement which is still worthwhile but it also helped facilitate the Arab Spring and other political movements. It is priceless in weather, national crisis, and natural disaster situations when people are trying to get information and connect with their loved ones; I myself used it to find out information on a friend who was running the Boston Marathon. And for political and breaking news it beats all other media for speed and diverse points of view to pull from.

Whack-A-Mole! Now I knew when I alerted Dick to Tom's troll that it was an issue that is already top of mind for his team. And with all that is going on with running this company and expanding the service into other parts of the world Tom's little annoyance was not going to be a top priority but I sent it as a tangible example of how trolls can drive even the most accomplished folks away. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for the Twitter team to have to deal with spammers and trolls popping up all over the place and as soon as they kill one account 5 others pop up. Kudos for what they are already doing behind the scenes that is no doubt a huge effort.

I would like to suggest an unorthodox idea though... as good as the Twitter security folks are they are probably in-the-lines kind of people and some times we need to fight hacker with hacker or troll with troll. So, my idea is to put a bounty on an useable idea to stop trolling. Open it to anyone who can send Twitter a workable solution and heftily reward them, maybe $100K, for their efforts. Not sure if this is a realistic idea or if you'd need to know Twitter's code or other factors, but I tend to believe most every problem has a solution. And to clarify, I'm not talking by nefarious means but more out-of-box, non-corporate type thinking. If you have better ideas please list them in comments.

Tom sent me a nice tweet thanking me for my post and it's too soon to tell but it looks like his troll might have actually decided to move on to more useful and positive endeavors- fingers crossed. I want to thank Dick for all he is already doing to make Twitter great and thank his team for all the work they do behind the scenes. And to Tom: I hope this stands as a tiny example of the effort people are willing to go through to thank you for all you've done for us. You and Twitter are so great together so tweet on :)