This was the week that the media decided that Twitter warrants a bit of well-placed skepticism, instead of just valuation pumping, delivering some tough analysis of the company’s recent stumbles and a trip into darker side of its history. Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson knocked it out of the park with an investigation of Twitter’s early days focused on the squeezing out of one of the co-founders — the guy who seems to have come up with the name — and on early investors who co-founder Ev Williams bought out of Odeo, the rather aimless-sounding podcasting company Twitter eventually emerged from. (Suckas!) Mr. Carlson, who back in the day did some exemplary work on Facebook’s litigious infancy, conducted a long interview with Noah Glass. Mr. Glass comes off as a little sad but also rather calm and thoughtful despite the fame and fortune he’s missed out on:
“I’m sure you get this impression from the story and I’ve never really said this before – I did feel betrayed. I felt betrayed by my friends, by my company, by these people around me I trusted and that I had worked hard to create something with.
Afterwards, I was a little shellshocked. I was like, ‘Wait … what’s the value in building these relationships if this is the result?’
So I spent a lot of time by myself. And working on things alone.
I worked on a game for a while. It didn’t really come out the way I wanted it to.
I moved to Los Angeles to work on something totally different. It was an alternative energy system that I had in mind. I built a prototype for that. It just didn’t function the way I thought it was going to function.
I’ve been working on projects that could be something big if they get fleshed out.
Moving back to San Francisco is sort of a step in being involved in collaboration again. It’s something I didn’t necessarily want to do because of what had transpired. Because of the story you’re writing. Collaboration on something where everyone else gets all the credit and all the glory and fame is frustrating. It can be a frustrating experience.”
An article from Fortune’s Jessi Hempel was more focused on the present, triggered by co-founder Jack Dorsey’s return to take over product development. To some, that’s problematic because Mr. Dorsey already has what one imagines is a rather time-consuming day job — he’s CEO of the startup Square — and because the move is the latest in a series of management change-outs, suggesting that the task of figuring out what to do with the maturing microblogging network is a bit of a hot potato.
Anyone with a sizable Twitter following and a reasonable grasp on reality knows that many of their followers are actually bots, snippets of code masquerading as living, breathing, tweeting Twitterers. It turns out that some researchers from New Zealand ran an experiment in which they tried to get a few bots to fool cat lovers on Twitter…and it worked!
Newsweek buyer and audio-equipment magnate Sidney Harman wasn’t the only media owner to pass this week. The late Tiger Beat founder, Charles Laufer, was, in the middle part of the 20th century, a high-school teacher who wanted to give children something to read. Instead, he gave them Tiger Beat, which covered celebrity culture in the days before paparazzi and snark ruled, and before teenyboppers could occupy their time by dropping thousands of their parents’ dollars on the creation of an awful music video that would then get millions upon millions of views. Back in Laufer’s day, all they had was enthusiastic punctuation.
Speaking of businessmen, Donald Trump recently showed off his literary chops in a letter to The New York Times that criticized an op-ed column that criticized Mr. Trump’s “birther” strategy. Vanity Fair marked the occasion by showing off its own experience with The Donald’s media criticism, which took the form of a print-out from the Vanity Fair website marked up by the potential presidential candidate.