Are you on Twitter?
A group of four guys who had previously failed at various start-up companies in Silicon Valley in the 90’s create a social network app that rivals Facebook in that it connects people from all over the world with little to no parameters and/or restrictions. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, everything goes wrong. From its conception, there has always been a power struggle among Twitter’s creators. The general idea of Twitter was the result of an impromptu conversation in the front seat of a car between two guys after a night of drinking and partying. From that moment on, it has been a push and shove power struggle between each of the co-founders that includes but is not limited to back-stabbing, lying, misleading, and cheating.
This is the story of a social network app that revolutionized how we communicate. Twitter has played an integral part in connecting people around the world. It has started wars. It has ended wars. It has represented the strongest forms of human connection. It has broken up marriages. It has affected the outcome of both national and international elections. It’s fun. It’s dangerous. And, behind the scenes of the company whose net worth is billions of dollars, it is even messier…
Trigger warnings: Language, drug references
Why I read it: Recommendation from a friend
First, I absolutely loved it. The only reason it was not a solid 5-star rating for me was because it was a little slow at the beginning (but that could have also been because I read this during Christmas break and I was busy doing all of the things to prepare for Christmas. However, once I got into it, I was hooked! I loved reading about how the company (that has changed almost very part of the world as we know it) was created. I loved getting the behind the scenes into the lives of the men and women who have been such an integral part in the formation of Twitter. I especially loved reading how these four guys were essentially acting like toddlers in their impulsive outbursts. Actually, my toddler has nothing on these guys in terms of their inability to work through differences and agree to disagree. Just when you think they are finally maturing and figuring out how to work together, then you read about yet another falling out which honestly plays out similar to a pre-teen getting their feelings hurt and rescinding an invitation to their birthday party.
Second, it should be noted that this book was written back in 2013. It’s only been 10 years but, if you think about it, the world is a completely different place than it was 10 years ago. Twitter is a totally different company than it was when it was first founded. It was absolutely fascinating to read this book so far removed from its publishing year because of not only the complete reversal of Twitter’s initial policy of not kicking off certain political figures in hopes of truly having an open forum. And, in light of Elon Musk’s recent purchase of the company, it was enlightening to read it through today’s lens. There were so many things I read out lout to my husband and essentially said, “Well that didn’t age well…”
Lastly, this book reads as a cautionary tale for me in a variety of ways:
- Business and friendship don’t mix
- Be careful what you wish for
- Unregulated content is a blessing and a curse
- Regulated content is a blessing and a curse
- Be careful who you trust
- Technology develops faster than our laws
- What goes around comes around
I should also point out that there is a lot of the author’s bias that comes out. For example, he clearly does not think very highly of Jack Dorsey. This only added to the intrigue for me since I have the luxury of reading it so much later and after so many things have changed.