Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Biz Punches Back at Fortune's Twitter-Bashing (Sort Of!)

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone took time off from his myriad of witty talk show appearances to slap around a just-published Fortune cover story that was titled–get it?“Trouble@ Twitter.”

Wrote Stone, in part, on his personal blog in a post titled “The Trouble Bubble”:

We founded Twitter, Inc. in March of 2007 and while we have long said it’s about the users, not the service, we have nevertheless enjoyed favorable media coverage. What took so long for somebody to write the article that says we are falling apart? The normal press cycle is to put a company on a pedestal and then knock it down. It’s much more interesting that way. Twitter has had so many ups and downs you’d think we would have had more negative press. To me, it’s like watching the movie Rocky–he’s up, he’s down, he’s out, he wins!

He correctly points out Fortune’s reliable proclivity–see Google, Facebook–to write a wildly positive piece about the latest tech phenom, followed by a smackdown, followed by a they’re-back! tome.

Now, it is the San Francisco microblogging company’s turn.

(In Fortune’s defense, you try selling a magazine these days without a hookish cover line! Hence, the hit-you-over-the-head wounded bird motif here.)

But vegan-y, nice dude that he is, Stone ends on a positive note:

“For a long time, we refused to hire a communications group and now that we have one, I’m having fun teasing them about this Fortune article but the truth is, we’re long overdue to be knocked down by the press.”

While it must be pointed out that Rocky suffered from brain damage in the last installment of the famed movie franchise, BoomTown awards a Stone-cold win for Mr. Biz-boa!

Here’s the full post:

The Trouble Bubble

We founded Twitter, Inc. in March of 2007 and while we have long said it’s about the users, not the service, we have nevertheless enjoyed favorable media coverage. What took so long for somebody to write the article that says we are falling apart? The normal press cycle is to put a company on a pedestal and then knock it down. It’s much more interesting that way. Twitter has had so many ups and downs you’d think we would have had more negative press. To me, it’s like watching the movie Rocky–he’s up, he’s down, he’s out, he wins!

Fortune magazine finally stepped up to knock us down with a cover article, “Trouble@Twitter.” Here are some examples of how this works. After mostly positive coverage of Facebook, Fortune finally published an article in April of 2009 titled, “Is Facebook Losing Its Glow?” However, later that year they published, “What Backlash? Facebook Is Growing Like Mad.” Google received similar treatment. In July 2010 Fortune published, “Google, The Search Party Is Over.” Later that year, they published, “Google Continues To Gain Search Marketshare.”

We’ve had lots of positive press from Fortune in the past. In July of 2010 they published an article titled, “Twitter’s Business Model: A Visionary Experiment.” The article ended with, “Facebook might want to take notes.” It may seem odd, but from my perspective, this means we are being taken very seriously. Twitter is an important company and it’s under scrutiny from journalists–this is exactly how it’s supposed to work. Now it’s our job to prove the reporters wrong so they can write an article later about how we have made dramatic progress.

The Twitter team is an incredibly dedicated group of people who truly believe they are doing the most meaningful work of their lives. It’s also a very small group of people when compared to the other companies Fortune is investigating. We still have under 500 employees–many of them working weekends and nights to fulfill a potential that is palpable. For a long time, we refused to hire a communications group and now that we have one, I’m having fun teasing them about this Fortune article but the truth is, we’re long overdue to be knocked down by the press.


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