Mike Isaac

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NYT Reporter’s Upcoming Twitter Book Hints at a Founding Tale of Palace Intrigue

HatchingTwitterSomething Twittery this way comes.

The upcoming book detailing the backstory on Twitter, penned by New York Times columnist and reporter Nick Bilton, was listed for preorder on Amazon this morning.

And from the looks of it, it’s going to be a juicy read.

Starting with the title. “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal” is a provocative headline for one of the most watched social companies in the entire world.

As the book doesn’t come out until this November, I reached out to Bilton to see if he’d give me a little more insight into just what we should expect when the title hits the shelves.

“Twitter, in comparison to Facebook, with the involvement of celebrities, and the way the company has ended up changing the world, makes ‘The Social Network’ look like an episode of ‘Days of Our Lives,’” he said.

The book — described as a tale of “betrayed friendships and high-stakes power struggles” in the Amazon listing — may not be a welcome addition to Twitter, the company, which over the past few years has tried hard to escape its early image of a startup in tumult, rife with internal feuds and culture change. Under CEO Dick Costolo, the narrative of the past year has been that Twitter has finally seemed to have grown up, as the company makes its way toward an eventual initial public offering.

An IPO that likely isn’t that far off, according to numerous sources. Many expect that Twitter plans to file its S-1 to go public by the end of the year, possibly debuting publicly in early 2014. It’s probably not a great time for the company to have a book with potentially controversial backstory material making the rounds.

“There’s a tremendous amount of drama around the creation of Twitter, but without that drama it wouldn’t be the company it is today,” Bilton said.

On the other hand, Amazon’s description notes a number of positive aspects that the book covers, from the “global influence of Twitter” to the service’s ability “to help overthrow governments.” In other words, it’s not all rough sledding.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

Bilton won’t give any more details — there will be a lot of revelations in it, he promises — other than to give Twitter its due props in tweaking how we use the Internet.

“Facebook changed the way we communicate, Twitter changed everything,” he said.

The book is due out on Nov. 5 via Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Group.


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